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Devon Folklore Tapes, Vol. IV: Rituals & Practices

A 6 track field recordings album (18m 12s) — released May 27th 2016 on MoonDome Records

Originally released by Folklore Tapes as a split cassette with Magpahi in 2011, and then reissued on twin 10" vinyl in 2016.

In 2014, Folklore Tapes launched their periodic folk tradition series 'Calendar Customs', in which the collective trace ancestral roots much further back than 1846, when the term folklore was said to be first coined by W.J Thomas. Certainly, the vestiges of our social and ritual practice are far too numerous to galvanize into one release, so this twin ten-inch can be seen as our embarkation on what promises to be an ever-unfurling foray into the rites and customs of our forbears, some of which continue to flourish to this day.

Paper Dollhouse responds to the general idea and definition of the term ritual, by conducting a ceremony in the rural landscape within a circle of trees and stone. The exploration involves a quiet dialogue to invoke a subconscious tale informed by their research, as well as the elemental use of fire through the burning of an effigy. Using a stone during their performance, the pair channeled an ancient superstition of Shebbear in North Devon, where a huge rock known as the Devil's Boulder is ritually turned over annually by the villagers, to avoid bringing about calamity. The circular formation is invoked in their use of auditory rounds, intended to make reference to both stone circles and the cyclical energy of the serpent eating its own self.

Magpahi weaves together a rich tapestry encompassing six different forms of ritual from the West Country, largely informed by the work of the late folklorist Theo Brown. Alison presents a sonic vitrine of tales and customs. Among them are the salting down of a corpse at an isolated Dartmoor inn; the plaiting of corn dollies in the field, tied from standing sheaves; the dangers of picking the white flowers of stitchwort (which may result in being spirit-led away by malignant pixie folk); and the work of witches and charmers in Devon, including their use of snakeskin for curses.

Rituals and Practices was originally released on cassette in Autumn, 2012 and features a grimoire of sonic spells exploring symbolic customs and activities from the county of Devon. The original recordings have been remastered from tape for this fourth archival reissue. Both researchers have written new notes, which accompany new archival imagery and photographs bound inside a 12-page booklet. These elements are all housed within a sleeve of new artwork designed by David Chatton Barker.

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