Tranquil Drone Flight around Pen-Clawdd-Mawr Hillfort and beautiful scenery nr Talsan in West Wales
WA2363: Pen Clawdd-Mawr.
Back in April I went out to investigate a series of overlooking Hillforts dotted along the Aeron valley in West Wales.
Not much is known about these ‘Pen Y Gear’s’, research has been minimal but they took up prominent defensive positions along the valley. Each fort was within a couple of miles of the neighbour and most look to have somehow artificially flattened the prominences , before constructing huge banks and ditches in defensive patterns. Maybe these were then topped with huge dry stone walls. Where they really defensive forts? Probably the smaller ones where fortified farmsteads perhaps for larger family farming groups, hunkered down together in a period of danger but usually living and farming the surrounding land.
Today not much is left of the Great Headland Bank as the name translates. Sheep as always are left to graze peacefully atop the green meadows that used to house the Iron Age community that once lived there. The village of Talsarn can be seen across the valley about a mile to the north and it is situated below the peak of TryChrug (343 Metres). Lower on the flank of the summit to the left is an ominous looking spur, this too is a Hillfort, we shall travel there soon. In spring on a sunny day the Aeron Valley is stunningly beautiful and the county of Ceredigion as a whole is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the whole of mainland Britain. ‘Aeron’ itself translates as ‘Berries’ in this case probably Blackberries as they can still be found all over.
Music, a newbie from Nostramus, seemed to fit the mood of the flight. So new is this track that for the time being I will call it “Pen-Clawdd-Mawr” Hope you like it!
“Crystalwytch” is the second of a trio of singles I am releasing over February, March and April before a brand new album is released this summer. Depending on the style of each track from now on in I will be suffixing my Nostramus moniker with either #Ambient, #DarkAmbient #Drum&Bass #Glitchcore #Trapstep #OldSchoolDrumAndBass #Tribal #Cinematographic etc. The above should distinguish the genre’s I work with. I am not a DJ Producer I am a musician Producer but I realize that DJs and listeners will like to know what genre I am producing. I don’t see why I should select one genre as has been suggested in the past. I have an eclectic taste in my productions which are all broadly speaking ‘alternative’ and ‘underground’ rather than music produced purely for a commercial market. I make music that firstly I enjoy making and secondly if I feel good about a production I like others to enjoy as well. So ‘Crystalwytch’ what is it about? Continuing the theme from “Multiversal” here the work is played out to Helen J Street’s lucid and phantasmagoric poem “The Crystalwych” which is whispered as in the breeze on a moonlit night. The ‘Crystalwych” could be described as analogous to a night time version of the ‘Green Man’ of the woods or a Druidic gathering in the Grove. Riding a chariot with seven jewel incrusted horses into the white marbled and sparkling heavens. A pagan allegory for what in realty is yet another alternative universe or simply a gentle attempt at autonomous sensory meridian response? In the poem things might not be the way they seem to be, the ‘Crystalwych’ may actually be a visitor from the other and the chariot and seven horses a craft sent from a far distant but mourned future. Who knows? Moving on from the previous single ‘Multiversal’ I now re-enter the world of ambient and jazz flavoured drum and bass. I am not sure whether or not this would make a hard core floor filler, rather than attempting a mesmerising transcendent auditory meditation, or perhaps better still both. I have sat here with this song playing back in a loop and have been absolutely tripped out on it, of course I would say that but hopefully this will work the same way for at least some of you. I am much indebted and would like to thank Ella Jo for her input here, for her whispered oratory. Also Tony “Redfish” Gee once more for his magnificent and succinct trumpet playing. Tony recorded his trumpet remotely and I felt as always, quite confident that he would deliver. As a scientist in his day time job, he has that heightened empathy and love for the great British eccentricity that makes for a true thinking-outside-of-the-box, musician. Hopefully there will be much more “Redfish” collaborations in the future. I enjoyed playing electric piano on this, which is how the idea kicked off. I laid down the chord progressions and then played a lead pattern over the top of the chords. The overall effect I was looking towards was ‘soft’ and ‘jazzy’ although I would be the first to admit that I am simply not good enough to play ‘proper jazz’. I do go for the mood that works and once I obtain something like the desired performance, I record it warts and all. I then refine and edit it into place. Quantising? I think that subtlety and nuance is vitally important in performance. I used to quantise the f*** out of everything I played and eventually I came to realize that in certain cases there is a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I was super conscious of allowing as much free style playing as possible without severely quantising the vitality out of my performance. So I left as much heart and soul as possible in the played keyboard parts. However to counteract I sequenced a triad of quantised but hypnotic moving pads that nail down to the Drums and Bass. I then plugged my guitar into my pedals and created some jagged but ephemeral washes that gently glide over the rhyme. Initially I had the guitar much louder over the song but I came to realize that ‘less is actually more’ at times when working on composition. When I turned them down in the mix , the whole song lept out of the speakers at me. So we are left with just a hint of their former glory. Who knows I may do a remix at some point with the guitars featured more. I am known for my guitar playing in post punk band UK Decay and IN Excelsis so its probably right to point the above out for those that may expect my usual guitar performance’s. Recording? I use Cubase and a host of plugins these days to produce my music. I have recently upgraded my set up so now I have the added possibility of working my sound to moving video, which frankly adds another layer of inspiration to my work. Working to video blimey but it does open ones eyes to landscapes and soundscapes and all betwixt.
So I see “Crystalwytch” as part two of a trillogy, a further invitation to journey between musical dimensions. I hope it does it for you.
UPDATE: May 2021: You know, I am just going to carry on releasing solo or single tracks, hopefully monthly but my target is ten new tracks a year.
Thanks to everybody who has supported Nostramus.
