Monday, 21 March 2016

Listening to the Stone Tape

This isn’t some little shade that couldn’t get into heaven because the pearly gates were shut. It’s something else, something interesting.” 
I re-visited The Stone Tape over the weekend and to supplement that screening I've just spent a very pleasant hour listening to Peter Strickland’s 2015 adaptation for radio. Fans of the 1972 television production will be pleased to hear that Strickland and his collaborator Matthew Graham have remained largely faithful to Nigel Kneale's original teleplay, apart from a few judicious tweaks, which is just as well because listeners can better immerse themselves in the radio play's extraordinary electronic sound design created by Broadcast's James Cargill and sound sculptor Andrew Liles. In fact the play will be something of a treat for experimental music devotees with nods to Alvin Lucier's signature electro-acoustic work I Am Sitting in a Room, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and a sly reference to the hauntological Focus Group. Neophytes might find Nigel Kneale's paranormal mysteries a puzzle at least on the first pass, so I would urge curious listeners to seek out the original BBC film first. Otherwise, find a quiet room, preferably a darkened one, and give this some generous volume. The radio play is not currently available through official channels so I've uploaded my mp3 copy here (a version is also available on youtube but it sounds rather shrill and lo-fi, so go for the mp3 instead).

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