From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow

by Hwyl Nofio

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From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow is at once a deeply personal tribute to a long lost family member and an elegy for the death of the steel industry in the place of his birth. Steve Parry (born 1958) is a product of Panteg, his formative years were spent living in the shadow of The Black Mountains, amid the scars and ruins of a heavily industrial landscape.

“I recall my boyhood visits to the steel works – an atmosphere of intense heat and noxious fumes, bright white light, and deafening noise. Over the years I have continued to go back to the composition, adding new additional details – As a piece of music ‘Elevated Gangways’ has been an organic, cathartic process”

“From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow” - the concept of the piece had been around for what appears an eternity. Originally the composition was inspired by recordings taken from an unreleased solo project / album “Symphony for the Death of Industry” recorded in the early 1980’s. I had written the music as a kind of soundtrack about the life of my grandfather Herbert Parry – who worked as a steel roller at Panteg Steelworks in Pontypool, South Wales and died of gangrene poisoning when I was three years old. During my childhood my grandfather remained somewhat of an enigma – my memories are of a tall, silent, proud man beaten by the rigours of personal and working life.” Steve Parry.

Parry later returned to the idea with a 12-minute composition called ‘Elevated Gangways’ that didn’t fit onto the Hwyl Nofio album ‘Hymnal’ released in 2002 – sporadically returning to the composition over the following years to the final version realised in 2008. The definitive version of “ From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow’ begins furtively, ushered in by a clattering mix of cymbal smashes and sawn at strings, a pile of deadened instruments finally awoken, laying the groundwork for one last lamentation. Then it arrives – that great lion roar of guitar noise fills the space, the immutable core of the piece raging away. It is what the great Japanese saxophonist Kaoru Abe once called “the sound of sound”; adrift from all semblance of tempo, and ablaze with unfettered possibility. The church organ moan is summoned from the deepest recesses of the now desolate landscape of Pontypool – deindustrialized, de-populated, demoralized – remnants of memory playing tricks within the minds of everyone from the newly born to the working poor and the living dead. Its bleak melody creaks and cracks in pitiable see-saw motion, adrift in time and nameless place, haunting those who once harnessed its great power, who then had to watch it being dismembered, torn apart, suffering in silence as the site was destroyed - cleared not for something else, or anything better. Merely to be rid of it for good. As the piece enters its final sequence the gilded drone riff returns for one last roar, howling out a colossal yell of defiance before finally fading into a cold organ wail, then falling into nothing. “From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow” is at last complete.

credits

released March 30, 2017

Hwyl Nofio were:-

Steve Parry: found sounds, prepared Fender guitar, church organ, percussion, alchemy

Recorded at: The Wern / Church / Field recording

The recording process took place over the period 1980 – 2008

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow (Part one) 20.21
From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow (Part two) 20.27

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Hwyl Nofio UK

Band originated in 1997, whom's name, translated from Welsh, means "Emotional Swimmers", which more or less defines their music. You can describe it as experimental, avant-garde, ambient, but mostly free improvisation. It simply blurs the boundaries of musical styles. The band is based around its originator Steve Parry. ... more

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