Erased Tapes Sound Gallery – a communal space that encompasses a recording studio, a café and a record shop without the pretence of either – has opened its doors in east London with the purpose to enable people to truly experience music in the present.
Open to the public over weekends only, Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is the brainchild of Robert Raths, label boss of the Erased Tapes record label.
The German-born founder and boss said: “[Erased Tapes Sound Gallery] is meant to slow people down for a little while in this hectic world – a communal space for people to discover new music and new things”.
Robert Raths, with his foundations rooted in mindfulness and living in the present, set up the space as a physical representation of what the label does on a spiritual and energetic level as it were. “It’s my way of communicating what we’ve been doing with music in physical form,” Robert Raths continued.
Erased Tapes, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, is widely recognised for releasing avant-garde music that crosses over genres and styles. Classical and electronic is one such crossover demonstrated by the label through its roster of artists that includes the German pianist, Nils Frahm, and American multi-instrumentalist, Peter Broderick. Music it is, but there is an inherent silence and stillness within the introspective instrumentals of Erased Tapes output that reaches out on a spiritual level.
In a recent interview with DJ Gilles Peterson, Robert Raths spoke of Japanese culture and Eastern lifestyle practices as an inspiration. “Silence to me is such an important thing,” Robert Raths said. “It’s not really in our culture though in the western world and that’s what I love about Japan and Asia in general.”
Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is housed in a renovated Victorian house near London’s Victoria Park. Robert Raths, who studied architecture, completely gutted the premises and transformed it into a “really open, super light space” which is very minimal.
Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is at least a 15-minute walk from any tube stations. The walk takes you through London’s Victoria Park and down a quiet road, Victoria Park Road, where you will find the sound gallery. The owner and label boss, Robert Raths, explained how his choice of location still feels like the 1800s. “The village near Victoria Park is one of the few places in Zone 1 and 2 in London that doesn’t have a tube station. It literally is a village. I want us to feel part of the community,” he said.
Drawing on the Eastern influences, Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is decked out with a sound system, which was commissioned and created by a designer in Japan, and a playable Una Corda Piano. Visitors are also encouraged to take off their shoes on entry and wear slippers that are provided. Although not enforced, Robert Raths said it’s all part of the purpose of encouraging people to slow down, be comfortable and truly experience the music. It is a concept that is simple and an intent that comes from the heart and soul.
Aware of the vibes that a record label, a coffee shop and a studio can attract, Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is essentially a neutral space which embraces balance. “I don’t want people to think that it’s high-brow and really still,” Robert Raths said. “How many people rush into a coffee shop, Starbucks style say, and literally shout at someone: ‘I need a coffee right now’ – that’s where we’ve gotten. I want us to have an opportunity to get back to be more respectful and to actually invest into something. So as a kind of balance, if people put on a pair of slippers, and we are going to give them a coffee or tea, if they like, make them comfortable and experience sound. So the [Erased Tapes] Sound Gallery was the best words I could give. It fits the whole thing.”
“I hope people enjoy that experience,” Robert Raths continued. “Because that’s what we want to create, that experience.”
Erased Tapes Sound Gallery is at 174 Victoria Park Road, London E9. Open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 8pm
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a journalist who writes about sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com