Track By Track: Woo – Into The Heart Of Love
Sonic travellers Woo guide us through the pastel hued otherworldliness of their record conceived of in the 'dodgy end' of Wimbeldon. Despite the grey mundane backdrop that Into The Heart of Love originated from, the record span-and still does- in a kaleidoscopic orbit of its own making; dissolving folk,new age kitsch and esoteric sonics together into a richly textured ode to love. Initially released on the once commonplace-but now comparatively obscure- cassette format, Stuart Leath's ace Emotional Rescue imprint gives Into The Heart of Love a timely reissue, this time thankfully onto vinyl and CD.The 2014 edition features a crisp remaster drawn from the original DAT tapes and a (slightly) modified sleeve to boot.
Expect Tibetan drones, Native American mythology and extraterrestrial messages of love.
INTO THE HEART OF LOVE
"I don’t think I could relate individual tracks to particular colours or seasons, but collectively I would say, the colours for the album are pastel versions of all the colours in the spectrum- with a complete absence of black and white- and the season summer time.
Ideally listened to in a hammock by a gentle English river, with dappled sunshine warming your naked body. The reality of the tracks origins, was in a small terraced house down the dodgy end of Wimbledon between 1975 and 1985."
Back in the Eighties when we recorded this album, there was a lot of talk about the end of times and new eras starting based on astrological calculations, interpretations of the Bible, the Mayan Calendar and the Hopi Indian Prophecies etc. On one of these significant dates – 13 May 1986, when there was a very special astrological alignment, we recorded this track to celebrate our optimism about the changes the Hopi Prophecies alluded to.
The Frogs Fandango
The tempo of this track, its simple melody and improvised guitar, have an easy relaxed atmosphere, which give a feeling that there’s nowhere to go, and nothing to do, but within that … life is good!
As with so many of our tracks from this era, there isn’t a predetermined end result in mind when we start to record. We might have a general feel of what we were we intending to do or simply a specific way of working that we were experimenting with. Often what the music means to us and the subsequent title only emerge at the completion of the recording.
When You Find Your Love
When You Find Your Love was originally an upbeat song (with terrible lyrics). We then recorded this slower instrumental version. Mark borrowed a twelve string guitar for the middle section and spent weeks working on the arrangement. At the time, I was listening to Tomita who made recordings of Debussy and Holst compositions, which he played on a Moog synthesizer. I think these records inspired me to do minimal bass lines and slow sustained melodies underneath the main ingredients of the guitars.
A Complex Art
In a recent interview we did with Scott Davis at Bomb Magazine, he described our music as “pop music for another universe”. Looking back on it, when I recorded ‘A Complex Art’ that was the idea I was working with. By its very nature, purely electronic music, lends itself to futuristic and otherworldly territories. My initial attraction to working with electronic music was for this very reason. It makes me think of the phrase “The medium is the message”. Electronic music has been used in so many ways to inherently convey a message. Mark and I were also interested in combining acoustic and electronic sound, attempting to make sounds that were full of mystery as to their origin, having the expression of a played acoustic instrument combined with precision and trickery inherent within sequencers and synthesizers. With this track, I played all the keyboard sequences through a vocoder and then played percussion to trigger the output, bringing a more organic feel to the end result.
Like many of our tracks, Trish’s Return sounds ordinary and unusual at the same time. The title came as we were recording it, there was a knock on the door and a great friend (Trish, who we had not seen for a long time) had returned.
Into the Heart of Love
This became the title track of the album. There is a sense of freedom and lightness in its instrumentation, which expressed the euphoric feelings we can feel when true heartfelt love is shared.
Love on Other Planets
This was recorded in 1977, the year Steven Spielberg released his movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The end of the film has an alien space ship communicating with the humans by emitting coloured light patterns that corresponded to the famous five note tonal phrase. This form of communication implies a benevolent life form. This inspired the idea that LOVE could have (and I am sure does have) multitudes of forms of expression on other planets within the universe.
Mark had been trekking in Nepal and brought back several Tibetan Singing Bowls. We used one of these in this track to create a drone note, which formed the basis of the track.
Both Mark and I loved the track ‘The Spark of Life’ off Todd Rundgren’s double album ‘Todd’; he plays a sublime epic guitar solo that builds and builds over an increasingly intensifying backing track, culminating in the guitar screaming, fracturing and decaying. Using the drone of the Tibetan Singing bowl as a starting point, we wanted to make a track that had a real crescendo. The simple improvised development of the music also seemed to capture some of the intensity of his experience in Nepal.
The original inspiration for this piece was from the mechanical organs that accompanied the carousel ponies on fairground merry-go-rounds. Upbeat, step time sequences with a sense of lightness and fun and optimism.
The Subtle Shadow
The lyrics for The Subtle Shadow came from a book called ‘The Perfumed Garden’. The words we selected have a mystical and sensual description of love.
Mark was invited to a party In Nottingham and met a lady called Sarah, that night he made up a silly song about her. When he came home we recorded this song as an instrumental. Within the composition there are some natural pauses at the end of some of the phrases, which allow for a gentle change in tempo. By the end of the track, with the decrease in tempo, as the silence between the notes become more extended and dominant, it creates a heightened sense of anticipation, awaiting the next phrase, combined with a feeling of stillness from within the extended silences.
The track is shaped like a mountain, it fades in, it peaks and slowly fades out, as if ascending a mountain, reaching the summit and then descending. We wanted to combine the feeling of a vast landscape, and the sense of achievement and success when reaching the summit.
Was a tune based on a poem that was written by Trish (our long lost friend). Mark’s way of recording is to record a chord structure and simply jam along with it, as if playing with other musicians. With this track, overdubbing more harmony notes with the guitar to enhance the melody.
Heart of Love/Lullaby
By combining the title track of the album with this very slow and minimal sequence, was a way of conveying the idea that within all forms of love there is stillness.
The Heart Sleeps
At the time we recorded this music, Mark was working on a community project for a rundown suburb in South London. He was making a short film showing people’s lives in this grey impoverished town. He used this music as a backdrop to the film. The film was a deep exploration of some of the individuals living in this town. There is a feeling of resignation in the music which reflected the lives of the people in the film. We used this music to convey that there is also a beauty within the sadness of how life can unfold with its inevitable losses and disappointments.
Spaces We Breathe
Within its short duration, this track contains many of the elements that exist within all the other tracks on the album. Positioned at the end of the album, its plodding rhythm, breathy clarinets, guitars and sweetly singing synth sounds all converse with each other, as if to echo and remind the listener of the spaces those sounds have just inhabited.
Woo's Into The Heart of Love is out on Emotional Rescue. Buy it here
Joining The Circus
What to do for British politics?
Solidarity with Ukraine
URL vs. IRL
Do DJs Today Need Social Media to Be Heard?
I Hear (Borusiade Remix)
Mother of MarsShop Now
Hologram TeenShop Now