OWD014 Song (After Nature Past)/Song (After Nature Future) [single] – Drones and Debris


OWD014 (2023)

Limited edition 12″ vinyl double A side/digital single

Vinyl £16 (including £4.50 UK p+p)

or buy digital files via BANDCAMP

Drones and Debris is a project by Paul Rooney, working with cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir. Seal calls and other natural sounds of the Holy Island landscape – recorded by legendary sound recordist and musician Chris Watson – were transcribed into cello phrases by Valtýsdóttir and moulded into a richly layered cello composition by Rooney. This immersive sound piece was installed within Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland, in 2022, with a darkly humorous projected text that aimed to ‘translate’ the seal song as a warning of climate catastrophe. Owd Scrat Records are pleased to present a stereo edition of the piece – entitled Song (After Nature Future), with an ambient remix entitled Song (After Nature Past) – under the artist moniker Drones and Debris (the name is a quote from the seal song). The double ‘A’ sided vinyl 12″ single record (with the poem/text ‘translation’ of the seal song presented as sleeve notes) will be launched in March 2023 for the opening of the second season of the installation at the Castle (extended by popular demand), from March to October 2023.

Thanks to Chris Watson, Ian Kerr, Laura Gledhill, Julia Routh, C. Green, Noel Connor, Paul Mein, Lindisfarne Castle, Maltings Berwick, Newcastle University, Arts and Heritage and Arts Council England.

A. Song (After Nature Past) 4:04
A. Song (After Nature Future) 8:08

Bepi Crespan, Bepi Crespan Presents (CiTR FM, University of British Columbia). 17/3/2023 radio broadcast of Song (After Nature Future).

“A field recording by Chris Watson triggered this wry and evocative project…” Julian Cowley (The Wire magazine). March 2023.

“…it’s a great thing. It’s a 12″ single on Owd Scrat and it’s called Song (After Nature Past).” Michael Fenton (Fenny), On the Wire (Otwradio on Mixcloud and occasionally BBC Radio Lancashire). 4/2/2023.

“Song (After Nature Future)… involves Paul Rooney, very different from his music… over the last few years, extraordinary nevertheless.” Zaph Mann, In Memory of John Peel Show (KFFP Radio, Portland and podcast). 3/2/2023.

“Next up something from the wonderful Owd Scrat record label... Drones and Debris… order it now, should you so wish, I do recommend that you do so.” Rocker (Dandelion Radio). Feb. 2023.

“Seldom has so much work gone into something so short, but here the execution earns the attention… The end result: a feeling of sonic bonding.  We have translated the seals’ cries into a third language; now what will happen when we play these notes back to them?” Richard Allen (A Closer Listen website). 1/2/2023 review.

Susan Gray (Church Times). 24/10/2022 review of the installation work.

Martin Phillips (The Mirror). 13/5/2022 article referencing the installation work.

“The songs of seals – or are they sirens luring sailors to their deaths? – haunt this fortress in a sound installation that exploits its seashore setting.” Jonathan Jones (The Guardian). 22/2/2022 preview of the installation work.

Tom Service, Music Matters (BBC Radio 3). 19/2/2022 radio feature on the installation work.