Epping Forest Dreams

“We ride our bikes way up here after school / You know the way, the shortest way home“, sings Paul Newland to the end of this album. Childhood reminiscences mingle with pastoral impressions of the greenery of Epping Forest, as he looks back on life in earnest, contemplative mode like Sheffield balladeer Richard Hawley. Then it branches off onto a very different path. Limpid piano ripples hang in the air like Harold Budd, the double bass of Mike Seal adds earthy vibrations, and for over ten minutes, vintage synthesizer drones stretch out to the horizon like an endless summer day.“ (The Wire)

Some notes about this album I found while reading the August edition of WIRE. I then listened to it on Soundcloud, and these new songs and instrumentals stopped me in my tracks. What a melange of dreamspheres and places to go, of wonderful songs and deep meditations. A hot contender for my 20 favourite albums of 2024! (m.e.)

Clevelode is Paul Newland and his collaborators. Newland was one-half of The Lowland Hundred, a critically acclaimed duo that released three albums, ‘Under Cambrian Sky’ (2010), ‘Adit’ (2011), ‘The Lowland Hundred’ (2014). 

‘Muntjac’ is a paean to Epping Forest and its environs, an area on the outskirts of northeast London. It offers reflections on how an individual carries their place of birth – and its cultural identity – with them through life. It is a fluid mix of tender, reflective, psychogeographical songwriting and avant-garde unmade film score. Paul is accompanied on the album by upright bass player Mike Seal (A Different Thread / Farefeld) and Emma Morton of Brighton folk trio Sairie on backing vocals. A FLOWWORKER interview with Paul Newland is in preparation.

go to bandcamp for more… (listening, ordering, cd out today)

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