David Boulter ~ Factory

We’re a product of our childhood, an assemblage of countless half-forgotten processes, our identities a glorious mess of inputs we were too young to fully comprehend. David Boulter grew up in Nottingham, England, watching his mother work in one of the city’s many lace factories, back in the days when the lace industry was still clinging to survival. Boulter writes:

I have fond memories of watching the big factory in motion. The people, the sounds, the smell. It all seemed very exciting.

In a charming twenty-minute long track, released on mini-CD on Frances Castle’s wonderful label Clay Pipe Music, Boulter relives his childhood experience of being surrounded by the constant bustle of creation. Opening with a recording of the jaunty swung rhythm of the machines at work, the synths and vibraphones of the opening section are reminiscent of vintage sci-fi soundtracks, retro-futurism on full display. Occasionally a synthesised brass band drops by, a nice nod to the Midlands tradition.

Boulter was probably too young to be aware of it but the Nottingham lace industry was on its last legs. In the early 20th-century Nottingham had been a major international exporter, but as fashions and the market changed, it plunged into decline, as Boulter acknowledges with melancholy irony:

The big machine was already silent. Its hole punched cards still hanging from it. I always thought they looked very futuristic. Like the computer cards I saw in the science fiction films of the day. I guess for the people who’d been working there all their lives – and could see an end to it – It had a very different feel.

The release has a pleasing circularity, ending as it began, mirroring the seemingly unending manufacturing process. This brief but beguiling release is classic Clay Pipe, full of an idiosyncratic charm and a keen sense of place. Delightful. (Garreth Brooke)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: