Ten of Swords

Art by Emma Lilian Martin

My next release is the tenth part of my 8-part Octopus series. Released 10th October 2022.

*EXCERPT FROM STEVE TUDOR’S PRESS RELEASE*

The ongoing ‘Octopus’ project is an audio exhibition of Adam Leonard’s recorded work over the last 2+ decades, under his own name, pseudonyms, side-projects and collaborations, bringing together music from sold-out limited edition releases plus out-takes, demos, live versions, soundtrack work, BBC sessions and cover versions. Each release (or ‘tentacle’) features previously unreleased and/or new material. Stylistically impossible to pin down ‘Octopus’ issues forth harmonium dirges, acoustic guitar/vocal artefacts, pulsing analogue electronics, laptop prog, spooky instrumentals, glassy-eyed drones, piano torch songs and more besides. Parts 1-8 were released in 2014 and 2015, and Part 9 followed in 2018.

The latest, and possibly final tenth tentacle spans Adam Leonard’s complete musical career from 2000-2022 and contains ten tracks, 6 previously unreleased. It will be released on the 10th day of the 10th month this year.

Track listing

  1. I Know You’ll Never Die
  2. Brian Aldiss
  3. In Receipt Of Zeros And Ones
  4. Weird Woman*
  5. I Died In A Line Of Ambulances *
  6. Year One*
  7. The Mercury 7 – acoustic version*
  8. Hour Glass
  9. Esme’s Song*
  10. Sod Off!*

* Previously unreleased

All songs written by Adam Leonard except 1 Leonard/WotD, 2 Ansara/Leonard, 4 Lewis/Tarpey, 5 Donaghy/Leonard, 8 R. Moult.

Running time: 36 minutes

Song Details

1. I Know You’ll Never Die (Leonard/WotD)

Originally released on the Warriors Of The Dystotheque ‘I Know You’ll Never Die’ EP (Reckless Records) in 2018. There’s a Le Galaxie remix here, possibly the first song I’ve been involved in you can actually dance to. If you like this one, there’s another 2 WotD/AL songs out there, the modern media-hungry astronaut-baiting ‘International Earth Station’ and the nightmare-inspired ‘Things In The Shadows’.

2. Brian Aldiss (Ansara/Leonard)

Recorded in 2010 and later released on the Echoes In Rows’ ‘Click Click Drone’ EP in 2013 (which was re-issued as a 6 track mini-album by Tectona Grandis in 2022). Brian Aldiss is my favourite sci-fi author.

3. In Receipt Of Zeros And Ones (Leonard)

Taken from the A Farewell To Hexes ‘Rendlesham’ album (TDO Cassettes, 2021 [tape] & Polytechnic Youth, 2022 [vinyl]). This track ‘soundtracks’ the moment Sgt. Jim Penniston touched the strange symbols on the side of the UFO ‘craft’ and saw “a bright light and a long string of digits”, which he later wrote down over many pages of a note book.

4. Weird Woman (Lewis/Tarpey)

Previously unreleased. Recorded in 2003, this is a song sent to me by Phil McHoul from his old band Citron Inoxydable d’Accord. I loved it so much I recorded a version almost there and then.

5. I Died In A Line Of Ambulances (Donaghy/Leonard)

Previously unreleased. Invaderband producer and musician in his own right Rory Donaghy sent me this music earlier this year and I wrote a few words and added vocals to it. He then mixed and mastered it and here it is. It’s inspired by a terrible story I heard on the radio which was caused by the soon-to-be-removed Conservative Government.

6. Year One (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. I was told that this song was too “soppy” or “saccharine” or something along those lines – I can’t remember the word, but it wasn’t complimentary, so ‘Year One’ has remained unreleased for 22 years. I wrote it when my son Jude was a new born baby, and it’s very real for me. I really meant it, and I took a lot of time over the words.

7. The Mercury 7 – acoustic version (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. This was a song I always struggled with. I think it has something, but I recorded it so many times in different ways I just got bored of it in the end. The version which I ended up putting on the ‘How Music Sounds’ album was one I did in desperation – it was a distorted, howling take recorded using Mickey Bradley of The Undertones’ electric guitar (and recorded in his front room). This is one of the early acoustic takes and even demonstrates my harmonica skills! Just like ‘Year One’, it’s very much influenced by Roy Harper, who I was obsessed with at the time. I think Toth’s Law is relevant here: “The work of art over which one slaves, bleeds, and suffers will almost invariably be the least effective, least enduring art one creates. Crucially (and luckily), the inverse is also true”.

8. Hour Glass (Moult)

Taken from Richard’s magnificent LP Last Night I Dreamt Of Hibrihteselle (2015), which I’m truly honoured to have been able to sing and play on.

9. Esme’s Song (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. A song about my daughter (then aged 2) from 2015. It’s from a acoustic solo album which I have abandoned. Some of the other songs remain unreleased. Maybe I will return to them some day.

10. Sod Off (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. This deals with comments made by my best friend Gareth regarding my apparently dangerous lawn. It’s an affectionate pastiche of the music of Gareth Davies (founding member of Mancunian maximal cult band Suburban Vegetable). This was produced for and broadcast at the 2019 annual The Dark Outside event. Had I not met Gareth in 1997, I doubt I would ever have written a single song. He really encouraged me to record and write, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for literally changing my life.

A huge thank you to Emma Lilian Martin for allowing me to use her painting for the cover. Find more of Emma’s wonderful art here: https://www.instagram.com/emmalilian.art/

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‘Peter Gabriel’ up for NI Music Prize 2022

I don’t normally post about Invaderband on here anymore as there’s invaderband.com for that stuff, but this is big news (to me, anyway!). The ‘Peter Gabriel’ album (and the latest single from it ‘Cheese Slices’) are nominated for Album of the Year and Single of the Year and there is a public vote – closing Tue 20th Sept – taking place NOW. If the records get enough votes they will be shortlisted (Top 12), and then in with a chance of actually winning the prize, which would be an absolute game changer for me & the band (after 10 years of hard work). So please head over to nimusicprize.com and cast a vote for the album and / or single. It would mean an awful lot to me.

Many thanks, +Adam x

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I can’t hear the echo of my footsteps

The ‘Click Click Drone’ mini-album: 22 minutes of retro electropop for the price of a city-centre pint was released on September 2nd 2022. DIGITAL ONLY via bandcamp

This release comprises the original 3-track ‘Click Click Drone’ EP from 2013 plus 3 bonus tracks. This collection is heavily influenced by John Foxx’s seminal electronic album ‘Metamatic’ made in 1979.

Echoes In Rows are Adam Leonard (words, top lines, vocals) & David Ansara (melodies, machines, additional vox on ‘Tsunami’). Songs written by Leonard/Ansara except ‘The Implausible Man’ written by Leonard.

LISTEN / OBTAIN HERE

(c) & (p) 2022, Tectona Grandis (TEAK16)

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In The Pines

Rendlesham is out on vinyl! And it looks and sounds amazing. Limited copies available direct from me for £15 + P&P. I can sign the sleeve if you like.

Listen over on Bandcamp -> https://adamleonard.bandcamp.com/album/rendlesham

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Upon four-legged forest clouds the cowboy angel rides

RENDLESHAM by A FAREWELL TO HEXES

I’m delighted to announce the vinyl version of the ‘Rendlesham’ will be released very soon (mid-July) on the sublime Polytechnic Youth label. The album got a limited release late 2021 on an 80-copy cassette by TDO Cassettes (The Dark Outside), which sold out in less than an hour.

The vinyl version has been mastered in Denmark by Antony Ryan at RedRedPaw, with brand new sleeve art and inserts.

