Conjuring Spectral Sonic Traces from Absent Places

Steve Davismoon

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    Through the words that follow I will discuss three current and upcoming releases on the new independent record label Vinylselection: Ghost Music by Jan Kopinski; Stations of the Clyde by Stephen Davismoon and “Alpe Della Luna” by Roberto Fabbriciani – in many ways three very different sonic offerings, but each are haunted by myriad layers of sonic traces from absent places: real, virtual, remembered. Given the theme for the current issue of The Drouth is ‘informal’; I suggest here that the palimpsestic approach found in the layering of sonic traces in each of these works opens their forms up to a multiplicitous listening; promoting a phenomenological aural vantage point if you will, where there can be no general listening/reading but only a particular ‘informal’ one. Vinyselection’s founder Colin Clydesdale works collaboratively (and informally – there are no contracts) with the label’s artists toward the creation of a musically diverse, high quality, audiophile, listening experience. Vinylselection is artist-centred, working with their featured artists to recommend other musicians, allowing the network to grow from the artists themselves. It shoud be pointed out that Colin Clydesdale takes great care with the artistic production of the sleeve and innovative artwork, painstakingly carrying out the unusual design in collaboration with the label’s artists. His fiercely independent standpoint is further demonstrated by a desire to not make mass-produced product, thus produces only short runs of 500 copies for each release. Listening to each of these works on vinyl (for the first time in a very long time) I found myself to be in deep accord with Mark Fisher’s observation: “…the surface noise made by the vinyl… Crackle makes us aware that we are listening to a time that is out of joint….We aren’t only made aware that the sounds we are hearing are recorded, we are also made conscious of the playback systems we use to access the recordings” (Fisher 2014, 21). Because there can be no illusion of ‘presence’ of the musicians through the medium of vinyl audio playback in the way that digital media pertains/ed to achieve, perhaps we become somehow even more conscious of the act of ‘listening to’ as a result of this acute sense of absence - this heightened occasion for aural informality? More information about the recordings and how to obtain them can be found at
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Drouth
    Issue number58
    Early online date28 May 2017
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 May 2017


    • Recorded Music
    • Hauntology and Music
    • Contemporary Music


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