Molten Metal Flow

Molten Metal Flow

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

DARK - Buy

CD/Album (6 panel digifile card sleeve) £10 (inclusive of P&P worldwide)

Friday, 16 November 2012

DARK - review

Hwyl Nofio: DARK

Hwyl Nofio loosely translates from Welsh as “emotional swimmers”, and that core of emotion centres on one musician, Steve Parry (born 1958 in Pontypool, S. Wales). A classically trained guitarist and composer, Parry’s career in music spans nearly three decades, encompassing threads that reach back as far as the post-punk movement and as far forward to the prevailing drone/doom scene within contemporary underground music. Although the brooding soundscapes of Hwyl Nofio are solitary in conception, Parry works with a team of close collaborators that includes Mark Beazley (from avant-garde luminaries Rothko), Gorwel Owen (producer/musician of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), Sandor Szabo (Hungarian avant-garde guitarist) Danish experimental Fractal guitarist Frederik Soegaard and Trevor Stainsby.

Each project is wrought from a relentless collective energy, producing such remarkable results as “Hymnal” (2002) an evocative treatise on religious symbolism, “Hounded by Fury”, a mordant assemblage of instrumental starkness, and the arresting guitar tonality of Parry and Soegaard’s joint release “Off the Map” (2007). Parry defines Hwyl Nofio as “cathartic in the sense that it is based on personal understanding of an explicit time and place”, and each release bears the weight of pure emotion and expression; a catharsis surges from within each of them like a longed-for crashing wave.

The latest album from Hwyl Nofio is entitled “DARK”, and dares to occupy a space beyond the temporal and the spatial. Instead it evokes a landscape wrought from personal experience, magnifying its visual and aural dialogues so that it transcends the specifics of its origin. Parry provides tangible evidence of this landscape in an accompanying book that inculcate the listener into a world of chilling folk myths and the resonances of family histories, as well as timely references to the forgotten legacies of Jane Arden and Bruce Chatwin. Their extraordinary work, commemorated in “Anticlock” and “On the Black Hill” respectively, acts as markers for the road less travelled, indicating divergent routes throughout the album that lead to ever more surprising vantage points. Its alien minimalist fields of sound are the result of a long gestating vista, both moulded and misshapen; its symbols are disorienting in their familiarity, the sensory impact resides in the intrigue of the ordinary. In its midst, you are without compass, but are also without fear. Its intimacy swallows you whole.

Kevin McCaighy

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Radio - The Garden of Earthly Delights - 1hr DARK mix

Hwyl Nofio have recorded a special mix for The Garden of Early Delights on CRMK radio;   including several tracks from their latest LP entitled DARK. It has been 10 years since The Garden of Early Delights first featured Hwyl Nofios’ music on the show. Broadcast on 23rd Nov 2012 @ (22.00hrs) the mix shall feature tracks from DARK plus previously unreleased music including a first airing Worldwide of the 15 minute composition Christ Distort and tracks from fellow Nofio Mark Beazley and the avant guitar work of Parry/Soegaard. Follow the link below for details of the show. Hoping you can join us on the night.

Click on link:-

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hwyl Nofio - Dusk - DARK

"There comes a time when silence is betrayal"
(Martin Luther King)

Scotch Cattle was the name taken by a secret brotherhood of coal miners in South Wales. Dressed in cow skins, wearing elaborate headgear comprised of the severed head of a black bull, the gang would raid at night, visiting and terrorising the home of a local miner known to be working during a strike or liaising with an employer against the local mining community. Sometimes as many as 300 men would gather high on the mountain. With torches ablaze they would arrive at a house announcing their presence by screaming and shouting, blowing horns and rattling chains. They would break-open the house door, smash windows, destroy all furniture and burn any fabric items in a bonfire. If the homeowner were to resist he would be beaten severely, regularly breaking their bones so as prevent them returning to work. Several members of these bands were possibly idealists, but others were local thugs merely looking for a chance to loot property from the groups' targets—or even, in some cases, from bystanders. The brotherhood flourished during the 1820s and 1830s, the last confirmable reference to a Scotch Cattle raid dates from 1850. However, in 1926, the Scotch Cattle were revived by pickets in the great strike who dressed themselves as Scotch Cattle, evoking the memory of the terroristic enforcement of solidarity that the Cattle had carried out in the past. The origins of the name Scotch Cattle are unclear – one theory is the name derives from the idea a local mine owner kept a herd of Scottish Black Cattle. The stealing and skinning of the animal could be seen as a provocative act, an act of defiance, solidarity against the appalling working and living conditions subjected on the men and their families by the rich landowner.

