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CLAY PIPE

Garden Gate

Magic Lantern

    After her time with Brown Recluse, a bittersweet psych-pop sextet, and White Candles, a Radiophonic Workshop-inspired electronic duo, Meskers merged the qualities of both groups into a new project and the first Garden Gate single, Houses, appeared in 2016 on Good Behavior Records. Following this, came a clutch of acclaimed releases on labels such as Sunstone and Library of the Occult, notably The Dark Harvest LP (which received a 5-star review in Shindig) and the sought-after 2021 LP, Blood Mansion, an original score for a conceptual horror film.

    Magic Lantern is a collection of melancholy yet hopeful neoclassical library pieces with analogue electronic elements that originally soundtracked Audible Originals’ Strange Company audiobook.

    Here, Timmi explains how the project came about:

    “The first glimmer of Magic Lantern flickered over the kitchen sink, if memory serves. I was cleaning up with a dear friend, author Roan Parrish, and we were discussing how we could collaborate creatively. Our first idea was that she would share prose to inspire my themes, and inversely, I would share a few original themes to inspire her writing. Before we knew it, what started as a handful of stories and songs, damp with soap suds, ended up becoming a fully scored audiobook anthology for Audible Originals called Strange Company.

    As a long-time fan of soundtracks and library music, I was thrilled by the opportunity to see just how much emotion I could compress into the brief connecting links that would augment a furtive kiss, a painful psychic vision, or a breeze across the bones of a scorched landscape.

    Midway through the recording process, my long-term relationship broke down, and Roan let me set up a field studio in her home. I found myself grasping at any beauty I could find in the hope that it would spill into the music. Several themes from an unrealised Garden Gate album about the life of Dion Fortune also found their way in (notably, the title track), and the score became a bit more personal than initially charted. In the doomed outsiders of Roan’s gorgeously creeping prose, it was hard not to see aspects of my own life, and I found catharsis and healing in the creation of the music that soundtracked her characters' lives.”

    Gilroy Mere

    Adlestrop (2023 Repress)

      Clay Pipe is very happy to bring you Gilroy Mere’s third record on the label, after 2017’s ever popular ’Green Line’ came the flexi-disc EP ‘Over the Tracks’ earlier this year, which hinted at things to come. Adlestrop is a full length LP inspired by the remains of the rural railway stations, that were closed in the wake of the 1963 Beeching Report.

      “This record started with Edward Thomas’s poem Adlestrop and a chance visit to the village that it takes its title from. I wanted to see the station, but found it was no longer there, all that remains is the old platform sign Adlestrop, now part of a local bus shelter. However as I walked around the village I was struck that; “all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire” were still singing away - like ghosts from Thomas’ verse.

      Visiting Adlestrop spurred me to get hold of a copy of the Beeching Report which, in Appendix 2, lists all the services and stations recommended for closure in the 1960s. The names read like an epic British poem, from halts to branch-line stops and stations and singular terminals for public schools, mines, ferries and even an asylum. There’s Ravenscar where a resort was planned but got no further in its construction than the station, and a hotel - the grid marked out for the roads never laid. Bethesda, a short branch line from Bangor up towards Snowdonia, was used for slate and passengers and is now just a quiet green valley, Christ’s Hospital on the old Cranleigh Line, opened with seven platforms to cope with the daily flood of pupils attending the famous school nearby which never came as it was a boarding school. Many of the stations have vanished, with just fields and car parks left in their place, some are repurposed as houses, or shops, or abandoned as artefacts of a lone-gone industrial past.

      Armed with a digital recorder, and with a copy of Beechings Report as my guidebook I made notes and recordings on my travels around the country, and used them as the starting point for a set of pieces that try to capture the fading layers of history, in the areas where the stations had once stood making sure each track retains something of the real place within them. Back in my studio I reacted, improvised, and crafted musical responses to each station, trying to capture the ghosts and former lives of the stations and their imprint on the present.”

      Gilroy Mere is Oliver Cherer who trading as Dollboy, Rhododendron, and Australian Testing Labs as well as his own name has meandered his way through the backwaters of left of centre English folk, ambient and electronic music, issuing numerous albums of original music to much critical acclaim via highly regarded boutique labels such as Static Caravan, Second Language, Deep Distance, Polytechnic Youth, and Awkward Formats

      Gilroy Mere

      Gilden Gate

        Oliver Cherer is back with a new Gilroy Mere record which follows on from his other much lauded Clay Pipe releases (The Green Line, Adlestrop and last year’s D Rothon collaboration, Estuary English).

