The true identity of the artist recording under the name Craven Faults is cloaked in secrecy. What we do know, however, is that the modular synth master has released three highly regarded EPs (known collectively as the Lowfold Works Trilogy) and a compelling debut album, Erratics & Unconformities, which hit the racks earlier this year via the ever-excellent Leaf Label.
To add to the scant autobiographical detail on offer, we also know that Craven Faults started making music in late 2016, but as a concept it had been bubbling under for some time. “There was a kind of gestation period before that for three or four years as the music took form and shape and I began to formulate ideas and develop a sound and style.”
It’s believed that the producer/musician works from a disused textile mill somewhere in Yorkshire. Which is something we tentatively asked the artist to confirm via the guarded anonymity of an email exchange. “Yes, my studio occupies a small room in what was once a textile mill. The building isn’t disused as such, though some of it is empty, much of it has been put to other use. When I moved in four years ago, there was still textile manufacturing taking place here.”
A sense of place seems important, and all of Craven Faults’ recorded output of shimmering, evocative electronica relates, certainly via the titles on the tracklistings, to the post-industrial landscape of northern Britain. “I have always had an interest in my surroundings, the history and the geography of a place, wherever I am. I’m not sure how much a sense of place informs the creation of the music, it isn’t something I’m always conscious of when I’m in the studio doing it, but I think it’s always there in the back of my mind.”
But can the landscapes of northern Britain provide an endless well of inspiration for an artist? “There’s always more information and inspiration to unearth. There are still many aspects I haven’t looked into yet. The hills I see on my journey to the studio have evidence of Neolithic habitation, cup and ring marked rocks, etc, ancient routes and pathways. Landscape and industrial archaeology have interested me for many years, I imagine I’ll continue to be inspired by it.”
So, how vital is it that the music is attached to a narrative aspect? “For me, it’s important that the music flows, and that the details work well. I want everything to fit together so that both individual tracks and groups of tracks start, progress and end with a sense of purpose. The music has a kind of negative space that can be filled by the listener’s imagination. I’m not necessarily thinking of a narrative that is defined in any way, more of something that is interpretive.”
Clearly, operating under a blanket of anonymity creates a pervading sense of mystery, but it does have some drawbacks, as the anonymous artist behind Craven Faults reveals when touching on plans for the rest of 2020. “Hopefully there will be some new music later this year. There are quite a few unreleased tracks, a lot of unfinished ideas, and I’ll work on some new pieces, too, figure out what I’ve got and what works together. There are plans to play live this year, if I can work out how to do it!”