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A pagan ritual in rural England

An unusual field recording for you today, as we tune into a pagan ritual taking place at an ancient monument in rural England.

Upon visiting an ancient historical site more than 5,000 years old in Oxfordshire, the Rollright Stones, we stumbled across a pagan May ritual being performed.

The site consists of the evocatively-named King’s Men stone circle, the King Stone and the Whispering Knights, each dating from a different historical era from 3,800 to 1,500 BC.

The ritual involved hand drums, clapping and dancing, and friendly exhortations to all of the passers-by to get involved and join in – far from Midsommar or The Wicker Man, it was all very positive and open. We politely declined anyway, but recorded the sounds for you.

City version:

Andy Billington has turned his hand to reimagining the ritual, and describes his piece “Walk the circle”:

“I wanted to keep the energy of the original recording and got somewhat transfixed with how the drums might sound resonating through the ground and surrounding stones.

“I cut up the original audio, added some basic organ, fed through a ring modulator and then put the whole track into a chase bliss audio blooper pedal. The final track was then layered and reversed. I really like the ghosting of the drums that seem to haunt the background anchoring the remix and pushing forwards the track.”

Memory version: