The fifth instalment in the Betwixt & Between series sees us collaborating with Jacken Elswyth for the second time this summer.
Jacken Elswyth's side features live recordings from a gig at Cafe Oto in December 2018, revisiting some tunes included on previous Betwixt & Between tapes, but in new forms. It opens with an extended improvisation on the English folk song Sweet Lemeny, incorporating a long passage of bowed-banjo drone. This moves into a second shorter (and freer) improvisation, edited down from a longer piece. We finish with a set of tunes around the traditional Appalachian dance tune Last Chance, combining it with Sandy River Belle and Cumberland Gap.
For our side, Alula Down provided a set of songs recorded as one continuous performance, live to two track. For the purposes of dividing these tracks for digital download an artificial fade was added during mastering at the end of each one. The original undivided performance is available as a bonus single download track: Three Ravens & Three Small Birds.
The four English folk songs are sparsely arranged for voice and guitar, and woven together with sampled birdsong, glass harmonica, harmonium drones, and delicate feedback. Among these bird-themed songs is nestled the tape's second version of Sweet Lemeny – this time sung, and set against a circular guitar figure while looped voices gather in the background.
The Betwixt & Between 5 mascot is a satyr: a manikin with hooked snout, horned forehead, and extremities like goats' feet. The cover image is adapted from the satyr featured on the Hereford Mappa Mundi, as one of the creatures who tempted St Anthony in the Egyptian desert.
Jacken Elswyth side recorded by James Dunn at Cafe Oto
Alula Down side self-recorded live at The Radar Station
Both sides mastered by Jon Huxtable at Small Fish Recordings