Stone Tapes | Room 207

Speaking of ambient malevolence. I have reviewed Avebury already, but Hare’s Breath Records (Matt Peach and Kat Beem’s new record label) has recently reissued it on CD with a few extra tracks, and they very kindly sent me a promo (ahead of a planned interview). The important thing about Avebury is that although it has a constant background of grimy, gritty noise, the rumbles of sounds from the stones, it’s actually more of an audio drama. You have to fill in the pictures yourself. Matt and Kat have, they claim, a neighbour called George Wilberforce, and George supposedly gave the band some electromagnetic tapes, tapes of recordings he made of various stone circles. The rumbling echoes, waves of black noise from which emerge sounds that could be noises form a background to distorted phone calls between Kat and a retired vicar, readings from books of various kinds, and a sort of drama that you can see unfolding behind the lids of your eyes. The album hints at a pagan village conspiracy and “they” have found out what Kat is doing; the Vicar gets “taken”. There is a ritual. It feels like a sound recording of a lost BBC ghost story at times, given a sense of distance because of the aural grit the thing has; or at times it’s like a scrapbook, a rough collection of torn ephemera, the joins in the sound quality organic, like the rough edges of ripped paper. It leaves you with a faint sense of unease.