Pre-order 02/02/24, Release 22/03/24

Following 2019’s Outcrops and 2022’s Ravines, Structures is the third album in Mark’s trilogy of releases describing the geological history of the Upper Calder Valley. Where Outcrops explored the formation of the Millstone Grit bedrock 330 million years ago and its subsequent glacial scouring, and Ravines delved into the steep sided cloughs that lead down to the Calder, Structures looks at how the geology shaped the culture of the valley.

A sociogeological journal of sorts, Structures looks at the exploitation of the Millstone Grit as a building stone though time. Beginning with a hillside sheep farm at Mercie Field the journey continues to the industrial revolution and to Staups Mill, a small scale cotton mill tucked high up Jumble Hole Clough. Gaddings Dam was built to provide water to Lumbutts Mill in the days before steam. In summer it is a popular tourist destination but in winter its waters are cold and forbidding to all but the hardiest swimmers. Finally, at the ruins of Shore Baptist church the nonconformist spirit of the valley’s Victorian religion is evoked.
To compliment the human influence of the recording locations, the album features collaborations with local musicians Dan Bridgwood-Hill (dbh, Plank, Jim Ghedi etc.) on the violin, Sophie Cooper (The Slowest Lift) on trombone and Sam Mcloughlin (Sam and the Plants, Folklore Tapes, The Universal Veil) on Harmonium. All three gamely lugged their instruments to the remote locations where the album was recorded.

The sleeve is by Maxim Peter Griffin, an artist, illustrator and writer based in Lincolnshire. A fine art graduate and former stonemason, over the past few years he has been building a body of work that echo his experiences on foot between the North Sea and the hills.

about the extra tracks:

Le Bugue – This was recorded in the Dordogne in summer 2018 as a test for a new way of working that was used throughout the Outcrops and Ravines sessions.
Paul Clough – Recorded as a practice/equipment test prior to the Ravines sessions.
Cornholme Board School – Recorded on the school piano at Cornholme School near Todmorden during the Structures sessions.