If psyhco-geographically themed railway brass band music on limited edition, seven-inch vinyl, in a hand-printed sleeve is your idea of audiophile gold, then look no further than Manchester imprint Folklore Tapes’ latest release.

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Until now a cassette-only imprint, Manchester’s Folklore Tapes, which deals in “folkloric arcana and heritage of the farthest-flung recesses of Great Britain, via divinatory research, abstracted musical reinterpretations and experimental visuals”, has just released its debut vinyl offering. Twelve Stations is a seven-inch EP, its eight vignettes composed by David Chatton-Barker and played by the City of Exeter Railway Brass Band. It’s a compelling, beautifully packaged, limited-edition release that might just represent the apotheosis of the recent trend for mysterioso folk psycho-geography and hauntology as purveyed by label such as Ghost Box, Time Released Sound and Second Language.
The music on the record, as the title suggests, is predicated on the subject of trains and travel, specifically an attempt to “investigate an aspect of day-to-day existence that is characterised by a sense of transience.” Purveyed by the railway brass ensemble, each of the record’s poignant, cyclical instrumental vignettes was part-composed during a train journey and lasts, unlike the inter-city trips on the permanent way, no longer than 40 seconds. Each piece hovers without fully resolving, hinting at unrealised possibilities while inhabiting a gauzy sonic realm previously staked out by the likes of Gavin Bryar’s The Sinking of the Titanic and William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, while also nodding to Basil Kirchin’s brass-soaked Abstraction of the Industrial North and Phillip Glass’s vivid score for the film Koyaanisqatsi.
House in a screen-printed, die-cut sleeve with an accompanying eight-page booklet and ‘train ticket’ download card in a limited run of 200 editions, hand-stamped and numbered by the artist, Twelve Stations is the first in what the label promises will be a series of such deliciously recondite vinyl releases. Until then, we must all adjourn to the waiting room.
-David Sheppard

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