Music For Landscapes Pt2

Julian Cope – Rite

One criticism that cannot be levelled at Julian Cope is that his is afraid to take risks. His prodigious output has taken him far beyond his post-punk pop roots and his numerous side projects into territory that many other artists would fear to tread.

Skulking in a corner of Cope’s back catalogue, is the ‘Rite’ series. Four albums (Rite, Rite2, Rite Now and Rite Bastard) of mostly long, instrumental pieces, amalgamating funk, krautrock and psychedelia.

All four albums have their merits but here I want to highlight the first of the series.


Rite: Julian Cope & Donald Ross Skinner (1992)
1. The Indians Worship Him, But He Hurries On
2. Amethysteria
3. Cherhill Down
4. In Search of Ancient Astronomies

The first three tracks are wonderful excercises in what might be termed as ‘ambient funk’, but it is the final track that I would like to hightlight. In Search of Ancient Astronomies is a twenty five minute throb-athon, drenched in waves of energy that speaks of a night out in the landscape. A summer night laying in a stone circle watching shooting stars, or sat around a campfire watching the sparks fly into the sky.

It reminds me of a nightime walk I made to Stonehenge many years ago. A friend and I walked along the old road road from Amesbury to the stones for the Spring Equinox sunrise, meeting others as we went, eventually forming a group, marching across Salisbury Plain. It was a cold, clear night and I remember vividly how breathtaking the blanket of stars above us was. I don’t think that I’d seen the milky way so clearly before. The rhythm of marching beneath those stars comes back to me each time I play this track. In the end, we reached Stonehenge to find it ringed by security guards – but that is another story!

Listen to the track here.

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