This is a break from the norm for Focused Silence – where you would normally hear the soft hum of a poorly insulated ground loop there has been a replacement of the soft dawn breaking over a misty Oak copse. A Tiding of Magpies is a collaborative exploration in sound by Oz Hardwick and Andy Backhouse. Based on the border between Yorkshire and the Otherworld, they mine the rich interface between Nature, Folklore and Technology in order to craft visionary music that awakens the sleeper within.
One’s for sorrow, but two is a different story,
chattering welcomes to the unexpected, high
on branch and gable, blood turning to wine
beneath tale-telling tongues. A brace of witchbirds
flying to the sun, peeling layers from onions
deep in ragged pockets: I defy thee, I defy thee,
but don’t try me. Dress your best and come aboard,
I’ll raise my hat, spit three times, and together
we’ll ride to steal silver from the gallows.
— Oz Hardwick
Using electronic rub-a-dub trickery that stimulates and accommodates old-world instruments with cutting edge technology. This album has every right to find a permanent home on Focused Silence – a lot of the tracks fall in to the remit of free music and Oz’s verse welcomes the listener to a darker setting. Having found success on Cold Spring’s Hail Be You Sovereigns, Lief and Dear back in late 2012, the duo retired to contemplate the next step – what came was a fully formed album that embraces English Mythology and folk rituals with a nod to the future from the depths of a cold moorland.