~ The Stones & Trees of the Small Palace ~

In winter time I passed beyond
& felt the growing cold
& lighting fires from fallen trees
I warmed my dying soul

Stones & Trees features Sedayne's own proximal versions of the material performed by the Masstishaddhu trio on the album Shekinhah (see Compilations & Collaborations ). Exquisitely packaged (although alas without the train-set that accompanied the cassette edition...) and lovingly re-mastered throughout, this ressurects the spirit of the original 1981 cassette to which the Masstishaddhu / Shekinah album is so respectfully dedicated in celebration of a particular idiomatic strand of Sedayne's work re-assembled, re-mixed, re-edited, sequenced & juxtaposed from material recorded between 1987 & 1991 for the purposes of establishing the continuum & authenticity of said idiom by way of elucidation (for the uninitiated) & entertainment (for those in the know).

The instrumentation is sparse, consisting of the primal flutes made from bamboo won from carpet warehouses on Tyneside during the Winter of Discontent (78 / 79) & fashioned in semblance of ceremonial & ritual flutes from New Guinea; end-blown & cross-bown embouchres with few, if any, finger holes - organic & harmonic enhanced by diverse elemental string drones such as hurdy-gurdy & rabab together with basic idiophones (gongs / bells / cymbals) & frame drums.

The second disk features a palimpsest originally commissioned by Resonance FM for broadcast as part of 'One Hour As...'; this was 'One Hour Astray' (broadcast December 2002) & subsequently expanded to 74 minutes and re-titled The Onset of Winter; this draws together further, yet darker idiomatic stands of the 'primal idiom': "...wild and beautifully archaic... shining glitteringly like live coals. If Venereum Arvum is a music of Apollo, this... is that of Dionysus."

Reviewed below by Gerald Van Waes January 2005:

CD1 : “Hunting and gathering”, with slow hand rhythm, flute-pipes and harmonic resonating bell, creating beautiful overtones, a spacey harmony of tones, starts this album (after a short “winter song” verse) with something of a true profane feeling of a gathering in respect to the most quiet starting place, becoming an area of meditation, or an accompany to some aspects on a higher plane. This 16 minutes and a bit track shows a hypnotic peace with beauty, which works brilliantly for its whole length without any obstacle. “Daghda 1” after that is a musical improvisation, a bit more earthly, less focused, atmospheric, with different, also more earthly musical instruments, like hurdy gurdy, some bowed instruments, combined with flutes. “For the Dead and Unborn” after that stays a bit in between the earlier meditation and the earth and air plane of improvisation. “unborn” here is more in the sense of a yet unborn creation of composition. The “Daghda 2” refocuses the ritual trance-effect and circular-like improvisation structure, and endows this influence on “For the Dead and Unborn 2”. “Gull Mass at Holy Island” has besides long distance carrying flute-pipes also water sounds, gongs and bells, creating an area as from an Island with a church or so. It is a simpler track which is a bit long for its expression. “For the dead and the unborn Part 3 & 4” holds the middle between all this. It has calmness, a breathing pulse, some overtones, and the mystical aspect becomes a calm foundation of accepted simplicity and peace within its “place of not be”. In some way it describes a similar travel of an astral mind as on Masstishaddhu // Shekinah, but on a more earthly plane, as this is a description of a state of small objects in nature, like indeed something like “stones and trees”, in its wintery state of being nothing more than itself in its place. I once described myself in a poem something like “in summer all leaves are in a struggle to become, in winter a tree just is". I also described the following thought in that same poem, which fits with this release and music as well : "At this point I'm glad with all that is lost, because things now have the opportunity to fall back on only what they exactly are, without their griefs caused by unfulfilled desires." It's in that way such a wintery state has the ability to purify.

CD2 : Second CD, called “The Onset of Winter” has three long tracks. It sets immediately the filmic scene with church bells, natural sounds, hurdy gurdy and other instruments. It starts from the same ‘nature field’ on which the first CD had set its astral-like visions. First as a kind of ‘herd gathering’, with bells, but also birds-like flutes it shows a larger group of creatures. Then it evolves with a Native-Indian like energy, but then with much more concentrated people and energy (as e.g. accompanied by various shamanic people’s voices in the back), in a tension like a bees' nest waiting to come out of its serpent’s like unrest, unfed. Then the musical camera moves to some other places in the surroundings. The birds share this unrest somewhat too. There is a certain tension as if something will happen, though not too soon. It might be the symbolic coming of spring, I’m not sure.. In any way it remains filmic. Just imagine a winter tree bowing down, heavy from water and ice. In the second part, odd flute harmonies are spread over a bed of hurdy gurdy with bird and birds-like sounds in the background, until it changes into a dancing like music of celebration. In the last part it is as if the whole nature of animals participates in this dance, together and successfully. In the background a voice then sings along with this concluding celebration, with something like a verse of a poem or a priest-like vision with a human aspect. Then the filmic scene shows just a very short time the active nature, solo. When the music comes back in, the flutes seem to have found their harmonies, and the rhythms their natural response.. When the hurdy gurdy drone rhythms seems to be no longer necessary, nature's sounds take over peacefully.

For those seriously interested in shamanic practice of astral imagination this musical trip is a perfect guidance.

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I saw the sun reborn again
melt through the winter snow
and drank afresh from holy streams
swollen with the thaw