Only Recently Exhumed – Howlround Head Out And Soundhog Blows In

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Hello You. The tape Gods having been most merciful, I’m happy to report that Howlround escaped Brompton Cemetery last week with all but one of the machines intact. Sadly, latest addition to the team Jenyth has temporarily given up the ghost, which was particularly upsetting after last week’s melting incident put our grand old Studer Elsa out of service for a good few weeks. Still, the remaining machines did a throughly capable job, even if the loops did get a bit tangled and even if one of the spools did have to be rescued by a helpful member of the audience.  Huge thanks to her and to everyone who came down and sold the place out, especially hosts Stephen and Suzette of Antique Beat and A Curious Invitation respectively.

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It was a truly amazing night, albeit one that I’m having trouble recalling thanks to the extreme potency of the gin cocktails they were serving. In order to keep focused on the job I insisted on not partaking of mine until after our set, by which point, it later transpired, they had run out of pineapple juice and were making up for the shortfall by just adding more gin. Frankly, it’s a wonder I ever got home. At the time of writing I’m busy preparing for Howlround’s forthcoming show this Sunday as part of the Radio Revolten festival in the German city of Halle, so I haven’t had time to properly go through the recording of the night yet, but I shall post an extract online sometime soon. Meanwhile, this video recorded from the audience perspective is a thoroughly good place to start:

For those of you that happen to be either located in or passing through Saxony-Anhalt over the weekend, do drop into the Radio Revolten ClubRathausstraße 3, Halle (Saale) where you can catch performances from Willem De Ridder and Mary Stark on Saturday 15th and Chris Cutler, Howlround and Víctor Mazón Gardoqui on Sunday 16th. Both events are free and part of an extensive programme of radio-related events, broadcasts and performances taking place in Halle during the month of October. A calendar of highlights can be perused here.

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A personal highlight for me is the opportunity to DJ library, soundtracks and other experimental weirdness at Kino-Zazie on the evening of Friday 14th, following a programme of Radio Essays and short films at this rather fabulous-looking cinema. Come down, have a drink and enjoy some groovy radiophonic delights from the depths of the Foggy archives.

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In other news, following last week’s announcement of the forthcoming second volume of Front And Follow’s The Blow series now up for pre-order and featuring a side each of brand new material from Howlround and Time Attendant, the tapes have been flying out and the accolades have been flying in, chief amongst them this decidedly favourable review in the latest edition of The Wire:

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Crumbs. One does not have their worked compared to a great lost Derbyshire and Hodgson score very often. Might have to re-write my epitaph. It’s bizarre to think with all this talk of sinister resonances that the original material was recorded in a motel cabin sheltering from both the bright desert sunshine and Kaitlyn’s Garth Brooks CD. What’s also quite bizarre is that this isn’t our only appearance in The Wire this month, as our track ‘Battle Tape Fragment 10.02.16’ appears on the also-reviewed mini CD compilation 23 Tracks, 23 Minutes, 23 Artists, a series of sixty-second compositions compiled by our old friend Farmer Glitch and released in a frighteningly limited edition on the small-but-noble Eastville Vending imprint:

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‘Consisting largely of two high-frequency chirps, the tape echo flutter and bubble ornamentally. There is elegance in its simplicity’, writes Richard Thomas of ‘Battle Tape’. Thank you, good Sir. It’s fitting that these two releases should appear in the same edition of The Wire, as ‘Battle Tape’ is in fact an early version of one of the tracks from The Blow Vol. 2, albeit in a fairly raw state prior to quite a bit of remixing and extending. Still, in the unlikely event that anyone should feel short-changed by this, there’s 22 other tracks to get stuck into, including Laica, Kemper Norton, Revbjelde, Graham Dunning, Ekoplekz and much more. My personal favourite is a quite gorgeous piece from Sarah Angliss, which is worth the entry fee alone.  I do wish she’d hurry up and finish her album!

Speaking of albums, let’s move on to this week’s Near Mint show, which is the first of two trips round the record bag of Ben Soundhog – scholar, raconteur, legendary collector, producer, musician, analogue synth enthusiast and the artist formerly known as Freelance Hairdresser (who brought us such classic mashups as ‘500 Bad Mice’ and ‘Knees Up Look Sharp‘). These days better known as one half of Loose Capacitor and busy mucking around with synths or creating experimental videos like the one above using a BBC Micro and a sense of adventure, he still found time to drag a box of records over to Fog Towers and serve up this week’s playlist of Joe Meek horror, 60s psychedelic whimsy, utterly brilliant Welsh pop, messianic electronics and even some banking advice for paperboys. Strap on your ear-goggles and let’s roll:

Much obliged, for such a fabulous show, Mr. Soundhog and can’t wait until next week’s second helping. In the meantime, I’m not sure if he’ll thank me for dragging THIS up again, but I’d somehow missed it the first time around and it made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

And lastly to the latest in Julia Dempsey’s ongoing series of Art Assembly documentaries, which was mixed and co-produced by myself and broadcast on Resonance FM this week. For this episode Julia looks into the subject of music to be played during labour – a subject in which she has an increasingly vested interest! This first of two programmes focuses on the use of sound as a tool to alleviate pain and anxiety in childbirth, and as mixer, editor and guy-with-a-room-full-of-the-stuff, I was charged with digging out some records that might fit the bill. In a move that might surprise the uninitiated, Julia wanted to include tracks that were more rhythmic and percussive as well as the more relaxing and evocative music you might generally associate with such occasions, so between us we finally decided on selections from The Boredoms, DJ Food …and a Humpback Whale.

I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t get just a little bit ‘hippy-dippy’ here and there and despite the recommendation of one of her guests I probably wouldn’t be that keen on ‘travelling up my own cervix’, even if I had one, but it is a fascinating subject and Julia’s approach is a lot less ‘Earth Child’ than the more cynical of you might be imagining. Seriously worth a listen, even if the thought of siring an heir does fill you with nameless dread…

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