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July Skies

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Citing the inspiration of the English countryside, old field systems, the sky, ancient landscapes, disused World War II airfields and the artwork from 60s and 70s English Ladybird books, UK artist Antony Harding aka July Skies forms paeans to birds (‘Swallows And Swifts’), dilapidated places of worship in the east of England (‘The Ruined And Disused Churches Of Norfolk’), and long-since abandoned look-out posts by the sea (‘Coastal Stations’). Tellingly, Harding’s website contains links to sites remembering 70s childhood television programmes such as Bagpuss and Trumpton as well as a directory of abandoned airfields in the UK. His 2002 debut’s opening track, ‘Coastal Stations’, meanwhile, appropriates the oddly resonant sound of UK shipping forecasts. Nevertheless, although Harding is explicit in his nostalgia he seems to circumvent over obvious plundering/reference points in his music making. Harding has specifically name-checked Creation Records artists Slowdive (his debut album thanked that band’s Neil Halstead ‘who started a dream’) but his project also recalls the lethargic instrumentals released by Sarah Records band Blueboy and the delicate guitar playing of the Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, without being overly indebted to either. Rather, July Skies produces a curiously ahistorical, always pretty music. As if to make explicit his affections, 50 copies (out of 500) of July Skies ‘At The Height Of Summer’ 7-inch were packaged with individually numbered unique photographs featuring skies, landscapes and ancient monuments from different parts of England. Harding is also a member of Birmingham, England-based electronica group Avrocar.

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Years Active:

'90s, '00s