I’ll be rolling out the tape machines for a live performance on Resonance FM’s Bad Punk show this Friday 30th November, alongside the ever-redoubtable Johny Brown and special guest Dolly Dolly. This auspicious occasion will occur in celebration of Howlround’s forthcoming 6th studio album The Debatable Lands, the release of which was finally announced officially by the Touch Twitter account last week. It’s going to be a Cumbrian Poets Special, as much of the LP was recorded in the region – to be more specific on my parent’s dining room table during the Christmas break between lengthy dog walks and re-runs of Knight Rider. More details to follow, but I’ll be debuting extracts from the album exclusively on the show – first time they’ve ever been heard outside of Brampton! It’s something of a departure from previous releases, but having been freshly mastered by the legendary Stephan Mathieu, the album is sounding fit and lean – and really quite abrasive in places!
I’m not sure how you manage to cram such an amount of energy into your recordings. You certainly know how to handle tape, and Ernie better wears a crash helmet ; )
— Stephan Mathieu (@stephanmathieu) November 25, 2018
Tune into Resonance 10pm Friday night on 104.4FM and DAB in London, plus worldwide via Resonancefm.com. Industrial strength tape loop action plus Cumbrian poetry from two of my very favourite raconteurs. It’s going to be heavy!
**UPDATE: Regret to announce that Saturday’s Moog Symposium has been postponed until the new year. Sorry about that, but will be sure to keep you posted with news of the rescheduling!**
Hello you. First post in a while. Weeks, in fact. Sorry about that. But one mustn’t assume that just because there’s been some tumbleweed blowing around these pages that there hasn’t been a significant amount of nose-grindstone interplay in the real, offline world. In fact things are manic as ever: I’ve been dashing across Europe again making podcasts (four countries in two weeks – a new personal best), running some tape loop workshops, assisting with the sound design for a new Radio 4 documentary (of which more hopefully later), and attempting to clear the decks for the brand new forthcoming Howlround LP, which I’m hoping to have my tacky little paws on any day now. But all that is for another time. The most pressing news to impart for the moment is that everyone’s favourite purveyors of improvised tape loop shenanigans have a busy weekend lined up, with live shows in Guildford on Saturday 24th and Crystal Palace on Sunday 25th November, both as part of a wider programme of exciting events.
First up, we have the 2nd Moog Symposium at the University of Surrey in Guildford on Saturday, where Howlround will be performing alongside the legendary minimalist composer Eleh, one of two performances described as ‘a meditation on tone’ and perhaps surprisingly their first ever shows in the UK. There’s also a wider day-long programme of talks and discussions including David Stubbs (whose Mars By 1980 has been my favourite book so far this year) and Richard Norris of Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve / The Grid and more, as well as host and curator Professor Tony Myatt. Very much looking forward to taking part in this one – and being in such auspicious company! Limited tickets are apparently still available and further details can be found here.
The following day, Howlround will be taking part in Palace Electrics, a three day festival of electronic music in Crystal Palace. There’s much to recommend about each of the events taking place over the course of the weekend – not least the fact that entry is free – but I reckon the closing party on Sunday night is a particular highlight, including live turns by Chocolate Hills (a new Orb side-project from Alex Paterson and Paul Conby), Kumo (featuring members of local legends Metamono) and a performance of Steve Reich’s ‘Pendulum Music’. Excited by both the opportunities to perform and partake and also the fact that the close proximity to home means that I only have to drag my suitcase full of tape machines on-and-off just a single bus to get them home afterwards. Keep that South London flag flying high, Palace Electrics!
In conclusion, an exciting weekend ahead. My only concerns now are getting the machines ready for action in good time and cutting a whole load of new loops in preparation, as I’m hoping to unveil a completely new live show on both occasions. Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who came down to my recent loop cutting workshop and performance at Kit Records’ Pop-up record shop in New Cross. A tight schedule has meant that I haven’t had a proper chance to go through the loops and recordings we made that afternoon, but with a bit of luck some of them just might sneak into this weekend’s performances.
Incidentally, the Kit shop is open until the end of the month and at the time of writing there’s still time to catch the last few of their extensive programme of instore events and performances (as well as picking up some vinyl bargains) by checking out @WeAreKit on Twitter. I’ve mentioned this most splendid label / radio show / design emporium on these pages before, of course and a visit to kitrecords.com is always a treat, so do the sensible thing and get involved. Mind you, closing party for the shop is on November 23rd, so I’d strongly advise against leaving it too long…
Finally, a hasty thank you to everyone who came down to see the recent show by Howlround and The Begotten at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton, especially our most gracious and welcoming hosts who allowed me to test the limits of their impressively tasty soundsystem. I’m reliably informed that the bass frequencies of our set made a nearby vase of flowers jump and bounce around like it was possessed – and how many other sound artists can claim that? To celebrate, here’s a picture of me looking appropriately thuggish:
…And the aforementioned vase during soundcheck, the calm before the storm. Thankfully nothing subsequently broke or wilted…