Dartmoor Symphony, Dartmoor Roundhouse and Dartmoor Journey form a trilogy of compositions that draw direct and profound inspiration from the Dartmoor landscape. Nigel created this work with three key elements at its heart: his handcrafted wooden flutes all sourced from Dartmoor native trees, the ceremonial ancestor roundhouse we designed and built on our hill farm, and the ebb and flow of seasons, wild weather and the life-death-regeneration of nature that has permeated his experience of living and working in the centre of the moors. The trilogy project was a long time in the dreaming and preparation; it has been part of Nigel’s ever-deepening, ever-expanding prayer for the land which has become his home, his muse and his sanctuary.
The second in the trilogy of albums celebrating the Dartmoor landscape. Ancient and delicately beautiful flute songs recorded in our ceremonial roundhouse with wooden flutes carved from the wood of thirteen trees native to these islands. The journey to create this album took over a year to complete, from the carving of the 20 flutes made for these recordings from indigenous Dartmoor woods, to the recording sessions themselves which took place around the roundhouse fire, mostly during the night. Each flute, and the source tree contained within it, sang with a unique voice harboured deep within the grain of the wood.
The Neolithic-style roundhouse was built by us (with the help of friends) to honour the ancestors of these wild moors. It was made from the very bones of the land: granite, oak and rye grass thatch. At the centre of the house burns the hearth fire; the light from the dawning sun and the rising moon passes over the stone threshold and through the open door to touch those who are gathered inside. This sacred house became the sanctuary and birthplace for these flute songs.
In the studio the source recordings were layered and combined with musical sound features to enhance the tone and atmosphere of each track. No other instruments were used to create this music; these are the simplest of recordings, pure acoustic sound within a natural and ancient environment, and an echo of the spirit of the sacred landscape as heard by our ancestors. The flutes are tuned to typical European keys; thirteen keys were used here, through a full octave from low C Oak to high C Willow.
TRACKS: Oak, Yew, Thorn, Beech, Rowan, Alder, Elm, Holly, Scots Pine, Hornbeam, Ash, Silver Birch, Willow.
Album length: 70 minutes. Released in 2005.