        Over the last two decades Ollie has released numerous collections of music in an ever shifting array of modes, from folktronic, singer-songwriter styles through psychogeographic electronica to jazz-tinged, confessional ghost-pop and most recently, the “guitar tainted machine rock disco” of Aircooled.

        Gilden Gate is an album of two halves. Side 1 ‘Rising’ celebrates the sun-drenched beaches, pastures and heaths of rural Suffolk, whereas Side 2 ‘Falling’ explores the underwater world of the lost city of Dunwich and its five church spires.

        Oliver says:-

        “A few years ago I discovered the lost city of Dunwich. I’d made a trip to Suffolk to shoot a short film about Sizewell Nuclear Power Stations and stayed in the old Coastguard’s Cottage on Dunwich Beach within sight of Minsmere Nature Reserve and the power plants. It’s a wild, sleepy place of pines and heath and North Sea winds and a strangely mysterious air – Sutton Hoo is nearby and Eno’s reference to the very beach that I was staying on made perfect sense. In the small museum at Dunwich I learned that this tiny hamlet had once been a major medieval city of international trade. It seemed unlikely and even now, knowing Dunwich as a small village, I find putting what I know about the place into perspective as a city a certain kind of impossible.

        It seems that over a period under the influence of the weather, natural erosion and market rivalry the thriving harbour port was inundated by the North Sea and eventually slipped into and under it. The city of churches was lost and all the spires engulfed and toppled. What remains are the few houses, and the ruin of Greyfriars crumbling inexorably down the cliff and exposing the bones of buried monks as the graveyard follows the building’s stones into the sea.

        There are local legends surrounding the site including stories of fishermen hearing the bells of lost churches and seeing the ghostly, lighted city beneath their boats as they return to the shore.
        Gilden Gate is named for one of the entrances to the old city and is a musical meditation on Dunwich past and present. Frances Castle’s beautiful sleeve art depicts the surface and the sub-marine, the warm and the cold, the past and the present. The glass rises and the glass falls and in the background there are sirens, fog horns, church bells and Eno, and on the sea bed there are the scattered remains of a once great city.”

        Gilden Gate is named for one of the entrances to the old city and is a musical meditation on Dunwich past and present. Frances Castle’s beautiful sleeve art depicts the surface and the sub-marine, the warm and the cold, the past and the present. The glass rises and the glass falls and in the background there are sirens, fog horns, church bells and Eno, and on the sea bed there are the scattered remains of a once great city.”

        The Hardy Tree

        Common Grounds

          Frances Castle is the illustrator/owner behind the Clay Pipe record label and The Hardy Tree is her on- going musical project. Common Grounds was started during the first 2020 lock down - when time moved very slowly and travel away from home became impossible.

          The album was recorded at home by Frances, then mixed to tape with Ed Deegan at Gizzard Analogue Studios in East London. Ed plays drums on three of the tracks.

          “Like many others with nowhere else to go, I walked the streets of my neighbourhood for exercise and well-being. I rambled like I might in the country side; stopping every now and then to take in the view, or notice something I’d missed before. I took to looking up local streets in historical newspapers, and read reports of mysteries and crimes that had happened here in the past. I researched the names of the people who had lived in my flat before me, viewed old census returns from the surrounding area, and noted the birth places and livelihoods of past residents. I began to see the ghosts of these people on my walks, and notice the things that they had left behind; shapes of ancient tram tracks creeping under the tarmac, an old gas street lamp in an alleyway, a tiny metal sign indicating a culverted river. I spent my evenings writing and recording the music on this LP, and then the following day would listen to the rough mixes as I walked, the music began to soundtrack the walks, and the walks began influencing the type of music I was creating.” - Frances Castle, 2022

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: A beautiful mix of plaintive, swooning instrumental wooze and folky, off-kilter ambient business. I've been a big fan of Clay Pipe and The Hardy Tree specifically for some time now, and I think Common Grounds is without a doubt the most beautiful HT outing yet. A meditative and evocative journey.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. A Garden Square In The Snow
          2. The Spire Of St Mary's
          3. St Saviour's Through The Railings
          4. Shop Fronts And Parked Cars
          5. The New River Path, August
          6. Railway Tracks
          7. Mist On The Playing Fields
          8. Face At The Window, Seaforth Crescent
          9. Up On The Hill


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