CLAPPER IS STILL

by Way Through

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about

Artist: Way Through
Title: Clapper Is Still
Catalogue Number: UTR060
Genre: Alternative / Pastoral Punk
Formats: LP/ CD / DIGITAL

Running Time: 52:58

Track listing:
01. Dedham Vale
02. Imber & Tyneham
03. Stoke Poges
04. Roughting Linn
05. Westonzoyland
06. Dunkery Beacon
07. Haxey
08. Bacup / Knaresborough
09. Sipson
10. Eyam
11. Henry My Son / Dunwich
12. Whiteleaf Hill
13. Wharram Percy

Packaging:
CD / digipack with booklet
LP / 33rpm / 180g white vinyl + booklet

WAY THROUGH are Claire Titley and Christopher Tipton, a pastoral punk duo originally from Shropshire, now residing in London. Informed by the field as much as the flyover, Way Through write songs which phase in and out with guitar, tapes, damaged drums and vocals. Using wrong-footed repetition, rapid interplay and free-looping happenstance the band create a ragged yet intuitive tapestry of sound. Way Through’s critically received debut, ‘Arrow Shower’ was released on Upset The Rhythm in 2011, its songs walked the streets of market towns and focussed on how personal experience affects our perception of a shared landscape, haunted by inward territories. They then followed up their album with a deep map of East London’s Bethnal Green, captured in text, photographs and music, which WIRE described in an interview with the band as “a guided walk through the mythologised outposts of ordinariness… a project rich in topographical lore”. The Quietus added that Way Through “document and create another version of place that somehow seeps into the space between reality and urban fantasy”.

Last year saw an immersive cassette album, entitled ‘Enclosure’ released by Comfortable On A Tightrope. After which Way Through were invited by Resonance FM to work on a processional piece of music that saw them navigating Tate Britain channelling songs. Throughout this time the band became increasingly interested in submerging their work fully in the places they found potent. Spending most of the year conducting field research, travelling about the country, taking field recordings, they gathered their thoughts, notes and songs straight from their source. This has resulted in their new album ‘Clapper Is Still’, an itinerant album of thirteen songs located in the particular places each was written.

‘Clapper Is Still’ is a bold record, concerned with the vast array of elegiac components Way Through have discovered locked within the English landscape. It peers into the overlapping histories that persist in these places and tries to reconcile how they are experienced together. “I retread the circle in this heavy field, sometimes it's hard, to tell it, from what's real”, so begins the album, with ‘Dedham Vale’, a track fascinated by the artificially managed aspect of the Stour Valley, made famous by Constable’s paintings and as a result frozen in time via tourism. The song adopts the rhyme scheme and tenure of traditional folk song to further underline the troubled notions of authenticity in connection with heritage.

‘Stoke Poges’ is a fizzing pool of pitched keyboards, and faltering samples, trapping a vocal focussed on the nature’s ability to quietly regenerate alongside the evolving stories of this famed parish. ‘Imber & Tyneham’ compares and contrasts two villages taken over and claimed by the MOD during WWII, one still actively used by the military for combat training on the Salisbury Plain, the other fast becoming a preserved time capsule in rural Dorset trapped throughout most of the year in a live firing zone. The song is a heady rush of staccato guitar and snare rattle, full of “unexploded debris”, “corrugated rooftops” and “halted firing” as Tipton calls out.

‘Westonzoyland’ and ‘Eyam’ both see Titley pick up the vocal narrative. The former song detailing a journey across a Civil War battlefield, the latter a walk around the Derbyshire plague village of Eyam. ‘Westonzoyland’ reels across time, imagining the battle raging amongst the “70’s bungalows, chain-link fencing and pedestrian chicanes”. A wash of violin skips across the track whilst Titley seeks parallels between a felt-tip memorial poster for a local teenager to the stone ediface commemorating the dead in the nearby fallow field. ‘Eyam’ spins through cycles of swelling ambience and reverbed recordings, allowing Titley’s vocal to take a morbid journey past the doomed cottages of self-sacrifice. “Heritage stasis remains” she insists as a field recording of a stooping display hawk envelops her. As well as their frequent use of field recordings to embellish their songs, Way Through also rely on found text to hang their songs on, like with the broken gravestones of Yorkshire’s deserted ‘Wharram Percy’ or the graffiti scrawled across the vandalised info-board on ‘Whiteleaf Hill’, a place where bike tyre tracks leap across barrows, and where a colossal hillside chalk cross draws you towards the steep abandonment of meaning.

