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Help The Witch: The Concept album

A companion album to Help The Witch by Tom Cox, featuring author-chosen artists writing a track inspired by a story within the book.

Help The Witch: The Concept album

A companion album to Help The Witch by Tom Cox, featuring author-chosen artists writing a track inspired by a story within the book.

£3Delimiter544
Pledged OfPledged Of Goal
109
Backers
36Days Time To Go

All Or Nothing This Project Will Only Be Funded

About

Help The Witch was acclaimed writer Tom Cox's otherworldly fiction debut of short stories that broke Unbound's record for pre-orders in 2018. When Tom approached us about making a soundtrack to his book by asking some of his favourite musicians to write a new track based on one of the ten stories, we were thrilled. It's one of the reasons we started the label, to reach across genres and art forms and get great music in front of people. These artists all have very unique ways of interpreting folk and landscape-inspired music and it's an ideal companion to the bestselling book.

TOM COX SAYS:

In recent years, I have begun to think of my books as more like albums: maybe not quite what you’d call concept albums, but certainly albums where there’s something conceptual going on, where the order of the tracks (chapters) is crucial, and creates a narrative, even if the narrative is slightly abstract and non-linear. It’s probably no coincidence that, over the exact same period of time, a question I’ve received more and more from readers is, “Could you recommend a soundtrack to this book?” The book I’ve been asked this question about most frequently about is my 2018 collection of short stories, Help The Witch: a “sort of ghost book”, a book about landscape, earth magic, liminal spaces, folklore and creatures that teeter on the line between reality and the beyond. My music listening was an important part of the creation of the book, as it always is, and I could easily have put together an already-written soundtrack to it, but then I had another thought: What if there was a totally new soundtrack to the book, made by a variety of unusually talented musicians, living and working now? An album that was spooky, and atmospheric, like the book, and echoed its themes, but also totally its own piece of art, independent from it?

On Help The Witch: The Concept album, hand-picked musicians from the British Isles will take a story from Help The Witch as a jumping off point, and create their own piece of music from it. 

These are as diverse as Cromer-based Gemma Khawaja turning  a tale about a ghost speed awareness instructor into an epic,  hot-blooded 16th Century folk ballad that never was, Sheffield’s Rob Lee drenching the history of a marsh goblin in cosmic country rays, and Scotland’s Grey Malkin - formerly of The Hare And The Moon -  performing a wyrd folk extrapolation on a persecuted Derbyshire witch.  Many of the musicians here have a strong regional identity, which is apt, as much of the book does too. I have been lucky enough to be  accompanied by several musicians at my spoken word events over the last  few years and am even luckier that they - Zervas And Pepper, The Left Outsides, Jack Sharp and Dan Davies of Wolf People - have agreed to contribute here. In Stick In The Wheel’s From Here Records -  whose two Field Recording LPs have been a couple of my very favourites  of the last few years - I have also found the ideal label to release the  album on gatefold vinyl, and Stick In The Wheel themselves  have contributed their own song inspired by one of the book’s most  unusual stories, Robot. If you’d told me I’d be able to gather such a  fantastic group of musicians in one place to write around these stories  while I was writing the book, I would not have believed you. As for the  finished tracks: each of them has blown my mind, in its own unique way. I  do not think it's an understatement to say that this record is a greater work of art than the book that inspired it, and quite probably  THE Folk Horror Album of 2020. On top of that, with From Here’s flair  for cover design, and Joe McLaren’s beautiful artwork, it stands to be a very beautiful object in itself. And, with your help, we can make it fully exist.

An idea of what the album will look like.
The book that started it all

REWARDS:

The album is available on 180g heavyweight vinyl with gold-foiled gatefold cover, a limited edition of 500. The artwork will include notes from the artists and Tom himself. 

Additionally there are some nice extras to go with it:

PAPERCUT ART: Gemma Khawaja makes intricate artworks and she's offering ten one-off A5 originals that she will make once pledges are in. Examples of previous work below:

Gemma Khawaja's previous papercut art.

*ALL SOLD THANK YOU* ART PRINTS: Tom's mum, Jo is a renowned printmaker and we have a very limited selection to go with the albums. Each one is signed.

The Witch & The Hare
Plague Doctor
Meadow Hare

Risks and challenges

We're experienced at producing multi-artist recording projects on all formats. Our "English Folk Field Recordings" albums were both Guardian albums of the year respectively, and we've worked with many of the finest folk musicians including Martin Carthy, June Tabor and Richard Dawson.

Pressing vinyl is expensive and impossible to do on a small scale without compromising. And making book-inspired albums is a somewhat risky notion! Luckily, all the artists involved are well-loved and find inspiration in Tom's writing, like we do, so we're really looking forward to making this project of special music a reality.

We have long lead times because vinyl takes a while to make. While the campaign runs, we'll be getting the recordings polished and artwork done so as soon as it's complete, we'll be ready to send everything off to the pressing plant, minimising delays. The quicker we reach our funding goal, the sooner we can get the record into production. And pledgers will get their copies first, before the official release date of June 2020.

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    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 13

    Digital download of Help The Witch album

    The full Help The Witch album as a digital download.

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    Gatefold cover 180g vinyl album

    The full Help The Witch album on heavyweight vinyl, gatefold cover with gold foiled lettering over Joe McLaren's illustration. Inner sleevenotes from the artists and from Tom himself.

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    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 65

    Original A5 papercut art + vinyl album

    One of Gemma Khawaja's original papercut art inspired by aspects of the book:

    1) Seven gravestones beneath oak tree
    2) Crows in the snow
    3) House on cliffedge over the sea
    4) Pool and waterfall glade
    5) Barn owl perched on gatepost
    6) Seven hens by an old stone cross
    7) Daisy wheel and other symbols
    8) Thirteen hares pattern
    9) Fox and pigeon
    10) Hare and woman transformation

    These are one-offs and will be allocated randomly, lucky dip style. Plus a copy of the vinyl album.

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    Pledge £73 or more About US$ 95

    Test pressing PLUS vinyl album

    Test pressing white label of Help The Witch album hand-stamped with From Here wheel, plus a copy of the regular gatefold album.

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    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 65

    Plague Doctor Art Print PLUS vinyl album

    Plague Doctor Art Print
    A 14.5cm X 16cm art print of the Plague Doctor by the artist Jo Cox. Hand printed relief print, black on white, signed open edition.

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    Witch & Hare Art Print PLUS vinyl album

    A 15cm X 17cm art print of the The Witch & The Hare by the artist Jo Cox. Hand printed relief print, black on white, signed open edition.

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    21st Century Yokel PLUS vinyl album

    Super rare first edition of Tom's previous book, 21st Century Yokel, with fancy endpapers, plus vinyl album.

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    Pledge £55 or more About US$ 72

    Meadow Hare Art Print PLUS vinyl album

    A 24cm x 14cm art print of the Meadow Hare by the artist Jo Cox. Hand printed relief print, black on white, signed open edition.

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