‘Idiosyncratic Aesthetics’ – A Tape-Echo Studios Exhibition

Alex Digard aka Tape-Echo is a constant source of fan-boy fascination for us. The Tape-Echo ideals of print, design and wax align with what brings us joy, and the Tape-Echo newspaper publication as well as the Analogue Love exhibition were massive highlights of 2011. Gutted then that we’re not around to see the new exhibition which launched this month, celebating the extension of Tape-Echo creative talents.

‘Studio Tape-Echo’ is the design and aesthetic side of Alex’s ventures that have been key part in the UK underground scene, especially in regards to the talent constantly coming out of Bristol. Giving a distinct style to the studio’s work with labels like Punch Drunk, Livity Sound and Gutterfunk (to name a few), Tape-Echo’s contribution is not to be underestimated. This shit is hard, and through his own understanding and experience he’s done it better than most others ever could.

The launch went down 31st of last month, and was pure vibes according to all present. ‘Idiosyncratic Aesthetics‘ as an exhibition is showing in Donuts (the store) until the end of this month though, so if you’re either in the area or fancy a trip to Bristol get in and check it out. Full press release below, edited to exclude the launch night, with Tape-Echo contact details at the bottom. Had to keep the flyers with it though, as they look sick.

via Tape-Echo

Tape-Echo started in mid 2009, a small blog set up to document the underground music scene in Bristol. All the posts were typed by hand on a typewriter found in the back of a charity shop, the mistakes and cross outs were left in as a reaction against the super-clean, digital format of the internet and, as a nod towards to zine culture and the recent closure of some of the most respected Drum n Bass magazines around.

Then in late 2011, Studio Tape-Echo launched ‘Tape-Echo publication001’ a 32-page, fully typewritten, quarter-fold, colour newspaper, showing that print still has a place alongside its ever-present digital counterpart. The first issue was stocked worldwide and featured exclusive interviews with some of the leading lights of the UK underground. It sold out in no time, leaving many desperate for issue number 2 ‚ which is set to appear very soon.

The ‘grubby simplicity’ aesthetic of the studio, rooted in a love of analog working methods and sound-system culture, has been slowly developing since then. Hours spent unearthing wooden type samples, poring over rare books, experimenting with old cameras and film, self-publishing zines, releasing records, drinking endless cups of coffee…

More recently the studio has been working with some of the finest and most respected names in the UK underground, from established brands including Punch Drunk, Resident Advisor and Clear Skyz through to newer acts and imprints like Gutterfunk, Peng Sound, BRSTL and, perhaps the most well known, Livity Sound.

Be it via the now iconic B&W photographs of the early Dubplate Monthly dances or the hearts and minds graphic approach to the recent Gorgon Sound/Dubkasm release on Peng Sound that saw the first pressing sell out before it had even hit shops, the slightly off kilter, analog aesthetic that the studio has been refining is synonymous with the new generation of underground music producers and artists.

‘Idiosyncratic Aesthetics’ is the first exhibition of the small studio’s collective output, an opportunity to view on a large scale the mixed media output that defines Studio Tape-Echo. Expect decaying sheet metal, vintage typewriters, screen-prints, cassette tapes, projections, products of photocopier abuse as well as a plethora of ephemera that makes the studio as idiosyncratic as it is.

Please join us at Donuts on Perry Road (Bristol) on Friday the 31st of August from 6pm onwards.

For more info please email us at ‘info (at) tape-echo.com’

While we’re on topic (of sorts – Tape-Echo did do the artwork after all) may as well take this opportunity to shout out Jabu and Killing Sound, definitely one of the finer previews of a forthcoming release that’s landed in the inbox of late. They’ve each taken a side on a limited edition of 50 cassette release dropping officially next week on new label No Corner. Assuming I can get my hands on a copy, properly looking forward to checking out both sides of the raw and rugged vibes we’ve sensed coming off of it from the previews, which seem to have been taken offline in the last 24 hours. So until it arrives in the post you’re going to have to stare at Tape-Echo’s design below and imagine how good it might sound.