Hwyl Nofio - Gone - DARK


I recall as a boy visiting my grandfather’s house in New Inn, Pontypool and being enchanted by a painting prominently displayed above the fireplace. The image was of a racing pigeon, handwritten on the canvass were the words 'QUARRY QUEEN’, 1st Ripon, Pontypool Club, 1954. Bred and Raced by Mr J Hughes. The image has resonated throughout the years and today remains in my possession – treasured, a constant reminder, exhibited prominently on my living room wall. So what makes this painting so important to me personally? Well he was my Grandfather and I cannot ignore the sentiment involved, but hidden in the paint of this picture is a message that remains to this day.

Around 1910 John Hughes came with his father, brothers and sister from the Shropshire hills to South Wales, to the eastern valley in search of a new life. It had been a difficult time; his mother had died at the age of 37, devastated by the loss, father moved the remaining family, walking over 100 miles to Pontypool to make a fresh start. Through family contacts they found a place to stay, unfortunately there wasn’t enough room for the boy in his father’s house, consequently John age 12yrs was farmed-out to a distant cousin, a person he'd never met, to work the land. Displaced, living in a household through obligation not choice, a family who were poor with little food to feed an additional mouth, John felt unwanted and so took to the hills to trap rabbits to allay hunger. Not wanting to return home he'd wander alone on the mountain, in winter ‘pissing’ on his hands to stay warm and outside. Pontypool in those days was an ugly, vibrant, dangerous place, a heavy industrial landscape where coal mines and steelworks dominated the valley and its people. John was between 13 and 14 when he started his first real job in the mines, taking care of the pit ponies. At the age of 15, John went to work at Tirpentwys Colliery where he spent the majority of his working life digging for coal with a pick and shovel, deep underground in an anthracite coal seam, barely a foot deep. After the shift ended, the lift would bring the miners to the surface - then they would see daylight. There were no pit head baths so John went home black from the coal dust to wash in old tin bath. Mining remained his life until he retired through ill health – coal dust choked his lungs and ultimately black lung disease took his life.

Throughout childhood I spent a great deal of time listening to my grandfather’s stories. He remains a larger than life character, a hero to the present, and his thoughts and ideals echo through me to this day. I particularly recall running my fingers over his near bald head and feeling a prominent ridge that ran front to back and east to west on his skull. During an explosion in the mine the coal had fallen in and cracked his head like a walnut – they took him home from the mine and laid him out on the kitchen table to die!

The keeping of racing pigeons was a popular hobby among coal miners. John had a loft in the back garden and from here he would rear young birds to race. Pigeon racing is a sport in which specially bred and trained pigeons are released from specific locations. They then race back to their home lofts. As a member of the local pigeon fanciers club John would spend many non-working hours talking birds with other pigeon fancying friends. Quarry Queen remained his special bird – to him she was the stuff of legend – so much so – a commemorative picture was commissioned as a prize by the artist T.H Edwards. I have since discovered via a BBC documentary that racing pigeon painters is an art form in itself

John Hughes never ventured far; Cardiff remained an exotic distant location. Holidays were a trip on a steamboat on the lake in Roath-Park. Gloucester, through the Forest of Dean appeared like a journey into Outer Space. Never in his lifetime did he go abroad – everywhere outside of the valley appeared foreign.

