On 15 April 2015, Thirty Pounds of Bone (Johny Lamb) and Philip Reeder went to sea aboard the Girl Emily, a 1974 commercial line fishing boat sailing out of Custom House Quay in Falmouth, Cornwall.
Faced with an unlikely and challenging studio environment on deck, Thirty Pounds of Bone performed nine new arrangements of traditional fishing/maritime songs, as the skipper and his mate went about their business of fishing.
These recordings comprise the forthcoming album, Still Every Year They Went. For a sneak peak you can hear a track, Farewell to Grog, as aired on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction this week at 34 minutes. Do have a listen.
Despite the inherently risible endeavour, vocal performances accompanied by guitar, shruti-box and two Monotribe synthesizers were captured by a variety of microphones alongside guest performances by bow-waves, seagulls, coastguard helicopters and various sea creatures. The sound of the boat, her engines, her wake, the creaks of her hull and her propeller were a fundamental challenge but also provided a rich backdrop for the album.
The songs from or about the sea, and its associated practices, were taken back to the water—set amidst the environment of their origins. An unlikely collaboration emerges between Thirty Pounds of Bone’s dredger-paced lo-fi, and the phonographic studio methods employed by Reeder. The result is an album of material that speaks to older traditions, made relevant by a methodology that seeks new ways to render traditional song.
There's no release date for the finished album yet as it's still in the final stages of knob-twiddling but to whet the appetite, Johny and Philip have unveiled this beautiful trailer. Enjoy.