‘Sipson’ makes for a modern day comparison point, threatened with Heathrow’s impending third runway, becoming a virtual ghost town of “bursting ragweed” and “daubed black letters on makeshift banners” betraying “a sad suburban echo”. ‘Roughting Linn’ is decidedly motoric for Way Through, the guitar clings to its repeated chord for dear life whilst the drums tumble relentlessly onwards, eventually the song mimics its subject, getting stuck in a galloping groove which dissolves slowly into the distance. Roughting Linn is an outcrop of rock in Northumberland that’s carved all over in prehistoric patterns, mysterious and very much unknowable, off the map and withdrawn. “Paths leading everywhere in hope of finding, No more signs, no more markings“ sings Tipton anticipating the compass of the record itself.

‘Clapper Is Still’ is an album that traces the melancholic margins of our landscape. It attempts to document the remains of something leaving, the fog in the air, the flash ahead thunder, the shadows striping the late afternoon. Way Through seek out places and songs with repeating customs, paths to memory, joining the dots between fading locations and their deteriorating histories. “Can this land remember? Listen to the voice, that’s no longer here” they command towards the end of the record. ‘Clapper Is Still’ follows an outline of a memory, following a sketched skeleton to where something happened, where something once marked the land and left something indelible.

credits

released November 11, 2013

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about

Way Through London, UK

WAY THROUGH are Claire Titley and Christopher Tipton, a pastoral punk duo originally from Shropshire, now residing in London. Informed by the field as much as the flyover, Way Through write songs which phase out with guitar, tapes, damaged drums and vocals. Using wrong-footed repetition, rapid interplay and free-looping happenstance the band create a ragged yet intuitive tapestry of sound. ... more

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Track Name: Dedham Vale
Dedham Vale

I retread the circle in this heavy field.
Sometimes it's hard, to tell it, from what's real.
Grass is now growing, all over the grave,
The well trodden path straight across Dedham Vale.

Dedham Vale lives, it's life through another
Map not to scale, this land is a dumb supper
Of wide open skies and a slow turning river,
Broadly reflecting vast clouds underwater.
Poppies and pylons and long fallen logs,
Meandering Saturday walkers swap dogs.
A mirror of Lott's cottage squared in the pool,
A double-world of tour guides and trips made with school.

Who thought that paint could turn into cold clay?
An aspect so perfect they locked it away.
The Mill Stream, The White Horse and a cart for the hay,
Unchanging, enduring, remaining the same.
Sickle and shotgun, bushel and plough
Canvas and paint, is all we are left now.

One Ninety Years, one story to tell.
One Ninety Years, as a tongue in a bell.

I retread the circle in this heavy field.
Sometimes it's hard, to tell it, from what's real.
Grass is now growing, all over the grave.
Track Name: Imber & Tyneham
Imber & Tyneham

Lonely Imber, lost now on chalk downs,
Seven miles from any town, out of bounds.
A village assault like the beating of wings,
Tries to suppress building eighteen.
Corrugated rooftops,
Unexploded debris.

Halted firing.
Harvest waiting.
Bells are ringing.

First they took the young men,
Then came back for Tyneham and its visitor parking.
Keep out and keep men free,
From forgotten fields, shell damaged homes.
A council house on Tyneham close,
A locked phonebox in a wooded fold.

"In comes I, the soldier man.
Don't you see the cap in my hand?"

Halted firing.
Harvest waiting.
Bells are ringing.
Track Name: Stoke Poges
Stoke Poges

Sunshine pours out of everything.
A picture frame cut out of a hedge
Draws you into the churchyard.
Follow the footpath through Gray’s field;
A trampled line where the grass cannot grow.
It’s rural aspect frozen in time,
Eight minutes from Slough bus station line.

Sunshine pours out of everything.
Cross-legged knights and forsaken votives.
Cobwebs and jawbones out of carved stone.
The south porch hung heavy with roses.
A parish trip to Laser Quest.
A hurry of bell notes less and less.

What was that?
A flash of light in the pool.
Hundreds of newts sprawl and twist through the water,
Clinging to the algal blooms,
Whipping mud with their tails.
Their black, speckled and pale
Jellied bodies flinching in courtship,
Darting from the shadows of forebears,
Seeking sanctuary under flaking bark
Before coming up for air.