THE STORY

SUFFOLK, ENGLAND, 1980: Often called England’s most famous UFO case or “The British Roswell”, the Rendlesham Forest Incident actually involves two different UFO events in the woods by RAF Woodbridge Air Base, being used by the United States Air Force at the time. On the night of Dec 25-26th 1980, guards at the East Gate of the base saw lights dropping from the sky into the forest to the east. Believing it was a plane crash, guards went to investigate but to their amazement ended up chasing a large, triangular, glowing object with a pulsating red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath which manoeuvred through the woods and later disappeared into the air. Animals in the woods and on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. Witness Sgt. James Penniston stated he managed to walk up to and around the object and even touched it at one point.

Two nights later, with the base buzzing with talk of what had apparently happened, Deputy base commander Lt. Col. Charles Halt assembled a team of airmen to investigate, Halt being determined to put an end to what he thought were nonsensical UFO rumours. Instead Halt and his men ran straight into a hive of strange activity, encountering a “red sun-like light” resembling an eye that moved about and pulsed. It then divided into five separate white objects and disappeared. Soon afterwards, they noticed 3 star-like objects manoeuvring in the sky, one occasionally beaming down a stream of light. Ground traces were also found at the landing site, including depressions in the ground, damage to the trees and increased radiation levels (up to 10 times over background) with maximum radiation being in the ground depressions and tree damaged areas.

THE ALBUM

RENDLESHAM is an electronic instrumental album soundtracking arguably Britain’s most remarkable UFO events. Side 1 soundtracks the bizarre Christmas/Boxing Day case (which includes Sergeant Jim Penniston encountering and receiving a binary code from a “craft of unknown origin”), and Side 2 brings to life the curious events witnessed by Lt. Colonel Charles Halt and his team in the forest in the early hours of 28th December 1980, incorporating original micro-cassette recordings (‘The Halt Tape’) captured at the time. The album ends with ‘Aftermath’, featuring the voice of Attorney Patrick Frascogna speaking at a 2011 U.S. court hearing attempting to gain access to Penniston & colleague John Burroughs medical records (both airmen suffered life-threatening ailments after coming into contact with the “craft” in 1980).

The music on the album is intentionally redolent of British underground electronic music at the time of the Rendlesham Forest incident. For best results this album should be listened to in the dark with eyes closed. You will enter the forest…

THE ARTIST

A FAREWELL TO HEXES is one of the pseudonym/pside projects of Adam Leonard who has quietly – and noisily – tinkered at the edges of eccentric English folk, electronic music, and more recently garage artrock with Invaderband, issuing a plethora of original music to much critical acclaim via highly regarded boutique labels such as The Great Pop Supplement, Northwestern Recordings, Tectona Grandis, Polytechnic Youth, Castles In Space, Bibliotapes and TDO Cassettes on formats including 7” vinyl, 10” vinyl, 12” vinyl, cassette & compact disc. Despite maintaining a low profile, Leonard’s Invaderband album was nominated for the 2017 Northern Ireland Music Prize alongside The Divine Comedy, Hanna Peel etc, and has garnered praise from BBC Radio 6Music’s Steve Lamacq and Gideon Coe with repeat plays on their national radio shows.

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PY160 | Stereo LP | 2022 | http://www.polytechnicyouth.com

We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight, ask himself if it’s him or them that’s really insane

There’s a new A Farewell To Hexes track on the new Bibliotapes release ‘The Diary Of A Madman’ (BIB017). The tapes sold out in a flash, but you can get a download on bandcamp. All proceeds to Ukraine Red Cross.

The stars above the barren trees

Reviews for the ‘Rendlesham’ tape.

