1612 Underture


2012 release. 1612 Underture is a 12 chapter sound poem based of the mistreatment and memory of the Pendle Witches who were executed in Lancashire, England, on August 20, 1612. Although the nucleus of the project is based on historical events, The Eccentronic Research Council identify an uncanny relevance to the current political and social climate. The album's dialogue bounces between an unspecified contemporary time zone and the events leading up to August 1612, contrasting fictional/factional occurrences around various Pendle Witches whilst being routed by a modern day travelogue to Pendle as seen through the eyes of a Catholic nun and priest. On the journey, there's an encounter with 1960s feminist poetry, mythical news stories, a synthesizer folk duet, and the raising of a dead witch via a ouija board. It's a concept record. Exactly 400 years since the trials and execution of the 12 women now known as The Pendle Witches, a purpose assembled collective of artists, sound designers, experimental pop performers, writers, poets pay homage to the legendary Lancastrian sisterhood. One part political commentary and feminist manifesto and two parts theatrical fake-loric sound poem, the 1612 Underture is a sonic mass of multi-disciplined creative reactions, both rehearsed and improvised, built around a skeleton narrative of semi-fictional and symbolic events involving a modern day pilgrimage to Pendle Hill to explore the misconceptions that led to these miscarriages of justice. The collaborative reactions of Adrian Flannagan (Kings Have Long Arms), actress Maxine Peake, and Dean Hohner (I Monster), under the umbrella moniker The Eccentronic Research Council, take their collective experiences in theater, music technology, television, pop cultural archiving, and radio to reimagine a time and place, baron of authority and religious faith, where the unified working classes and alternative thinkers are mocked and persecuted at the hands of a paranoid government and monarchy. Stylistically, The ERC opt for a vast array of mechanical music machines and synthesized effects to create this conceptual non-populist pop using analog and acoustic equipment alongside tape manipulation, vocalizations, and spoken word, remaining faithful to a pre-digital and unpredictable era taking cues from Mort Garson, Suzanne Ciani, Sorel Hayes, Joe Meek, Daphne Oram, JP Massiera, and Delia Derbyshire, amongst others. Conceived with the same ambitions and goals of an electronic Smithsonian Folkways record, the 1612 Underture is a concept album that aims to reevaluate and positively re-contextualize an important historical and cultural feminine incident.