What John lacked in miles above ground, he made up for in his imagination. Quarry Queen would be his eyes on the world, fly the depth and breadth of the land, what she saw, he said, she relayed back to her master. This mythical bird gave to my grandfather an enormous amount of pleasure. I suppose to him Quarry Queen represented a life elsewhere, a world away from the grim reality of life underground. Quarry Queen represented freedom – perhaps a yearning for what might have been.

QUARRY QUEEN (1st)  Bred and Raced by Mr J Hughes

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Herbert the Steelroller

Herbert the Steelroller - composition - Hwyl Nofio - Dark

In my recorded work I have occasionally referred to steel manufacture and the memory of my grandfather Herbert Parry - The abstract guitar composition ‘From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow’ underlining the experience of visiting a steelworks.

Herbert worked as a steel roller and unfortunately died of gangrene poisoning when I was only 3 years old. A quiet, dignified gentleman – he was someone I would have liked to have had the opportunity to know better.

I recall in my youth walking along a public footpath that cut through Panteg Steelworks on my way to secondary school. The sights, sounds and smell of the place reverberate to this day. The blistering heat of the furnace, the white light sparks the deafening thud of an industrial hammer and the noxious gasses that remained long in the nose and throat.  

All that remains today are the echoes of memories of a once heavy industrial landscape. Currently the site is being developed as residential housing and the Parc Panteg housing estate. The industrial buildings and structures have been removed and remedial work in relation to land contamination has been carried out, in its place there appears yet another LEGOLAND development with the promise of a better lifestyle, devoid of character.

But what about people and jobs you may ask. Panteg steel works was founded in 1873 and operated for over 130 years until its closure in 2004. At one point 900 people were employed producing stainless steel at Panteg. Throughout its history many thousands of people including my grandfather Herbert Parry were employed in the manufacture of steel. Others benefitted throughout the local community as the factory provided work for many trades and businesses.

Working in steel production was extremely hard, hot, filthy work that often acutely affected your health, but it wasn’t only a job it was the opportunity of employment and with it a way of life.

Today – the eastern Afon Valley seems intent on promoting itself in terms of its industrial heritage. Museums of rail, steel, iron and coal attract visitors from far and wide to experience the relics of the past and presumably part with their cash. Men dress up as coal miners and tell a tale or two as the cage descends into the dark – the illusion is real!

Culture and society are intricately related. Through culture and society people and groups define themselves. Today the valley appears to have become an industrial theme park?

What follows is a partial account of Herbert’s working life by my father John Parry.

My Dad, Herbert Parry was a Roller in the Richard Thomas & Baldwins Steelworks at Panteg about a mile and a half from where we lived in New Inn, Pontypool.

A roller was the leader of a team of men who took Steel ingots which had been heated in the furnaces to a very high temperature and rolled the steel in large metal rollers until it was the required thickness and size. There would be a number of Rollers in a large steelworks like Panteg.

The roller was paid on the tonnage they processed and he then paid his men. The roller had to be highly skilled and was rewarded accordingly.

I remember asking my Dad why he did not progress to Manager of all the rolling mills and he told me he would be getting a lot less money. I believe at the time my Dad was earning £20 a week compared with the Manager's £8 a week.

The roller and his men had very tough and onerous jobs. They had to manhandle the steel ingots on to the rolling mill and using large tongs they manoeuvred the steel back and fro between the large rollers until it met the size needed and the right quality. My Dad liked dealing with stainless steel as it was very challenging and possibly more lucrative for the team.

The heat in the rolling mills and furnace areas was very high which, with the heavy work, made the men sweat profusely. They all wore flannel shirts with a sweat clothes around their necks and needed to drink a lot to stop being dehydrated. During the shift they drank a lot of tea which they had brought from home in metal canisters. I can remember I was often asked by my Mam ( Hilda) to take a fresh can of tea to my Dad at the Steelworks during the shift. To get there I used to go along the road to Griffithstown and cut across the fields and then climb over a large pipe to cross the Afon Llwyd river and then go in the back way to the Rolling Mills. My Dad was always pleased to see me with the tea which was very welcome.

