Concrète tapes

Location: Preston, Lancashire Est: 2015

Potted History: “Concrète was originally just a live electronic and experimental night at The Ferret in Preston,” says label founder Joe Maclaren. “It started by accident with my mate Durham Modun who had an incredible collection of vintage synths, but no one ever got to hear them. I’d been hassling him to book somewhere, but it wasn’t happening, so I hired The Ferret and told him he had two months to get a set together.”

Dedicated to showcasing experimental/electronic producers from the Preston area, the night has been running ever since, spawning the label when Joe heard the first fruit from Stephen Buckley’s Polypores project.

“I demanded he played at Concrète,”says Joe, “then I asked him if he was releasing it on cassette, as the format totally suited the music. He said ‘Well, I would, but frankly I haven’t the faintest what to do’. And I thought, ‘Well, it can’t be that hard…’.”

Mission Statement: “Our mission is first and foremost to shine a light on experimental and electronic music from Lancashire,” says Joe, plain and simple. “There’s been a bit of mission creep over the years. One of our most popular regular artists, Portland Vows, is a philosopher from Aberdeen, so I’ll put out anything if I like it enough, but we’re still very parochial for the most part.”

Key artists & releases: “Where to start?,” laughs Joe. “The Polypores releases are all fantastic, then there was the album of 80s synth music from a load of reel-to-reels I found on the carboot sale by an obscure Italian composer called Stefano Leproto… I’ve always wanted to do something inspired by the 60s counterculture multimedia magazine Aspen – a release with music, but also poems, art prints and the like in a box, so Preston Field Audio’s ‘Rhythm Tree Fell’ marked the start of a new direction for the label. I’ve hand-made the packaging for each release since, which is possible for short runs on cassette without it being too much of a chore.”

Future Plans: “As well as quite a few upcoming releases – among them some modular experiments by Matt Simms from Wire as Slows, and there’s a set of buzzsaw acid bangers from our original muse Durham Modun – we’ve got some interesting events coming up. At the end of August, I’m DJing at Emotion Wave’s bank holiday all-dayer at a warehouse in Birkenhead. I’m also working on a series of Sunday afternoon electronica shows at a new venue in Preston. I’ve also got a new screen printing set up, and plan to start doing T-shirts and posters soon… so plenty going on, but there’s always room for more though!”

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