Look To The North ~You’re A Séance, Old North

lttnYou’re A Séance, Old North drifts around a property it’s claimed ownership of for centuries – the local woods. The music flits and circles the forest as well as the outskirts of the nearby township, and as it plays perceptions of reality slowly tilt and twist. Just off the main road, the mystical music lights up the otherwise dim shades of dusk, and the ambient-tainted fireflies produce tiny beacons of sound, their melodies glowing brightly.

As evening approaches, the music lightly brushes against the foliage of the enchanted forest. It wants you to venture further in, but some kind of sense warns you of an unseen presence lurking further inside, camouflaged by the trees and their thick bodies of rough bark. A thin drone runs through it, like a cool, effortlessly flowing stream. The wind whooshes and birds sing away, but they’re safely nestled up high. The sky’s like a torch preparing for midnight, burning the clouds away with an amber flame.

A light creaking and then a dislocated snapping sound cuts through the music, severing something close to your position. Despite the initial shock, the music is more like Willow Creek with its thrown rocks and strange, high-pitched calls than it is the legend of the Blair Witch and its disturbing disappearances, less of a terrifying, vengeful entity and more of an inquisitive creature. A tree bows down in death, and reality comes back into focus. It’s not only a beautiful, serene place but a dangerous one – both “Where You Vanished Off The Edges Of A Cul-De-Sac, Like Falling Off A Map” and “‘Harriet Was Here’, Less So Now” are otherworldly, their spirits fluttering in a draft created by its ghost box atmosphere. Interrupting the drafty drones are barely-there radio transmissions that seep through the music’s surface, and disembodied voices appear from nowhere, going nowhere.

Bone-dry keys play skeletal melodies, but like lines of dust they never have an opportunity to settle. This is an old house, one stuck inside a creased photograph, a place out of time which is disjointedly existing in the present. The stones that were laid here are still here, resting in peace, acting as a permanent epitaph around a tombstone entangled in weeds, broken brambles and ill roses. The music hovers over a frayed part of the eternal veil, with nothing but a black light emanating from the other side.

Look To The North is a collaboration between musicians David Colohan (Agitated Radio Pilot, Raising Holy Sparks, United Bible Studies) and Zachary Corsa (Lost Trail, Pines, Yearlings). Instrumental parts are added to light their way: a table harp, a mellotron, and a harmonium are all split and divided throughout the forty-minute experience, but they’re only passing through. They disappear, too, unable to sustain their presence in a cruel world. The serene, steady drone always finds a way to reappear; it’s a recurring circle, and one where instability (the intermittent radio) is counteracted by a perfectly balanced drone. This thoughtfully transcendent folk-drone isn’t afraid of camping out in the location of an urban myth. You can read Corsa’s accompanying poem below:

There is a strangeness to a figure glimpsed at a distance,

whether trailed down a deserted twilight street,

or standing statue-like in an overgrown yard, 

like a black chalk-mark against an overcast sky,

features indiscernible from across this void,

but clearly staring in your direction.


It’s as if such a spirit 

could pull the very landscape down around them,

with a wordless raising of fists,

or a silent nod.

– Zachary Corsa, 2013.



Available here


One comment

  1. Pingback: ACL 2016: Music for Haunted Houses | a closer listen

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