The top 20 vinyl record sleeves of 2014

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folklore tapes

1. Ian Humberstone & David Chatton Barker

Theo Brown And The Folklore Of Dartmoor

(Folklore Tapes)

As you may have noticed, we’ve tended to favour the hand-made over the mass produced in this list, and there was no release which so embodied that spirit of DIY as this meticulously constructed Folklore Tapes box set. An A/V project in its own right, the music, crafted from field recordings and informed by the archive of local folklorist Theo Brown is pressed onto seven 7” records, and has some of the maverick experimental qualities of pioneers like Stockhausen or Basinski.

Channeling the latter’s Disintegration Tapes, the box also includes a DVD of surreal, psychedelic footage shot on location 8mm film that has been left to decompose in the mud and leaves of the moor, a booklet and seven postcard prints that reflect the label’s discography of hand-stamped cassettes. There’s a wealth of material to explore, all of which is presented without ostentation or twee in a way that showcases the great potential of releasing music as a physical format, regardless of budget or reach. And the finishing touch? The pressed Dartmoor wild-flower in every box of course. Read more about the project here.

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