Independent London-based record label Erased Tapes celebrates its tenth birthday this year, after a decade of nurturing avant-garde artists and introducing them to a wider audience.
Founded by architect Robert Raths, the label’s background, ethos and interests were encapsulated in a space earlier this year, opening the Erased Tapes Sound Gallery, a working and space for fans and the general public.
To celebrate the space and a decade of Erased Tapes, Robert has curated a playlist of ten songs you’ll hear on the Erased Tapes Sound Gallery stereo for us. Over to the man himself…
When and where should this mixtape be listened to?
Wherever you are when you read this, may it be a haven.
Could you tell us a little more about the newly opened Erased Tapes Sound Gallery?
I’ve always dreamt of one day being able to build a home. Whether that’s because my background is in architecture, or just an instinct. Technically, I don’t know half as much about music as I know about form and function. But if anything it’s working with sound – something invisible and yet so powerful – that has made me a better architect. I’ve been running this label since 2007 and it has enabled me to build entire worlds in my mind and in the worlds of others. And so I can’t think of a better reason to build a home, but to solidify the sound of Erased Tapes.
I discovered The Village [the location of the Erased Tapes Sound Gallery] a few years ago thanks to my producer friend Jon Hopkins. It’s called that for a reason, even though it’s situated in zone two, it doesn’t feel like London at all. The people here still talk to each other and share a communal spirit. They choose good ingredients and craftsmanship over one pound chickens and coffee chains. There’s no tube station in a one mile radius, you have to make an effort to get here. That is if a 20-minute walk through the park seems like a hassle to you. The process of deceleration starts right here, just like the music starts with the record sleeve.
This building invites people to leave all the noise behind and to slow down for a moment. It’s not meant to be a record store that’s trying to sell you something, nor one of those snooty art galleries that likes to intimidate you. All cards on the table, there’s no hidden agenda here.
What albums are consistently on rotation in the Erased Tapes office?
On weekdays this communal space turns into our office and studio. That was very important to me, to show people that you can use the same space in many ways, because it saddens me to see all these big blue buildings completely deserted.
In the day we listen to music on the same sound system that any visitors experience it on. We naturally discovered that some records resonate better in this space than others, it’s beautiful to witness some of these hidden gems truly shine in here. Like Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm’s collaborative record, Wonders, under the name Oliveray which many don’t know about. Or Masayoshi Fujita’s first album with us, Apologues, his unique touch to the vibraphone is unbelievably calming. Then there is Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm’s improvised session Trance Frendz which they recorded all in one night. It’s probably not just because Adam Wiltzie once said that if he ever got a tattoo, it would read Slow Down. But more that recording their debut as A Winged Victory For The Sullen felt almost therapeutic for him and Dustin O’Halloran.
Then there’s the previously overlooked These Walls Of Mine by Peter Broderick, which all of a sudden gets so much love. It’s obvious why Ben Lukas Boysen named his debut album Gravity, yet it manages to gain even more weight even here.
Nils’ solo piano work Screws has always been the best kitchen music for me. It just feels like home to me. It’s a similar feeling I get from Michael Price and his four string quartet pieces on A Stillness, just the level of magnification is different.
Lastly, I cannot wait for Lubomyr Melnyk to visit and play on the piano. I chose Corollaries as it was a true family effort to invite him in and make sure his life’s work doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s rare that you manage to capture something so special, this album is ensouled like no other.
If a film was to be made about Erased Tapes, what song would play on the trailer?
Arvo Part’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten. At the end of all music, happiness is erased.
The Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is located on 174 Victoria Park Road, London E9.
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