Boomkat Product Review:
Inland Water was originally released on cassette in summer, 2012 and features two explorations of water lore around Devon by Sam McLoughlin and David A. Jaycock. The original recordings have been remastered for this reissue.
"The rivers, lakes, wells and underground streams that dot our natural landscape are steeped in folklore, and numerous creatures are said to lurk deep within their aqueous nooks. Out walking by a remote stream in the North of England, one may be unfortunate enough to meet with Jenny Greenteeth or Peg Powler – river hags who snatch at the ankles of wayfarers, pulling their victims down into watery graves. The tarns and bogs of that same country are haunted by strange, gangly fiends known as Grindylows, who offer the same fate to any children foolhardy enough to play by the water’s edge. Further north, in Scotland, equine spirits dominate the local imagination, with Kelpies and Njuggles cantering the freshwater lochs. And who could forget the most famed beast of them all, the Loch Ness monster. Sometimes rivers are themselves personified: the Dart in Devon is said to call out annually for a victim, a tradition that is remembered by the chilling couplet ‘river of Dart, river of Dart, every year thou claimest a heart!’ Not all of our inland waters are menacing sites, however. Medicinal and magical properties have long been attributed to the sacred waters of our holy wells and rivers, and perhaps there is a factual basis to such beliefs, for the minerals present are often highly beneficial. Some of these tales and customs have fallen by the wayside, while others flourish today – something to think upon when next you toss a coin into a well or fountain.
For this release, Sam travelled to Crazywell Pool in the west of Dartmoor, just south of Princetown. This large pond, also known as Clazywell, Classenwell or Classiwell, is around 100 meters long with a surface area of 3,500 square metres. It was once thought to be bottomless – a piece of received wisdom that is said to have been tested by local parishioners, who brought the bell ropes from the local church to the pool in order to measure its depths. The rope combined was alleged to be more than 500 feet long, yet, even when fully submerged, was too short to reach the bottom. The pool is naturally bound up with many other superstitions and legends. Among them are beliefs that it played hermitage to a witch in the Middle Ages, that strange lunar tides are enacted upon its waters, and that surface water hauntings take place there at Midsummer.
The narratives explored by David take in a triptych of supernatural occurrences. The tale of the Dean Combe Weaver tells of a highly skilled loom worker who shuffles off this mortal coil only to return as a black spectre hound haunting a pool in a forest. The Tarr Steps is a clapper bridge said to have been built by the demonic and horned one himself. But undoubtedly the most frightful of the lot is the legend of Cutty Dyer, a monstrous people-eater who, like the Scandinavian troll, resides under a bridge awaiting his next meal (children being his preferred dish).
Building initially upon reports found within books and pamphlets detailing West Country folklore, the researchers have summoned the spirits of these stories through extensive fieldwork at the locations themselves. These fieldtrips enabled them to incorporate on-site hydrophonic recordings and audio improvisation into their work. As you will discover, the researchers themselves have become a part of the legends they have investigated: new threads woven into the tapestry of Devon folklore for future generations to come and wonder over."