Richard King's Sounds of the British Landscape: a playlist

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EVENT: Richard King will be at the shop on Thursday 20 June to discuss his new book The Lark Ascending with Luke Turner. Book tickets here.

The Lark Ascending explores how Britain's history and identity have been shaped by the mysterious relationship between music and nature. Read on for Richard's eclectic soundtrack to the British landscape.




The Raincoats / Go Away

‘She tried to fulfil her space… …..Rejoice because this landscape is alive!’

The sound of women’s voices singing together as they danced on the missile silo at USAF Greenham Common is the music of the early 1980s British Landscape.

Odyshape, the album from which this track is taken, was released four months before the establishment of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp

The Stan Tracey Quartet / Starless And Bible Black

‘And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wetnosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.’

John Rutter / They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships sung by the choir of Ely Cathedral

Rutter’s anthem uses the language of the Old Testament to illuminate the dark spaces of the undersea, but only Rachel Carson could explain them to us.

Kate Bush / The Morning Fog

‘Like a storm
Being born again
Into the sweet morning fog’

Spooky / Don’t Panic

Released weeks before the Castlemorton Rave, Whitsun Bank Holiday, 1992. Played until the generators ran out.


The Lark Ascending is out now from Faber.

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