Spheruleus & Friends – William Barber

One of our favourite Ambient labels Hibernate Recordings have recently dropped another fine record – this time a strong line-up under the name Spheruleus & Friends, collaborating to commemorate an all but forgotten headmaster named William Barber. The record was produced by Harry Towell (Spheruleus) with help from Hibernate label boss Jonathan Lees and his partner as The Sly & Unseen Katie English (Isnaj Dui). Also on the record there are sounds and ideas provided by Fraser McGowan (Caught In The Wake Forever), Christoph Berg (Field Rotation) and Ian Hazeldine (Antonymes). Throughout the record, field recordings taken inside the school in which Barber taught are used as well as an original wax cylinder recording from 1906 in which you can clearly hear the headmaster’s voice. Musically, flutes, cello, guitar, music box, violin, piano and much more are used to shape a nostalgic, crumbling soundtrack.

To check it out click play above or HERE where you’ll be able to purchase one of the remaining CD copies

Press release:
“Having released “Voyage” back in 2011, we welcome back Lincolnshire based Harry Towell aka Spheruleus with an ambitious collaborative album ‘William Barber’. In his solo work, Spheruleus uses acoustic instruments alongside electronic processing to create timeworn, rustic and melancholy compositions. Here he is joined by Hibernate regulars Isnaj Dui, Antonymes, Fraser McGowan (Caught in the Wake Forever) and Christoph Berg (Field Rotation) as well as Hibernate boss Jonathan Lees.

The Spheruleus and friends album came about when Jonathan Lees came across an old wax cylinder recording at a local school. Dating from 1906, the wax cylinder recording had recently been converted to a digital format. Crackly but audible, it includes William Barber, an old headmaster, reciting poetry and introducing a musical performance. Deciding that this would be a nice starting point for an album based on the story of this man, field recordings were made around the school which formed the basis for the tracks.

The music contained in William Barber is born out of a desire to create melodic structures with a nostalgic tint and a slightly melancholic feel for the past. We see Spheruleus experimenting with rhythm in electro acoustic sound design using the field recordings and contributions from other artists as well as adding his own instrumentation. The song titles have been taken from the schools historical records from around the time of William Barber.

The album is released on CD (Digipak) in a short run of 200. 100% of the profit is being donated to the Crossley Heath School Foundation.”