It was with a cry of despair that I saw the terrible subject line in my inbox this morning: “Farewell To Fence”. With so many of my most valued cultural sources stumbling to a halt in this modern age – Word magazine, Google Reader, practically every record shop I’ve ever been to – it came as little surprise to learn that one of my all-time favourite record labels was set to shut up shop. Living, as I do, at the other end of the country, the Fife-based ‘collective’ that was Fence Records always seemed like a shining hub of magical creativity and invention. It inspired me to set up not one but two independent labels of my own, and more importantly provided me with some of the best music of the last decade.
Mercifully all is not as bad I first feared; the label hasn’t gone bust, all the current artists are still making music, it’s just that the situation has changed. Since founder Kenny Anderson – better known to EBM readers as King Creosote – left Fence to focus on his own music-making efforts, the label has been run by Johnny Lynch – better know to EBM readers as The Pictish Trail. Johnny has lately been based in the Hebridean island of Eigg, and in his own words:
“All of a sudden there wasn’t much Fife in Fence, or much Fence in Fife.”
So they’re having a ‘re-brand’ (as Johnny doesn’t want to call it), and the fantastic records will continue to flow (we hope). The new venture has yet to be named, and will apparently be christened at the last-ever Fence Records showcase at the Green Man Festival on Friday. So the news is not as bleak as it at first seemed, but the passing of a musical icon should still be marked with some well-earned solemnity.