Agri Montana will be available from cafekaput.bandcamp.com on Friday. Below are the sleeve notes, to give some background to the album - above, Ian Hodgson's front cover artwork. The album also contains individual track art, with each new track incorporating art from the previous, to provide a sense of continuity.
This album began as a fleeting idea that suggested itself, without much conscious thought. In July 2015, I spent a few weeks in a remote part of North Wales, with a couple of instruments and some recording equipment; not forcing any preconceived ideas, but rather observing what would happen (if anything) if I just let it.
Somehow, I made a connection between the Snowdonia landscape and that of the Austrian and Italian Alps. As soon as this connection was made, the ideas flourished. Flora and fauna, climate, air quality, farming methods and traditions, buildings and structures all played their parts and influenced the sounds and textures created.
I discovered a tradition in alpine farming; one that involved farmers making the ascent with their cattle, from the foothills to high altitude pasture, on a particular day in spring; beginning work for the season, with the cattle in situ throughout. Conversely, the descent being made on a predetermined day in autumn; again, with the farmers leading their cattle back to the low lands, to rest for the relatively inactive winter. This became the framework to which I built the album; the season of ascent and descent, with pieces describing the observations in between.
Whilst researching ideas for the graphic design of the album, Ian Hodgson discovered photographic techniques used by creators of alpine postcards, where by composites of images were made, with multi-layers of texture being superimposed on each other, sometimes to quite surreal effect; this fascinated me, as it seemed particularly analogous to the concept of multi-layering sounds to create specific textures.
The overall framework points to a sense of place, of geography, rather than time or any other reference. I wanted the music to exist as both ancient and contemporary, with its’ location being the primary identifier of the textures within.
Jon Brooks, June 2017.