“In 1980 the village of Rendlesham, Suffolk was put on the map with two UFO encounters at the nearby RAF base. These events were far from trivial, two airmen suffering life threatening injuries in the first encounter, while the second incident saw increased levels of radiation detected at a site where one of the UFOs allegedly landed. These events form the inspiration for Adam Leonard, or rather, A Farewell To Hexes’s Rendlesham. More than anything these wonky synth jams conjure the homemade, hopeful skywatching spirit of John Was Trying To Contact Aliens, a world of garden shed laboratories and off balanced experiments. ‘East Gate Expedition’ is a ramshackle kosmiche banger, the stargazing synths conjuring an ambience equal parts PolyCement and Harmonia. The second side slips into a slightly more sinister place, closer ‘Aftermath’ featuring the voice of Attorney Patrick Frascogna speaking at a US court hearing in 2011 in an attempt to gain access to the medical records of John Burroughs and James Penniston – the two airmen injured in the first Rendlesham encounter. Juxtaposed against the sci-fi synths, it brings to light the layers of secrecy and obstruction that can surround the night sky”

– THE QUIETUS

“Occupying similarly cosmic ground – just a little closer to Ipswich – is A Farewell To Hexes. This is the electronic side project of Adam Leonard, also of BBC 6Music-approved rockers Invaderband. No prizes for guessing the inspiration behind his new album Rendlesham, a splendidly sinister synth-fuelled account of the rum business that enveloped this picturesque Suffolk forest in December 1980. Epic 18-minute track ‘The Halt Tape In Colour’ even incorporates snippets of the infamous tape recordings made by RAF Woodbridge’s deputy commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt”

– FORTEAN TIMES MAGAZINE

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest

Photo by The Dark Outside

A new tape.

RENDLESHAM is an electronic instrumental album soundtracking arguably Britain’s most remarkable UFO events. Side 1 soundtracks the bizarre Christmas/Boxing Day case (which includes Sergeant Jim Penniston encountering and receiving a binary code from a “craft of unknown origin”), and Side 2 brings to life the curious events witnessed by Lt. Colonel Charles Halt and his team in the forest in the early hours of 28th December 1980, incorporating original micro-cassette recordings (‘The Halt Tape’) captured at the time. The album ends with ‘Aftermath’ (video below), featuring the voice of Attorney Patrick Frascogna speaking at a 2011 U.S. court hearing attempting to gain access to Penniston & colleague John Burroughs medical records (both airmen suffered life-threatening ailments after coming into contact with the “craft” in 1980).


The music on the album is intentionally redolent of British underground electronic music at the time of the Rendlesham Forest incident. For best results this album should be listened to in the dark with eyes closed. You will enter the forest..

Order here from 6pm:

https://thedarkoutside.bandcamp.com/merch/a-farewell-to-hexes-rendlesham

UPDATE: I’m delighted to say the ‘Rendlesham’ tape sold out. 80 copies in less than an hour. Thanks to everyone who bought it. I’ll hopefully get a bigger release of this album so more people can hear it – I’m very proud of it.

Meantime life outside goes on all around you

cassette by BUNKR

Photo by BUNKR

I’m over the moon to have a new track released on this superb compilation from Castles In Space. ‘The Isolation Tapes’ contains music recorded by artists in lockdown during the 2020 COVID-19 Corona Virus Pandemic.

The Isolation Tapes has 3 parts; CD, Cassette & Download, each with different tracklistings. My track, under the ‘A Farewell To Hexes’ moniker is on the cassette, but all three are chock full of truly great and fascinating music, and this release is highly recommeded with or without me!

Buy here: Castles In Space bandcamp with all proceeds to the Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

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Background Information from Colin Morrison of CIS:

CiS062//The Isolation Tapes:

Castles in Space brings you a stunning collection of new music recorded in isolation during the COVID19 lockdown//Released 29th May 2020//

A total of 62 tracks across CD//Cassette//Download selected from more than 250 submissions.

// A charity compilation in aid of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust//

On April 3rd 2020, two weeks into the UK’s total coronavirus lockdown and in an attempt to find something positive as a break from ping-ponging between high anxiety and frustrated bemusement, I sent out the call for submissions for a new compilation of music, which had some clear stipulations.

