Stations of the Sun, Transits of the Moon
by United Bible Studies
Barl Fire : BF012 : 2006
A reissue of the First album on Barl Fire. A melancholy and intimate set of tunes. For the Stations sessions, the students divided themselves into duos and trios to focus on making short tunes rather than frenetic improvisation which characterizes their live performances". This 100 copy edition of "Stations of the Sun, Transits of the Moon" comes packaged in hand-glued cardboard sleeves, with the sleeve art featuring iconography from the Rosarium Philosophorum.
Barl Fire site
UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Stations Of The Sun, Transits Of The Moon (Barl Fire) cd-r 11.98
A gorgeous reissue of this long out of print cd-r, the debut release from myesterious folk ensemble United Bible Studies, reissued again on cd-r, this time limited to only 100 copies (we got 30) and packaged in a gorgeous, hand screened textured paper sleeve. UBS explore a gorgeous mix of modern post-Fahey Appalachia (a la Jack Rose, James Blackshaw) and pagan seventies Brit folk (Incredible String Band, Shirley Collins, etc.) as well as incorporating a dash of the apocalyptic folk of groups like Current 93 and Sol Invictus. A dizzying expanse of pastoral serenity, blissy folk dirges, dreamy drone and dark lilting ballads, simple reverby piano, lots of string buzz, wheezing harmonium, warm whirls of gorgeous strum and shuffle. You can almost imagine some shadowy troupe, huddled in the corner of an old tavern, fire crackling in the hearth, rain pouring down outside, serenading a room full of weary travellers, heads hung low, letting their minds drift and their souls be warmed by the dark beauty of the music.
UNITED BIBLE STUDIES – STATIONS OF THE SUN, TRANSITS OF THE MOON(CD-R on Barl Fire)
Over the past few months, I've had the pleasure of a long-overdue catch-up with the work of Ireland's United Bible Student movement, and the output of their cathedral/label/spiritual home the Deserted Village organisation, and it's all had my third eye glowing like a firefly rising through the mist. These two releases are the Alpha and Omega of the movement so far, and, along with the output of The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree (if you can find either of their releases), a great place to dive into the scene if you haven't already.
'Stations/Transits' is a reissue of the debut UBS CD-R on Deserted Village originally released at the end of 2003 and an artefact that probably stayed in stock as long as morning dew on a summer's day. Barl Fire have done their usual pristine packaging job, replacing the stunning colour sun/moon art of the original with iconography from the Rosarium Philosophorum printed letterpress style on high-quality cardstock. In a delicious irony typical of the CD-R micro label scene, this new Barl Fire version is itself already sold out at the source. Seriously, a CD issue is needed at some point. Musically, 'Stations/Transits' finds the mysterious "students" dividing themselves into duo and trios and working mostly (final track excepted) on vignetted aspects of the UBS sound rather than the kind of free-jazz meets hippie-freakout improvisation that characterises their live recordings, as documented by the subsequent and mighty live 'Airs of Sun and Stone' release. Delicate, melancholy acoustic airs are the order of the day, as various permutations evoke landscapes seen from odd angles in strange light. Close your eyes during tracks like 'Backwards across the Burren' or 'Shanaglish Cemetery' and you are instantly transported to the places in question. The complexity of their influence pool - Anne Briggs, Shirley Collins and Vashti Bunyan on one hand, Current 93 and Sol Invictus on the other hand, with the Incredible String Band watching over all - results in tracks that vary from contemplative Faheyeqsue finger-picked guitar instrumentals with flute and harp to others that trade in AMM improvisational space weaving using horns and electronics to fully fledge freak-outs. The one exception to the prevailing exploratory vignette methodology is the 17 minute 'Everytime We Find a Dead Viking', which builds from a barely audible ghost world of sawing drones and plucked notes on banjo and harp through percussive forest folk glades akin to the spaces created by Avarus or Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood to an explosive finale made up of maniacal guitar, distressed cymbals and squonking horn mayhem that screams "we are here, covered in furs and daubed with arcane symbols". Find a copy somehow!