Sunday, February 13, 2011

Belbury Poly - The Owl's Map

2006; 12 tracks

"Chintzy synths spilled into zither and melodica lines; recalibrated samples of hundred-year-old vocals were trapped like an EVP reading of an old English cottage. A little night music - think BBC Radiophonic workshop meets old-school spooky TV programmes."

"[Belbury Poly] is is based on the fictitious 'ancient market town of Belbury' which, according to the sleeve notes, 'is an uneasy mix of ancient and modern': Iron Age ramparts and a 'picturesque 11th century church', but also 'some notable modernist architecture', including the Polytechnic which gives its name to the group. The Owl's Map sounds futuristic and pastoral at the same time, whilst the design is inspired by old school textbooks and Penguin paperbacks.

'The Owl: the perfect Ghost Box bird-mascot, where the wholesome (children's story books from Winnie the Pooh onwards, bird-watching guides, owl as symbol of wisdom, etc.) collides with the umheimlich (spooky creature with ultra-acute nightvision).'

Jim Jupp, the man behind Belbury Poly, says that The Owl's Map concept derived partly from old tourist guides ('You know the sort of thing, murky old photos of Chichester Cathedral') and that the colour scheme for the album was inspired by the 'those brown road signs that point the way to Roman ruins, falconry centres or stately homes.'"



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