Meet the newest heartthrob for the cardigan and wellies set.
(Photo via here)
Former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker has teamed up with Britain's venerable National Trust to produce a free album of miniature soundscapes recorded on thirteen historic properties across England, Ireland and Wales.
Let me say that again: it's free. And you can download it HERE.
I've been listening to it since yesterday and I swear my blood pressure is now lower than a Tibetan monk's during morning gongyo.
There's no music to speak of, just the glorious pastoral sounds of crunching gravel, chirping birds, murmuring children, striking clocks and more.
It took Jarvis three months to record all the sounds and he describes it as "a holiday for the ears. It's not really meant to be listened to intently, like a piece of music, but more as something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation. Plus, you get to visit thirteen National Trust properties in the space of 30 minutes."
There's a creaking staircase from Chartwell House, former home of Winston Churchill, which made me envision all the late nights during WWII when he must have dragged himself up to bed with a heavy heart.
(Chartwell House, via here)
There's morning birdsong mixed with crunching footsteps on gravel from Belton House, a 17th century Restoration-era estate in Lincolnshire. (I must mention that this house was featured in the Colin Firth version "Pride and Prejudice", so of course it's impossible to listen to it without imagining Mr. Darcy striding up the path.)
(Belton House, photo: Peter Searle)
There's the lulling sound of waves lapping against the shore on Brownsea Island in Dorset -- I swear I thought I was dozing in a beach chair with a blanket tucked around my legs.
(Brownsea Island via here)
Birds capering in a Georgian water garden at Fountains Abbey, a World Heritage site with neoclassical statues and a medieval deer park, had me convinced that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in one of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels.
(Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. Photo: Tim Stewart)
There's an eerie track recorded at Ham House, a 400-year-old estate near the River Thames. Apparently, Jarvis perfectly captured the supposedly haunted character of the place. According to Victoria Bradley, house manager, "You can hear the sound of the big front door being unlocked by a key and the sound of crisp footsteps going through a basement and then into the distance."
(Photo via here)
According to The Independent newspaper, the indie musicians's appeal is so great that the National Trust website has been struggling to manage the vast numbers of people going online to download the album. (I did encounter a bit of trouble when I tried on Thursday, but by Friday it was no problem.)
I love that this album means that indie alt-rock lovers and the "Country Life" crowd are crossing into the same subset, don't you? Talk about two worlds colliding in the most delightful way:
"Pardon me, dear, but isn't that Jarvis Cocker's rendition of Chartwell House on your iPod? Yes, I thought so. And, by the way, I adore that lip piercing you're sporting."
(Sources: www.guardian.co.uk, www.independent.co.uk)