Molten Metal Flow

Molten Metal Flow

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow

Hwyl Nofio - From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow

(Available via Bandcamp Download + Signed Ltd Edition (100) 26 page Art Book/CDr Edition)

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow is at once a deeply personal tribute to a long lost family member and an elegy for the death of the steel industry in the place of his birth. Steve Parry (born 1958) is a product of Panteg, his formative years were spent living in the shadow of The Black Mountains, amid the scars and ruins of a heavily industrial landscape.

I recall my boyhood visits to the steel works – an atmosphere of intense heat and noxious fumes, bright white light, and deafening noise. Over the years I have continued to go back to the composition, adding new additional details – As a piece of music ‘Elevated Gangways’ has been an organic, cathartic process”

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow” - the concept of the piece had been around for what appears an eternity. Originally the composition was inspired by recordings taken from an unreleased solo project / album “Symphony for the Death of Industry” recorded in the early 1980’s. I had written the music as a kind of soundtrack about the life of my grandfather Herbert Parry – who worked as a steel roller at Panteg Steelworks in Pontypool, South Wales and died of gangrene poisoning when I was three years old. During my childhood my grandfather remained somewhat of an enigma – my memories are of a tall, silent, proud man beaten by the rigours of personal and working life.” Steve Parry.

Parry later returned to the idea with a 12-minute composition called ‘Elevated Gangways’ that didn’t fit onto the Hwyl Nofio album ‘Hymnal’ released in 2002 – sporadically returning to the composition over the following years to the final version realised in 2008. The definitive version of “ From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow begins furtively, ushered in by a clattering mix of cymbal smashes and sawn at strings, a pile of deadened instruments finally awoken, laying the groundwork for one last lamentation. Then it arrives – that great lion roar of guitar noise fills the space, the immutable core of the piece raging away. It is what the great Japanese saxophonist Kaoru Abe once called “the sound of sound”; adrift from all semblance of tempo, and ablaze with unfettered possibility. The church organ moan is summoned from the deepest recesses of the now desolate landscape of Pontypool – deindustrialized, de-populated, demoralized – remnants of memory playing tricks within the minds of everyone from the newly born to the working poor and the living dead. Its bleak melody creaks and cracks in pitiable see-saw motion, adrift in time and nameless place, haunting those who once harnessed its great power, who then had to watch it being dismembered, torn apart, suffering in silence as the site was destroyed - cleared not for something else, or anything better. Merely to be rid of it for good. As the piece enters its final sequence the gilded drone riff returns for one last roar, howling out a colossal yell of defiance before finally fading into a cold organ wail, then falling into nothing. “From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow” is at last complete.

Hwyl Nofio were:-

Steve Parry: found sounds, prepared Fender guitar, church organ, percussion, alchemy

Recorded at: The Wern / Church / Field recording

The recording process took place over the period 1980 – 2008

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow (Part one) 20.21

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow (Part two) 20.27

Ordering Information:-

From Elevated Gangways Rivers of Molten Metal Flow – Available as a high quality download via Hwyl Nofio - Bandcamp


To order a copy / enquire about the latest stock situation for the Limited edition (100) 26 page Hardback Art Book/CDr edition – Signed by Steve Parry - Contact the artist direct by emailing:

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Interview with Hwyl Nofio - The Quietus

The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

In Extremis

The Lay Of The Land: An Interview With Hwyl Nofio
Kevin Mccaighy , June 12th, 2013 03:28

Steve Parry's latest album as Hwyl Nofio finds him exploring personal and collective histories in his home region of South Wales. He speaks with Kevin Mccaighy about the rise and fall of industry and wandering the valleys with a field recorder.

Please follow the link to read the full interview:

