Records and Tapes which Do Things
Buncefield Records and Tapes is an independent record label which releases photographs. Buncefield stages photographic exhibitions and one-off interventions on vinyl discs, cassette tapes and other physical media. Buncefield also produces radio shows which broadcast photography, and live performances which consist of noisy attempts to DJ with images. Neither analogue nor digital, neither old nor new media, neither an art project or a commercial venture.
Buncefield Records began with the idea of cutting photographic images to vinyl disc, by first encoding them as audio files. As well as playing with ideas of music and musicality, this fixes them on permanent, durable media. The resulting discs can be played back into the ‘listener’s’ computer via various types of homebrew code, allowing the disc to become a genuine image storage medium, just as it was back in the 80s, when computer data was stored on flexidiscs, cassette tape and broadcast over the radio by the BBC and others.
Cutting images to disc and tape opens up new ways of working with photography – scratching, backspinning, banging the turntable with a fist or tapping with a finger creates new variations – glitchy, distorted, striated.
Buncefield discs are cut using special wizardry by lathe-god Henry at Dub Studio, Bristol, UK.
The Buncefield label revives these old data storage technologies (and invents new ones) in order to explore the interface between music and computer culture. Buncefield challenges how changing technologies render content impermanent and fragile, whether audio or visual. Vinyl lasts forever. You can throw it across a room, hide it in a cupboard or bolt it onto a spacecraft and send it out of the solar system. You can’t do this with a JPEG.
The label name is a reference to the loudest peacetime event in postwar Europe, the explosion at the Buncefield plant, in Hemel Hempstead, UK in 2005. This catastrophic event was caused by the accidental failure of a single, tiny, insignificant safety valve.