“Those magnificent magicians of radiophonic sound, who can create a symphony from a stairwell, a concert from a creaking hinge or a gargantuan G flat from a garden gate… The possibilities are endless. Howlround – as represented by founder member, Robin The Fog – join SNS Online to discuss the extraordinary lengths they go to create the most incredible, outer-worldly sounds and music.”
Presented for your approval, a very special Howlround edition of the long-running interview podcast series SNS Online, focusing on the work of everyone’s favourite tape-loop quintet. Recorded in July 2017, shortly after the release of A Creak In Time and just before our performance at Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker as part of The Delaware Road, the show is hosted by ever-affable and relentlessly energetic Nick Randell and looks back over a short but eventful career that started back in 2012 in the basement of Bush House. Also briefly features 6Music presenter Shawn Keaveney taking the mickey, but I forgive him.
Never one for doing things by halves, such was Nick’s enthusiasm for this show that he even recorded an accompanying ‘bite-sized’ episode by joining us at live performance in our favourite South London venue Iklectik for their ‘Sonic Waterloo’ series, also in July 2017. Features contributions from our friends Steven McInerney, Pascal Savy, Janine A’Bear and many more.
The resulting interviews capture a moment in time from last summer that already feels somewhat remote, and listening back to this double-dose of tape loop action one year on, I feel there are a few things I should clear up. Firstly, while I confidently describe our output as musique concréte on the show, the intervening months have found me wondering if I actually have permission to describe the music of Howlround using that particular term after all, especially as the past year has seen the project experiment increasingly with more chance and improvisation-based forms of composition. Secondly, since then Howlround has returned to being a solo operation as my esteemed colleague in tape Chris Weaver is currently pursuing other projects – though I fully intend to brow-beat him into working together again at some point. And finally, I should emphatically confirm that Altern 8’s ‘Activ 8’ remains one of my all-time favourite records and one of the main reasons I got into music in the first place – even if their day-glo rave antics might have been a little incongruous on Top of the Pops! Such clarifications aside, thank you for having me, Mr. Nick Randell, and you can investigate the long and varied career of SNS Online in more depth on their Soundcloud page here, as well as following him on his Facebook and Twitter pages. The series is a force for good in the world and I’m certainly very proud to be joining an lineage of guests that includes Hank Marvin, Biddy Baxter MBE and Carol Decker from T’Pau!
Very excited to announce that the Deliaphonic website is now online. You may remember that Howlround played at the inaugural Deliaphonic event in Coventry Cathedral back in 2017, in celebration of what would have been legendary composer Delia Derbyshire’s 80th birthday. Joining us on the bill that night were Delia’s former colleague Dr. Peter Zinovieff, Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember, Hannah Peel, Mr. Jerry Dammers and of course Resonance FM’s own Jonny Trunk, who provided a rare screening of the Delia-soundtracked film Circle Of Light. A truly memorable evening, now documented in the excellent accompanying film These Machines Haven’t Finished, made by Anti/Type Films, and featuring cameos from all of the personnel involved in the 2017 event, as well as contributions from renown Delia experts Dr. David Butler and Delia Derbyshire Day lynchpin Caro C. Take an hour off now and watch it – it’s superb!
An outstanding work from our hosts The Tin Music and Arts in collaboration with Synthcurious. The composer’s legacy is clearly in safe hands! Howlround’s Coventry Cathedral performance can also be experienced in full below. Hard to believe this was just a year ago, the sound has changed a lot since!
Moving slap-bang into the present now, with news of the next Howlround live show on Thursday 13th September at Homemade Disco, taking place at Paper Dress Vintage in London’s Hackney Central. Rather last minute as Howlround are a late addition to the bill, but glad to be part of a super line-up, including Bass Clef, Elephant House and Rosen. See you there and then!
In yet more Howlround news (and I swear I occasionally do other stuff as well), the latest in the series of compilations from the ever-reliable label/blog/publishing house A Year In The Country will shortly to be available for pre-order. The Quietened Mechanisms features exclusive tracks from the label’s constantly expanding roster of friends and associates, featuring stalwart contributors such as Grey Frequency, Keith Seatman, Time Attendant and The Heartwood Institute plus much more. There’s also brand new Howlround track ‘A Closed Circuit’, which I must say is cut from a rather more abrasive cloth than previous offerings to the series. Told you a lot’s happened in the last year!
The album is an exploration of abandoned and derelict industry, infrastructure, technology and equipment that once upon a time helped to create, connect and sustain society. It wanders amongst deserted factories, discarded machinery, closed mines, mills and kilns and their echoes and remains; taking a moment or two to reflect on these once busy, functioning centres of activity and the sometimes sheer scale or amount of effort and human endeavour that was required to create and operate such structures and machines, many of which are now just left to fade away.
My copy has arrived already, and I’ve been playing very little else all week – these themed compilations from A Year In The Country just keep getting better with each release. I’m not sure what you call the opposite of a ‘nadir’, but I reckon this label might be getting close to finding out! Available to pre-order here from September 11th.
And finally, a quick heads-up about the next FURTHER event bought to you by Strictly Kev and Pete Williams, taking place on Saturday September 15th at the Portico Gallery in West Norwood. Featuring psychedelic audio visual delights from DJ Food’s O is for Orange, his highly regarded immersive AV tribute to Boards Of Canada, The Karminsky Experience and Markey Funk performing live, plus the usual dazzling action Pete Williams on the 1s and 2s (how that man avoids being mugged for the contents of his record bag at these events, I’ll never know). All this and a cornucopia of eye-popping film projections, colour wheels, slideshows and delicious home-cooked food and I believe there might even be a pop-up record stall in action on the night, courtesy of The Book And Record Bar round the corner. Tickets and further information here.
You might remember that Howlround performed our first ever live score to the Psyché Tropes’ film A Creak In Time at the inaugural Further back in 2017 – the day after Deliaphonic as coincidence would have it. Two performances at two inaugural events in two days – the marketing practically writes itself! In celebration of this fact, I thought I’d close by digging out the short film the Further team made of our performance on that very special night. Here it is: