Portland, Delaware, Portland

Hello. Firstly, for those of you who missed this week’s jolly marvellous Resonance FM takeover of In The Dark at The Social in London’s Little Portland Street, you will be gratified to know that you can at least enjoy some of the very fine discs that I took the liberty of spinning. Library funk rubs up alongside musique concréte and west coast psychedelia and even a couple of cuts from our Delaware Road friends. Have a listen here:

In The Dark At The Social by Robin The Fog on Mixcloud

Delaware Road Poster

Speaking of the Delaware Road, very excited to announce that after months of preparation, the launch party for this most splendid album finally takes place in Reading this Saturday. Tickets are available here and you can enjoy live performances from Howlround, The Twelve Hour Foundation (whose track ‘Sun and Air‘ features on the above mixtape and remains a thing of wonder – as does their recent ‘Macaroni Cheese‘ 7″), the excellent Revbjelde (wonder what that name’s worth in Scrabble?) amongst others, alongside DJ sets from that affable scoundrel Jonny Trunk and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and The Séance. Your ticket (still available here) also gets you a free download of this magnificent 19-track compilation on Buried Treasure Recordings (although it’s a mere £6 on CD anyway, which seems ridiculously good value) and a free poster. Oh, and my Dad will be there. Can’t argue with any of that, really, can you? Anyway, don’t just take my word for it, here’s your host for the evening Dolly Dolly adding some further intrigue:

Following that, if any of my US friends happen to be in Portland, OR on Monday 16th, I would very much like you to join me at The Lovecraft, alongside the excellent Gray Columns and Offret. Further details here, and let’s hope the machines survive the journey…


Gray Columns have just uploaded a new track and we’ve been listening to it an awful lot here at Fog Mansions while waiting for our gear to warm up. Have a listen yourself, it’s really quite awesome:

There’s also  talk of Howlround and Gray Columns shows in San Francisco, but I’m still crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the lower-case ‘j’s on that one. Fingers crossed…

In The Dark Meets Resonance FM – Monday 9th At The Social


Very pleased to announce that two of my favourite organisations Resonance FM and In The Dark Radio are coming together once again to present a special evening at The Social in Little Portland Street this coming Monday.


The Resonance team will be presenting a hand-picked selection of curiosities from it’s vast (and conspicuously well-maintained!!) archive and The Resonance Radio Orchestra will be performing a new work written by the station’s commander-in-chief Ed Baxter. And I’ll be providing a DJ set of Radiophonic pop, BBC Sound Effects and outer space songs in-between. It’s promises to be quite an affair. Tickets available here. Come on down – what else is going to be as good on a Monday night in November, quite frankly?


‘Robin is the creator of one of ITD’s all-time favourite shorts “Train-Tracker” and long-time engineer for Jonny Trunk’s OST Show on Resonance FM and one half of the reel-to-reel tape loop duo Howlround’, advises the event’s web-page. More recently, I also gave a talk on Radiophonics a year or two ago at their marvellous Invisible Picture Palace, a listening centre that was installed temporarily in a greenhouse in the grounds of the old Power Station at Wapping, a marvellous gallery and art-space that has since been forced to join the ranks of similar London cultural spaces in making way for yet more luxury apartments. Oh, London, can you no longer even toss the arts community a greenhouse?

Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to hanging out with my In The Dark and Resonance friends once again. And while I’m not one to rake over past glories (not yet, anyway), I thought I’d dig that piece out one last time. I figured, what the hell, there’s probably intelligent life on a distant planet that I haven’t played it to yet!

New Howlround LP Enters The Radiophonic Orbit: A Word From The Masters

The Radiophonic Workshop (yes, THE Radiophonic Workshop) have just posted a link to the new Howlround LP Tales From The Black Tangle on their Facebook page. And there is no way I’m going to allow the incident to pass without at least one small trumpet from the rooftops.

You hear that?! Friends! FRIENDS! Oh, my!

Right, off for a nice lie down. As you were…

New Howlround LP: ‘Tales From The Black Tangle’ Limited Vinyl Available Now

Absolutely delighted to present the brand new Howlround LP Tales From The Black Tangle, available to pre-order NOW from my special boutique imprint The Fog Signals. The vinyl has finally arrived and is looking absolutely fantastic, shrink-wrapped with a full colour sleeve in a tasteful matt-finish, with artwork by myself and a beautiful rear photograph by the talented Victoria ‘Ringmaster’ Hastings. We’re very proud and excited, even more so when I tell you that in less than twenty-four hours a THIRD of the stock has been snapped up! It’s selling fast, so if you want to get your hands on a copy, might I suggest moving swiftly?

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - FRONT-LO-RES

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - REAR-LO-RES

And now the obligatory press statement: Following a busy summer that has seen the duo touring with “Disintegration Loops” legend William Basinski, profiled on BBC 6 Music’s The Freakier Zone, creating sound installations inside venues as varied as a Portuguese funeral parlour and a reservoir beneath Copenhagen; tape loop wranglers Robin The Fog and Chris Weaver are delighted to announce the launch of their fourth LP as Howlround – Tales From The Black Tangle

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SPINES-LO-RES

The pair create their music following a strict rule – all digital effects and artificial reverb is strictly forbidden. As with previous albums, Tales From The Black Tangle was created entirely by manipulating natural recordings on a trio of vintage reel-to-reel tape machines. Their increasingly spectacular live performances are no exception to their analogue-only rule, and see the pair leaving venues strewn with miles of tangled magnetic tape. Distant trains, industrial sirens, foghorns, ship to shore distress signals, and even a BBC microphone stand in need of some oil, are all are folded into the duo’s darkest and most eerily compelling work yet. A recent vinyl reissue of last year’s Torridon Gate album sold out in a single afternoon, so anticipation for this latest release is high.

You might remember that a small part of the sessions for this album were captured in this rather super Vine video Chris took over the summer, so it’s great to finally be able to present the finished results in a format longer than six seconds:

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SIDE1

Side 1 label. For added intrigue try staring at this label while the record is revolving, but take care not to operate machinery or go swimming for a few hours afterwards

Right, I’d better get off down that post office. Thanks so much for all of your custom so far and for the very positive initial feedback I’ve been receiving. I haven’t even had time to do press yet, so there’s no official reviews to speak of, but you can rest assured that if they’re positive they’ll be trumpeted from the roof of Broadcasting House…

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SIDE2

Side 2 label. You would not BELIEVE how many hours were spent on the tricky issue of hole-alignment…

The Delaware Road: Album OUT NOW, The Launch Party 14th November 2015

Delaware Road Poster

Pleased as punch to be part of this stellar line-up celebrating the launch of Buried Treasure’s gorgeous new 19-track concept compilation of modern day Radiophonia. The album (available here) is available now on CD for a mere SIX POUNDS and tickets to the launch party (available here) for include a complimentary download. I’m told both are selling fast, so don’t sleep on this one! Please enjoy this rather super trailer with further atmospheric details:

On Chambers, Mansions And Rivers

Please enjoy this latest report for BBC Radio 4 and The World Service on the subject of last weekend’s series of performances in the bascule chambers underneath Tower Bridge. Hidden below the waterline deep underneath one of London’s most iconic structures, these cathedral-like spaces serve to contain the gigantic counterweights during the lifting of the bridge’s central span (each weighs about a thousand tonnes or something ridiculous like that), but until last weekend few indeed would have been aware of their existence and fewer still would have been granted the privilege of climbing down into the chamber for a closer inspection. In fact, for the many hundreds of people strolling along the bridge around lunchtime last Saturday, the only clue that something out of the ordinary was about to occur below them would have been the sounds of distant brass pulsing mysteriously from somewhere beneath their feet. Or perhaps a Robin The Fog-shaped blur that nearly ploughed into them while heroically sprinting the final 200 yards to the entrance down to the chamber – thanks entirely to the incompetent, ever-delayed machinations of the accursed Southern Railways. Sorry if that was your umbrella…

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The initial inspiration for the project came from a recording of this vintage machinery at work that was originally made by Ian Rawes of The London Sound Survey. Iain Chambers’ coming across it proved to be the catalyst for an original composition ‘Bascule Chamber’ in which the brass section of the Dockside Sinfonia play along with the sound of the bridge to uncanny and beguiling effect. Before long this unlikeliest of stages was set for a series of concerts featuring two more original compositions by Iain and an interpretation of John Cage’s ‘Aria’ by the soprano Catherine Carter; each performed live and taking full advantage of the chamber’s unique acoustics.

View of the bascule chambers from the gantries. Photo by Steve Stills

View of the bascule chambers from the gantries. Photo by Steve Stills

It doesn’t take much imagination to realise just how far up my street (or hidden somewhere beneath it) all this activity is, particularly as I’m a huge fan of both The London Sound Survey and Langham Research Centre, the radiophonic performance group of which Iain is a key member; so I’m aware of the potential for accusations of bias. Nonetheless, I feel no hesitation at all in labelling these events a triumph and it would certainly appear that the enthusiastic reception from the crowd bears me out. Equally, so does the many disappointed people I’ve spoken to since who didn’t manage to get tickets. All I can say is that I hope my report gives some flavour of what went on down there and that apparently the concerts will be broadcast in full on good old Resonance FM at some point soon. Plus you can find both of these estimable gentlemen discussing the project and much more on the London Sound Survey blog here.

