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Arts / Merrifield and friends to team up for ambitious ‘sound noir’ album release

Jeff Merrifield. Photo: Dave Hammond.

AN AMBITIOUS improvised music project which will culminate in the release of an album influenced by horror-fantasy fiction is in the works.

The project will also fulfil something of a long-held dream of local jazz stalwart Jeff Merrifield, who has been involved in music circles for decades but has not actually released anything under his own name.

But now, at the age of 81, that is set to change.

A crowdfunder for Merrifield’s project has already reached more than £900, although it has a total goal of £9,000.

It will explore H P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos stories and bring together a host of musicians, and well as two “Lovecraft aficionados” – Scottish writer William Meikle and filmmaker Richard Stanley.

Stanley’s last feature film was an adaptation of Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space, starring Nicholas Cage.

The aim is to create “accessible and atmospheric” improvised music.

Another notable point is that it will be a rare local release which will be pressed on vinyl.

It will use 180-gram Ecovin, instead of PVC vinyl, which is said to reduce the carbon footprint by 91 per cent.

The album will be made by Merrifield and Shetland based percussionist Renzo Spiteri, with guest appearances local musician Norman Willmore, Corrie Dick, Irish singer Christine Tobin, Phil Robson, Steve Kettley and Raymond MacDonald, a professor of improvised music.

Local artist Dirk Robertson is also providing artwork, while there will be a 12-page booklet.

In addition to the music there could also be gigs and a horror writing workshop.

Merrifield was the former team leader of Shetland Jazz and World Sounds group, while he continues with present a show on BBC Radio Shetland.

“At my age,” Merrifield says, “after a lifetime of putting on jazz and world music gigs and workshops, I think that I’m due a bit of unadulterated do-it-yourself promotion, aren’t I?”

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“This has the makings of an exciting project.

“Not just for me, but for Shetland. It could become a new genre, sound noir. Exploring fantasy and horror through writing and improvising.”

In addition to people being able to pledge money in advance towards the project, Merrifield is also looking for companies and small businesses interested in sponsoring the project.

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