The Dark is Rising

by Handspan

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This album is a soundtrack to the book The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Some of the tracks actually accompany the text if you read it at just the right speed. Others are simply inspired by moments in the book. I'll leave it to you to decide which are which.

"The album is marvellously redolent of Kingsland’s work in particular, and the perfect musical realisation of a story steeped in traditional myth... Combining swimmy, retro synths with “early” instrumentation (you have to admire the dedication of a man who can teach himself to play the Finnish kantele), the album is as crisply keen as the sweeping snowdrifts and slate-grey sky that lend the book such an air of forbidding, suffocating stillness." Bob Fischer, Fortean Times


released June 21, 2019

Composed, performed and produced by Rob Colling
Mixed by Rob Colling except track 1 mixed by Benge at MemeTune Studios
Mastered by Benge at MemeTune Studios
Rooks recorded by Geoff Sample (
Cover illustration by Jane Godson
Original cassette liner notes by Charlie Brigden
Art direction by Stuart McLean
Inspired by The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

This album was originally released by The Dark Outside in a limited run of 100 cassettes. There are none left.

Thanks to Stuart and Ben for being the first to believe in me and the last to get impatient. Thanks Geoff, Charlie and Jane for your irreplaceable contributions. Thanks a million Benge for your forbearance in the face of my pernicketyness, and for setting the whole tone of the album with your mesmerising mix of the Theme. Thanks Ben Newton for building a unique and beautiful kantele, then moving to Australia with a suitcase too small to fit it in. Thanks to all family and friends who have been supportive - you know who you are and you know how much I appreciate you. Thanks to Ian for belief in me above and beyond the call of duty - cheers dude. Thanks to the Old Ones of #TheDarkIsReading, who to my great delight truly "got it" and gave me the impetus to finish the project. The biggest thanks of all to Millie and Rach for putting up with me and my horrid noises, and for giving me a reason to create anything at all in the first place. And the whole thing simply wouldn't exist without the extraordinary imagination and skill of Susan Cooper. Go read the book.


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Handspan Joensuu, Finland

A man and a big pile of ageing electronics, transplanted from the north-east of England and now based in Joensuu, Finland. Debut album The Dark is Rising, a soundtrack to the classic children's folk-horror novel by Susan Cooper, was released on cassette on midwinter's eve 2018. It is now sold out. Keep on eye on this profile for details of the upcoming digital download version. ... more

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