Words to poem coming soon…..
released March 5, 2021 Conceived, written and produced by Steve Spon for Nostramus. Lyrics: “The Crystalwytch” by Helen J Street Whispers: Ella Jo Trumpet: Tony “Redfish” Gee Electric Piano: Steve Spon FX guitar Steve Spon Thanks to Diamond Seeds Media Productions.
Multiversal” is the first of a trio of singles I will be releasing over the next two months before a brand new album is released this summer.
From now on in I will be suffixing my Nostramus moniker with #Ambient, #DarkAmbient #Drum&Bass #Glitchcore #Trapstep #OldSchoolDrumAndBass #Tribal #Cinematographic
The above should distinguish the genre’s I work with. I am not a DJ Producer I am a musician Producer but I realize that DJs and listeners will like to know what genre I am producing. I have an eclectic taste in my productions which are all broadly speaking ‘alternative’ and ‘underground’ rather than music produced purely for a commercial market. I make music that firstly I enjoy making and secondly if I feel good about a production I like others to enjoy as well.
So ‘Multiversal’ what is it about?
I rather like themes that are based on different quantum possibilities than we take for granted in our search to try and understand the world we are living in. Just suppose for one moment that time travel is possible.
Then how would this sound like how would it look, what about paradoxes? We can’t go back and stop our parents meeting. One idea is that is may be possible to journey forward in time, but not backwards. I like the possibility that the structure of time moving forward is rather like a tree. Maybe the Tree of Life? But in an infinite universe could it be plausible that at every moment there are choices and our sense of consciousness is merely traveling up through the branches, each time there is a choice, we take one new branch or another as we continue cursing along our destiny. Like a tree, what if other versions of ourselves took a different choice or were befallen by accidents and hiccups along parallel branches existing in unfolding and infinite universes? In some of these one may no longer exist or one may have taken a completely different journey in their lives. Could it be that we live in an infinite universe of infinite dimensions? Sometimes we may get a sense of a nearby universe or dimension where things are slightly different than our current journey. Could dreamtime or trance-time be a lowering of the veil between these worlds?
So I start the piece with a rather innocuous bar-room piano and it quickly rises and invokes in my mind a sonic dream sequence of arpeggios and other hypnotic shape shifting effects that rise and lull the listening into hopefully a higher state of sonic bliss as the motif’s rise and crescendo building with subliminal and phased drums that leap forward and back into the wash and waves of the invocation. Well that’s what I am calling it. I was tranced out into a state of bliss whilst making this, maybe if it can do it to me it can to others as well and so far, the folk I have played this to absolutely love it to bits as a ‘chilled out’ passage.
“Multiversal” was never meant to be a traditional Nostramus Drum And Bass sound but it was always part of a broader and more eclectic church in the sound I produce for Nostramus. Who knows maybe in the future it is possible I will remix it in another style, maybe? I have so many other ideas to work on it may be sometime before I re-address it with another mix.
Recording? I use Cubase and a host of plugins these days to produce my music. I have recently upgraded my set up so now I have the added possibility of working my sound to moving video, which frankly adds another layer of inspiration to my work. Working to video blimey but it does open ones eyes to landscapes and soundscapes and all betwixt.
So I see “Multiversal” as an invocation, an invitation to journey between musical dimensions. I hope it does it for you.
“This is a deep spacial ambient mix, designed as an invocation to reset and relax mental stress in its hypnotism” Steve Spon.
released February 5, 2021 Conceived, written and produced by Steve Spon for Nostramus. Thanks to Diamond Seeds Media Productions. Thanks to Ella Jo for moral support.
A Moody dash-cam drive along The Shining Way in West Wales on Xmas Eve.
Mission 6 of our Dash-cam journey through the West Wales countryside. With music by Steve Spon’s Nostramus.
Today’s brand new Nostramus track is called “Crystalwytch” an ambient Drum and Bass soundscape featuring Tony Gee on Trumpet, Ella Jo on Vocals and Steve Spon on FX guitar and Electric Piano.
I am producing this and other material for a forthcoming album project which will be highlighted on my Bandcamp channel. This new work is based on a short science fiction fantasy story involving Pagan Goddesses, Druids and the mysteriously named “Coveners” who ‘cloak’ their real identities as time traveling extra terrestrial providers and you could say – gardeners. The ‘Crystalwytch’ could be the visitors craft or it may be the name of one of the visitors, or even a place. Who knows, it was at story written many years in the future. It is impossible to report it here. Please consider supporting Steve at Nostramus Bandcamp.
With the current Lockdown and the darkest time of year – with snowy weather, it has not been possible to travel to the mountain journeys that I had planned. However on Christmas Eve 2020 I managed to take some footage that fitted a mood that appealed to me. I set the video to play with the song, and came up with “Crystalwytch”. This drive takes place just after sunset along a Ceredigion Ridgway approximately 1000 foot (300 Metres) above Sea Level. Known locally as the White, or Shining Way, the journey traverses the road from Pen Cae and finishes at Post Bach. Whilst the views may be rather “ordinary” compared to some earlier videos, the moody atmosphere and brooding cloudscapes appear auspicious. windswept, bedraggled Beech, Laburnum and Pine trees scatter the hedgerows, and the odd croft or farmstead are often decorated with Christmas lights. Also the road was slightly busier than usual. Although not set for kids, this particular movie is actually safe for kids to watch. Please check all my videos before allowing your kids to watch.
Big thanks to Tony Gee (Redfish) for his speedy and magnificent Trumpeteering and Ella Jo for her “Crystalwytch Prophesy Poem”, finally Spon played Electric Piano and guitar fx. Please check back later for further dash-cam journeys! we are going to journey further into the Cambrian Mountains as soon as we get a few good clear days…. Written and conceived by Steve Spon for Nostramus and Diamonseeds Media 2021