Virginia Astley – ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’

Thank you Gideon Coe. During mental health awareness week, Gideon Coe played Virginia Astley – ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure‘ (1983) in its entirety on his 6 Music ambient themed show. No interludes, no bantz, just as it was intended. If, like me, this album is new to you and you want a reference point, think The KLF ‘Chill Out’.

From Gardens is as British and summery as an album can get. It is split into 2 ‘movements’, Morning and Afternoon. It’s full of fabulous field recordings of church bells, sheep and owls to name a few. The field recordings act as transitions to the next flute or keyboard led tune. They continue on as loops in the background as the next piece starts. The whole thing forms as whimsicle masterpiece.

Many melodies sound familiar and create a feeling of nostalgia in this listener. I was humming the tunes as the album played out on 6 Music despite never having heard it. Immediate albums often loose interest fairly quickly. However, this is still going strong and I’ve no doubt will continue to.

I’ve played this a few times out on my lockdown walks in my local woodlands. It’s perfect for that. One of the benefits of lockdown is noticing nature more (when my headphones are not in). It’s inspired me to record more summer sounds. I’m currently collecting the many sounds of the blackbird for my end of year mix. Recorded from my garden where I’ve felt secure for the last few months.

If you want to purchase this you’ll have to shell out, as the CD is about £40. The vinyl seems mythical. It was reissued a few years later with the ‘Melt the Snow’ instrumentals. They’re enjoyable but they don’t enhance the core of the album. It’s not on Spotify, but thankfully YouTube has it hosted. Enjoy this.

 

 

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