Though mainly now known as a singer of traditional song, Andrew King’s initial creative work was in the visual arts, exhibiting his Emblematic paintings both nationally and internationally. In 1994 he started making documentary recordings of traditional songs, music, and customs and in 1995 moved to London to further this work and the illustrative compositions that he was doing for a number of the Post-Industrial / Neofolk bands of the time (L’Orchestra Noir, Current 93, Ernte, Sol Invictus, etc), to complement this work he made his first attempts at traditional song the following year.
He has subsequently become an expert in the vernacular culture of the British Isles as well as the wider shores of Pan-European Balladry, having worked for both the English Folk Dance & Song Society and the Sound Archive of the British Library and is consequently one of the very few people in the burgeoning Neo-Folk scene for whom the term “Folk” is more relevant than “Neo” in that he is at home in both unaccompanied and arranged performances; for the former he has been resident at a number of traditional music clubs whilst for the latter his backing band consists of members of the noted groups KnifeLadder and Naevus.
Originally on World Serpent (The Bitter Harvest, 1998), his breakthrough release was The Amfortas Wound (Athanor, 2003) a cathartic collection of murder ballads and mystical anthems. Subsequent releases have included a mini-album on Old Europa Café, split CD’s with Changes, Sol Invictus and Rose Rovine e Amanti, a collaborative dark-ambient album about Jack The Ripper with the French group Les Sentiers Conflictuels (1888), an overtly experimental album of traditional songs with the Art group Brown Sierra (Thalassocracy) and a recording of Oswald von Wolkenstein's Fröleichen So Well Wir on a split 7” with Blood Axis as well as a number of carefully chosen compilation appearances. As well as being a past member of Sol Invictus, Andrew has also performed as Duo Noir, releasing the live album Sintra in 2010 on Tursa, as well as the M. R. James influenced album Ghosts under the name The Triple Tree (Cold Spring, 2008). Along with KnifeLadder he has also collaborated with Andrew Liles, Àrnica, Artefactum, Annabel Lee, David E. Williams, Digamma Cottage, Ode Filípica and Foresta di Ferro, for his 2006 live performance in Portland (Oregon) he was privileged to have Waldteufel as his accompanying band, whilst recent performances have included two collaborative concerts with Skullflower.
In 2011 he issued the album Deus Ignotus, a dark and complex selection of traditional, medieval and own compositions which was launched with an accompanying concert at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen to great critical acclaim. His forthcoming albums consist of: Hostanes Magus a live album of his M. R. James compositions; an as yet untitled album of new recordings of pieces from his non-solo projects, to be issued by the US label Pesanta Urfolk; one of settings of the poet A. E. Housman; and a best-of compilation to be issued by the Singapore label 4iB Records; but his major project is his album about the Great War, The Proud Tower, excerpts from which were performed at the 2014 Treffen and which will be issued to mark that conflict’s 100th Anniversary.
In March 2016 he was awarded his PhD for his Thesis on the phonograph recordings that the Folk-Song Society
made in the decade before the First World War.
PhotographsAndrew King, 2001, Imperial War Museum © Elisabetta Barbazza.Andrew King, 2013, London © Christina Gerolla.
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