Repress!

OK, we hear you. We will do another run and we’ll start with black vinyl.

Another 200 copies will be shipping again from Arizona, Scotland & Germany this Summer. Pre-orders are now live. CD reissue to follow later. Go get ’em! I can’t keep repressing this forever…

All gone, repress?

Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of the album, it’s now completely sold out everywhere.

That said, I see its already been scalped on Discogs and people do keep saying on social media posts that they didn’t get a copy so a repress does seem in order. What do you think?

25
Format poll

What format should we reissue "Ballads of Seduction, Fertility & Ritual Slaughter" on?

Terrascope Dig it too!

Lovely review from Ian Fraser over on the Terrascope website for their September reviews section.

They reckon it “ranks as a more than respectable companion to the soundtrack and one that stands tall without seeking to either emulate or surpass the original. ‘Folk Album of the Month’? Possibly so, although its experimentalism and amorphousness suggests that such a narrow designation would be insufficient.

Sgt Howie would never have approved, mind you.”

Aye, I reckon they’re right. One blast of Teleplasmiste’s pipes would surely send him running to his sea plane.

Really in-depth review from Folk Radio UK

Really made up by this very in-depth review from Folk Radio UK

https://www.folkradio.co.uk/2023/08/various-ballads-of-seduction-fertility-and-ritual-slaughter-album-review/?fbclid=IwAR2uH7c0NUqKuJTpY3lK-LRUtKPpIB3iDADlvizeUKrPKnfqE6FkSPbRX9Y

Their reviewer Gavin McNamara there certainly knows the score as this quote deftly illustrates “Ballads of Seduction, Fertility And Ritual Slaughter is a wonderfully consistent, decidedly spooky reimagining of a brilliant soundtrack. It is full of odd delights and is, almost certainly, best listened to sitting down. Shocks are, after all, so much better absorbed with knees bent”.

nice review over at Skug

German magazine Skug have a review from Holger Adam of the album.

https://skug.at/various-artists-ballads-of-seduction-fertility-and-ritual-slaughter-was-ist-das/

I used an A.I. to translate it then edited the results to make it smoother:

The folk-horror film The Wicker Man is an entertaining yet ruthless hybrid of musical and crime – and it flopped at the box office when it was released in 1973. Today, the film is a pop culture icon with appeal far beyond the folk horror genre. In the decades since its initial release, the film has achieved cult status, the Paul Giovanni soundtrack has been repeatedly reissued and the film is now available in various edited versions on DVD or Blu-ray. And the crappy remake from 2006 with Nicolas Cage in the leading role shows: The original is unattainable, the version with Cage is a farce (and therefore worth seeing, at least once). 

In 2023 »The Wicker Man« celebrates its 50th birthday and on this occasion in Phoenix, Arizona based label Was Ist Das? released a tribute album. The small underground label is run by Ned Netherwood, an Englishman in exile (because of love, of course). He has enlisted a number of well-known musicians to reinterpret the original soundtrack’s compositions, and the 17 exclusive tracks on »Ballads of Seduction, Fertility and Ritual Slaughter« cover a relatively broad musical spectrum, which – however – fortunately – not removed from the sinister mood of the original. 

The experiment of venturing into a quasi sacrosanct artefact of pop culture succeeds precisely because »the old ways« are not negated. »Sumer Is A-Cumin In« remains a song piece with Sharron Kraus, only instead of a choir, Kraus sings alone and layers her voice over one another, creating a dreamy, hypnotic mood. And Meg Baird’s rendition of “Willow’s Song” stays close to the original — but the former Espers singer has the experience, and the gesture of homage doesn’t devolve into mere imitation. Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound) and Alvarius B (Alan Bishop), among others, deviate further from their templates. He snarls his way through »corn rigs« in his own crooner manner, while Liles’s »The Landlord’s Daughter« dresses in a post-industrial sound atire. 

As the Banshees of Bunsworth, members of Ireland’s Woven Skull let off steam with “Searching for Rowan,” and David Colohan features twice on the album, once solo and once with his band United Bible Studies. – And so it goes on and on, lively around the »Maypole«, so to speak (here interpreted by Magpahi, the musical project of the British artist Alison Cooper). The majority of the performers represented here have been working in the musical underground at the experimental intersections of folk, drone and noise for many years. The contributions to »Ballads of Seduction, Fertility and Ritual Slaughter« testify to a musical expertise that does not deny their being a fan. And how can you not be a fan of »The Wicker Man«? 

I think Holger in his last two sentences hit on why this album turned out so great. Every artist I spoke to had a sincere love of both the film and the soundtrack. I picked them for their abilities but it worked because of the sincerity of their intentions. No matter how much the songs were reinvented, they all remain true to the spirit. I’m not sure the success of this project could ever be emulated because is there another film and soundtrack so universally loved and so ripe for reinterpretation?

review in the African Paper

The German website African Paper has reviewed the album

http://africanpaper.com/2023/07/03/ballads-of-seduction-fertility-and-ritual-slaughter-wicker-man-tribute-u-a-mit-andrew-liles-meg-baird-united-bible-studies/

Below is a translation that I ran through an A.I. translator then refined a little.

