This is the second missive from The Hardy Tree (aka Frances Castle owner of the magnificent Clay Pipe Records) It is influenced by the discovery of lost parts of London, those places that no longer exist or have been replaced by something totally alien. Castle uses gentle Moog's, vibraphones and mellotron to create lovely pieces that would not sound out of place on Ghost Box. As usual comes in her wonderful, unique artwork, on turquoise vinyl - limited to 500 copies.
LP £15.99 PIPE 014LP
Limited translucent yellow vinyl repress LP on Clay Pipe Music. Edition of 500 hand-numbered copies in reverse board matt cover, with printed inner sleeve.
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3 reviews. Write a review for us »
You know that big important work conference where they announced that the hauntology department and the violin department would have to share offices from now on? Yeah, I know. Clay Pipe are really doubling down. The label of a myriad vintages here shares us a gorgeous record under the name of the Hardy Tree, a work by label boss Frances Castle that’s equal bits old time synth and outdoors pastorality. It’s the tracks with Alison Cotton, who may as well be the label’s in-house violinist, that I’ve mentioned first, because the combination of Castle’s video game melancholy and her gorgeous, actively grieving violins on “Baltic Wharf” and “Pepy’s Walk” speak to this record’s strange and uncanny beauty.
We can talk about the way Castle puts tunes together now, though: the simple but heart-breaking melodies and their tinny beats make me think of anime soundtracks and Keijo Kondo scores, of Mushi-Shi and Super Mario Galaxy -- in other words, of arrangements made for beautiful imaginary worlds. Through samples of chiming church bells and trickling water, Castle makes a sort of city sprawl for us to discover, slowly revealing bits of the map underneath the bleeping and blooping. “Sandbridge Court” offers a sparkling synth melody, pulsating bassline and a twinkling music box, suggesting a future that’s still cobblestone, before opening the song up to a folksy flute drone.
It feels like I should be listening to this with my headphones plugged into a DS rather than a hi-fi: this record offers a micro-world poured to the top with unabashed emotion. For some, those vintage synths and hauntology callbacks might be a little too corny, but I’ve no doubt you’d want this in your life if it was attached to the right RPG, so make one up in your head and sink in.
9/10 The Doc Customer review, 7th April 2017
This really is unspeakably lovely. Super-twee, hushed instrumental electronica, packed with mini-epic lullabies full of subtly layered keyboard melodies with the occasion fragile, melancholy violin line floating over the top. There's something really comforting about this, and for me it evokes a Proustian sense of nostalgia and timelessness, which is possibly the point if the title is anything to go buy. It's a very visual record in some ways, cinematic in places, even, and you can easily imagine it being a soundtrack to a lo-fi arthouse indie flick. We're a third of the way through the year and I've spent a bastard fortune on vinyl already, but I think out of everything I've bought so far I like this the best. Wonderful.
8/10 Richard Customer review, 1st February 2017
Clay Pipe Music continue their fine run of records with another lovely coloured vinyl release this time a record by the label owner Frances Castle. This would not sound out of place on Ghostbox, with child-like toy sounds sprinkled liberally throughout. There are also small fragments of 'songs' that play as interludes between the Isan style electronics, and even the occasional string scetion on tracks like 'Baltic Wharf'. Some of the tracks have an almost soundtrack like qualkity to them, and it's a record that neither outstays it's welcome or lets your attention wander for too long. Very good indeed, and repressed on yellow vinyl, so act fast as the first blue press went in the blink of an eye.
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