MFO and Roly Porter connect the primordial past with the near future.
A ‘kistvaen’ is the name given to Neolithic granite tombs frequently found scattered across the moorlands of Dartmoor in the south west of England. During the Neolithic Age, the bodies of the dead were lain in these tombs facing the sun, before they were covered with a mound of earth and surrounded by a ring of smaller stones.
It is from these simple burial sites that MFO and Roly Porter take the name for their latest collaboration, an audiovisual performance piece that seeks to connect the primordial past with the near future.
Drawing on Welsh and Gaelic medieval poetry and folk music, Roly Porter combines field recording, digital processing and the vocals of Mary-Anne Roberts, from medieval Welsh music duo Bragod, to create a sound that links ancient musical forms with contemporary sound design. In the same way, MFO blends footage captured at Dartmoor and in the Białowieża Forest with digital imaging techniques, cinematic lighting and stage design, transfiguring the space of Berlin’s Kraftwerk, where this video was filmed at Berlin Atonal 2019.
In this way the two artists imagine these kistvaen as portals, unmoored in time, spaces in which they can compare pagan ideas of magic, gods and the afterlife with emotional and social rituals of the technological age in order to identify affinities that exist across history.
Kistvaen has been shown at Unsound, Berlin Atonal and Sonic Acts festival. The album of the same name by Roly Porter arrives on May 29, via Subtext Recordings.