paper relics – emersion [whitelabrecs]

Paper Relics is a collaboration between Whitelabrecs owner Harry Towell and his brother Stuart. They began recording together back in 2010 at their family home, with an EP on the Audio Gourmet netlabel which was followed by debut album ‘Over Exposure’ on Time Released Sound. In 2018 they created ‘The Road Home’ for Whitelabrecs, a record in which Sven Laux also had a hand.

The Paper Relics sound takes Stuart’s guitar and bass performances as the focal point of the compositions, with Harry’s background in creating Ambient and electro acoustic music adding further detail and texture. Each of their infrequent records has an evolving character, as equipment and techniques get updated and their lives change. Over Exposure was a record about photography, reflecting upon faded old family polaroids of life on the farm that their father grew up on. The Road Home moved into a richer more detailed sound palette, themed around the brothers’ new homes. 

‘Emersion’ is a four track EP which is the first item in their discography, in which they did not physically sit down to record together. It was created through file-exchanges during lockdown, as glimpses of a life beyond the grip of the pandemic became in sight. As cautious plans were being made and a strange sense of freedom emerging, they reflected on the time-warping effects of their endless days spent indoors throughout the pandemic. They opted for a lo-fi retro sound, which sets out a dusty, degraded aesthetic across the recordings. Reel-to-reel tape decay, radio distortion, vinyl crackle and VHS hiss give a vintage charm to these reflective songs. There is a palpable melancholy which disguises the key message of optimism, with this EP being released on the 19th of July, a day being dubbed ‘freedom day’ in the UK. ‘Emersion’ is a brief space for reflection, in which the dust can settle. 

After the album had been finalised, Stuart took a short break in the Scottish Highlands and he captured a series of photographs whilst hiking in the landscape. The EP cover artwork is one of these images, overlooking Loch Ness from a misty vantage point. We’ve created a short run of cassette tapes to tie in with the retro, lo-fi theme and the tape itself is neon yellow; a flash of colour as a stamp optimism.

Written and produced by Harry & Stuart Towell 
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong 
Photography by Stuart Towell 

Stuart Towell: Guitar, Bass
Harry Towell: Baritone Ukulele, Harmonica, Violin, Mandola, Voice, field recordings, electronics, MIDI keyboard and programming

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