It’s been an exciting few days for Howlround as we undertook our second-and-third-ever gigs on consecutive nights at venues several hundred miles apart, quite an achievement given the weight of the tape machines, the state of the Howlroundmobile’s suspension and a journey that consisted almost entirely of gingerly negotiating speedbumps. Our first port of call was The Outer Church launch party for their new compilation on Front & Follow Records, where we were lucky to find ourselves playing alongside Hong Kong In The 60s (whom we also have to thank for these lovely photographs), Death & Vanilla and Cherry, all of whom provided such entertaining live sets that a lesser pair of tape loop manipulators might have found themselves wondering how they could possibly follow. Such feelings might have then been exacerbated by the fact that our carefully organised selection of tape loops fell into a gigantic tangle all over the stage roughly thirty seconds before showtime, resulting in our incorporating some rather chaotic accidental performance art into the set as we scrabbled around trying to restore them to order. All grist to the haunted looms, of course. Here’s a quick blast for your edutainment:
Proof that trouble rides a fast horse, we even got reviewed in Brighton’s premier Homes and Property Magazine/Blog The Latest! Entirely fitting, given our work exploring empty and abandoned spaces, if you’ll forgive me hammering an analogy home:
Howlround live is two men playing with four tape loop machines, creating an incredible cacophony culled from the manipulated acoustic sounds of Bush House (the old home of the BBC World Service). The gig was somehow much more fun and enthralling than it sounds however, with some loud shuddering bass (emulating the scarier “ghosts” of Bush House) and some stunning moments of confluence where multiple tracks meshed together to create a beautiful drone. Imagine whale noises combined with echoes, delays and tape hiss. Despite a few technical hitches that slightly disrupted the hypnotic mood, the gig was strange, unique, haunting and enthralling.
Green Door Store, 25 July 2013
No rest for the wicked, of course, and once we had picked up the sorry remains of our live set from the floor it was off up north to the Full Of Noises Festival where we performed on the opening night alongside Felix Kubin, Lee Gamble, The ever-wonderful Bohman Brothers and Ryoko Akama, whose two small children, both cassette enthusiasts, were quite visibly appalled at our acts of loop vandalism which flew in the face of all the stern parental warnings they had even been given. And as loops were stretched across the room and flung haphazardly on the floor, it might have seemed that Mother knew best – they had received quite a trampling on the previous evening. Fortunately our machines and loops performed with exceptional fortitude and even proclaimed the highlight of the evening by certain members of the crowd, which given the quality of the line-up is very flattering but palpably untrue. Still, we were most chuffed. Here’s another quick edifying blast:
A programme of performances, workshops and talks, Full Of Noises is a most remarkable sonic arts festival in the very last place you would expect to find one – and as a native Cumbrian I feel qualified to say this. Personal highlights included John Dack’s lecture on the work of Pierre Schaeffer, and the following evening’s concert at St. James’ church featuring a wonderful piano piece by Tom James Scott and the ‘doom tuba’ of ORE. But of course my very favourite personal highlight was the appearance on the scene of my own dear parents who upon surveying the wreckage of our live set up broke with three decades of tradition by amending their favoruite phrase to ‘look at the state of your tape loops’ and insisted on straightening them all out before we made a mess of them all over again. Perhaps Mother really does know best after all.
Hope they’ll invite us back for more next year (the FON festival, that is, not my parents)
And do something about the speedbumps…
Now THIS is exciting. Well, for me, at least. But assuming you’re visiting this site of your own free will, you might just find it a teeny bit exciting too:
Very pleased to be announcing that I’ve made a contributtion to a compilation on Front & Follow Records set to be released on the very day of my birthday next month. And I’m being featured alongside a cachet of some of my favourite contemporary artists such as Pye Corner Audio, Some Truths (aka Bass Clef), Hacker Farm, VHS Head, Baron Mordant… the list goes on! This will be the best birthday present ever!
The compilation bears the title of and is released in collaboration with the UK’s foremost uncanny audiovisual event, The Outer Church. Chief programmer Joseph Stannard has compiled ‘a stunning 28-track double album of all-new previously unreleased material from a host of incredible conspirators’.
“Wind the tape all the way back to Brighton in 2009. The uncanny influence seeping into contemporary music from ‘elsewhere’ had become impossible to ignore. Magazine pieces I had written in my capacity as a music critic were revealed to contain subliminal memos for my own attention. Unusually vivid dreams and unsettling anonymous telephone calls imparted curious instructions. I was to establish a space in which various forms of unheimlich audio would converge with moving images of a similarly anomalous nature. Equipped only with a well-thumbed copy of The Beginner’s Guide To Psychic Architecture, I resolved to build a Church.
“This compilation presents a selection of the artists who have performed at The Outer Church, with the exception of illustrious filmmaker and composer Graham Reznick, who lives in faraway Brooklyn and kindly permitted us to screen his tremendous psychedelic campfire tale, I Can See You, in Brighton and Dublin. All of the recordings here are previously unreleased. Together they advance the argument that something weird is stirring in modern music which resists categorisation, manifesting itself in unsettling cadences and temporal distortions across a wide variety of occult strategies.”
The Outer Church was established in 2009 by music writer Joseph Stannard (The Wire, Mojo, The Quietus). Since then it has brought the finest in uncanny film and music to Brighton, including live sets from Demdike Stare, Raime, Pye Corner Audio, Old Apparatus, Moon Wiring Club and The Haxan Cloak plus screenings of new independent films such as I Can See You, Die Farbe and Overhill.
The Outer Church and Front & Follow present F&F028: Various Artists – The Outer Church featuring 28 previously unreleased tracks from the uncanny underground. 2CD and download out August 5th. Strictly limited first edition of 300 in letterpress packaging with inserts and poster by Alexander Tucker. Pre-order here and here
That Exciting Tracklisting In Full:
Embla Quickbeam Crystal Sea
Grumbling Fur Tilda Holds A Sword And Lilies
Some Truths Some Truths #24 (Edit)
Kemper Norton Melegez
Pye Corner Audio Black Mist
Black Mountain Transmitter Drawn In Silhouette
Angkorwat I Hope He Had
Position Normal Siegfried & Roy
BrokenThree (TVO + Production Unit + Erstlaub) 96D
Anna Meredith The Binks
Hong Kong In The 60s Summer’s Bird
Baron Mordant & Mr Maxted Roehampton By Night
Graham Reznick Tomorrow In New York City
Old Apparatus Patter
VHS Head Freight Night
The Wyrding Module Thrones Of Nitre
Silver Pyre Frosted Tropic
These Feathers Have Plumes An End To Drought
Hacker Farm Bluebeam
Robin The Fog Unnatural History
Tidal Scry Baby
Wrong Signals Waiting On A Beach
Sone Institute Time Itself
Paper Dollhouse Swans
Time Attendant WHOA!
IX Tab The Burned Wretch
But there’s more! To coincide with the launch of the compilation, The Outer Church is hitting the road with a series of ‘Summer Outings’. The first takes place in Joseph’s native Brighton on Thursday 25th July and I’m very happy to announce that South London’s premier improvised tape-loop sextet Howlround are on the bill! We shall be bringing our decidedly unportable Revoxes back to Brighton for a sequel to our first gig ever a few months back and will hopefully be spooling up an exclusive set! There’s a Facebook event page for those of you well-versed in social media and tickets can be purchased here. After that The Outer Church rolls into London, Brighton (again) and then Manchester, each night with an exciting line-up of artists featured on the compilation. Peruse this poster for further information:
But there’s still more! Well, for Howlround anyway. Because we’re also hitting the road and heading up to Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria for another gig the following evening at the Full Of Noises festival, where we’ll be playing alongside Felix Kubin, Tom James Scott, Lee Gamble, The Bohman Brothers to name a few. We’re very excited and only slightly perturbed by the logistics involved with playing separate ends of the country on subsequent days. Plus it’s near my original neck of the woods, so I’m hoping for an appearance from my parents, whose approval I desperately crave.
Howlround is now on Twitter so feel free to follow us using @Howlroundmusic and see how we get on. Rumour has it we’ll be forced to leave halfway through The Outer Church and drive all-night, as appalling a thought as that would be – don’t want to miss Hong Kong In The 60s for one thing!
Oh, and the new Howlround album is finished, mixed, mastered and sent off to the pressing plant. We’re hoping for an early September release in time for the official launch party in Belgrade. But that’s for later. Don’t want to bombard your delicate sensibilities with too much excitement just yet…
Gosh, isn’t it hot today? I’m writing this listening to Bossas, Mambos and Cha-Chas while wearing a rather fetching Hula Skirt. Send £300 to the usual address if you’d like a photo…
Finally a chance to shoe-horn in the punchline to my favourite Scarecrow-related joke on this website. And with good reason. For the people at blog-label-publisher-print-makers Caught by the River have launched the latest edition of their fanzine An Antidote to Indifference. It’s a field-recordings special and it IS outstanding. You see? It totally works. Thanks, Scarecrow!
Edited by Cheryl Tipp, the Curator of Natural Sounds at the British Library, it’s packed with lots of highly readable goodies that have been spicing up my journeys on the tube no end over the last couple of days; featuring contributions from Jez riley French, The London Sound Survey, old mucker Jonny Trunk and Chris Watson. There’s even a small contribution from my Foggy self. Lovely artwork by Rose Foshall too.
Cheryl writes: Earlier in the year I was invited by Caught by the River to guest edit a special field recording edition of their fanzine, An Antidote to Indifference. The plan was to cover as many aspects of field recording as possible and give a broad overview of the current goings-on in this fascinating community. After spending a few months gathering mostly unique works from a variety of field recordists, sound artists and writers all engaged in their own ways with this diverse genre, I’d like to think that this has been achieved. Wildlife recording trips, urban soundscapes, sound maps, installations and personal reflections on recording experiences and the importance of listening are some of the topics covered. These pieces sit alongside a range of reviews, interviews, blog posts and other snippets of news.
Your instructions are to pick up a copy here and also to check out the British Library’s Sound and Vision blog which is always a fascinating place to hang out. Those of you of a Tweeting disposition should follow @CherylTipp too.
In closing, I thoroughly endorse this product.
PS I’d also like to apologise to the citizens of Myanmar for not knowing it was another name for Burma. I think this constitutes a ‘Hashtag Fail’…