Feature / The Bristol Recorder 4

Music Editor Alexia Kirov reviews the recently revived The Bristol Recorder, a magazine and compilation record that champions local artists and Bristolian culture.

The Bristol Recorder was first published in 1979 as a magazine and vinyl compilation seeking to shed light on the Bristol music scene. In its original run of three issues, featured artists included the likes of Peter Gabriel and The Thompson Twins. After a break of almost 40 years, The Bristol Recorder is back, and was released in a limited print of 500 copies for last week’s Record Store Day.

Thanks to the wonderful @amandanicks and @thebristolmag for championing Bristol’s Vinyl in their new issue featuring The Bristol Recorder Vol. 4 and our very own Syd Bird, @lilylouisescott and @annabelfitzsimons #bristol #vinylrevival #thebristolmag #thebristolrecorder

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April 21st marked the eleventh annual Record Store Day (RSD); in recent years, there has been growing criticism about the event being gimmicky and having been monopolised by big labels. But the relaunch of The Bristol Recorder is exactly the sort of thing Record Store Day should be about - a celebration of unique, independent projects.

The fourth edition of The Bristol Recorder compilation comes on clear vinyl, matching the black and white colour scheme of the accompanying magazine, and features a broad, genre-spanning range of artist, including The Shimmer Band's 2016 track 'Freedom', Bristol graduates LICE's ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’, and Laid Blak's aptly titled track, ‘Bristol Love’.

The record itself is a lovely introduction to what’s going on in the music scene here in Bristol. But the accompanying magazine is a real gem; it's very clear that the editors have poured a lot of time, energy, and love into the project. It includes interviews with the musicians who feature on the compiliation as well as the likes of Big Jeff, a legendary figure in the Bristol music circle. The magazine also takes a look at Bristol culture more broadly, including a guide to the city’s best cider and even tackles the more pressing issue of homelessness in an interview with the charity St. Mungo’s.

At the time of the The Bristol Recorder's first incarnation, NME said of the magazine and compilation that ‘Really… every city should have one.’ Today, at a time when print publications are under increasing threat from digital media - as shown by the recent cessation of the print edition of the very publication that once praised The Bristol Recorder - supporting small, independent publications like this one is so important; they help to keep print culture alive. Indeed, like the newly created Bristol Germ, The Bristol Recorder gives an important and devoted insight to the music being made here in Bristol that is so often overlooked in the mainstream press.

The Bristol Recorder is being relaunched this Friday 27th April at Rough Trade Bristol. Just like the compilation's tracklist, the launch party line-up is comprised of an array of Bristol artists. Featuring a live performance from Firewoodisland, a Norweigan ‘mountain pop’ band now based in Bristol, and DJ sets from both Dr Meaker, a dance act lauded by the likes of Zane Lowe and Michael Eavis, and from Wanted Records' owner John Stapleton, it's sure to be a real celebration of some of the best artists this city is home to.

Featured image: Facebook / The Bristol Recorder

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Tickets for The Bristol Recorder launch party are available here