‘Everyone Was A Bird’ (2015) explored places ranging from the north coast of Jersey, to Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station in mid-Wales, to a fallow field in the South Downs of Sussex. It contained an invitation for listeners to share their reflections on places significant to them, and to submit these reflections as voicemail messages. The idea was that Grasscut composer Andrew Phillips would select one, and turn it into one scored spoken word track. Once the richness of the voicemails we received became evident, however, it became clear that the project was rather more substantial.
Fast forward to 2021 and the arrival of ‘Haunts’ on Lo Recordings, a mini-album that follows Grasscut’s four full-length LPs to date – including the recent and acclaimed ‘Overwinter’.
The six spoken word tracks focus on places from all over Britain, from Brighton to the Firth of Forth, Surrey to East Lothian. Musically, they range from delicate dulcitone with distant samples of 1950s contralto Kathleen Ferrier, to a woodwind quartet with string trio, to the rhythms of a nightingale at quarter speed. The Grasscut pair of Andrew Phillips (piano, dulcitone, GuitarViol, production) and Marcus O’Dair (piano, double bass, management) are joined by woodwind player Nick Moss, violinist Daniel Phillips and designer Pedr Browne hitting a beached metal sea buoy on the Isle of Skye on ‘Inchkeith Island’.
Grasscut are honoured to have been trusted with the stories featured on ‘Haunts’ and hope that the contributors feel that the musical settings do them justice. Little did any of us know, back in 2015, that, in 2021, we would have spent a year dreaming of places we were unable to go to.