The message read as follows:
Submissions are requested for inclusion on CiS062 – “The Isolation Tapes”.
Submissions must have been recorded between:
Monday 23rd March:
The date the UK lockdown was imposed
and
Friday 17th April:
The closing date for submissions to the project.

Submissions *must* be new works recorded by the artist in isolation.
Castles in Space will handle mastering and manufacture, we just need your pre-mixed masters.
Submissions must include an image which represents the artist or the creation of the piece in isolation.
Release date for CiS062 is 29th May. Profits will be donated to Cavell Nurses’ Trust www.cavellnursestrust.org
They assist nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship. This is often due to illness, disability, older age, domestic abuse and the impact of coronavirus.

Please send submissions to
hello@castesinspace.com

The results were positively overwhelming and easily surpassed anything that I could have hoped for. I thought that I *might* be tapping into something, as some conversations with musicians I know and work with were indicating that the enforced period of downtime was proving to be extremely productive. Albums were being finished. Ideas exchanged over Zoom conversations were being laid down on hard drives around the world. There was, quite literally, something in the air.

By the end of the 2.5 week period the window for submissions was open, I had received somewhere in the region of 250 submissions. Pretty much all of them being of astonishing quality and accomplishment. While this was extremely heartwarming and satisfying, it also presented a real challenge in that the editing job was going to be massive and difficult. Further criteria were therefore set to assist the selection process.

1. As a general rule, anything too dark or dystopian was out. There were several sampled politicians and creeped out drone-a-thons, but I quickly came to the decision that this release had to offer something uplifting for the listener. We had to find some light and positivity in the darkness. For me, the tracks that worked best offered a droll commentary on our unprecedented situation without being overwhelmed by it.

2. The works really did have to be conceived and completed between 23rd March and 17th April. That rule was enforced pretty hard. Anything that had been “finished” or had undergone a “final mix” during that time was deemed to not meet meet the criteria for submission. It was important for me to capture the moment in the reaction of the contributors. Hopefully this global lockdown situation will never happen again, so I was viewing this as a one time only opportunity to document something unique.

3. As the submissions rolled in via email, Twitter, Instagram and facebook, it quickly became apparent that the original idea of releasing one cassette volume was not going to be sufficient. There was simply too much good stuff coming in. The scope was therefore quickly expanded out to include a CD volume and a cassette with three sides. ‘Side three’ being a download only selection.

And so began the selection of around 60 tracks which went forward for mastering by Jez Butler. Jez did a fantastic job of carefully mastering everything to a consistent, steady level. Brightening and de-harshing where necessary. There than began the marathon weekend long session of sequencing what tracks were going to go where. Once a final selection and sequence was decided upon, Nick Taylor was engaged to do his usual superb job on the artwork.

The finished compilation offers more than 60 tracks across CD, cassette and digital download.

The images submitted by the contributing artists add another dimension to the project and are available to see at castlesinspace.com

The Isolation Tapes project is sold in support of the magnificent Cavell Nurses’ Trust. A wonderful organisation which helps nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship. This is often due to illness, disability, older age, domestic abuse and the impact of coronavirus.

It is sincerely hoped that you will find much to enjoy in The Isolation Tapes. It was both an absolute joy and an arduous headache to put together (in a good way). The final edit was extremely difficult and there is certainly enough stuff in the can for further releases if these volumes find some appreciation.

As ever, thanks for listening.
Stay safe and well.
Colin Morrison
Castles in Space. May 21st 2020

Christmas Single

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My new single ‘It’s Another Christmas’ is now up on bandcamp exactly here.

It’s a ‘Name your price’ release, but please note that all proceeds go to Homelessness Charity SIMON COMMUNITY NI. Imagine being homeless this time of year and please be as generous as you can. Many thanks.

Also, if you could share this about on social media for me that would really be amazing and appreciated. The more money made, the more people helped – it’s a simple as that.

Merry Christmas.

+A  x

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