Monday, 15 April 2013

Angus McBean


I was fortunate that the senior school I attended in Harrogate, Yorkshire provided me with the option of photography classes. Not being particularly blessed with the technical ability to draw or illustrate anything to a satisfying standard, I looked to photography to indulge a love for the visual arts. Armed with a Pentax SLR camera I’d wander the adjacent town landscape looking for people or objects to photograph and return to the school photography darkroom to mix up chemicals and anticipate the imagery emerging before the eyes. The process appeared alchemical, a surreal magical experience. Years later I purchased from the widow of professional photographer in Bognor Regis, W. Sussex an antiquated photographic developing kit. I would set up a temporary darkroom in the bathroom of my home in Yorkshire. Not very practical with two young children wanting to bathe or use the lavatory, so I joined a photographic group in York called Impressions. Upstairs there had been an art gallery, down in the basement were facilities to develop and experiment in photography to your heart’s content. Impressions staged an exhibition on the Welsh surrealist photographer Angus McBean - Immediately I became a fan of his work.
Angus McBean was born in Newbridge, Monmouthshire, S.Wales in 1904. The son of a coal mine surveyor McBean purchased his first camera, an autographic Kodak and tripod. Intrigued by the seemingly magical properties of photography aiming to take photographs of people McBean sold a gold watch given to him by his grandfather to raise five pounds to buy the necessary equipment.
In 1925 after his father's premature death, McBean relocated with his mother and younger sister to Acton, London. Employed as a furniture restorer by Liberty's department store in the antiques department privately he indulged his love of photography, mask-making and going to the theatre in London’s West End. In 1932 McBean left Liberty and grew a distinctive beard that symbolized the fact that he would never be a wage-slave again. McBean worked as a maker of theatrical props, including a commission of medieval scenery for John Gielgud's 1933 production of Richard of Bordeaux.
McBean's masks became a topic of conversation in social columns and soon attracted the attention of leading Bond Street photographer Hugh Cecil. Cecil offered McBean an assistant's post at his Mayfair studio. After 18 months having learnt the secrets of Cecil's softer style and having had the facility to use the studio at night McBean went on to establish his own studio in a basement in Belgrave Road, Victoria, London.
McBean, still primarily known as a mask maker, gained a commission in 1936 from Ivor Novello for masks for his play The Happy Hypocrite. Novello was so impressed with McBean's romantic photographs that he commissioned him to take a set of production photographs that included the young actress Vivien Leigh. The photographs taken on stage with McBean's idiosyncratic lighting, so impressed they immediately replaced the set made by the established but stolid Stage Photo Company. Instantly McBean created a new career and in Vivien Leigh had a charismatic photographic leading lady. McBean was to photograph Vivien Leigh on stage and in the studio for almost every performance until her death thirty years later.
McBean established a reputation as one of the most significant portrait photographers of the 20th century, and specifically as a noted photographer of celebrities. In 1942 McBean’s career was temporarily derailed when he was arrested in Bath for criminal acts of homosexuality. He was sentenced to four years in prison and was released in the autumn of 1944. After the Second World War McBean set about re-establishing his photographic career.
Effectively there were two periods to McBean’s career - pre and post war phases. Pre-war he was a lot more self-assured and experimented expertly with surrealism, indeed the work he created with Vivian Leigh are some of the most amazing surrealist photographic images known. Post war he reverted to a more regular style of portraiture photography working predominantly in entertainment and theatre.
In 1945, uncertain of whether he would find work again, McBean built a new studio in a bomb-damaged building in Endell Street, Covent Garden. He sold his Soho camera for £35, and bought a new half-plate Kodak View monorail camera to which he attached his trusted Zeiss lenses. McBean was commissioned first by the Stratford Memorial Theatre to photograph a production of Anthony and Cleopatra, and all his former clients quickly returned. Through the late 1940s and 50s he was the official photographer at Stratford, the Royal Opera House, Sadlers Wells, Glyndebourne, the Old Vic and at all the productions of H.M. Tennent, creating images for theatre, music and ballet productions. Magazines such as the Daily Sketch and Tatler vied to commission McBean's new series of surreal portraits.
McBean's later works famously included being the photographer for The Beatles' first album, surrealist work and classic photographs of individuals such as Agatha Christie, Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward. McBean inspired and appeared in the David Sylvian video Red Guitar. McBean died on June 9th, 1990
There is a comprehensive biography, Face –maker by Adrian Woodhouse published by Alma Books (2006).

Angus McBean (c) estate of Angus McBean
(c) 2012 Steve Parry (Photo - Taken from DARK book edition)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

DARK - Buy

CD/Album (6 panel digifile card sleeve) £10 (inclusive of P&P worldwide)

Friday, 16 November 2012

DARK - review

Hwyl Nofio: DARK

Hwyl Nofio loosely translates from Welsh as “emotional swimmers”, and that core of emotion centres on one musician, Steve Parry (born 1958 in Pontypool, S. Wales). A classically trained guitarist and composer, Parry’s career in music spans nearly three decades, encompassing threads that reach back as far as the post-punk movement and as far forward to the prevailing drone/doom scene within contemporary underground music. Although the brooding soundscapes of Hwyl Nofio are solitary in conception, Parry works with a team of close collaborators that includes Mark Beazley (from avant-garde luminaries Rothko), Gorwel Owen (producer/musician of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), Sandor Szabo (Hungarian avant-garde guitarist) Danish experimental Fractal guitarist Frederik Soegaard and Trevor Stainsby.

Each project is wrought from a relentless collective energy, producing such remarkable results as “Hymnal” (2002) an evocative treatise on religious symbolism, “Hounded by Fury”, a mordant assemblage of instrumental starkness, and the arresting guitar tonality of Parry and Soegaard’s joint release “Off the Map” (2007). Parry defines Hwyl Nofio as “cathartic in the sense that it is based on personal understanding of an explicit time and place”, and each release bears the weight of pure emotion and expression; a catharsis surges from within each of them like a longed-for crashing wave.

The latest album from Hwyl Nofio is entitled “DARK”, and dares to occupy a space beyond the temporal and the spatial. Instead it evokes a landscape wrought from personal experience, magnifying its visual and aural dialogues so that it transcends the specifics of its origin. Parry provides tangible evidence of this landscape in an accompanying book that inculcate the listener into a world of chilling folk myths and the resonances of family histories, as well as timely references to the forgotten legacies of Jane Arden and Bruce Chatwin. Their extraordinary work, commemorated in “Anticlock” and “On the Black Hill” respectively, acts as markers for the road less travelled, indicating divergent routes throughout the album that lead to ever more surprising vantage points. Its alien minimalist fields of sound are the result of a long gestating vista, both moulded and misshapen; its symbols are disorienting in their familiarity, the sensory impact resides in the intrigue of the ordinary. In its midst, you are without compass, but are also without fear. Its intimacy swallows you whole.

Kevin McCaighy