Composer Iain Chambers and sound recordist Ian Rawes on site comparing notes. Poorly-focused photography by me.

Composer Iain Chambers and sound recordist Ian Rawes on site comparing notes. Poorly-focused photography by me.


Moving on and continuing a busy weekend (though thankfully with less sprinting), I’d also like to present a few images from last Sunday’s sound installation at Mansion House in St. Helen’s Square as part of Vespertine York‘s latest sold-out event: A new sound-work created entirely from magnetic tape and the various ticks and chimes of the numerous antique clocks that until recently had populated this now empty shell.

Vespertine cordially invites the people of York and beyond, to a guided tour of the Mansion House with a twist! This event will be a rare opportunity to see the Mansion House as it is awaiting renovation; the unfurnished, raw building will provide the perfect backdrop for performances and music.

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The source material was collected a month or so beforehand. In the intervening period all of these vintage timepieces were removed, along with the furniture, carpets, paintings and other fixtures, pending the building’s year-long closure for extensive refurbishment. It was a strange experience indeed to bring these recently gathered sounds back to the newly bare walls and exposed floorboards – almost like filling this grand building with the memories of its own departed furniture. The results were very positively received by the groups of visitors touring the house, with one even moved to compare it to the soundtrack to Tarkovsky’s Solaris. That, my friends, is one way to make me very happy!

Vesp - installation 2

Also on the bill were the truly remarkable Sheffield-based anti-choir Juxtavoices and the multi-instrumentalist duo McWatt – both well worth checking out – plus food, drink, games, stories and more. And all for free! No wonder it sold out so quickly! Thanks very much to everyone who came along and showed their support and to Vespertine York for being such amazing hosts and for giving us such an awesome space to play with. It’s the latest in a series of events they’re curating, so their website is definitely worth a perusal and you’re advised to book your tickets early.

Vesp Sunset

And as a last-minute edition to today’s business, I’m happy to announce that I make an appearance in the latest issue of Caught By The River‘s regular publication An Antidote To Indifference, writing about some of my adventures in tape, alongside articles by Melissa Harrison, Chris Watson, Richard King, Emma Warren and many more. This is the second issue to be edited by legendary sonic curator Cheryl Tipp of the British Library’s Sound Archive (amongst many other goodly works) and thus promises to be even more of a cracking read than usual. Pre-order your copy here.


News of the new Howlround album arriving imminently. But after all this I might want a nice lie down first…

A Liminal Stage – 100% Design At Kensington Olympia

For those of you who couldn’t make it to today’s panel discussion, ‘Is Sound The Forgotten Sense?’ that was part of a series of talks at this year’s 100% Design showcase, please enjoy this sonic portrait of Kensington Olympia that was unveiled as part of my presentation:

Should architects and designers think more about using sound in new and exciting ways, rather than only focusing on acoustics? Our speakers all use sound innovatively from those that ‘play’ a building, to creating soundscapes that react to spaces and engage audiences in new ways. The panel includes Martyn Ware, founder member of iconic bands Heaven 17 and The Human League, who now creates 3D immersive audio landscapes with architects, artists and brands through his company Illustrious, designer Tomas Klassnik, and sound artist Robin the Fog, who will create a bespoke sound design for 100% Design. Chaired by David Michon, editor of Icon.

You might remember I blogged quite excitedly about visiting Olympia back in August and being given free reign of the building to explore and record. At the time the venue was a blank canvas being cleaned, maintained and generally prepared for this major four-day exhibition. The above work, commissioned by 100% Design derives from making a series of recordings of the naturally-occurring sounds of the building at work (band-saws and other tools, scissor-lifts and other maintenance vehicles, cleaning brushes etc.) along with various objects that I came across on my travels round the building, including doors, windows, temporary fencing, coat hangers and so on. The staff were kind enough to then let me take these recordings and play them at high volume through the venue’s PA system, using Olympia’s high arched ceiling as a giant reverberation tank – the biggest space I’d ever had the pleasure of working with and a glorious cacophony that somehow didn’t distract the cleaning staff from their appointed tasks one bit. Who knows, perhaps this sort of thing is a regular occurrence?


Thanks to 100% Design for having me, to Martyn, Thomas and David for being such fascinating company and to everyone who expressed an interest in my work. Sadly, due to some sort of annoying technical hitch I was unable to play an extract from Jacob Kirkegaard‘s 4 Rooms, which was a tremendous shame as it was a terrific example of one of the points I was trying to make about working with particular acoustic spaces – is it pure coincidence that these recordings of abandoned public spaces in the Chernobyl sound so desolate, lonely and foreboding, despite being in essence just recordings of amplified silence? Or does our awareness of the tragic history of these rooms and the inherent dangers of returning there have a part to play?

Here it is, anyway, and you’ll find more information on the album here. Still makes me shiver…


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