Sunshine pours out of everything.
Bells changing, starting over,
Limbs quietly regenerating.
Eyes and hearts starting over.
The stillness and solemnity
Of the dead gathered in the ground.
The shadows, the meadows, the lanes.
Returning like a memory
Out of water,
Out of the ground.
Track Name: Roughting Linn
Roughting Linn

The lane courses slow past the waterfall.
A copse sunk low where the plain is drawn.
Through the trees, a rough outcrop,
A gap in the fence and a bellowing noise.

Trails vanish through the undergrowth,
Before returning to a den of
Quarried sandstone, carved by antlers.
Plates of pattern, and a bellowing noise.

Breaching whale,
Fallen meteorite, galloping.
No signs, no markers,
In the low light leaping.

Cup and ring,
Eyes opening,
Staring, dissolving.
Hoops and pools, concentric circles.
The longer spent the more detail unfolds.
Portals and tails and white blood cells.
Cloaks and maps and warping radials,
Adder lairs and other sights seen in the night sky,
Some type of sacrifice.

Paths leading everywhere in hope of finding,
No more signs, no more markings.

Scrambling fighter planes strike across the sky,
Arcing over the newly combed fields,
Folding an absence behind them.
It’s time to leave and get used to not returning.
Track Name: Westonzoyland
Westonzoyland

CHURCH
The last battle fought on English soil on an island in the grazing marsh. 500 rebels rounded up, treated with pitch and scattered afar. Hanging around the village,
Wooden angels staring down. Six bells hanging. “Get luck in the new life of heaven”. A plastic cavalry forever charging across the painted backdrop, flags flying, swords aloft, paper tents and model trees.

VILLAGE
Coppicing willow below the stooping microlights. Poppies erupting around the telegraph poles. Long driveways and muted bungalows lead you from the 70’s back to Sedgemoor. Dipped golden brown, wooden trellis panels, security lights and barred bay windows. A ditch too far to jump. Patchworks of tarmac and chain link fencing, pedestrian chicanes, solar panels and sheltering beehives. Alice Burton, happy 18th, feeding a giraffe. Washing up in the bungalow on the corner of Cheer Lane. The sweet scent of honeysuckle, threatening fresh rain. Chopped logs, cut grass, wet paint, sweeping up.

DROVE TRACK
“Unsuitable for coaches”, frothing drainage ditches, waterlogged crops, muddy trails of teasels. Surprisingly large, rasping grasshoppers creeping fast through the stinging nettles and failing Summer. A weakened sun folds behind a horizon line of patient, semi-detached houses, their windows watching over resting fields. A rebel musketeer in a civilian coat. “RIP Ashey”, a rainbow of leaching printer ink, trailing ivy and fairy lights. Keffiyeh, saluting. Linstock and powder horn. Meadowsweet and mallow.

BATTLEFIELD
Standing on the flat Langmoor, poorly drained and swept with gunfire and metal detectors, the wind is clustering the tall grasses, making partings for a fringe. Hear beating drums, hooves thundering across pitched battle on the rough pasture. Two giant poplars girdled in iron hoops, a roaring canopy of emerald and chalk guarding a paddock of metal poles and a spring-hinged gate, a place where something happened. Something marked the land, footprints and standing water, on top of ploughed earth, turning from pink to gold. On top of cannon shot, a thousand bodies below.

MEMORIAL
Four mossy staddle stones, the first missing it’s cap, the fourth, a reluctant addition to the 20th century. A non-partisan granite stone, the aftermath, the servitude. The dead of both sides “doing the right as they gave it”, lie buried in this field. Pylon hum and lyric snap. A jam jar of green water, a handful of carnations.

Throughout this battlefield, wrapped bales of shiny black plastic punctuating the landscape.
A mass grave of silage, heavy and still, turning into food. In their body bags, pro patria.
Track Name: Dunkery Beacon
Dunkery Beacon

The heather is burnt and the land starts to curve.
Look all around to where it blankets the ground.
Push at the horizon, another line of balance,
Patchwork fields fragment the distance.

Triangulation and rolling dogs,
Huffing and puffing right up to the top,
Reaching the peak a bonfire of stone.
A huddle of rocks,
Heaped into a throne,
Heaped into the air.

Whipped clouds circle around the grey pointing upwards.
Scorched earth across the tarnished summit.
Rusting raiment.

Hills slip down to the sea,
Green wooded fold,
Folded in ponies.
It's a faint path,
Fainter path,
No path.

