Ivy Nostrum – Genuflection Maps
tags: experimental collage field recordings improvisation lo-fi noise London WITCHFORK
Ivy is usually a toxic plant, but here we are promised a remedy for the poison, or perhaps the ivy is a magic potion in itself! We prepare ourselves for this journey of discovery by getting down on one knee and opening our ears as the sound maps unfold.
Someone seems to be engrossed in typing while the world passes by outside, descriptions of fantastic places rolling off the keys. We are kneeling in the sun, blissfully happy to be entertained as the typewriting machine starts morphing into a chime contraption. Suddenly it stops and we realise that we have arrived in a whole new territory, a paradise of insects chattering away to each other. They are chirruping so hard that their wings start creating a great wind which is temporarily calmed by a strange being playing a stringed instrument. The being (our guide?) puts down the instrument and pulls a radio out of their sack. The insects are in ecstasies over this and fly close to us – we are lost in the music.
Another map is opened and we are transported to a place full of pulsating angular lines that curve and pounce, it is a land of Futurismo. We climb aboard a large metal ship and the waves part like repulsed magnets. All is still and we are suspended in time as the ship releases a hypnotic sonar drone. It seems that the ivy has indeed poisoned us as we are frozen, unable to get off our knees and the ship is now passing through an ocean of people all crying out for our love. Giant mechanical dragonflies swoop above our heads and we can only raise our eyes, moving our limbs is impossible. The people have climbed on board now and mill all around us, stopping to bow at our maps when they pass.
The sun is getting hotter, we must be nearer to it, the rays are bouncing off the smoke stacks which emit warning sounds. The sounds are getting closer together and we still can’t move, are we all going to fry? The people are counting on us to steer the ship to safety and we must concentrate very hard to break the spell.
At last we are off our knees and the ship’s cogs start cranking, lowering us back down into the coolness of the ocean. It starts to rain and we don’t have any umbrellas as we are dressed for the sun. Luckily one of the passengers has a suitcase full of broken brollys which they bring on deck and begin to play… a few plucks and the umbrellas pop open, fully cured! The deck is now flooded with people holding umbrellas, so many that some jump overboard and float away. The ship releases its drone once more, all is quiet but for the hiss of smoke and rain.
It is only us and the crew on board now, and the captain starts making announcements. He mentions a type of tea which kills and we decide that it’s time to find a new port. Things are getting a bit panicky and then the intercom flatlines. We clutch our maps, grab some life jackets and jump into the water just as the captain says we need to shut all of the doors… Our trip has taken a Dead Calm twist.
As we float away the ship seems to be in self-destruct mode. We can see a big slab of ice up ahead and hope we can make it. Down below us we can see narwhals, they are swimming fast away from the terrible sound of the ship, it has lost control and is turning in circles, creating it’s own whirlpool. It suddenly goes under and we can now hear the sounds of the narwhals, their single tusks emit the sounds of a toy piano, they are magical creatures indeed. The narwhals guide us to safety and we clamber up onto the iceberg. We open a map and are pleasantly surprised to see that there is a cabin with a gas oven in it! Once inside we heat up some chunks of ice and make tea (the healing type). We whistle while we work and open up all of the tins on the shelves. What joy! We all get to enjoy biscuits with our witches brew.
The back door opens and our friendly musician is back to guide us home. There is a shuffling of maps and they open the appropriate one. Now warmed through by the tea we get down on our knees and gaze in anticipation. It’s been a long journey and we are all ready to be back again in the sun with our singing insects. We slowly drift off into exhausted bliss, feeling nothing now but warm fuzzies.