One of our favourite musical experiences from the whole Covid pandemic has been the birth of Remote Town Records. A Wicklow based label, featuring music from Wicklow based artists, with the area and surroundings very much at the heart of each and every track and release.
Today, the Remote Town Records team announces yet another stunning piece of music, as Strands [the solo moniker of composer and music producer Stephen Shannon] (Mount Alaska, Halfset) releases Strand’s 9 track ‘Inner Spaces’ album. Inner Spaces, is an expansive, multi-layered album, rooted in nature that is a response to the uncertainty of recent times.
The Strands moniker was originally intended as a one-album project back in 2010, but in 2020, when lockdowns and travel restrictions were in place, Stephen had a chance to work alone for the first time in many years. An avid collector of vintage synthesisers and musical instruments, he made use of the studio equipment around him and set about making a specific kind of record.
“I grew up in a small village in Co. Wicklow, between the mountains and the sea. I spent my summers taking long hikes through fields, forests and along coastlines, listening to music on my Walkman. I made compilation tapes before each excursion, imagining where I would be at precise points on the walk, as each song played.
It formed a lifelong habit – I still take long walks through the mountains and forests of Wicklow, bringing new playlists for company.
Last year, when travel restrictions prohibited me from travelling no more than a few kilometres from home, I compiled a list of all of the places I really wanted to go back to. I began making a piece of music for each location, visualising these spaces. Each track is about a space remembered and all my past journeys there, along with how it felt to return to them post-lockdown. On a track like ‘Sugarloaf’, the song mimics a mountain walk that starts gently, moving upwards like the ascent up a path before finally reaching the top and looking out over the view.”
Inner Spaces is an ode to the land, to the spaces we have all missed and the power of music to transport us. You can pick up the full album via Bandcamp here.