Cosmovisión Registros / CRVA004 Cassette (2017)
New tape ‘Remnant Kings’ released on Cosmovisión Registros Andinos, 2017. Limited edition of 50 copies.
Bits and bobs. Odds and ends. Scraps and leftovers. Remnant Kings takes its name from a Glasgow fabric store that historically dealt in offcuts, end of line textiles and fabric remnants.
The cassette consists of a series of audio collages based around a single found reel to reel tape. On that tape were gathered various home recordings from the 60’s and 70’s in a ‘best of’ compilation spanning a twenty year period – a kind of ‘Greatest Hits’ family album in sound that must have been made for a close relative. The tape included amongst other things; baby talk, a toy railway set, playing and practicing music, bird song, conversation, karaoke style sing-alongs and some home experiments with tape echo, along with popular music of the day.
In addition to the found tape other sound sources include whistling, water droplets on a hot plate, broken ice, creaking gates, an electric fan played with a brush, excerpts from improvised sessions with open reel tape manipulation, feedback and electronics plus various other field recordings.
Artwork by Tian Miller.
“Mark Vernon is the English tape-hoarder genius who remakes the abandoned effluvia of past generations into wonderful and beautiful sound art. He continues his project on Remnant Kings (COSMOVISIÓN REGISTROS ANDINOS CVRA #004), a cassette tape released on a Chilean label. For this instance, he got most of his source material from a single found tape, a reel-to-reel used by a family to document home sounds in the 1960s and 1970s; his shopping list of the contents is “baby talk, a toy railway set, playing and practising music, bird song, conversation, karaoke style sing-alongs and some home experiments with tape echo, along with popular music of the day”. Some other moments of process-noise have been added, one personal favourite being the electric fan played with a toothbrush. Material which in other hands might simply be a boring vision of domesticity is transformed into a compelling listening experience, one which views the past through a cracked lens. What emerges is surreal, threatening, heart-warming and touching; an unsettling take on nostalgic feelings, emotions which clearly are not to be trusted. Our golden ages are likely to turn into monstrous nightmares at the turn of a corner. The name “remnant kings” comes from a specific shop in Glasgow that sold left-over scraps of cloth, but there are many such places in the UK; for Vernon it’s another metaphor for his technique, and one that’s somehow peculiarly English (thrifty, eccentric)…”
Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector