A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
2 – 5 April 2020
Various Venues Around Glasgow

As we write this the festival would just have ended. Now across the world cultural activity, like most social activity, has been curtailed. Hopefully this will be a time when we can properly assess what sort of society we want to emerge from this time of our great isolation. Surely this is a time when change can happen.

We remain positive about what Counterflows has achieved so far and we will remain focussed on what comes next. The programme for 2020 offered up such a wonderful array of artists with many new developments, so we have decided to present some ideas and thoughts here on the website over the next coming weeks.

We thought it would be good to start with the inspiring group Still House Plants. Finlay, David and Jess were 2020’s featured artists and we wanted to give them a chance to showcase at least some of their ideas that they were busy putting together for Counterflows. Of course this is not the same as witnessing them performing live. Writer and Counterflows’ friend Frances Morgan has been talking with the group about their ideas and we will start here with a response from Frances to the music of Still House Plants.

Please look after yourselves and keep in touch and support each other.

Much love, Alasdair & Fielding

An infinite number of straight lines cross in your heart;
these lines have neither beginning nor end

— Rysard Krynicki

THREE VERBS FOR STILL HOUSE PLANTS

Frances Morgan, April 2020

Written in response to Still House Plants’ forthcoming album Fast Edit

Go

This is how it’s going to go: we’re going to talk about what goes on between people and sounds. We’re going to go into a space, into a room.

Go to listen to the recording – two voices in a space, in a room – and try to remember what you were going to say about listening. One open chord going like a bell and a conversation going on in the background that has gone before it can be deciphered. This is how it might go.

Once there was going to be a song with just one lyric, the word ‘believe’. At some point the word would go from verb to noun and become ‘belief’, but you might not notice this straight away because the rhythm and melody would go on the same. Because you still think of it now, the song is kept going, although it never went anywhere. One way in which something keeps going without going anywhere.

Still House Plants, set lists, 2019

Get

Getting used to the idea of never getting anywhere except for between these three notes, these two words, getting tired, getting beyond it, getting locked in. Trying to get it down, trying to get it written. Like the song that didn’t get anywhere: it still moves, it doesn’t move.

It is getting to you that this is heaviest verb to get across. Loaded and overloaded. Getting as in becoming, as in acquiring, as in catching, as in having, as in receiving, as in changing, as in arriving, as in moving through and over, it’s the same. Thanks for getting in touch. Thanks for getting involved.

Getting to a place where you can see as well as hear which beat will follow the one before. Getting to a place where if a head rises and falls you follow it, if a rhythm stumbles you follow it, if a pause gets wider you stay in it. Getting to a place where your voice gets thicker and heavier, then empties out, pooling and eddying, catching the light. Getting stuck, got free.

Do

The song that never got anywhere is never done. The things you do, don’t do or didn’t do circle the song, map it out, keep it moving: shift weight from side to side, from note to note, from first to third, do it again. From cymbal to cymbal. From clean to distorted. Undo the loop, take a break, it doesn’t matter, come back on the off-beat.

How do you think we should do this. The song does something different now, puts the other foot forward. How do you know when it’s done. End on a verb and it becomes a command: run! Towards the next thing. Do – towards the next thing to be done.

What have you been doing today, a day with nothing doing: watching a nesting falcon on a webcam, what’s it going to do. Googling the appropriate prayer, what does it say you should do. Bouncing the sticks off the snare, what does the sound do. How are we all doing. Doing, never done. Listening, never done.

Still House Plants, set lists, 2019