On August 18th, the Was Ist Das? label releases a compilation of reinterpretations from Paul Giovanni’s “Wicker Man” soundtrack , cited as one of the starting points for dark, eccentric and occult-tinged folk music. The 1973 film directed by Robin Hardy stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland. A prudish police officer wants to solve a case on a remote Scottish island and gets more and more caught up in a maelstrom of seduction and pre-Christian fertility rites and is still unrivaled as a milestone in folk horror. The line-up of musicians involved, who are covered in depth on the label’s website, is more than impressive and ranges from different kinds of dark folk to surreal soundscapes to ritually colored or psychedelic ambient sounds.

The popular “Willow’s Song” – also known as the “Wicker Man Song” in cover versions – is interpreted by Meg Baird ( Espers , among others ), a version of “Sing Cuckoo (Summer is a-coming in)” by Sharron Kraus is represented, while The Owl Service performs “The Tinker of Rye” with Harriet Bradshaw and Alan Bishop aka Alvarius B sings about the “Corn Rigs”. United Bible Studies , whose line-up also includes Scotsman Gray Malkin and Kitchen Cynics contribute a more soundscape-like track with their version of “Procession / Chop.Chop”, as does the Téléplasmiste consisting of Mark O. Pilkington and Michael York , while Andrew Liles puts the drinking song “The Landlord’s Daughter” through the meat grinder. Additional contributions are from Burd Ellen, David Colohan, Burial Hex, Good Shepherd with Maydo Kay, Magpahi, Sophie Cooper and Hawthonn. The collection features artwork by Richard Wells and is available on LP, CD and download. Proceeds go to the Scottish Wildlife Trust .

Nice write up in the Guardian

Great to see a mention of the album in print in The Guardian newspaper (UK).

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2023/aug/04/playing-for-the-man-at-the-dooor-smithsonian-folkways

Jude Rogers, the resident folk critic said “Ballads of Seduction, Fertility and Ritual Slaughter (Was Ist Das?) is a fittingly weird 50th anniversary tribute to The Wicker Man’s startling soundtrack. Magpahi’s synth-drizzled Maypole, Dean McPhee’s Sunset and Meg Baird’s Willow’s Song are particularly gorgeous.”

But it’s not just top musicians…

..though obviously it’s important that we got a great line-up who could do the line-up justice.

However, as any true lover of physical media knows, having great cover art is important and for this mission I had only one person in mind.

I have the poster for this excellent documentary on my bedroom wall, in a recycled wood frame. It’s the first thing I see many mornings

He’s also done artwork for the mighty Green Lung

And this Wicker Man blu-ray box set from Imprint FIlms


So, of course I asked him if he’d do our cover art. He’s a busy guy, check out his website and you’ll see he also does a lot of film and TV work https://www.richardwellsgraphics.com/

He did a few mock-ups and they were all so good, I had no idea which one I wanted for the cover. He also said that when the line-up was finalized, if he had the time, he’d do the whole design.

Well, fast forward 18 months later and I message him to say I finally have a line-up, does he have the time and by a weird coincidence (if such things exist!) it turned out not only did he have a little time but he’d just come back from a holiday visiting and photographing the filming locations so not only could he do the whole design, he had the materials to take his mock-ups to the next level.

He asked me if I wanted a gatefold design for the vinyl. Gatefold costs more. I’m from Yorkshire, we don’t like extra costs but the idea was too powerful to resist.

So there’s the ruined church from the film as it looks in June 2023

RIchard also has a Big Cartel page where you can buy prints of his stuff https://slipperyjack.bigcartel.com/

You should also follow his Instagram.

Index

Featured

In case you were wondering why, here is why

Here’s an index page for all the other details. Just click on the song to find out more about who did it and why I choose them and what they did with it.

Burd Ellen – The Highland Widow’s Lament

Alvarius B – Corn Rigs

Andrew Liles – The Landlord’s Daughter

Good Shepherd with Maydo Kay – Gently Johnny

Magpahi – May Pole

The Owl Service & Harriet Bradshaw – The Tinker of Rye

Meg Baird – Willow’s Song

Sophie Cooper – Fire Leap

United Bible Studies – Procession/Chop Chop

Hawthonn – Lullaby

Teleplasmiste – Festival/Mirie It Is

Sharron Kraus – Sing Cuckoo (Summer Is A-Coming In)

David Colohan – Loving Couples/The Ruined Church

Burial Hex – The Masks/Hobby Horse

The Banshees of Bunworth – Searching For Rowan

Michael Begg – Appointment With The Wicker Man

Dean McPhee – Sunset

Available on digital, CD and gatefold double vinyl from our Bandcamp page.

It will also be stocked at the following quality record shops

Monorail Music, Glasgow, Scotland

It will NOT be available from Amazon or any streaming site.

Artwork, design and photography by Richard Wells. Here is his online Big Cartel shop and his Instagram

Mastered by Andrew Liles