“I used instruments I was less familiar with and tried to use them in unconventional ways. I was after the sound of an English indigenous music. It comes from being slightly obsessed with Russell Hoban’s 'Riddley Walker' so it’s meant to sound like a kind of pagan folk music from a modern dark age."
The first album made under my own name had a lot to do with reading and rereading Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker. For a long while it was an obsession and informed and influenced a good deal of what I was wrting and releasing. Sir Ollife Leigh & Other Ghosts was an album about loss and death. The instrumentation was a deliberate attempt to construct a language for these songs. I used balalaikas, sitar, various guitars, a homemade appalachian dulcimer and a cimbalom that I customised by adding a curved bridge made from the back of a desk drawer. All these instruments were then hammered or bowed instead of strummed and plucked andthere was a wilful rejection of intonation, all in order to create the ragged, unsettling sound palette that I was after.
Videos by Mr Pheasant and Oliver Cherer
The sleeve was by Martin Andersen and was made using featured horse teeth scavenged from the Thames forshore at Limehouse. It was included in the Pop Music 1967 - 2017 Graphics & Music exhibition at the Galerie - Cité internationale des arts in 2018.