Gazelle Amber Valentine is one half of sludge / doom / death metal two piece Jucifer, formed in Georgia, USA in 1993. For more than seventeen years Gazelle and her bandmate (and husband), drummer Edgar Livengood, have adopted a nomadic lifestyle. The pair live, tour, rehearse, and sometimes even record in their Winnebago, towing the literal wall of amplification Valentine utilises on stage in a trailer behind them. The duo describe this life as an endless tour, and they can easily find themselves playing live shows in twenty or more countries in a single year.
Jucifer’s music can be (and usually is) harsh, aggressive, and loud, but its subject matter and lyrical content are not necessarily what people might expect. 2008’s L’Autrichienne was a concept album based around the French Revolution accompanied by extensive historical notes, while 2013’s За Волгой для нас земли нет (“There is no land beyond The Volga”) dealt with the Soviet Union and WWII. Equally though, there is a strong sense of Americana embedded in much of Jucifer’s music and lyrics; dark folk sounds and sensibilities; finger-picked banjo and violin strings, and dissonant, melancholic melodies. Nowhere is this side of their work more apparent than in Gazelle’s solo album Devil’s Tower I, released in 2013.
All of this – the nomadic life, the artistry, the power and intelligence of her writing – made Gazelle Amber Valentine someone I was very keen to approach as a contributor to Spirits of Place. Her essay, entitled “I Have Trod Such Haunted Land”, ended up being the first in the book and remains one of my favourites. Even though her internet connection can be intermittent as she and Edgar continue their never ending tour, Gazelle was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the book and her contribution to it.
Read the interview at dailygrail.com
Not far from where I live there’s a landscape that’s soaked in apocalyptic imagery. Thornton is a wild and sometimes bleak place, on the hills above Bradford, where the Brontë sisters were born before moving to Haworth, the place they’re more usually associated with, six miles away.
Thornton is farmland and scrub, beautiful in the summer sun, foreboding and often impassable in the depths of winter. There’s a place called World’s End View, from where you feel it really is possible to sit out the apocalypse. There are scattered communities with Biblical names… Egypt, Jerusalem, and Jericho, which even had its own monstrous walls in the Victorian era, massive ramparts that edged the road through and held back the mountains of waste from the stone quarries.
Read the full article at independent.co.uk
Fresh for #FolkloreThursday, Greg Taylor has posted Maria J. Pérez Cuervo’s Spirits of Place essay “The Palace Built Over a Hellmouth“, about El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos, over on the Daily Grail website.
Only a king or a queen has the power to move the capital of their kingdom to their preferred location. For King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598), this place was at the very centre of the Iberian Peninsula, not far from the city of Madrid, in an area called El Escorial on the southern slopes of Mount Abantos. Here he vowed to build his life’s plan: a royal residence that would also be a pantheon, a monastery, a library, a museum and a centre of studies. To bring it to life, he hired a group of architects, experienced masons and theologists, who evaluated the terrain positively but, given the monarch’s interest in esotericism and alchemy, probably warned him of an ancient legend: that the Devil himself had lived in a cave at the foot of the mountain, after he was expelled from Heaven and before he opened up seven doors to enter his new abode in the Underworld. The location of one of these doors was El Escorial.
Read the rest at www.dailygrail.com
Magical techno-futurist, Spirits of Place contributor, and generally lovely guy Damien Williams conducted a Tarot interview with me about the project, it’s origins and it’s future. You can read the full interview at technoccult.net
Copies of the limited, signed edition of Spirits of Place are still available HERE
A Kindle edition of the book is also available via Amazon
- ISBN-10: 0994617631
- ISBN-13: 978-0994617637
Read the full interview at alternativemagazineonline.co.uk
“What’s next for Spirits of Place?” is a question that was asked a lot after the event of the same name took place back in April. Now, at last, that question can be answered. Next comes Spirits of Place the book (formerly AKA #projectLOCI).
Published by Daily Grail Publishing, Spirits of Place is available NOW in various formats:
- Limited Edition Hardcover (first 100 of a total run of just 200 copies), signed by Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Joanne Parker, and John Reppion.
- Paperback edition, available on Amazon (and other online booksellers).
- Kindle eBook version.
Stories are embedded in the world around us; in metal, in brick, in concrete, and in wood. In the very earth beneath our feet. Our history surrounds us and the tales we tell, true or otherwise, are always rooted in what has gone before. The spirits of place are the echoes of people, of events, of ideas which have become imprinted upon a location, for better or for worse. They are the genii loci of classical Roman religion, the disquieting atmosphere of a former battlefield, the comfort and familiarity of a childhood home.
Twelve authors take us on a journey; a tour of places where they themselves have encountered, and consulted with, these Spirits of Place.
Those twelve authors are:
Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir – Vajra Chandrasekera – Maria J. Pérez Cuervo – Warren Ellis – Alan Moore – Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Kristine Ong Muslim – Dr. Joanne Parker – Mark Pesce – Iain Sinclair – Gazelle Amber Valentine – Damien Williams.
The book is edited, curated, and introduced by me, John Reppion.
It’s a collection of writings by twelve incredible authors: Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir – Vajra Chandrasekera – Maria J. Pérez Cuervo – Warren Ellis – Alan Moore – Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Kristine Ong Muslim – Dr. Joanne Parker – Mark Pesce – Iain Sinclair – Gazelle Amber Valentine – Damien Williams.
It’s edited, curated, and introduced by me.
It’s a book about place and our relationship to it; how ideas and stories and events become embedded into locations. And how people interact with those places; how they change the way we look at and think about ourselves and others.
Pye Parr has done us an amazing cover, which you can see a fraction of above. More of that, and the book’s actual title, will be revealed in the next fortnight or so when it goes on sale.
Keep an eye out here, and on dailygrail.com, and prepare to get very excited.
— The Daily Grail (@DailyGrail) November 16, 2016
On Saturday the 2nd of April 2016 the Spirits of Place symposium was held at Calderstones Mansion House here in the heart of South Liverpool.
The whole thing came about when I saw that the venue was for hire and I started thinking about what kind of event it would be great to see there. Something the likes of which people who live in London, or Brighton say, might be quite used to seeing advertised but which there never seem to be very many of up here in the North. Something which fused historical and archaeological topics with things like folklore and myth and literature. Something which spoke of the stories – public, personal, true and otherwise – embedded and encoded in the landscape. Tentatively I made some enquiries, things spiralled quickly, and within a month I found myself at the helm of an actual event that had speakers and tickets for sale and was definitely an actual real thing.
Lots of people have asked me if there will be another one, and do you know what? I think there probably will be. If you’d like to stay informed about that please subscribe here.
Hare’s Eggs at Easter
As the Easter weekend draws close, children and adults alike anticipating a chocolate egg binge, the internet is alive with articles on the “true” origins of Easter. Yet, could there be any truth in the idea that rabbits – or hares at least – do lay eggs?
Read the rest on DailyGrail.com
Invoking the Spirits of Place
Spirits of Place is a one day, multidisciplinary symposium taking place on Saturday the 2nd of April, 2016 in Calderstones Mansion house, Calderstones Park, Liverpool.
It’s a kind of cross between a conference and a working – a day of talks, readings, interviews, and screenings taking their cue from the neolithic Calderstones and their surroundings and then spiralling out to include all manner of related stuff.
Archaeology, history, folklore, magick, psychogeography/landscape-punk, fiction, and all points between will be covered.
A full list of guests, talks, and (approximate) times is online at tiny.cc/spiritsofplace where tickets can be purchased for £15 (plus booking fee).
I hope you can join us there.