Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Solar on the Rise


Another distinctive Julian House visual scrapbook of filtered and solarized footage and collaged landscape. The song, from the recent LP Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age, is I See, So I See So and is an invocation of the spirit of ‘magic January’, with ‘solar on the rise’ and so is perfect for the time of year. It's a punning title which could, in childlike fashion, be strung out to a lengthy (and potentially neverending) chant: icy, so icy, so icy... There is a sense of the warm domestic, interior space uniting with the exterior landscape of winter, as if each is contained within the other. The leaded matrix of the window panes are echoed in the charcoal tracery of the bare, thorny branches; the lacework (or is it macramé?) on the table in the spider’s web and what looks like some sort of fungi in the pot. The marble or scrying ball which floats into the house at the beginning is analogous to the circular forms of the sun and the planets which plunge into the sea, and toward the end we seem to be looking out from within its starred and hazy glass mass. Singer Trish Keenan’s black hair is seen from the back as the film draws to a close, and reminds us of the black raven which we have seen at the beginning, hinting at more magical transformations. It’s reminiscent of a very English version of a Stan Brakhage film such as Dog Man Star, and also reminded me of Derek Jarman’s Journey to Avebury super-8 film, as well as the cover of Sandy Denny’s The North Star Grassmen and the Ravens. This has a similar atmosphere of a secret female space, a warm domestic interior in winter, with Sandy carefully measuring out seeds onto circles of paper, nurturing the promise of growth hidden at the heart of the cold, dark months. So here’s to a magic January, and the slow solar ascent towards spring.

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