Saturday 9 September 2023

Souterrain Sounds - A Song Recording Archive


My partner Rebecca Sharp and I started a small imprint for the various hard copy publications that we were generating - mini plays, collaborative arts books, poetry and the odd cassette release. It's called Souterrain Press and lives over here. It occurred to me that I also had a vast archive of recorded material with no physical manifestation and that some of this stuff should really be 'out there'. It's a familiar story I'm sure, literally millions of songs recorded and left on hard drives all over the world. Much of this music and spoken word gets a platform on Bandcamp and other streaming services but a lot of it never sees the light of day. Although there are millions of songs everywhere you look these days, I feel a curated collection is a good place to find new music - at least you then have some sort of human interjection.

All of the music on Souterrain Sounds is curated by myself and represents a really grassroots collection of recordings made by musicians and poets that I've had the pleasure to work with over the years. These days I find myself far more interested in these sort of DIY musical recordings and mostly end up listening to very underground stuff whilst driving around to my piano tuning day jobs. Being a fanatical archivist it gives me a lot of pleasure to assemble and publish the artistic pursuits of unknown musicians recorded over the decades. I don't know that it serves any real great purpose given the niche aspect of it and the overwhelming number of songs already streaming online, but I do like to think that maybe one day, some future generations might find a little 'enchantment' being able to listen to the compositions of their distant ancestors and have a laugh at grandad's attempts at songwriting. 

Sometimes I actually have a hard time persuading songwriters to let me include their stuff on Souterrain Sounds as they can be a bit unsure of letting the public hear what they've made but I reckon much more music will be added as it is unearthed from the souterrain repository and not forgetting, of course, any 'new' things may cross my path along the way.

Anyway, head over to the site and have a look around, see what you can find.

Here's a few samples to whet your appetite:

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