“A treat of dirty surrealism and sumptuous coastal eccentricity.” – Plan B
“Sinister, yet sublime… Reigns are the soundtrack to inspiration. (4/5)” – Drowned In Sound
As with all Reigns recordings after listening please do not drive, exercise or operate heavy machinery.
Operatives A & B began recording for the Reigns organization in 2002. Their first album, We Lowered A Microphone Into The Ground, was a series of recordings made within a seemingly “bottomless” hole found upon the Somerset Downs. Their follow-up, Styne Vallis, was recorded in and around a submerged village that had been evacuated and strategically flooded in 1970 to make way for a new reservoir. The House On The Causeway is their third long player.
Between Black Ven and Golden Cap, a slim, man-made promontory of granite cobbles extends unnecessarily a half-mile out into the English Channel. Nothing of note lies at its end nor at any point along its length. This apparent futility has ensured that the causeway has, over the years, been excluded from all but the most painstaking of cartography. Even to the naked eye it seems to elude detection for the almost perpetual gathering of fog that seems to hover over its entire reach, and its brief moments out from under this oppressive vapor are instantly curtailed by the ravening attentions of the tides. Only the briefest window of opportunity arises to explore this altogether pointless finger of slimed and stinking rock.
It was during one of these rare moments that Reigns Operatives A & B came to record a perplexing audio phenomenon captured here on The House On The Causeway. It is said that the fog that so vigorously clings to the causeway has an inexplicable irregularity: that when it reaches a certain density, purportedly when light can no longer penetrate it, it emits a high pitched ringing similar to the onset of tinnitus. Apparently, it is this ringing that generates in the listener a temporary but profound befuddlement of the senses that has caused many an excursionist to wade, disorientated, into the sea.
Unfortunately, despite an abundance of fog, the Operatives heard nothing but the slow lapping of the glutinous, clotting water. Furthermore, due to the fog’s impenetrability and their vehicle’s inability to negotiate the cobbles, the Operatives tarried too long and were roughly ushered by the tide to the causeway’s furthest point. Stranded upon a raised and wooded tumulus they found themselves face to face with a most unexpected sight: a house; a house that had most assuredly not been visible from land. The house was unlocked and uninhabited, but in no way abandoned for its chambers were in a state of high expectancy, as if visitors had been, for a prolonged and industrious period, eagerly awaited. The Operatives, for want of anything better to do, entered the house and, for reasons that still seem to elude them, moved from room to room, taking photographs and recording the strange resonations that seemed to emanate from the walls.
They left the house almost two days later in a state of high distress and with the recordings you now have before you. It was only as they made their way back to the mainland and the house was out of sight that they were at last aware of an insistent high pitched ringing...
Title: The House On The Causeway
Label: Monotreme Records
Release Date: March 17th, 2009
02. Bad Slate
03. Everything Beyond These Walls Has Been Razed (MP3)
04. Mirrors At Night
05. Crex, Crex, Crex
07. Mab Crease
08. Take It Down
09. Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen
10. The Black Cramp
Tools and Hi-Res Photos:
On The Web:
Subscribe to Fanatic:
Reigns In The Press:
“Reigns describe their sound as ‘pastoral electronica,’ but it’s a whole lot more human based than that description lets on. ‘Corners & The Straights’ / ‘Recurring Attic Dream’ has one side that combines keys and strings in a semi gentle acoustic way that makes me think of the pastoral prog segments of Kevin Ayers’ Confessions of Dr. Dream. But instead of Nico’s voice rifling in through the hedges, what you hear is a loop of something sad and pre-literate. Very cool.” – The Wire
“Another masterpiece of eerie ambience and ghostly electronics… this record’s underlying majesty shines brilliantly. (8/10)”. – Rock Sound
“Now this is a real treasure chest, a glowing pastoral delight, and an album you must not miss out on…” – Organ Magazine
“Surely one of the most ‘complete’ albums I’ve come across this year…. Highly recommended. – Boomkat
“Really quite enchanting stuff.” – Rock-A-Rolla
“...a spellbinding mix of ethereal post-rock, combined with folk guitars, chiming glockenspiels, and fragile electronics, with spoken word and computer-manipulated vocals… This is a perfect winter album; engrossing and warm.” – White Noise Revisited
“Ultimately this is a highly intriguing concept for an album and strikingly the musical content is just as interesting, atmospheric and otherworldly throughout.” – Progressive Ears
“Exceptionally beautiful…The overall feeling is one of understated grandeur…Call this music folk, electronica, whatever you like – the fact of the matter is that there won’t be a better release of its kind all year, and that’s the opinion culled from many, many listens. If any of those envelopes prove me wrong, I shall publicly eat my words. Unless those ghosts take me first... (4.5 stars)” – Drowned In Sound
“[A] magnificent album … make sure to check this sublime release without delay. Beautiful music.” – Boomkat
“We Lowered A Microphone Into The Ground is a truly intriguing piece of work, so fragile and delicate it threatens to collapse at any time, but holds on with style. Reigns’ music feeds on dreams and illusions, and trying to rationalize it is pointless. This established, the bottomless hole becomes once again a very attractive reality. (4.6/5)” – The Milk Factory
“A brilliant debut single.” – Penny Black Music