Sussex, Surgery, Slow Songs, Squeaking, Soup

Those of you of a squeamish disposition had best look away now:

reel audio repair 1

In the same week that we were booked for a major gig later on this year, I’m happy to announce that Howlround have finally made some progress on the tape machine front, as Chris and I journeyed to deepest Sussex yesterday to visit the home of reel-to-reel repair expert Paul Baldwin. We took three dodgy tape machines under our arms/in the boot, plunderphonic overlord Lepke B rode shotgun and the two-hour  journey simply flew by thanks to one of Chris’s bizarre and confusing compilation CDs consisting entirely of Squarepusher, extreme metal and Ceefax music.

As you can see the machines looked pretty sorry for themselves as Paul pulled their guts apart, but the good news is that we finally found out what it was rattling around inside the PR-99 (not a bird’s nest it transpired) and it’s quite likely that the surgery hurt us more than it hurt them. Paul worked tirelessly throughout the day in his increasingly frigid workshop while his wife plied us (very thoughtfully) with tea and soup and his dogs presented us (equally thoughtfully) with endless squeaky toys for our entertainment.

reel audio repair 2
“Torture me all you want, I’m still not going to play Katie Melua!”

The machines bore it all with tremendous stoicism and are now looking and sounding much better after their surgery. And in a happy coincidence we also discovered just how vastly improved MOR classic ‘Closest Thing to Crazy’ sounds when played very, VERY slowly. I expect Chris will soon add this to one of his CD compilations so you can all have a listen.

In other news, at the time of writing there’s still time to have a quick punt on the very rare test pressing of ‘Ghosts Of Bush’, in aid of Resonance FM. All proceeds from this week’s fundraising auction will be going to help keep the greatest station in the world on air for another year. The needle of the Ghosts Of Bush totaliser is currently nudging £42, but I reckon we can still better in aid of such a worthy cause. At the moment £42 barely covers the costs of building the totaliser in the first place…*


*I haven’t actually built a totaliser. I was just being silly. Sorry.


Author: Robin The Fog

Sound Artist, Radio Producer, DJ, founder and chief strategist of tape-loop proejct Howlround. Devout Catalyst.

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