After the shift my Dad took his team to the pub near the Steelworks and made sure his team made up for the moisture they had lost. My dad had a good team and it was his way of showing his personal appreciation for their hard work. They then went home for a good bath as they were dirty and their clothes were sweaty.

During the evenings when my Dad was not working he would go to meetings of the Royal Order of Buffalos of which he was President, to the Home Guard or to socialise with friends at the pubs in the village. My Dad was a very generous man and usually would be the first up to the bar.

My visits to the Steelworks gave me a good insight on what it was like working there. Sometimes, when my Dad and I were having an argument, I would say that I was going to work at the Steelworks which was the last thing he wanted me to do. This did not happen very often as my Dad was a very even tempered and gentle man.

Unfortunately, by the late 1940's my Dad was taken ill with dermatitis and had to give up his job as a roller as it was considered that his illness was related to his work. He took a job as a labourer in the steelworks which was a huge drop in wages. At the time he was just over 50.

I often thought that maybe he would have been better off if he had accepted the earlier offers to be a Manager but it is easy to be wise after the event.

The large drop in income made a big difference in my Dad's life style and I was sad to see many of his friends disappear. There were some loyal friends who tended to be in the same situation as my Dad and they remained loyal. This was a lesson to my Dad and to me.

John Parry, April 2012

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hwyl Nofio - Dark - Anti-Clock

I have always admired people who think outside the box; mavericks who take risks as a matter of necessity, not journeymen purely playing by the rules.

I recall with great joy discovering the philosophy and music of John Cage, the photography of Man Ray, the painting of Salvador Dali who embraced the science of painting as a way to study the psyche through subconscious images.  I appreciate the disturbing twisted images of the soul created by Francis Bacon.  I find the same zest for the unknown in the Yorkshire born improvisational guitarist Derek Bailey who creates an abstract language all of its own making.  

I am an admirer of Surrealism and other forms of abstract art. The cinema, Luis Buñuel, especially his early films made with Salvador Dali: Un chien andalou (1928), with a perpetually shocking opening shot of the eye being sliced by a razor, and L'Âge d'or (1929), a sacrilegious mix of quasi-scientific documentary, psychoanalytic symbolism and eye-catching visual imagery. In 1929 Man Ray created Le Mystère du château de dés with Duchamp and L'Étoile de mer, centred on a poem by Desnos, relying on improvisation to produce a kind of ‘automatic cinema’.

Some people have even suggested that the basic rhetoric of cinema is Surrealist in essence. I stumbled upon the work of Jane Arden by accident really. Intrigued by the abstract/experimental nature of her films and the fact we both originate from the same town – I wanted to learn more. Jane Arden (née Norah Patricia Morris) was born at 47 Twmpath Road, Pontypool in 1927. Jane Arden was an actress, author, filmmaker and poet whose screenwriting and directorial work of the late 60s and 70s explored themes of social isolation and ‘madness’, sexual politics and radical feminism. The films Arden wrote and directed with director-producer Jack Bond (Dali in New York, It Couldn’t Happen Here) are  a unique and unclassifiable body of work, ranging from Separation’s counter-cultural splendour of swinging 60s London to Anti-Clock’s boundary-pushing psycho-exploration. The 1966 documentary Dalí in New York chiefly consists of the renowned surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and Arden walking the streets of New York discussing Dali’s work. This film was resurrected and shown at the 2007 Tate Gallery Dalí exhibition.

For her last film, ‘Anti-Clock’ (1979) Arden also wrote and performed the soundtrack. Anti-Clock is a complex and fascinating experimental exploration of time and identity. ‘Anti-Clock remains a film of genuine, startling originality utilising both cinema and video techniques, Arden and Bond create a movie that captures the anxiety and sense of danger that has subverted the consciousness of so many people throughout western society. ‘Anti-Clock ‘engages its audience by being mysterious, disturbing, fascinating and exhilarating.

Throughout her life Arden remained interested in other cultures and faiths which in turn took the form of a personal spiritual quest. Jane Arden was clearly an adventurous, complex artist who frequently tackled very challenging subject matter in variable forms of media.

