Preslav Literary School – Beautiful Was The Time (2009)


i opened up my email inbox today and stumbled upon this ambient gem that Adam Thomas, better known as Preslav Literary School, was kind enough to send me. i’ll let him describe it first.

Beautiful Was The Time is the result of two years of listening. The sounds are almost exclusively taken
from 100 cassettes and microcassettes found, borrowed or bought in that period, with each having had
their own journey before coming into my possession. Recording onto a C90 is both an act of erasure and
creation. Every centimetre and second of magnetic tape holds a narrative, but stories only truly live in
the associations formed through giving, finding and listening.

the sounds themselves are reminiscent of minimalist composer William Basinski’s Distinegration Loops, with both the content buried within the tapes and the audible process of their destruction and erasure playing equal roles in the sound. occasionally, distant melodies or vocal samples appear in the fog, only to slip back into the drone. we’re left with a haunting, subtle piece of sound art that sounds like it could have been emitted from some archaic dream-capturing device. he puts the listener in charge of finding the patterns and significance in these ghostly wafts, giving them a surprisingly engaging experience. the cd version is being put out by elephant & castles based in france, who have a couple of other releases coming out soon too. check out their site for more information.

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