I am Fane, creator of Gnostic ambient folk songs, drone hymns and Neolithic dub. A study into the healing effects of Neolithic monuments captured my imagination.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
In late 2017 I read an article about an intriguing study carried out at Stonehenge. Volunteers who suffered from high-functioning depression or anxiety were invited to spend a few days living among the standing stones as the Neolithic builders of the Henge would have done, engaging in primitive crafting, farming and earthworking activities. A significantly positive effect on their mental health was noticed almost immediately. This spoke to me for many reasons.
There is something about the timeless power of these ancient temples that captures me every time. Man-made and yet somehow still part of the natural landscape, crafted from the earth and somehow belonging. Stonehenge stands tall above the surrounding main roads and hordes of tourist coaches. Nearby is Avebury, a place steeped in ritual with its avenue of standing stones leading from the stone circle to the enormous chalk mound at Silbury. Castlerigg in the northern Lake District, offering commanding views of the surrounding fells, is a particularly magical place.
I wrote The Guardian Circle during a difficult time in my life and drew upon the sensations of wonder, solitude from the modern world and primal earth-magic I had experienced at these sites. Another important place in this story was Maiden Castle in Dorset, an enormous Iron Age hilltop settlement that dwarfs nearby Dorchester. The Romans were inspired to build a temple within its walls – perhaps they felt the same sensation that I did? Closer to my home in Brighton, the causeways and ramparts of Whitehawk Camp and Hollingbury Hill are frequent places of solace for me.
Performing this song live I frequently change some of the locations mentioned to others where I have recently felt the same blend of solace and awe at the natural and ancient landscape. The most recent was Grisedale Tarn, again in the Lake District, where I found myself sat on a placid lakeshore, sheltered from the winds and surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of Fairfield and Helvellyn.
The phrase ‘drone hymn’ which I often use to describe songs of mine was something I came up with whilst writing The Guardian Circle. Its dense yet static sonic foundation is my tribute to the timelessness of these ancient shrines that still stand proud above our landscape.