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Hardy Tree - Stagdale

  by Adrian P

published: 28 / 4 / 2019



Hardy Tree - Stagdale
Label: Clay Pipe Music
Format: 7"

intro

For this three-track EP -spread across a flexi-disc and download to accompany the first volume of her first graphic novel - Frances Castle deepens the roots of The Hardy Tree’s otherworldly soundscapes


Generous with her crafting and curatorship, Clay Pipe Music label owner Frances Castle has to date generally let her signings take centre stage, with their vinyl-pressed wares wrapped-up in her beatific bespoke artwork. Yet, whilst the likes of Vic Mars, Jon Brooks, Sharron Kraus and Oliver Cherer in his Gilroy Mere guise, have certainly deserved the Clay Pipe treatment, Castle’s own project The Hardy Tree is no less important, as this new specially-configured multimedia artefact attests. Assembled to accompany and bundled with the first volume of Castle’s graphic novel, ‘Stagdale’, this three-track EP of the same name is spread over a flexi-disc and digital download. Taken together, the trio of thematic instrumental pieces work with the imaginatively-illustrated adventure tale (of a 12-year old girl relocating with her divorced mother from London to an enigma-laden country village in the mid-‘70s) as well as functioning as a sublime standalone suite. Less broad in its instrumental and field-recording mixing sound-palette than 2016’s ‘Through Passages of Time’ LP, this EP instead expands upon the more immersive Moog-led moodscapes of the sublime ‘Sketches in D Minor’ album that The Hardy Tree put out initially in 2017 through WIAIWYA’s '7 at 77' CD series but reissued on Clay Pipe last year on cassette and download. Opener ‘Theme from Stagdale’ sets the scene charmingly with its buoyant electronic drum tracks, distended tape-looping and burbling as well as symphonic synth lines. ‘In the Museum’ follows a more mysterious routing with eerie twinkling and prowling analogue electro sounds sat on top of part-buried percussion seams. The finest moment comes last, with the enveloping six minutes of ‘After the Rain’ channelling watery found sounds, plucked string-like layers, gently jittering artificial beats and almost ecclesiastical keyboard strains to evocative effect. Although the tri-part format of this release may confuse some, as a package Frances Castle has excelled in subtly showcasing her multi-tiered talents through her commanding but never cumbersome conceptualism.



Track Listing:-
1 Theme to Stagdale
2 In The Museum
3 After The Rain



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