Inspired by far-fetched fairy folklore, The Gone Away is the new album by Belbury Poly, the recording name of Ghost Box Records co-founder Jim Jupp. Vintage electronics, music room instrumentation and polyrhythmic sequences conjure up folk-ish, kosmiche melodies.
Evocative and unsettlingly familiar, it sets a darker and more serene tone than the last full-length Poly album, New Ways Out. Belbury Poly’s sound palette is still in evidence however; mellow analogue synths, rustic pipes and rusty strings. Gone are the usual supporting session musicians, with Jupp performing all parts himself. The album came together slowly over the course of three years while Jupp collaborated on various side projects and was finally completed a few days before the global lockdown commenced.
The Gone Away’s 11 tracks are inspired by British fairy folklore, especially its recurrent themes of things that always seem on the point of leaving or vanishing. Also there’s the notion of things that can’t be seen head on but are only glimpsed from the corner of the eye. A scorned and neglected corner of folklore, beguiling and bonkers in equal measure. Of course, this being a Ghost Box record, these themes are received through the prism of old TV soundtracks, and the credulous beliefs and childhood obsessions of a pre-digital age.
“I’ve always had this subject matter in the back of my mind for Belbury Poly, but I wanted to focus in on it more this time round. When I say I’ve been recording music about fairies, after the inevitable silence, there’s usually an awkward response somewhere between ridicule and revulsion. I guess that’s because the tiny winged fairies from 19th century children’s stories have won out over the weirder and wilder versions from folklore. There’s a wealth of folk tales and even contemporary accounts of the subject, but unlike ghosts, aliens and half-baked new age spirituality it’s usually only spoken of in the context of childhood or of mental health issues. Look at it directly and it’s not there at all, but the stories persist.”
Jim Jupp has released EPs, singles and six albums on Ghost Box as Belbury Poly. He is also a member of The Belbury Circle along with Jon Brooks (of The Advisory Circle) and occasional collaborator, John Foxx. He has recorded library tracks for KPM, BMG and Lo-Editions. He’s remixed tracks for several artists including John Foxx and Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and has co-written a song with Paul Weller for his 2020 album On Sunset.
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