Ken Hollings, The Wire
July 2007

Mount Vernon Arts Lab - The Sťance at Hobs Lane

This welcome reissue of Mount Vernon Arts Labís 2001 album suggests that the progressively groovy Ghost Box label is now so far advanced into the future that theyíre prepared to bring the past along with them. The brainchild of composer Drew Mulholland, the projectís title alone twitches and seethes with enough occult and pop cult references to set the senses reeling. As featured in Nigel Knealeís TV series Quatermass and the Pit, Hobs Lane was the site of numerous disturbing apparitions, where ghosts and goblins didnít even wait for the formality of a sťance to start showing up.

Mulhollandís visionary approach to Londonís hidden spaces and uncanny secrets embraces skewed references to Sir Francis Dashwood and The Hellfire Club and old submarine yards on the Thames just upstream from Hammersmith Bridge. Everything is darkly alive, and with VCS3 synthesizer, theremin and guitar he conjures up sinister whirring vibrations that seem to come from deep beneath the ground. Adrian Utleyís analogue synth on "Warminster 4" recalls Glynis Jonesís work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale during the early 1970s, while the rolling reverberations of "The Mandrake Club" echo Tristram Caryís soundtrack to the 1967 film version of Quatermass and the Pit, created at the Royal College of Music. Remixes from Coil and Barry 7 of Add N to (X) manage to suggest where the music is going as well as where itís been.