In 2004, before signing Grizzly Bear, Hudson Mohawke or Flying Lotus, Warp Records signed a UK-based singer-songwriter named Nick Talbot. Under the moniker of Gravenhurst, Talbot released two albums with Warp that year: Flashlight Seasons and Black Holes in the Sand. This November, in honor of Talbot’s 10-year anniversary of work with the label, Warp will be reissuing these two albums, alongside a collection of previously unreleased tracks and demos called Offerings: Lost Songs 2000-2004.
Talbot’s first release with Warp, 2004’s Flashlight Seasons, quickly earned Gravenhurst a devoted fan base. Flashlight Seasons was quickly followed the same year by Black Holes In The Sand, a mini-album half an hour in length, comprised of six songs. Talbot regarded the album as a set of clues to the sound of future Gravenhurst records. A noisier and more overtly lo-fi record of dark pastoral psychedelia, Black Holes In The Sand firmly established an enduring Gravenhurst aesthetic: enigmatic lyrics, ghostly vocals and virtuoso finger-picked guitars against a backdrop of cinematic, shape-shifting, semi-conscious textures; subliminal transmissions from the surrounding landscape.
The surprise new release, Offerings: Lost Songs 2000 – 2004, is a collection of previously unreleased recordings, including two early demos and eight unheard songs. “The Citizen” contrasts a lyric of urban alienation with an early demonstration of Talbot’s mastery of acoustic minimalism, while the strong narrative arc of the title track “Offerings” contains the earliest incarnation of a recurring Gravenhurst theme: the indifference of nature and the folly of the human urge to seek spiritual communion with its destructive power. One of four diverse instrumental tracks, “Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?” provides a hypnotic soundtrack to one of England’s most unnerving unsolved crimes. Unable to recall recording some of these tracks, Talbot describes the collection as a musical Mary Celeste; a vessel found captain-less and crew-less, with its cargo fully preserved after many years adrift.
The three albums will be pressed on vinyl accompanied with digital download codes, essays by Talbot reflecting on this early material after a decade of progress, and a limited run of hand-made and signed lino-cut prints which will be made available to the first 200 customers who buy all three albums on vinyl through Bleep.com. A triple CD release will comprise all three albums.
Over the last decade Talbot has released five Gravenhurst albums on Warp Records. The 2012 release of The Ghost In Daylight was supported by over a year of touring the UK and Europe, while 2013 saw Talbot collaborate with Mike Paradinas, providing lyrics and vocals for four songs on Love & Devotion — the debut album from the electronica producer’s new project Heterotic. Amidst continuing live performances and starting work on a new Gravenhurst album planned for release next year, 2013 also saw Talbot begin regular journalistic contributions to the online music and arts site The Quietus, with highlights including exclusive interviews with the philosopher John Gray and the comic book legend Alan Moore.
Flashlight Seasons, Black Holes in the Sand, and Offerings: Lost Songs 2000 – 2004 are out 12/2/14 via Warp Records.
Flashlight Seasons, Black Holes in the Sand, and Offerings: Lost Songs 2000 – 2004
Out December 2nd, 2014 on Warp Records
Flashlight Seasons Tracklist
2. Fog Round The Figurehead
3. I Turn My Face To The Forest Floor
5. The Diver
6. East Of The City
8. Damage II
9. The Ice Tree
10. Hopechapel Hill
Black Holes In The Sand Tracklist
1. Black Holes In The Sand
2. Flowers In Her Hair
3. Still Water
4. Winter Moon
6. Flashlight Seasons
1. The Citizen
2. Entertainment (demo)
3. The Diver (demo)
4. Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?
5. Gas Mask Days
7. For Erin
8. Abilene Stillwater outro
10. Return to Stapleton Road