|3||An Open Door|
Roly Porter returns to Subtext with 'Kistvaen'. The LP takes its name from a type of granite tomb found pre-dominantly in Dartmoor, an area in southwestern England. Scattered across the moorlands, the kistvaens were often found covered in a mound of earth and stone. They housed dead bodies, allowing them to lie facing the sun.
With 'Kistvaen', Porter speculates on the burial site as a mirror, or a gate in time. Excavating stories and images of ancient burial rituals, the record teases out similarities in emotional and social rituals between the Neolithic period and today. While a myriad of social, cultural and technological factors drastically differentiate our contemporary period and the end of the Stone Age, certain affinities may still be found in experiences of death across eras.
Venturing across histories, Porter soundtracks a moorland burial unanchored in time. Raw, unprocessed vocals are folded into field recordings made in the area, wordlessly relaying tableaus of burial rituals in Neolithic Dartmoor. 'Kistvaen' features three singular vocalists—Mary-Anne Roberts, from medieval Welsh music duo Bragod; Ellen Southern, of Bristol's Dead Space Chamber Music group; and Phil Owen, a singer and researcher in vocal traditions.