Old Fire - Helix (acoustic) (from Songs from the Haunted South)
Christopher Barnes performs a stripped back piano-and-vocals-only acoustic version of āHelixā, the third track from Old Fire's 2016 album āSongs from the Haunted Southā.
Recorded live at The Magnolia Loft in Boston with an old wall-back piano, this take serves as a touching introduction to the subtlety of the album, which is, in one way or another, a 13-track collection of dedications to people, some dead and some living. Musically, inspirations range from ambient artists such as Brian Eno and Stars of the Lid to psychedelic rock, traditional country and early 4AD.
The pet project of Texas based programmer John Mark Lapham, - of āThe Earliesā and 4AD band āThe Late Cordā fame - Old Fire joins a world-class roster that includes the likes of Steven Wilson, The Pineapple Thief, Anathema, Nordic Giants and The Anchoress.
Taking nearly a decade to make, 'Songs from the Haunted South' has been a labour of love for Lapham.
Born from an album concept for a 4AD project with singer Micah P. Hinson (The Late Cord), the album was originally intended to feature different singers and musicians recording songs that were both covers and originals. After parting ways with Micah, Lapham remained determined to realize his vision for the album and sought voices he considered special or fitted the inspiration.
The first piece of the puzzle fell in to place after meeting the former owner of 4AD, Ivo Watts Russell, who introduced Lapham to singer/songwriter, Tom Rapp - who recorded a string of haunting albums in the late 60s and 70s under the name Pearls Before Swine. The vocals Rapp provided formed the basis of the track Shadows. In the following years, guest vocals were recorded by Sara Lowes (The Earlies), DM Stith, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club), Rebekka Karijord, and Alex Maas (Black Angels).
The project also features a myriad of exceptional musicians including DM Stith - piano and guitar, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club) - Piano, Warren Defever (His Name Is Alive) - Guitar, Thor Harris (Swans) - Drums, Christian Madden - Rhodes piano & Organ and Semay Wu -Cello.
Sitting alongside the original Old Fire compositions are a selection of intriguing cover versions. Lapham uniquely interprets songs by Psychic TV (The Orchids), Low (Laser Beam), Ian William Craig (A Sight Grip, A Gentle Hold), Jason Molina (Itās Easier Now), Camberwell Now (Know How) and Shearwater (Helix).
'Songs from The Haunted South' was produced by John Mark Lapham, mixed by JM Lapham and Mark Kuykendall, and was mastered by Ian Hawgood.
The powerful cover art was designed by UKās Grammy Award winning designer Vaughan Oliver, famed for his work with artists such as Mojave 3, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil, Pixies, Throwing Muses, in addition to artists such as David Sylvian and Bush.
The cover shot taken in 1958 features Laphamās father during bivouac camping basic training in the foothills of the Ozarks, at Fort Chaffee.
OLD FIRE ONLINE: