The Road To Mount Helicon Via The British Library

Hoping you’ll join me for Howlround‘s final gig of the year this coming Friday. It’s FREE too!


Due to two of our UHERs currently being in the sick bay, it’s going to be a slightly different line-up than the one our UK friends are used to; though it seemed to go down perfectly fine at our recent shows in the US, so I’m not worried. What does concern me slightly more is the sensation that a rather large tape-machine repair bill is about to land on the Howlround doormat, but after such a relentlessly busy year they’ve probably earned the right to a little R&R.

It really has been a busy year, hasn’t it? And even now it’s still not quite over, as besides our set this Friday, I’m very proud to announce that our latest LP Tales From The Black Tangle has just been added to the permanent collection of the British Library National Sound Archive.

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

It joins it’s three predecessors in a vast trove of some of the finest and most significant recordings in human history – including a substantial collection of Fog Horns! The Sound Archive is pretty much Heaven on Earth as far as this cat’s concerned and having our work preserved in this way a real feather in the cap – and we’re no less honoured fourth time around!

Speaking of archives, in other news there was some excitement this week when recently uncovered footage of Radiophonics pioneer Daphne Oram at work on ‘the sound of the future’ in her home studio was uploaded to the British Movietone youtube channel. I thought it only good and right that I share it here, just in case you missed it:

A fascinating and exciting find, though for my money rather undermined by the two archivists’ toe-curling brand of ‘through the square window’ mugging, topped off with an ‘hilarious’ interpretation of just what ‘the sound of the future’ might entail – stupid quacking noises, apparently. Perhaps all those years of various armchair pundits deciding that I deserved to hear their opinion on what constitutes ‘real’ music has resulted in my taking these things a little too personally, but I just can’t help finding this rather tiresome and just a bit patronising too. Would they act like this if discussing the work of a male electronic musician from the same era? I rather think not.

Curiously, this isn’t the first time. Long-suffering visitors to these pages might recall my grumbling about the Science Museum’s ‘Oramics’ exhibition back in 2012, where any opportunity for visitors to hear Daphne’s work was largely shelved in favour of some entirely spurious am-dram tomfoolery, sixth-form poetry and incessantly dreary monologues which had practically nothing to do with the subject at hand. I simply cannot imagine what it is about this fascinating character and her work that inspires such nonsense. Especially in the 21st century when Oram and her ideas have been proved emphatically right.

Come on, British Movietone! It’s really great that you’ve found this footage and shared it with us, but don’t forget that was made by hand over half a century ago and it STILL sounds like the future! Have some respect, eh?


Author: Robin The Fog

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

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