Thursday, August 11, 2011


Reigns are the duo of Operatives A & B who began recording for the Reigns organisation in 2002. The duo’s latest album, "The Widow Blades", is scheduled to be released October 25, 2011 on Monotreme Records.

Reigns' first album, "We Lowered a Microphone into the Ground", was a series of recordings made within a seemingly “bottomless” hole found upon the Somerset Downs. Their follow-up, "Styne Vallis", was recorded in and around a submerged village that had been evacuated and strategically flooded in 1970 to make way for a new reservoir. "The House on the Causeway", the duo’s third long player, was recorded in the fog between Black Ven and Golden Cap, a slim, man-made promontory of granite cobbles that extends unnecessarily a half-mile out into the English Channel.

Whilst growing up in the country Reigns, Operatives A & B, from an early age, became aware of the bizarre yet inconclusive fate of a woman from a neighbouring village. It took some years (and a great deal of wading through a seemingly endless stream of local conjecture) for them to ascertain that the woman in question was Millicent Blades: a middle-aged widow who had disappeared during the blizzard of 1978, vanishing somewhere between the villages of Tup’s Fold and Tone Gulley. Nothing was found of her save a set of interrupted footprints and a pile of clothes – all turned inside out.

The intervening years have provided much in the way of outlandish theories pertaining to her disappearance but very little in the way of answers. In a possibly futile attempt to reverse this situation and still haunted by the stories they heard as children, Operatives A & B went back to the area to document her final journey across the countryside. Using equipment selected purely on the basis of portability and resistance to the elements (with perfect synchronicity, their week of recordings coincided with the heaviest snowfall since 1978), they recorded at all the key locations that the widow visited (or is thought to have visited) on her final, fateful day: including, amongst others, her house and that of her physician, an Anderson shelter (home to a vagrant who was briefly suspected of her murder), a former tea room that she had frequented since the ‘50s, a disused tannery, and (for the climactic 20 minute closer, “The Mounds”) an excavated series of barrows - the approximate location of her disappearance.

The recordings proffered no conclusive answers: whether this was due to the inclemency of the weather, the passing of time and the resultant cooling of the trail, or the operatives’ disastrous decision to record the entire album under the influence of Hybrium Sulphate (a monstrously unpredictable chemical that the widow had herself been prescribed) is a moot point.

No comments:

Post a Comment