Here I keep a selection of musical and sound-design related bits and bobs, mostly pieces that I’ve been working on of late, but also some older works too. Think of it as an attempt to show you my sound-designing plumage, but not as unpleasant as that may sound. Could do with a spot of updating, which I’ll probably get round to eventually.
Let’s start with some demos I found the other day while testing out my hardrive’s new ‘down the back of the sofa’ feature:
I’ve also set up a label. A very silly thing to do in these recession-blasted times, perhaps, especially as it’s unlikely to make a massive contribution to UK GDP, our releases will be largely very limited runs on very, very out-moded formats. Still, when did anything ever get done by being sensible?
Although recorded in the same basement studio where I spent many nights creating ‘The Ghosts Of Bush’, this album is not the official follow-up – it’s actually something of a prequel. All of the music here was recorded in the few months before the ‘Ghosts…’ sessions began, as Dave ‘Hills Have Riffs’ Briggs and I started to improvise and experiment with tape loops while drinking copious amounts of tea (hence the title). It was the first time I had gone anywhere near music making for several years. Some might argue it wasn’t near enough. Still, you have to start somewhere.
After a few of these late night sessions we had amassed a collection of brief, improvised sketches, largely recorded in mono and in a single take. We had tremendous fun and learned an awful lot about working with tape (such as ‘will blow up as soon as back is turned’), but at the end I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them, and It wasn’t until almost a year later that I got the idea of extracting some of my favourite moments from the gigantic pile of tapes marked ‘Robin and Dave’ and editing them together into a mixtape of sorts. So I did. And here it is.
It’s perhaps a little wonky in places, but I like to think ‘Earl Grey Whistle Test’ is the sound of two people on their way to a discovery, a sort of sketchbook where the tape manipulation techniques that would eventually go on to haunt the corridors upstairs gradually took shape.
A hauntological portrait of the recently abandoned home of a major broadcaster, rushed out quickly before they either leave the building or before the word ‘hauntology’ becomes passé, whichever happens the quicker. For further information on the album, there’s an explanatory blog post here, which you will hopefully find stimulating.
Our first release ‘Notes On Cow Life’ is also available, although the 50 completely ace bright orange cassettes (plus download) have now sold out. Never mind, the download is still pretty awesome and moderately more practical. As an extra treat, here’s a promotional mixtape for the album that I recently put together for the rather splendid Slow Thrills blog: