Saint Marie Records

Strata Florida

Louise Trehy was once half of UK dreampop/shoegaze band Swallow who released their debut album Blow in 1992 on the eminent 4AD label. Louise walked away from music and left London for a self sufficient life in rural Wales after the band broke up in 1994. Years later, she borrowed a 4 track recorder to learn a harmony part after joining a local alternative choir. She immediately fell in love with the process of recording music again, and recorded a handful of songs, learning to play electric guitar along the way. She was eager to recruit other musicians to speed up the process, as after an eighteen year gap, ideas were bursting out of her.

Having seen Peter Pavli play viola at a pop up gig in a friend’s living room, she asked if he would be interested in playing on some of her songs. Unknown to her at the time, Pavli was primarily a bass player and had played in experimental rock bands and recorded with Robert Calvert, Annette Peacock and many others. Although Louise’s recordings were very basic, it was clear to Pavli that ‘something very interesting was going on with her songwriting, her use of vocal effects was intriguing and on top of that her guitar sound was heavier than Hawkwind’s which appealed to me enormously’.

The pair began recording together in 2012, experimenting with DIY recording techniques along the way. ‘Pavli ensured the songs were recorded on a solid musical foundation and embraced things like my odd major minor guitar tunings. Also, I hadn’t considered using bass guitar which was never a feature of Swallow’s music, but I couldn’t resist his bass lines which were very melodic and reminded me of Kate Bush’s music. These songs are darker and grittier than my work with Swallow, but I think somehow dreamier.’ They named themselves Strata Florida (meaning valley of the river of flowers) after a local 12th century Cistercian abbey.