Steps on the Turning Year marks the second release from Nottingham, UK based artist, composer and musician Bredbeddle, aka, Rebecca Lee.
The four long form tracks here form a scrapbook built with snippets from Lee’s music collection from found sounds, amateur viol consorts and more. Drawing connections between different sounds creates odd narratives as loops mingle and glitch against each other. Although vinyl, CDs and turntables are part at the heart of the Bredbeddle process, Lee sees herself as a collagist, not a DJ or turntablist.
“I’m interested in mixing pre-existing recordings, and their cultural worlds together to suggest new types of song or story,” says Lee. “I have a stack of records with post-it-notes on them, to remind me of the sounds I want to use.” The quirks of her set up: laptop, turntable, and CD player end up shaping the sound. “While it’s possible to play loops on a turntable, it’s harder on a CD. With my old CD player, all I can do is keep skipping back to the start of the track, but that limitation becomes an effect in itself.”
The four pieces have been assembled with a delicate attention to detail. There are echoes of Christian Marclay or Joseph Hammer in the process, but the sheer breadth of materials Lee uses, from early music to BBC sound effects records and recycled recordings from her previous musical projects, makes Steps on the Turning Year a uniquely rich tapestry.
“I find connections between textures or moments in different pieces of music. Sometimes it’ll be similar chords, or a quality to the voice, the beginning of a phrase, or even the broken down and looped vowels of a spoken-word record. It means that early music gets combined with something much more contemporary, found and noisy sounds with studio albums.”
The result is an album of looping, meandering constructions, as sounds overlap before fluttering away from each other. “It’s not about deconstruction, but trying to assemble something new from these different recordings,” Lee explains. “I don’t think too much about whether a sound is particularly uncool, or fits a grid. It’s about letting them evolve and interact with each other.”
The artwork for the tape comes from conversations between Lee and designer Anna Peaker. "I really liked Anna’s use of icons and images in her work - the way she brings a variety of materials together into one space - it connected to the way the tracks are formed," Lee explains.
"So I tried to map out references for each piece drawing on sounds in the tracks, or the art work from the source music I used. Together we found and made materials that could be used and Anna worked with this collection to develop the design. The tape sleeves have become kind of weird landscapes and the O sleeve is (as you’d hope), a loop of its own."
Released June 11, 2021
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC
1. To and Fro - 27:05
2. Singing Knives - 35:26
3. Bredbeddle Ballet - 28:53
4. The Gavle Goat - 35:26
“Rebecca Lee is a storyteller. On her newest album as Bredbeddle, she weaves a sprawling, engaging narrative across four pieces in roughly two hours. Each of the four tracks on Steps on the Turning Year wind through countless sonic avenues, taking unexpected twists and turns to the point that it’s impossible to know where Lee will go from minute to minute.… It’s the sound of discovery and finding yourself within the free-flowing chaos of all that surrounds us. Lee bends it through a skewed prism, giving interesting and often poignant new perspectives on recognizable sounds, breathing a new essence into the familiar.”