The album came with an invitation for listeners to share their own 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 a scored spoken word track. Once the richness of the voicemails became evident, however, it became clear that the project was rather more substantial.
Fast forward to May 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’.
Album Track Listing:
02. ‘Human Estuary’
03. ‘Inchkeith Island’
04. ‘The Garden’
05. The Pull’
06. ‘Witley Common’
Quote from the band:
Seacliff was the first message to arrive, and I think its sense of place sets the scene for the whole of Haunts. I improvised the main keyboard part on dulcitone, added some rhythm, and a sample of Kathleen Ferrier (who also appears in sampled form on We Fold Ourselves, from Unearth), singing like a mermaid in the distance. – Andrew Phillips
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.