The Seaman and the Tattered Sail – Light Folds

Light Folds

“Why wait 25 years to release a Special DeLuxe Anniversary Edition when you can release such an edition right away?”

Something like that must’ve been the thought of the people at Fluid Audio/Fac-Ture when they were planning this incredibly voluptuous Light Folds release by The Seaman and the Tattered Sail (Craig Tattersall and Bill Seaman).

In these times of ongoing discussions about the decline of the music industry’s physical distribution, it seems like a daring adventure (and a somewhat ironic provocative statement) to release a single package containing:

  • 2 clear (see-through) heavyweight vinyl albums in gatefold covers
  • 2 CD’s
  • 1 Audio DVD (together with CD’s in a six panel cover)
  • Two 12″ prints, 4 A6 prints, and an A2 poster

… All in twelve different design varations…

When I first read about this release, I assumed that there were various configurations of the original material to be chosen from: Vinyl, or CD, or DVD, or Digital download…
But that was not as it was intended: the artists decided it was to be released the way it is: as one single package – meaning this package contains more than eleven hours of their music scattered over all these different kind of physical media.

Light Folds

Bill Seaman (‘media artists and exploring linear and interactive works’) and Craig Tattersall (The Boats, The Humble Bee, and many more) have been working on these tracks for over two years in online “Dropbox/WeTransfer collaboration”.

The original project started as a double CD, but as time passed a vast amount of ‘abstracts, derivations and colliding things’ materialized: shorter versions which seemed fit to be released on a vinyl version; longer versions that required a different format (Audio DVD). And somewhere along the line Bill and Craig decided that it was worth keeping all of these variations together in one mammoth-size release combining all of these.

To be honest: I don’t think I have heard all of the 72 tracks (with average 10 minutes length) at the time of writing this post.
But, after having played the tracks of this package on ‘random play’ for a few days now, listening to hours and hours of variations without experiencing a single moment of ‘aha, I believe I have heard this sequence before’, I strongly believe they were right in this decision!

With a release this length, it is incredible that Seaman and Tattersall have managed to create music with enough variation to avoid becoming boring, yet at the same time stay within a defined framework of style and atmosphere, stimulating continuous listening without skipping a track.
“Music for Waiting Rooms” came to my mind – although unfortunately I cannot imagine any Waiting Room open-minded enough to play this kind of music (certainly not my dentist’s).

Though the main body of this work was (of course) created by Bill Seaman and Craig Tattersall, the variation in sounds may also be credited to the additional accents created by Robert Ellis-Geiger (trumpet), Eric Pritchard and Hsiao-mei Ku (violin), Jonathan Bragg (violin and viola), Fred Raimi (cello) and David Beaudry (clarinet drones).

Light Folds is a monument without precedent.

It takes guts and a massive amount of confidence to release a single package like this. Not only regarding the creative content (try to create over 11 hours of music that is interesting enough to keep on listening), but also in regards of distribution of the physical package (which is about 1 KG to ship!).

“Why wait 25 years to release a Special DeLuxe Anniversary Edition when you can release such an edition right away?”
Well, on second thought I may have to reconsider this, since almost all of the entire first edition (of 300) were sold this weekend through the Fluid Audio mailing-list pre-orders.
Which leaves only a few copies left to be ordered through regular channels at the official release date (sept, 30)…. 

Is that bad news or good news?
Personally, I think that it’s good news: since I have already pre-ordered my copy 🙂

I guess history will decide on a re-run of this production (although I think/hope that a digital download version will remain available after the initial run of physical copies has run out).

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