The earth curves and the land and the sea curve with it always.
Track Name: Haxey
Haxey

Out riding upon yonder hill,
Twelfth night in the marshland.
A Lady's hood caught in a gale,
Was chased down by a farmhand.

This land is yours for acting like a lord.

Willow wands and velvet caps,
Wet grass makes the fire burn unclear.
Scarlet coats with tattered paper backs,
House against house every year.

Standing on the stone, calling through the smoke.

Through the fields and through the streets, sway hood,
Knock down every man you meet, sway hood,
Over knees and elbows, sway hood,
Over walls and hedgerows, sway hood.

Camouflage jacket and cropped hair,
Take a run up over trampled cars into the crush.
It's an ever-dying song growing ever quieter;
A sacrifice to the old gods.

Hood as a head for the tussle and tread.

Pushing through the hoodlands marking every year.
Pushing through the hoodlands marking every year.
Pushing through the hoodlands marking every year.
Pushing through the hoodlands.
Track Name: Bacup / Knaresborough
Bacup / Knaresborough

In this land of perpetual, rosettes and ritual,
Rosy cheeks of the children, and a broken bingo hall.
Seven dances in disguise,
Affordable websites.
“Can you hear me?”
A cupped hand to the ear on an Easter Saturday,
Helium hearts and painted eggs, kicked in the head.
Soft targets for the group amid the floral hoops,
Reaching out towards the rainfall,

Down on the cottage small,
Always, beside a field of grain.
Hounds try to catch the hare again,
It cannot move forward.

Helping local animals,
Wild animals.
Stealing lead from the rooftops.
Steamed pudding and black ribbon.
Bells and horseshoes keep the rhythm.
Take me to Elgin Street,
No longer the shortest way to
Red, white and blue garlands.

Nutters stamp out circles in the decay,
Wave fingers in faces.
Whilst South Pennine open moors moon down on pallid makeup.
Mother’s jokes in the dark about hooded sons in the park,
Hanging around for the rainfall.

Helping local animals,
Double daffodils.
Teenage strollers and retirement homes.
Steamed pudding and black ribbon.
Bells and horseshoes keep the rhythm.
Take me through the community furniture
To the red, white and blue garlands.

Looking down Kershaw Street,
A fire toppled the windows out whilst the roof tumbled down inside.
Track Name: Sipson
Sipson

Under heavy hawking shadows, Sipson sits avoiding.
Empty houses running into overgrowing fields.
Fallow fields for hungry horses, waiting for crash landings,
A three-piece hayrick and a wheel arch bursting ragweed.

Garage doors turned open, filling with the seasons.
Obliterated concrete between the well-kept plots.
Weather worn and waiting, faded dated gardens,
Flattened into memory, bound for total loss.

Force you back upon yourself,
Back into the village.

Daubed black letters on makeshift banners
Betray a sad suburban echo
Of lawns to mow and passing traffic drone.
Landfill, raked into a hill,
I know.

Abandoned garden centre, cleared as if some horror
Had befallen the Portacabins, the watchful cliff face, the Holiday Inn.
A brace against uncertain fate, hogweed and cow parsley.
Alleys littered with crab apples over which control towers loom.

Please drive slowly through this village.
Dangerous substances, explosive atmospheres.
Brightly painted tyres full of seeds and rubble.
A queue of transporters waiting for the shuttle.
Glum islands of hospitality.
Twenty four hour bowling.

Heavy hawks shadow the carriageway,
Their lights in a line.
Hanging on, hanging on.
Heart in mouth,
Engines cascading.
Hanging on, hanging on.
Track Name: Eyam
Eyam

Isolated plague village of local stone. Rosy red rash and a cross on the door. October Monday, quieter than death, shut up in its house, locked from the inside. Fifteen months of self-sacrifice. Painted wood cut into the shape of a boy kicking a ball. New cars parked in the new Glebe Park. Dismal saplings, cobbled and gravelled local amenities and skies of brushed blue. Sobbing in the grassy delf. The streetlights are on in the day for those buried in the garden, buried in the fields. Here comes the passing bell.
Once for a child, twice for the mother, three times father. Green plaques outside all the cottages. Jane lost twenty five relatives. Bird tables, hosepipes, hanging baskets, net curtains. Nine Thorpes all died. Road cones and rock gardens, "Cyril Vernon Read worked here during the war and came to the love the village". Come and see an old custom revolving every carnival day. Autumn leaves gather on the ground mesh around the empty stocks. Hollowed like the boundary stone. Standing green water, coaches and cars, parking this way. Honey Buzzard. Painted plate.

