A Grave With No Name – 10 Tracks That Inspired ‘Wooden Mask’

a grave with no name

New Album House Out August 12th Via Forged Artifacts.

If London based freaked folk/art rock project A Grave With No Name has proven anything since his debut album Mountain Debris dropped in 2009, it is that his slow burning and beautiful music is an eclectic listen. Albums move gracefully from droned out bliss to delicate folk to lulling ambient passages with aplomb. Sometimes this transition occurs in the course of one song or all the disparate elements are tied together within the thrust of one song. The result is a sometimes melancholic and claustrophobic listen that is as compelling as it is contemplative.

New album House, which will be released on August 12th via Forged Artifacts, is no exception. Recently, mastermind behind the project, Alexander Shields gave us an insight into ten tracks that influenced the eclectic nature of the album. The list ranges across the spectrum from slowcore to black metal to alternative rock to ambiance. What is that not a surprise?

See A Grave With No Name live: 

18th August – Servant Jazz Quarters, LONDON

1. ‘Wind’s Dark Poem’ – Mount Eerie (from the album Wind’s Poem)

Phil Elverum’s music has always been a huge influence on the way I put together albums. On ‘Wind’s Poem’ elements of black metal are incorporated into both his songwriting, and the record’s imagery, and some of his approach bled through into ‘Wooden Mask’.

2. ‘Part 2’ – Loren Connors (from the album The Departing of a Dream)

Loren Connors wrings beautiful, desolate sounds from his guitar, and the sparseness of his work was an inspiration when I was working in the studio this time around.

3. ‘The Cowardly Traveller Pays His Toll – Simon Joyner (from the album Songs For The New Year)

Simon Joyner is one of my favourite songwriters, and undoubtedly one of our best living lyricists. The motif of the New Year appearing throughout ‘Wooden Mask’ is a reference to this album.

4. ‘Hold On Magnolia’ – Songs: Ohia (from the album Magnolia Electric Co.)

There is a frayed elegance to Jason Molina’s music. Songs do not come more affecting than this.

5. ‘Holland’ – Cynthia Dall (from the album untitled)

Cynthia Dall recorded two albums for Drag City, before sadly passing away in 2012. ‘untitled’, the first of these albums is a thing of haunted beauty. ‘Holland’ taken from that album features Bill Callahan and feels stripped to the bone – something I aimed for in both mood and texture whilst writing and recording ‘Wooden Mask’.

6. ‘Nutshell’ – Alice in Chains (from the E.P. Jar of Flies)

In their prime Alice in Chains could write songs that would sound simultaneously delicate and derelict. ‘Nutshell’ appeared on their predominantly acoustic E.P. ‘Jar of Flies’ and its wraith-like fragility has found itself embedded in my songwriting process for years.

7. ‘Song for the Setting Sun II’ – Daniel Bachman (from the album River)

Daniel Bachman is part of a new generation of players making poetic fingerstyle guitar music with a rich sense of history; never wearing his virtuosity as a badge, but instead using it to whittle illustrative sounds from the air.

8. ‘Atone’ – Grouper (from the album A I A : Dream Loss)

I return to all of Liz Harris’ albums frequently, but over the past year I have been particularly drawn to ‘A I A: Dream Loss’ for its mood of uncertainty.

9. ‘Not Over by Half’ – Joan Shelley (from the album Over and Even)

Joan Shelley is a traditionalist folk singer from Louisville, Kentucky. Her music is warm-hearted, evocative and timeless – qualities I admire and aspire to. For me ‘Over and Even’ is the best singer-songwriter album in some years.

10. ‘Transylvanian Hunger’ – Darkthrone (from the album Transylvanian Hunger)

‘Transylvanian Hunger’ is bleak, cold and howls with anguish. Although sonically, my music is far less abrasive, in the studio, I tried to bottle some of its feel of a frozen tree branch brushing against your face like a cadaverous touch in the dead of winter.

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