Friday, 20 December 2019

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who has supported Clay Pipe this year, bought records, come to any of the events we were involved in or visited the brand new studio shop. We have plenty planned for 2020 starting off with a special Gilroy Mere flexi disc, and followed by a new full length from Jon Brooks.


Tuesday, 3 December 2019

New Prints and T-shirts available in the Clay Pipe Shop.

Vic Mars - Inner Roads and Outer Paths
A3 Giclee print on Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper.
Edition of 12, signed and numbered copies.

'Lonesome Village'
Designed for D Rothons 'Nightscapes' but never used.
A3 Risograph print.
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies.

Alison Cotton - The Girl I Left Behind Me.
A3 Risograph print.
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies. 

The Hardy Tree - The Fields Lie Sleeping Underneath.
A3 Risograph print.
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies. 

The Hardy Tree - Stagdale.
A3 Risograph print.
Edition of 30 signed and numbered copies. 

Gildan Softsyle Forest Green T-shirts, with Orange Silk Screened Logo.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Alison Cotton - The Girl I left Behind Me.

Alison Cotton - The Girl I Left Behind Me.
 10" Transparent pale blue vinyl.
Reverse board cover and printed inner sleeve.
500 hand-numbered copies.
Download code in sleeve.

 Alison Cotton – The Girl I Left Behind Me

Alison Cotton is a classically trained viola player based in London. As well as her recent solo work, she is one half of the Walthamstow based songwriting partnership The Left Outsides. She has spent the last two decades performing in bands and collaborating with other musicians.

As well as the viola, she uses an array of other instruments (her voice, harmonium, percussion, recorder, Omnichord, shruti box and piano) to create long, haunting instrumental pieces. Many of her compositions are created for, and named after spaces, whether real or fictional. As she plays, she focuses on the image of these places (‘A Tragedy In the Tithe Barn’, ‘All Is Quiet at The Ancient Theatre’, ‘The Bells of St Agnes’ and her recent Longforn Editions release, ‘Behind the Spiderweb Gates’). 

In 2017, she composed and performed the soundtrack to artist Jessye Curtis’ film, ’36 Dramatic Situations’. 

Her debut album ’All Is Quiet at the Ancient Theatre’ was released in 2018 on Bloxham Tapes, followed by a vinyl release on Cardinal Fuzz (UK) and Feeding Tube (USA). It was selected by Luke Turner as one of The Guardian Writers Albums of the Year, by Jude Rogers as one of the Guardian Folk Albums of the Month, and placed at number 49 in The Quietus Albums of The Year in 2018.

Last year, Alison was commissioned by BBC 6 Music’s Gideon Coe to create a soundtrack to the Muriel Spark ghost story ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’. It was broadcast at Christmas and read by Bronwen Price. In the story, the narrator works in a London office, her first job after a long illness. As she leaves work one evening she is struck by a strong conviction that she has left something important at the office, but can't work out what it can be. Alison based this track around a simple melody composition following the form of the narrative, building up the suspense as the story draws to a dramatic and unexpected conclusion.

For the second side of the 10” Alison has created another piece inspired by a Muriel Spark ghost story ‘The House of the Famous Poet.’ This is also set in London, this time in 1944 against the wartime backdrop of the Blitz and V-1 sirens. On a delayed train journey, the narrator meets a soldier and a girl named Elise. Elise, a maid, invites the narrator to stay at the house where she works as the owners are away. The house turns out to be the home of a famous poet who the narrator greatly admires. The following morning, the story takes on a surreal nightmarish quality, when the soldier from the train turns up at the house with an enormous box that he says contains an ‘Abstract Funeral’ which he proceeds to sell to the protagonist. Later that day, both Elsie & the famous poet are killed when a bomb hits the poet's house. It was the idea of the abstract funeral that inspired Alison to create this piece; “The viola has a naturally mournful tone, and I endeavoured to capture the mood of how I'd imagine an 'abstract funeral' march would sound. My viola was completely improvised here, recorded in a single take. My layered vocals enhancing the melancholy and the crescendo of cymbals adding to the solemnity of the drama".

Alison Cotton 

Reviews of Previous Work

“Alison Cotton’s album is a highly memorable suite evoking other times and places with a deftness and a lightness of touch. She is an excellent and restrained songwriter, confidently combining instrumental and vocal music to create a recording that delivers much and promises more to come”. - Tom Bolton, The Quietus 

"An eerie, lost folk horror soundtrack glinting in the sunshine, Cotton’s pure English voice rising mysteriously around the violas and recorders." - Jude Rogers, The Guardian 

“Folorn, hypnotic drone hymns for an ancient haunted England” - 4* Andrew Male, Mojo

“The power of this music is simply awe-inspiring. When Alison Cotton plays, the world stands still” - Tristan Bath, The Quietus (Spool’s Out column)

“It’s not so much that Cotton slows time as she controls it, as the tones generated by her Zen-like passing of bow over strings reverberate into infinity” - Marc Masters, Best Experimental Music for Bandcamp Daily.