Where we made the fire of branch and briar, the spot still shows as a burnt circle. The way the hawk always returns to the hand, the rosy red rash has spread over the land. Halloween masks in the post office window, a circular wall in a parallel meadow. It's, a very, heavy, visitation...

The "most hated person in Eyam" scratched out their name in the bus stop. Car tax and Cornettos, sunflowers and pantomime read-throughs, full-fat milk and well dressings. "Take a trip down memory lane", pear drops and cola cubes. The deserted car park,
one corner huddled with bins and recycling. Learn about local history. Have you paid and displayed? 1665 split over two floors,
cobwebs and polite notices. A dead bat on the floor sliced in two by a bike wheel, a line of torn fur with its insides out. We all fall down. Harvest festival shopping bags fill the altar, tins of spam and marrowfats. "Real history" in the visitors book. The skeleton dances in the mural. Returning to the National Speed limit. Skyrocket foam flower. Heritage stasis remains.

Up Riley Lane in a field of ponies, Derbyshire leaks through the trees. Weathered grave stones and a sinking tomb, scuffed turf and a bundle of dead flowers, hooped in the dry stone fold. A circlular wall of reverence, quarantined and separate, sacred to the memory of seven dead in eight days. Heritage stasis remains.
Track Name: Henry My Son / Dunwich
Henry My Son / Dunwich

Where have you been all day, Henry, my son?
Where have you been all day my beloved one?
In the fields dear mother, in the fields dear mother.
Take my hand for I'm afraid, in my heart,
And I want to lie down.

Where did you see your father, Henry, my son?
Where should I make your bed, my beloved one?
In fields dear mother, in the water dear mother.
A rope to hang him in the churchyard,
Long and narrow, long and narrow.
Make my bed for I'm alone, in my heart,
And I want to lie down.

Take my hand, for I'm afraid in my heart,
And I want to lie down.
Take my hand, take my hand, as I want to lie down forever.
Lie down, lie down, let the grass grow over me forever.

Lie down with your head
Hanging over the edge.
The taste in the air of
Fresh water and salt.

Ten churches are gone
But we're still hanging on.
To the land which abrades
Of which there is no halt.

So lie down your head
Falling over the edge.
Looking out to sea,
Swimming backwards in time.
Swimming backwards through time.
Track Name: Whiteleaf Hill
Whiteleaf Hill

Bike tyre tracks, kick over the barrow,
Inside there's a man, buried in a box,
Holding onto the ashes of a child.
The snow is trying to disguise practice trenches.
In Northern France there are men,
Buried without names, growing wild.

Let's step over the rail, as it gets steeper,
Down to the pale chalk cross cropped out of the hillside.
A type of inertia drags you on, until you find yourself running.
Outstretched, the dead ground,
Strikes you like the surface of the moon.

Hidden in plain sight, ignored but always there,
An unwatched destination for early drinking and adulthood rehearsed.
Hill figure abrades and washes away,
The viewpoint is a broken board
Scrawled over in broken verse.

"In loving memory of someone who used to come here"
"Don't you know you're" something.
"But that's the secret" something, something else,
"As I sit and look away it's not" something I can't make out.

"No I'm fighting with myself,
Trying not to notice the delicate flushed freckles
That dance across your smile".
Track Name: Wharram Percy
Wharram Percy

East Riding wold, chalk valley remote.
A deserted plateau, full of weathered stones.
You can trace an outline.

Powerlines flank, ditches and banks.
An echo of a village, a melancholic margin.
You can relive everything.

Wharram Percy,
Left abandoned before English sonnets
Spoke of nature in their childhood.
In the neck of our woods, can this land remember?
Listen, Listen to the voice, that’s no longer here, listen.
Listen to the voice, that’s no longer here,
Listen to the voice returning

A snowball hangs, dead in midair
The slot-like tracks of a racing hare,
Passing over stile after stile.

Walk through the walls, grass for a floor.
The ghost of a church with a heavy, new door.
A giant stole the roof tiles.

Here lieth the body of Ann the daughter of William Vescy.
Here lieth the body of Ralph the son of William Vescy.
1687, 1695.
Seven hundred graves lie beside silenced.
Door keys and belt buckles lie beside silent.
Axe blades and arrowheads lie beside silent.
The soundless flight of the Barn Owl, silent.
Glorious tasks perfecting silence.
Glorious tasks perfecting.