The Shining Levels
Music inspired by the novel The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers.
“Resonating with the raw currents of nature, notes of hot human emotion and wild surges of power and defiance which underpin the narrative…This music takes on the textures of hardship and hope, the human continuance and determination to strive in the countryside, to come to some kind of understanding with nature.” - Emily Oldfield, Louder than War.
Written and recorded on the edge of the northern English moors using rural folk musicians, loops and electronics, the result is a heady brew of gritty landscape hymns, ethereal acid-folk, borderlands ballads, 70s folk horror TV/film atmospherics, mood pieces, echoes of the colliery bands of old, moor-top drones and much, much more.
Music inspired by the novel The Gallows Pole sees The Shining Levels tread similar topographical terrain to The Unthanks, and shares DNA with such disparate musical ancestors such as Pentangle, Sandy Denny, Bridget St. John and Tom Waits, though is its own beast entirely.
Inspired by the real life events of 18th century Yorkshire criminal gang the Cragg Vale Coiners who operate in the Upper Calder Valley in the Pennines, the album’s source material, The Gallows Pole by author Benjamin Myers, has rapidly become a modern cult classic. First published in 2017 by Bluemoose Books, it has sold out seven print-runs before being reissued by Bloomsbury Publishing. It is the first novel to be signed to Jack White’s Third Man Books, and will be published in the US/Canada in November 2019.
Drawing on a shared childhood and background with the author, The Shining Levels’ music explores themes from the book: an England divided, the potency and mystery of remote rural landscapes, industrial progress, the changing seasons, shifting fortunes, self-delusion and self-aggrandisement, poverty vs wealth, societal power structures…and strange visions of mythical creatures.