What’s New for the 21st of July: Welsh Mythology in Fiction, Gazpacho, Bounty Hunters in Outer Space, a New take On Spider-Man, Lots of English Music, and more,

Branches grew from his hands, his hair. His thoughts tangled like roots in the ground. He strained upward. Pitch ran like tears down his back. His name formed his core; ring upon ring of silence built around it. His face rose high above the forests. Gripped to earth, bending to the wind’s fury, he disappeared within himself, behind the hard, wind-scrolled shield of his experiences. ― Patricia McKillip’s The Riddle-Master trilogy 

Thunderstorms are awesome to experience provided you aren’t outside in their path. Mind you the Estate felines passionately hate them but there’s nothing we been ever able to do about that, as you can’t even put a spell on any of them to make them ignore the storms, since our cats are completely spell resistant. Tamsin, our current hedgewitch, says that the Estate Journals say it’s been thus for centuries.

So I’m sitting in my private office, a large mug of Sumatran coffee with a splash of cream in hand, working on this Edition on my iPad as the storm’s getting even worse out. That last lightning strike was, judging from the interval between the flash and the boom, less than half a mile out. Gus, our Estate Groundskeeper, will definitely be assessing damage come tomorrow.

Now let’s see what I’ve got for you. I even found a review of a Gabriel Yacoub, found of Malicorne, recording for you to tempted by!  Jennifer’s got a most tasty gazpacho recipe as well, and get ready to get introduced to Spider-Gwen.

Welsh mythology in the guise of a well-loved novel gets looked at by Iain: ‘I must have first read Alan Garner’s The Owl Service some forty years ago when I was interested in all things concerning Welsh mythology. I wanted a hardcover first edition which cost a pretty penny at the time. I mention this because it’s now been at least twenty years since I last read this novel, which is long enough that when Naxos kindly sent the audiobook, I had pretty much forgotten the story beyond remembering that I was very impressed by the story Garner told.’

Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span are two of my fav British folk rock(ish) bands, so it’s apt that Lars has a review of Brian Hinton and Geoff Wall’s biography of Ashley Hutchings: The Guv’nor & the Rise of Folk Rock as he helped birth both of those groups: ‘To some of us the subject of this book is, if not God, at least the musical equivalent to the pope. Name a group you like and have followed over the years, and there is a fair chance that Mr. Hutchings was there to start it, or at least influence the starting of it. He is in one way or another responsible for a very large number of the records in my collection, and yes, we are certainly talking three figures, here.’

West Coast Cat (Rambo) is done being the SFWA President and has enough time for a bit of reviewing again! Here’s her thoughts on Richard Kadrey’s The Grand Dark, which she describes as ‘…a pessimistic book, whose tone and texture are well-wrought, like turning the pages of the portfolio of a photographer who’s caught in black and white and endless shades of grey the decay of a city, perhaps a civilization.’

Sweltering in finally-summery Chicago weather, Jennifer found a recipe for a creamy, savory, cold gazpacho that beautifully augments cheese, crackers, wine, and fruit on one of those too-hot-to-cook days.

Robert takes us on an extended adventure — or a series of adventures — in outer space, with the crew of Cowboy Bebop Remix: ‘Given my delight with Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, it’s probably no surprise that I decided to go whole-hog and plump down for the complete TV series. As it turns out, Cowboy Bebop Remix is something of a mixed bag.’

Mister Cat who’s trying to avoid the summer heat if he can has a review of Jason Latour’s Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted which he thought was most entertaining: ‘Both DC and Marvel some decades ago decided that they’d expand their universes from just this one to a multiverse in which almost anything could happen. And that’s how we came to have the quite excellent animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film, of which I said that ‘I eagerly await the the Spider-Man Multiverse sequel, as there’s unlimited possibilities for them to play around with.’ Well one of the secondary but very important characters in that film is Spider-Gwen.’

Debbie says of Steeleye Span in Concert that ‘No matter how many times you’ve listened to your old Steeleye Span recordings, you’ve never heard these songs like this before unless you were lucky enough to see the performances from which the songs on this CD were taken. If you love this band and especially if you were not able to see them perform live, go out and get a copy!’

Gary here. We’re not usually into electronic music here, but this new video for British composer and musician Anna Meredith’s single ‘Paramour’ is one of the most creative videos we’ve seen in a long while. (And to be fair, she’s also integrating analog and acoustic instruments into her upcoming album Fibs.) It was shot in one take with the camera mounted on a model train as the musicians play the skittery piece with its 176-beats-per-minute tempo.

Irene has a look at four albums from the Albion Band, a band created by this artist: ‘The tangled vine that is the family tree of English folk-rock music has several long stems which wind through it, touching many other stems and branching wildly. One of these is Ashley Hutchings. ’

Michael looks at What We Did On Our Saturday, the latest from a venerable English band: ‘Saturday, August 12 2017 to be precise. The final evening of Fairport’s Cropredy festival in their 50th year. It was always going to be a special occasion, and the likelihood of a recording was strong, after releases of similar previous anniversaries. The pun of the title, referring back to the band’s 1969 ‘What We Did On Our Holidays’ album, is carried over to the design of this new set, echoing the blackboard drawing of a now different and older grouping of band and friends.’

Scott has a look at a recording from the founder of Malicorne: ‘Gabriel Yacoub began his career singing and playing guitar in Alan Stivell’s band, before going on to form the legendary French Renaissance rock band Malicorne. Malicorne’s compilation CD Légende: Deuxieme Epoque exceeds the quality of any of the similar compilations from their English contemporaries Steeleye Span, and is on a comparable level with the best output from Fairport Convention. Malicorne split up twenty years ago, and I hadn’t heard any of Yacoub’s subsequent solo material until I recently got the chance to listen to 2002’s The Simple Things We Said. This album combines new songs with reworked versions of some older songs, with the specific intent of cracking the American world music market.’

And, if you’ve been paying attention, our What Not for this week should come as no surprise: It’s Spider-Gwen, in the flesh (so to speak): ‘Once in a while, I get a deep craving for a specific character. The latest I’ve gotten interested in is Spider-Gwen, the spider-being in an alternate universe where Peter Parker didn’t get bitten by that radioactive spider and she did. Spider-Gwen is Gwen Stacy, a high schooler as the narrative starts out and frankly a lot less angst ridden than the classic Petter Parker is.’

Every folk and rock band since the early Sixties has been for the most part has willingly been allowing the recording of their music at their live performances. The savvy ones allowed for taping off the sound board. Our music this edition to take your leave by is ‘Girl from the North Country’ by the Waterboys in Lund, Sweden recorded  on the eleventh of December thirty years ago. It’s a sweet piece of music I’d say.

About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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