Potted History: “The idea for this label has been a long time in the offing,” says founder Iain Chambers. As a member of the BBC producer collective Langham Research Centre, he has been upholding the fine tradition of the famed Radiophonic Workshop since 2003. “One time, we tipped 40 ping pong balls down a reverberant 10-storey stairwell to record the sound at the bottom, narrowly missing John Peel.”
“It occurred to me that while there are plenty of labels releasing electroacoustic music, like Empreintes Digitales in Canada, there aren’t many releasing the kind of old school analogue musique concrète that I like,” offers Iain and, lo, a label was born.
Mission Statement: “We’re interested in projects that have a strong theme, and musicians working in interesting ways. We want to release great musique concrète, field recordings, and the exciting music combining the two,” he explains. Their first three outings don’t disappoint.
Key artists & releases: First up is The London Sound Survey’s ‘Thames’, a field recording of Tower Bridge being lifted, recorded in the Bascule Chamber, where the 450-tonne counterweights swing whenever the bridge opens. It’s more musical that you’d have ever imagined. Iain’s own album ‘The Eccentric Press’ is all about the sounds we’re losing around us. “In this case, the industrial and domestic sounds, collected by a pan-EU project, Sounds Of Changes,” explains Iain. “I took their recordings of obsolete machinery and composed them into two very different industrial symphonies.”
Finally, there’s ‘Factitious Airs’ by Robert Worby, Iain’s cohort from London Sound Survey. “I’d been hearing his solo electronic music for years, and I couldn’t believe he’d never released it,” says Iain. In 2017-18 he built up an incredible momentum, making a piece every week or so. It’s bracing electronic music made up of amazing details and very concentrated listening.”
Future Plans: “We want to continue providing a home for musique concrète, field recordings and the interplay between these disciplines. This area feels like an area that’s growing, and it’s exciting to be part of that movement. I’m really excited about a release we have planned for the end of 2019, from Beatriz Ferreyra, the last surviving member of France’s Groupe De Recherches Musicales, who worked with Pierre Schaeffer, Luc Ferrari, Bernard Parmegiani… Beatriz continues to make ground-breaking musique concrète, and is making brand new material for this release.”
Any other business? The key collaborator is Matthew Young, a designer at Penguin/Pelican books, who lends the label its distinctive identity. “I wanted each release to be recognisably from the same label,” says Iain. “Matthew developed beautiful, minimal graphic designs for each sleeve and he has also produced promo videos of each release.”
For more, visit persistenceofsound.co.uk