“Perhaps it might be better to say that Cotton’s music finds the sacred in the pastoral, or that this roots the avant-garde in the traditional. It is, perhaps, apt that Cotton’s titles reference so many spaces: this is work that’s established its own ground on which to dwell, to expand, and to quietly inspire”.  Tobias Carroll, Dusted Magazine

Monday, 2 September 2019

Vic Mars 'Inner Roads and Outer Paths'

Vic Mars - Inner Roads and Outer Paths
Transparent Blue Vinyl
Reverse board cover and printed inner sleeve.
700 hand numbered copies
Download code in sleeve.

Inner Roads and Outer Paths is Herefordshire born Vic Mars’ third release on Clay Pipe Music. It follows last years ‘The Soundtrack To The Hospice’ commissioned by Gideon Coe for BBC 6 Music, and 2015s critically acclaimed ‘The Land and the Garden’.

Inspired by in part by Alfred Watkins words and photographs of Herefordshire, the record also harks back to a period in Vic’s youth spent exploring the abandoned houses and factories on the fringes of his home town; the in-between places where nature either takes back, or loses its grip. On a recent visit home, he found a new road cutting through the fields he had played in as a child, and realised that some of the older pathways and lanes had become lost or overgrown. It is a record of trails, roads and holloways, that lead you out along the river, through ruined arches and over railway lines, past crumbling stately homes and back into the centre of town.

The album was recorded with 1980s style ‘tracker’ software, and a collection of instruments that includes alto recorders, school glockenspiels, a Roland Juno 60 and a Korg Monopoly. He manages to merge the wow and flutter of orchestral sounds from vintage British cinema documentaries, with Freddie Phillips style acoustic guitars and sequenced analogue synths. ‘Inner Roads and Outer Paths’ is a lush beautiful record that magically captures the Hereford landscape of Vic’s youth.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers.
Clear Vinyl LP and illustrated booklet. 
Reverse board cover.
Download code.


Released on the 2nd of August is a repress of Sharron Kraus' long sold out 2015 Clay Pipe LP, which includes the new extra track Gwydion. Friends and enemies; Lovers and Strangers is a collection of songs inspired by the Welsh folk tales of The Mabinogi. The idea for the album was first realised while she was living in rural Mid Wales.

I started off writing the songs as a way of getting to grips with what was happening in the stories” She says, “Trying to understand things that at first seemed confusing to me, and quickly got sucked in to a strange and wonderful world. I fell in love with these stories whilst being mystified by them and the process of wrestling them into song form has been one of the most challenging and rewarding of my song writing projects to date.”

The stories collected in The Four Branches of The Mabinogi were written in the 11th Century but contain themes that remain relevant today: love and hatred; battles for power; loss, displacement and migration of peoples; magic and wonder.

The album is full of beautiful crystal clear melodies that enhance the intrigue of the tales Sharron is telling. Using harp, recorders and bowed dulcimer, as well as guitar and piano the songs manage to capture the atmosphere of the time and take the listener back to the magical places mentioned in the stories.

Sharron Kraus is a UK-based singer, musician and songwriter whose music though informed by the folk traditions of England and Appalachia has its own distinctive voice. Heralded as one of the strongest voices in English contemporary folk. She has recorded a collection of traditional folk songs, Leaves From Off the Tree, with Meg Baird and Helena Espvall of Philadelphia psych folk band Espers, but the majority of her work is self-authored. Along with Justin Hopper and Belbury Poly she has recently released the critically acclaimed LP ‘Chanctonbury Rings’ on Ghostbox Records.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Colours May Vary /Reservations for Independent Label Market

The exhibition of Clay Pipe artwork at Colours May Vary in Leeds runs until the 1st August. It's a great shop/exhibition space if you like art and design, and well worth a visit.

Prints from the exhibition and small amounts of vinyl are now up on the Colours May Vary webstore, framed prints and Stagdale flexi disks, badges and cassettes are available in store.

It's back in a new place! I'll have pre-release copies of Sharron Kraus' repress of Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers, along with some other rarities if you are coming along and want to reserve something drop me a line.

Monday, 17 June 2019

There will be  an exhibition of Clay Pipe artwork at Colours May Vary in Leeds in July. There will be an opening/launch on the evening of the 5th July. Please come along if you can make it.