We’re telling you about this release early (pre-orders are still a week away) because Clay Pipe recordings tend to sell out quickly and we’d love everyone to have a shot at this one! The Land and the Garden is yet another warm and inviting release from the label, tinged with nostalgia and gratitude.
Vic Mars recently returned to England after a decade in Japan. While living in Nagoya, he began to miss his childhood home of Herefordshire, and the seeds of this album were planted. Perhaps subconsciously, subtle Japanese timbres inch their way into the recording, interwoven with British tones. These frequent flutes could have come from the east, while the measured Mellotron folk of “Collecting Pebbles and Stones” sounds decidedly like the inspiration of a polite 20th century shire, and the brass of “Hedgerows and Conversation” is reminiscent of a miners’ march. “Sunrise at Trig Point”, the album’s only vocal track, offers a minute of soft chant, simultaneously invoking temple and cathedral.
Birds, clocks and buried conversation make their way throughout the recording, which operates as an invitation to return home. It’s possible that Mars made the decision to leave Nagoya while recording these very songs. If so, it’s also possible that before long, the artist will begin to miss Japan (in which case we should expect another album soon). And this brings to mind the very nature of home.
Is home where we live, or is home where the heart is? Can we live in a place that is not home, and still feel at home? Is geography the connection, or people, or memory (even if the geography has changed and the people are gone)? Is it possible that to return home in mind might be more authentic than to return in person? And can one have more than one home? Mulling over these questions makes The Land and the Garden an inspirational record. Listening to the album feels like home, despite the fact that the home belongs to someone else. We’re lucky to share it. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 7 December