Ever wondered what the sound of gambling lambs, songbirds and hooting owls might be like set to music? No? Well neither had I until I heard a strange curio from the 1970’s.
Virginia Astley’s ‘From Gardens where we feel secure’ is perhaps the most pastoral ambient album ever made.
Gentle and calming to the point of twee-ness it is the perfect music to sooth jangled city nerves while at the same time, like a mole in your well-tended garden, it burrows it’s way into your consciousness.
The album is as English as anything by ‘The Kinks’ and speaks to that element of the culture that loves rolling hills, hedgerows and lone oak trees.
I suppose its lack of lyrics and general quirkiness will keep it from much on the cult favorites list but it’s the kind of thing I can play to most sensitive souls and get them to love pretty instantaneously.
I first heard about it when reading a book about British folk music in the 20th century called ‘Electric Eden’. Whereas all the other music recommended in this absorbing book sounded pretty much as you’d expect if you put the words British and folk next to each other, Astley’s album was a totally unexpected gem.
Every time I put it on I feel myself floating away down a winding country lane in Somerset with just the sound of a lone cuckoo for company.