For some years now, some of my happiest times have been spent in the Calder Valley. With old and new friends, watching music and drinking and such. Hebden Bridge and Todmorden both have a ‘scene’ that is special and intertwined and unique, and much of that is down to the efforts of a brilliant bunch of people – Ned from Was Ist Das?, Sophie and Jake from Tor Bookings (and various other enterprises), the inimitable Gig from the Golden Lion and Richard ‘Wakka’ Walker from White Rabbit. It’s due to their combined efforts and imagination (and address books) that something as special as last year’s Tor Ist Das? festival happened.
I spent Christmas in Hebden Bridge, saw the devastation and chaos caused by the entirely avoidable flooding, heard the stories of friends losing their businesses or experiencing serious damage to their homes and being screwed over by insurance companies. The sole upside to the dreadful events was the camaraderie and spirit displayed by the people in the valley and from good people all over, something which continues still – benefit gigs, fundraisers, stalls and pop ups are still going strong.
And now this. As a benefit for Calder Valley Flood Relief Fund, Ned Was Ist Das has pulled together a remarkable collection of nearly 4 hours of music – mostly recorded live somewhere in the valley, and indeed most of it taken from recordings of the wonderful Tor Ist Das? Weekender. The Bird People’s Calder Valley Rockaway – a loose cover of the Jackie O’Motherfucker recording which was itself a reworking of an old gospel tune; Woven Skull with Core Of The Coalman performing Sea Grave and being as awesome as ever; Richard Dawson’s version of Judas Iscariot from his breathtaking closing set; Girl Sweat’s demented, pew-straddling performance of Off The Tracks; and perhaps most special of all, an extract from David Colohan’s rare appearance in his Raising Holy Sparks guise in collaboration with Willie from Woven Skull, a performance which had grown men and women sobbing through their brutal hangovers. Aside from the Calder-sourced tracks, there’s a contribution from Newcastle’s mighty Blown Out and a recording of Aaron Dilloway’s apparently astonishing set at Tusk last year, which I missed because I’m a moron. The full tracklisting and some more details here.So that’s 21 tracks – 3hrs 40mins – of only the finest music. And Was Ist Das? are asking for just £4 for the download (the limited CD-R is long gone). You should buy this because it’s amazing, and you should buy it to help out the community from whence it sprung. And frankly, you should pay more than £4 if you can because this is mint.
You can get it here. And you must.