Library of the Occult

If you thought 2021 was a busy year for Library Of The Occult, 2022 is going to be a different beast entirely. We caught up with founder Tom McDowell to hear how he’s combining electronic music and literature to scare us even more…

“It’s the kind of thing I’ve wanted to do since I started the label,” admits Tom McDowell, “because there’s not many other people doing original music to original stories and releasing it on vinyl.” 

‘Tales From The Library Of The Occult’ is the latest chapter in the imprint’s ever-expanding discography, and each month will bring us a new music release with its own original story, starting with ‘Wolf’.

Penned by comics writer John Reppion (who is writing all the stories in the first year of this series) and featuring music by McDowell under his Dream Division moniker, the narrative follows Carolyn Ashton and her daughter Gwen as they start afresh in the village of Greenwood. They soon find out, however, that this is a place where “things best forgotten have a habit of resurfacing”… 

“It was John who got in contact with me and said he liked the stuff on the label,” explains McDowell. “I liked his work anyway, and I spent
a few months trying to work out a good way for us to work together. And then I had this idea.” 

There’s another collaborator who McDowell was particularly excited to work with on ‘Wolf’ – Matthew Holness, who narrates the story. Holness is the co-creator of cult Channel 4 horror-parody ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ and writer/director of the 2018 psychological horror feature ‘Possum’, for which he commissioned the Radiophonic Workshop to compose its chilling score. He looks a perfect fit for Library Of The Occult, then.

“It was late, gone one in the morning,” purrs Holness over the chime of McDowell’s ghostly electronics. “Snowflakes drifted on the breeze…” But how did McDowell get him involved? 

“I was gathering a list of musicians and artists I wanted, and also people I wanted to narrate,” he says. “Top of that list was Matt Holness.”

With John Reppion already on board, a Zoom call with Holness followed, and with a gap in his schedule, he was more than game.

“He liked what we were doing and was super-enthusiastic about the idea,” adds McDowell. “I tried not to fanboy when I spoke to him!” 

‘Wolf’ certainly looks the part as well, with McDowell going for more of a “book-type design”. There’s a deluxe edition gatefold record pressed on red vinyl, as well as a large-case cassette version that opens out like a 1970s pulp novel. The ‘Tales’ series also marks the first time the label will be releasing CDs. 

These next few months will be busy for McDowell. As well as ‘Storm’, the second entry in the ‘Tales’ series – scored by Klaus Morlock and narrated by Kathrine Peach – this month also sees the release of a new record by Hawksmoor. Then March will bring a new album by Ivan The Tolerable and the third ‘Tales’ entry, ‘Crust’, with Blood & Dust and Peter Baker on music and narration duties respectively. 

And just in case all those goodies weren’t quite enough, this year’s LPs will also include lathe-cut seven-inches, purely because, as McDowell professes, “I really like doing singles and I need some excuse to do them”. That’s good enough for us. There’s a couple of other surprises coming that he’s keeping under wraps for the moment, but trust us, they’re worth the wait. For now, switch the lights off and give ‘Wolf’ a spin. Just ignore that scratching at the door.

‘Wolf’ is out on Library Of The Occult

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