Hello you. A very hasty update a very long way from home and on exceptionally dodgy hotel wifi to let you know about the Musicity event I’m taking part in on April 4th at the Royal Institute of British Architects in Central London. Featuring a programme of live music, sound installation, talks and readings, this evening of ‘stimulating sight and sound’ aims to ‘explore the ways in which artistic expression can be used to bring a new dimension to the way we experience cities and the world around us’, and is hosted by Musicity founder, BBC Radio 3 Late Junction host and broadcasting legend Mr. Nick Luscombe.
— Nick Luscombe (@nickluscombe) March 28, 2017
It is the continuing mission of Musicity to ‘encourage people to explore the city musically, architecturally and experientially by commissioning musicians to compose original tracks in response to a building, site or place in the city that inspires them’, and so to that effect I will be presenting a brand new bespoke work on the night that has been inspired by various recordings made during a recent tour of the Institute’s striking headquarters at 66 Portland Place, W1B. Needless to say the building had plenty of secret sounds to discover and I should quickly thank Meneesha and Gabrielle at RIBA for allowing me to experiment with playing back some of them on the venue’s PA system – sounded great but did rather spook one of the guided tours.
There will also be live music and talks from: Stick in the Wheel, Throwing Shade (Ninja Tune) and Sean O Hagan (High Llamas), as well as a sound installation by Audialsense, an audio performance by Kinetic Conscription and an awful lot more. Tickets and further details available here or by clicking on the above image. Really looking forward to this one – even though I haven’t quite had a chance to finish my piece yet. Will certainly have to roll up my sleeves when I make it back to Blighty…
Yet more exciting news on the reception of the new Howlround LP A Creak In Time, as The Wire magazine have very kindly hosted an exclusive clip from the film on their website to go with their extremely flattering review of last month. It joins last week’s equally glowing reviews in Electronic Sound and Wallpaper* Magazine, so the album appears to be gaining quite a bit of traction. Which is just as well, because we’ll be screening it (ahead of a bespoke live performance) at Deliaphonic, Coventry Cathedral on May 5th, in the company of Peter Zinovieff, Pete Kemper of Sonic Boom, Jerry Dammers and more. This promises to be quite a remarkable evening, so do come along if you can. Click on the image below for details:
…And then on the following evening, back in London, we’ll be performing the film with a live soundtrack at the inaugural Further, a new series of immersive audio-visual evenings curated by DJ Food & Pete Williams at the Portico Gallery in West Norwood. It’s the first time we’ll ever have played the film live and even I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to pan out, but I’m very much looking forward to finding out! Plus the Ghost Box chaps are headlining and I’m told there will be oil projections. What’s not to like?
In other news, this week’s Near Mint was the last in the current series as the show takes a well-earned break after a solid year of broadcasting. I realise this sudden absence from he airwaves will have left several people inconsolable, but rest assured that the show will be back for a new series in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I’m leaving you with a triple bill of the last three episodes, although admittedly this is partly due to the fact that a hectic couple of weeks have meant that I haven’t been keeping this site up quite as diligently as I should have. Plus I’m just about to head off for a couple of weeks’ much needed holiday, so am hoping that this little lot will tide you over until I return:
We’ll start with the most recent, a trip into the world of London-based artist Larry Achiampong, whose work examines the interplay between the modern world and his traditional Ghanian heritage through field recordings, hip hop and video game soundtracks. Listen in for some extracts from his remarkable and imminent new album Untitled, as well as tracks from his back-catalogue which blend vintage high life recordings with the influences of contemporary beat-makers such as J Dilla, Flying Lotus and Madlib. Very strong stuff!
The previous week’s show welcomed back our friends Luka and Vanja from Belgrade’s Discom label, with another exciting new release to show off – Sidarta the only album to date from prog-fusion-electronic rockers 37°C. Recorded in 1979 (apparently in the same studio as Gary Numan’s Are Friends Electric?), it’s another gloriously psychedelic excursion into the far-out sounds of the former Yugoslavia from the label that bought you last year’s excellent Yugoslavian Space Programme LP. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one!
And lastly, some hardcore hothouse action, as we head up the garden path for a quick frolic with the flowers. Anne Chase dreams of getting herself covered in sap, while the unlucky Mrs. Briers comes to a sticky end in front of a giant orchid patch (that is, a patch of giant orchids). This programme was primariyl designed to be consumed amongst nature, be that in the woods, down the park or up against a window box, and went down exceptionally well here at Fog Towers where my houseplants haven’t stopped smiling since.
Right, that’s probably enough to be getting on with. Meet you back here in a fortnight. Until then, keep your ears to the wind and noses to the skyline…
Huge thanks to Thomas Howells and Wallpaper* Magazine for this extremely flattering review of Howlround and Psyché Tropes audio/visual project A Creak In Time. ‘As a rumination on both the firmament and the infinitesimal’, he writes, ‘A Creak in Time is timeless and singular: a cinematic triumph of style and substance’. Read the full article and watch an exclusive extract from the film here.