• Created by Fred Helliwell
• Ten-inch record in gatefold sleeve
• Twelve page full-colour booklet
• Pressed spring included
• Hand numbered limited edition of 250
This second edition in the new Industrial Folklore series from Folklore Tapes is a sub-series exploring the hidden industries and workshops of clog makers, saddlers, quarrymen, dry-stone wallers, cotton mills and spring makers.
This record commemorates the veiled labour and voice of the spring. The first side reveals the workshop of B.P.S Springs, featuring the men and the machines that have inhabited the space for thirty eight years. The second side is a soundscape of tones from over ninety collected helical springs, handmade at B.P.S workshop and mounted in a circular arrangement atop a piece of wood, amplified and either plucked or oscillated with a motor.
Simple non-coiled springs were used throughout human history, e.g. the bow (and arrow), even the bend in a tree branch. In the Bronze Age more sophisticated spring devices were used, as shown by the spread of tweezers in many cultures. Coiled springs appeared in door locks early in the fifteenth century. The first spring powered clocks also appeared in the fifteenth century and evolved into the first large watches by the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth century, the Industrial Revolution spurred the development of mass production techniques for making springs. In popular culture both the slinky and the magic roundabout gave the spring an exciting dimension for children and adults alike. Spring reverbs have been used in music from the mid-twentieth century and who doesn’t recall the sound of a bed spring popping right by your ear in the dead of night?
B.P.S Springs Ltd. in Rochdale, Lancashire have been making every type of spring (torsion, compression, coiled, extension, flat) for cars, beds, boats, pegs, pens, lamps, trampolines, staplers, computer keys and more for the past thirty eight years. Named after and run by three friends; Bud, Pete and Sam, B.P.S will close for business, fittingly at the end of spring 2017. Fred Helliwell stumbled upon the workshop by accident and was struck by the everyday significance of the place and between the voice of the spring and the voice of the people who make them. After speaking with the spring makers and discovering their imminent retirement it seemed fitting to create oral and photographic documentation as a lasting commemoration to the hidden hands that have been at the helm of Rochdale’s industry since the decline of textile production in the area.
The first side of the ten inch record captures the atmosphere of a day in the life of the spring workshop, with lathe cutters, croppers, grinders and the telephone ringing amongst spoken accounts from Lancashire spring makers Bud, Pete and Sam. The second side features a hand-built sculpture clock (symbolising the clock of labour) and utilises many of the springs collected from B.P.S, played percussively and plucked with oscillations produced by a motor, echoing the rhythms of the machines in the workshop. The ‘spring clock’ is played in clockwise rotation in an improvised soundscape, with the steel vibrations often producing incidental atonal harmonies that resonate and shimmer. Each spring has its own identity, its own unique signature of sound.
Part documentary and part sound meditation, ‘Springs’ acknowledges the hidden labour of B.P.S Springs and explores the vast tonal range of the common metal spring, elevating the significance of an everyday object used so much, yet often taken for granted.
‘Springs’ is a limited edition ten inch record bound within a gatefold sleeve with a hand stitched booklet containing dozens of black and white photographs of the inside of the workshop, along with notes and drawings by Fred Helliwell. A pressed spring is included with each of the 250 hand numbered editions of the record.
Released Spring 2017