Sermones Ad Mortuos- A Glimpse of Our Ghostlands

I made this video with footage collected during a weekend visit to two castles in Wales (Caerphilly and Chepstow). It was complemented by additional filming in other locations in West London and Berkshire.

The clip serves to enhance a track written for my minimalist electronic ambient project’s Sermones Ad Mortuos debut album. This album, named ‘The Ghostlands Themes’, has been inspired by Ghostlands, a British DIY ghost hunting documentary. The original idea was to make an alternative soundtrack for the documentary as  I felt that the original music failed to evoke feelings that enhance the viewing experience. I was lucky enough to be in regular contact -through my work- with the maker of the documentary, Dr Ciaran O’ Keeffe, who kindly sent me some audio captured during the recording of the two episodes to be used as samples for my recordings.

Ambient is a genre solely based on creating a certain mood and atmosphere, and other than that it is surprisingly versatile, as it shuns any rules about how that mood is created. Other than Brian Eno’s original definition of ambient as music  regularizing environments by enhancing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, there haven’t been many succesful attempts to ‘develop’ the genre into a specific direction. Rather, it has branched out in all sorts of different directions, always on the premise of creating certain soundscapes, or ‘enhancing environments’.

I am a firm believer in science, so have the greatest difficulty to believe in the existence of ghosts. I do however believe that the human mind is capable of creating ‘ghosts’ and indeed, it is exactly this capacity that is exploited by ghost hunters, musicians, artists and charlatans alike.  One could probably defend the view that this clip is my own attempt at playing with the suggestibility of the human mind, by creating audio and visuals that stimulate the ‘ghost experience’.

If you ask me how I define ghosts, I will point out to their fleeting nature. They are immaterial, yet have a certain ‘material’ component as they can be ‘heard’ or ‘seen’. They are nowhere, and yet everywhere. They are dead, but somehow also alive. I find their ambiguous nature endlessly fascinating, and this track and clip are my attempts at exploiting this sensation of vagueness, suggestibility and ambiguity. Hope you enjoy it and comments or thoughts about the clip or this topic are welcome.