The extraordinary career of British film-director, screenwriter, playwright and actor Jane Arden came to an abrupt end when she committed suicide on Dec. 20, 1982 in North Yorkshire. She was buried in Darlington West Cemetery.  In 2011 her remains were exhumed and moved by her family to Highgate Cemetery in London. Jane Arden remains a unique figure in British post-war culture.

The Hwyl Nofio composition ‘Anti Clock’ as featured on the forthcoming album ‘Dark’ is my tribute to her.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Away with the Fairies

In the summer of 2011 I returned to Pontypool with my wife to visit locations and research various themes in relation to the project Dark. Staying in an old barn conversion on Coity Mountain I was able to explore the surrounding landscape and investigate the legends that have remained a constant source of fuel to the imagination. Looking into the genealogy of my family has revealed many interesting stories and characters. This research has shown we had lived amidst these hills and valleys for hundreds of years.
My Mother Annie had been a church organist and several of her family are interred in the family tomb at Ebenezer Chapel. Cwmffrwrdoer.  Ebenezer Chapel is associated with the rather eccentric Rev Edmund Jones aka the Prophet of the Tranch. The Rev Edmund Jones is fascinating not only for being a man of God but also for believing in fairies. His only education was gained from the curate of Aberystruth, Howel Prosser – a man who actually took part in a fairy funeral.  Edmund Jones had a deep interest in astrology and seemingly possessed a genuine gift of prophecy.
In 1740, Edmund Jones came to live near Pontypool, residing in an old cottage called Lower Pen-tranch. On a personal note I discovered that Lower Pen Tranch had since been owned by the family of my Great Great Grandmother Mary Jane Curtis. My Mother recalls visiting the cottage as a little girl and being enchanted by the old place. The house remains to this day and appears in the same condition as when the Prophet lived there.  The ground floor contains a small room called the Prophet’s Study in which he wrote his books.  These books contain a collection of stories about extraordinary apparitions, or spirits, to all of which are assigned a divine or diabolical origin.  He was noted in the district for foretelling things, for having the ability to predict the future.
Edmund Jones books provide a remarkable insight into life in the valley before the Industrial Revolution. He discovered a predominantly Welsh speaking community immersed in a way of life, possessing diverse customs and folk-lore; Religion being an eclectic mix of Pagan Mythology and Celtic Christianity.
Edmund Jones succeeded in raising sufficient money to build Ebenezer Chapel.  To complete the building he had to sell his beloved books for £15.  For the tiny income of £3 a year, he served his congregation until his death in 1791 at the age of 91. Fairies are said to have been seen playing in the Churchyard, perhaps hiding among gravestones.
I like the sound of the old Rev Edmund Jones; the term ‘away with the fairies’ has been attributed to him by some people.

Hwyl Nofio - Fairy folk funeral - Dark

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Hwyl Nofio - Dark

Hwyl Nofio – Dark - (Ltd Edition: Music CD/Hardback Photobook Project 2012)


is essentially about a South Wales Valley; Pontypool and the eastern valley to be more precise, an area that lies straggled beside the river that runs through it. The Afon Lwyd (English: The Grey River).

A personal heritage runs deep throughout the landscape. Like the lost tunnels mined by the hand of human slavery the music and poetry of the place runs in the blood. Pontypool was not that long ago an industrial landscape scarred by a succession of iron, coal, steel and glass - this was the landscape and playground of childhood.

I have lived in many places; I have settled in Yorkshire; however the heart and soul remain routed firmly in the valley. I return as often as possible to bask in this magical place. As a boy I would sit on the Black mountain listening to the sounds emanating from the valley; the sounds of coal trucks scraping along steel rails, the solitary chime of a church bell,  dogs’ barking in the distant streets. This had been the soundtrack of youth. A strange mystical land informed by stories of people, spirits and legends – the sights of white light heat spitting from the furnace and the constant drone of the church organ.

(All images and text are copyright © Steve Parry 2012 – I don’t take kindly to people stealing my work - Thankyou)