Day #288/365: Stone Tape Recordings; connecting the dots between The Owl Service (in all its forms) and archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere
And talking of cohorts and companions of The Owl Service (see Day #285/365)…
On the way towards A Year In The Country there were certain places (touchstones?) in the ether that I would find myself drawn to and would return to repeatedly over the months as I think semi-consciously myself and my brain sifted, collated, collected and tried to piece together the story and themes of this particular year in the country and the interconnected strands of a certain areas of “under the plough” folk music and culture.
Stone Tape Recordings was one of those places. One of the places I suppose.
It is the zeros and ones home for a record label run by Steven Collins. Mr Collins has a longstanding history of making his own particular patterns in the field of folk; he was one of the driving forces behind the band The Owl Service, alongside prior to Stone Tape Recordings he co-ran/founded the labels Hobby Horse, Midwich Records and Rif Mountain.
All these places have been home and departing posts for a very independent, I suppose underground in a way, form of folk music.
But to use the phrase folk music seems like too narrow a marker. Though much of the music these labels have sent out into the world are rooted in folk, there seems to be some underlying story that keeps it informs it and keeps it separate from the more generic of such things.
“The music? Well, I guess it could be categorised as folk but it has it’s own take or edge to it… many of these songs are folk music mainstays and both musically and visually it uses what could be considered standard tropes of folk music, folklore and culture…
…but this is anything but a mainstream folk album. Why? Well, I can’t quite put my finger on it but there are other layers and intelligence to it all, a pattern beneath the plough as it were. As an album it feels subtley experimental but still maintains it’s listenability.”
Or to quote Stone Tape Recordings itself…
“A UK-based, independent music collective inspired by the English folk revival, Edwardian occultism, Norwegian black metal, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, 1970s doom rock and the electronic landscapes of Detroit and Berlin.”
Although some of those inspirations may not always be overtly apparent in the music released by Stone Tape Recordings, they do make sense as being in the mix as it were, even if it is just a tinge here and there.
And the list reminded me of that sometimes other re-interpreter of the themes and tropes of folk music, Astrud Steehouder/Paper Dollhouse, when she says that her inspirations are “bewildering post nuclear landscapes, bleak fields, forests, thunderstorms and archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere…”
…or in the early days of The Owl Service it was said that it was intended as a way “…to explore…love of British cult film and television of the 1960’s and 70’s, the great outdoors and the sound of the English folk revival…”
Or even just the name Stone Tape Recordings… which connects the label and its work to Mr Nigel Kneale and even the work and wanderings of Mr Iain Sinclair.
…along which lines, such references points can serve, as well as sometimes being a direct influence on the music, as a way of sending the mind and the listener off on particular explorations and cultural journeys and along the way (hopefully) connecting up a few dots…
And along which other lines, wanderings and connecting of dots… Day #100/365: Audiological remembrances of Ms Delia Derbyshire… Day #30/365: A View From A Hil and a pattern beneath the plough … Day #76/365: Archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere… Day #79/365: reference of said objects… Day #202/365: Diaries of British cult television of the 1960s… Day #225/365: the wanderings of a psychogeographical Straw Bear’s companion… Day #15/365: The Twilight Language of Mr NIgel Kneale…