much respected band Attrition.
Martin Bowes has been joined by Anni Hogan and guest performer Wolfgang Flür from Kraftwerk, to create a personal memorial to the First World War. Dedicated and inspired by his grandfather William Bowes, who was severely wounded at Ypres in 1917, this immaculately presented album will stay with you forever.
Gathering together treasured family mementoes of the time to illustrate and tell the story, there are beautifully recreated postcards written by William and letters from hospital staff and chaplain reassuring his family their son is recovering from his injuries.
The Great War is a still a searing dark scar on our consciousness.
It plays out to us in silent monochrome images, the sounds of that time are lost to us, the noise of gunfire we can only imagine.
We now have a soundscape to associate with those images of a generation walking into the inferno that would destroy them.
It is therefore an intense, emotional and gut-wrenching experience to listen to this stunning album.
Taking its name from a Charles Sorley war poem, it starts with another Great War poet, Wilfrid Owen, and his searing Anthem for Doom Youth, dramatically read out.
The sounds, moods and feelings mixed with echoes of marching troops, shouting voices, shellfire and the stark, sharp piano from Anni Hogan fill you with a sense of foreboding. The whole time, images are conjuring up in your mind, such is the intensity. As the album is meant to be an inclusive memorial to ALL who served, there are also evocative snippets of French and German poems and voices.
The importance of this work cannot be underestimated. Finally we have a soundtrack and aural sensation for those calamitous events.
To buy the album go to the ATTRITION website HERE
For an amazing preview, watch this on YouTube HERE
I was reminded by this album of something that happened to me in France. I have a relatively ambivalent attitude to ghosts and spirits, but one experience stayed with me.
Whilst standing in Thiepval Cemetery, which stands right on the front lines of 1916, I noticed in the silence, the wind blowing through the huge trees of the neighbouring Thiepval Wood.
I then had an overwhelming feeling of hundreds of people nearby, I could sense them. The sensation was that the soldiers are still in the woods, watching over and wanting you to acknowledge their presence. As with the rest of the Somme, it isn't a haunting or disturbing feeling, but one of absolute calm.