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Dean Honer, Supreme Vagabond Craftsman

Frogman (LP, Red silver haze)

Label: Castles in Space

Format: LP, Coloured

Genre: Electronic

Out of stock

Tip! "Bloody spooky though. I hope the place don't fill up with goggle eyed weirdos now, wandering around and muttering."

In 2015 I edited various pieces of music I had written on an EMS Synthi and a tape echo, into one hour long piece. I didn't know what to do with it. I knew Will (Goddard) from his Supreme Vagabond Craftsman records. I liked his writing style, always a bit twisted. I also knew that he wouldn't be put off by my atonal discordant Synthi burblings. So I asked him to write a sci-fi story to put over the music.

He came up with Frogman. I loved that it was set locally to Sheffield in the Peak District, a place that I am very familiar with. That gentle yet dramatic landscape was perfect for an alien/viral incursion. It had the bleak English atmosphere of classics such as Quartermass and Threads.

The idea developed into a play voiced by various characters rather than a solo narrator. Therefore we adapted and created new music to reflect the characters and the narrative. But much of the original Synthi score is still present.

The Frogman became unnervingly prescient with the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. The splits in society, anti vax Vs pro vax, leave Vs remain, and the fragility of a "civilised " society. - Dean Honer

 

Staying in a B&B on the south coast about 15 years ago, I was given a map which the owner had hand drawn and photocopied for guests to find local chippies and nice pubs. The map featured a bizarre symbol among the spaghetti of wiggly lines depicting local streets: a sort of series of circles encasing triangles within a flaming star shape. It looked faintly occult. I went to the spot indicated by the symbol hoping to find some kind of spiritual inundation. It was a lorry park.

I started to wonder what would happen if large objects appeared all over the world and seemed to draw people to them in a sort of religious pilgrimage; people walking from one to another and entering a state of ecstasy when they arrived. I liked the cosy catastrophe novels of the '60s, John Christopher and John Wyndham, and the 'slipstream' weirdness of M John Harrison. I particularly liked Christopher Priest's novel 'Fugue for a Darkening Island' and decided to rip off its fragmentary structure. I seem to remember buying a copy of Sam Delaney's 'Dahlgren' on the same trip. I liked the idea that a certain proportion of the world's population would be drawn into these religious pilgrimages and become a sort of shifting population of maligned devotees with an incomprehensible clicking language. This idea kicked around for a few years but I'm no good at writing fiction. When Dean mentioned a science fiction story with a sort of electronic score it seemed it could finally come to life.

I bought a nice book of John Piper's photographs from a shop round the corner from Dean's. Apparently Piper had bad asthma and couldn't spend long periods outdoors. He took photos of weird and ominous forms in nature so he could develop them into paintings. I thought I'd nick that idea for the Clifford character and make him into a closet Nazi. Frogmen are generally weird so I threw that in there for good measure.

I used to work in a shop with a guy called Richard. He had been a child actor and was in various bonkers sci-fi series in the early '70s, so I roped him into voice one of the characters. Terry O' Connor has been a Sheffield theatre legend with Forced Entertainment and so seemed perfect for the Marcia role. Dean knew Russell Senior from the Sheffield Indie scene of the 80s and obviously Pulp. We needed a male Sheffield voice and Russell seemed about right. I'd just moved back to Sheffield and had some time to spare so Dean and I put the music together over various afternoons. I'd written a load of improvised text along to some stuff Dean had done on a Synthi. We visited Heidi who served us boiled eggs on rye bread and asked her to record it for us. This became the voice of the alien objects.
Will Goddard / Supreme Vagabond Craftsman


"Unlike much you have heard before, Dean Honer and Supreme Vagabond Craftsman build a creepily paranoid world of 'objects', which is believable and strange... and strangely affecting. The album is presented in a spectacular red/silver pressing with beautiful cover/inner sleeve artwork from Nick Taylor. Set in a bleak corner of the Peak District, it's perhaps our only opportunity to hear a one-time mainstay of Pulp and a former cast member of The Tomorrow People acting together in earnest. For that reason alone, surely it must be cherished. Submerged by analogue bleeps and beats, Russell Senior and Richard Speight throw themselves into two narrated suites of glorious post apocalyptic oddness."
- Bob Fischer, Electronic Sound


Details
Cat. number: CiS099
Year: 2022
Notes:

Voices - Richard Speight, Russell Senior, Terry O'Connor, Heidi Kilpelainen
Words - Supreme Vagabond Craftsman 

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