The very first songs were most likely about nature. A plea for the gods to be kind: to switch on the sun and bring long days of fertility once winter had abated. Green grass, flowers in the spring, lambs born in the meadows. And who knows, some lovelorn lad or lass may have sadly strummed the first wistful lament to their departed love, tending the sheep, or by the fireside in the evening.
Folk music is the bridge back to that past, and there’s a flavour of folk in this episode. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci from the Welsh valleys, Nick Drake, deep in rural Warwickshire and Fleet Foxes from the hills of Washington state all show glimpses of what might have been had that shepherd or shepherdess had access to a recording studio.
We’re in globetrotting mode elsewhere, roaming to the shores of Iceland with Mum and, not before time, Australia is well represented. Two of its finest shine, The Triffids and The Go-Betweens, the latter with maybe their finest track, Cattle and Cane, a paean to Grant McLellan’s childhood days among the canefields of Queensland.
The episode is bookended with a couple of electronic tracks: the ambient dub of The Orb's classic Little Fluffy Clouds, and In a Beautiful Place Out In The Country from The Boards of Canada. The sinister vocoder on the latter a useful reminder that nature does not answer to humanity in the domain of The Great God Pan. Tracklist:-
Little Fluffy Clouds, The Orb
Poppies, The Teardrop Explodes
The Crystal Lake, Grandaddy
How I long to feel that summer in my heart, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
Cattle and cane, The Go Betweens
Raining pleasure, The Triffids
Seaweed, Mt Eerie
Passing afternoon, Iron and Wine
Even dogs in the wild, The Associates
River man, Nick Drake
Green Grass of tunnel, Mum
White winter hymnal, Fleet Foxes
In a beautiful place out in the country, Boards of Canada