The Stone Tape

As part of the BBC’s Fright Night this Halloween, Radio 4 premiered a new adaptation of Nigel Kneale’s Stone Tape, a drama about psychic investigators who stumble upon the seeming evidence of a theory that past traumatic events can be stored in the fabric of an ancient building, replayed and, just maybe,  recorded on a Naga 4 tape machine and a Sennheiser MKH 405 microphone.  This version is set in 1979, six years later than the original and supernatural detective work is not the prime purpose of the team but nonetheless gets in the way of their real work.  The head of the unit becomes obsessed with capturing the sonic creepiness and pushes on to an open-ended confrontation with the “other side”.  The in-depth discussions of how best to flush out the ghost in the masonry with audio technology was undeniably geeky but necessary I felt and the soundscape was amazing.

The director is Peter Strickland who helmed the similarly themed horror film “Berberian Sound Studio” (see previous post) and he is a fellow intrigued with the possibilities of unsettling sounds.  Stone Tape was intended for TV but was downgraded to radio which was perhaps blessing in disguise.  I listened on my PVR through the television with its less than steller speakers but still got my balls rumbled as it were.  A super-charged 3D version was available on the iplayer for a while but no longer sadly.  This is the youtube re-post which may still give you a frission of haunting possibility.  Remember, deep below the noise floor, you never know what may be lurking…

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