Hello you. Hope you all had a good weekend, avoided the weather and spent as many hours in dimly-lit studios as I did? Of course, but now it’s time to put aside all that chaotic fun and emerge blinking into the dawn of a new week, where you’ll find plenty of intriguing goings on in the offing. First and most importantly, please do come and join us at Cafe Oto this Tuesday evening for a very special Touch Presents… night featuring a live performance from Howlround, as well as UnicaZürn, Bill Thompson and a special guest in the shape of Zachary Paul, joining us all the way from LA. Rumour has it that Zach and Howlround will be duetting, which is an exciting and also nerve-wracking prospect. On the one hand his album A Meditation On Discord was a personal highlight of last year, on the other the entire Howlround live set up has somehow become an unfathomable tangle at the bottom of my suitcase. This is partly due to a hurried trip up to Tottenham Hale on Saturday morning at the behest of Stephan and Adam of Littoral Transmissions, who asked me to be a guest performer on the latest edition of their Threads Radio show.
Due to restricted space in the studio and having to set up as quickly as possible, I was forced to improvise with my choice of temporary tape loop storage, but I hope you’ll agree the resulting hour made the perfect ambient soundtrack to staying under the duvet and avoiding the weather. It’s now available online to anyone who missed the live broadcast and can be checked out below.
Thanks to everyone who put in a bid for one of the three limited-edition white vinyl Howlround 7” singles made for this year’s ResonanceFM Auction – I can reveal that ‘Yosemite’ raised a total of just over £244, all of which will go towards keeping London’s greatest radio station on air for another year. Once again we’re indebted to Dan from OneCutVinyl.com, who donated his time and resources for free and is an absolute champ. Splendid company down the pub too!
Some Howlround single activity of a slightly less amenable nature now, as my recent Anti-Brexit track ‘UnEngland’ with Dolly Dolly is reviewed in this month’s edition of The Wire. I was a bit surprised at the mention of synths and helicopters (I’ve sworn off both – all the sounds were generated by tape), but it’s certainly a more thoughtful summation than that one review we had on Facebook where we got flatly accused of racism for using the term GAMMON.
Fist-shaking Little-Englanders and the threat of official complaints notwithstanding, the track is still available, though due to an administrative error it has up to now has been the original demo mix that was being downloaded, not the version splendidly mastered by Jez Butler. This has now been corrected and the person responsible for this oversight has been sacked – email me if you’ve already purchased and need a replacement.. We’re still donating the proceeds to Extinction Rebellion, which also seems to have made a few other people quite cross – keeping everyone happy is certainly a challenge when you’re ensconced in a ‘clueless liberal metropolitan bubble’.
Let’s cheer ourselves up by leaving that bubble and heading for a remote house in the countryside, where all is clearly not going well for a short-tempered academic and his long-suffering wife. I am of course referring to last year’s SHIVERS performance at St. Mary’s Tower in Hornsey, where Sam Enthoven and I provided an appropriately eerie soundtrack to Lara DeBelder’s reading of Andrea Newman’s contemporary chiller ‘Such A Good Idea’. A video of the performance has now surfaced and can be enjoyed here in full, with thanks to the ever affable Andy Page for the camerawork! If that’s whetted your appetite for more, an audio recording of the evening’s other story, Conan-Doyle’s ‘The Case Of Lady Sannox’ has also been uploaded to Soundcloud:
In other news, Buried Treasure boss and Delaware Road chief strategist Alan Gubby has just dropped a second LP by his group Revbjelde and it’s an absolute blinder.
Hoohah Hubbub is available now as a strictly limited LP with beautiful artwork and a bonus CD of additional material. A perfect release for our fractured and dissenting age, it’s one of my albums of the year already and I predict it won’t stray far from the Foggy turntable for some time yet. It’s reviewed by none other than Bob Fischer in the latest Electronic Sound Magazine, who clearly approves:
This month’s edition of that most esteemed periodical also features Carlisle’s Vinyl Cafe, my joint all-time-favourite record store in in their regular ‘Talking Shop’ feature. Genial proprietor Mr. James Brown talks about the trials and tribulations of running a record store in my dear old hometown and the scene that has grown up around the shop over the last few years, including all manner of live shows by acts from near and far – including repeat visits by everyone’s favourite tape loop quartet and Cockermouth’s finest Hauntologist, lest we forget. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you had told me a decade ago that one day I could walk into a shop in Carlisle and buy LPs by Meredith Monk, Suzanne Ciani, Cabaret Voltaire, Sun Ra and the rest, I’d have branded you a hopeless idealist or mad. Five years and three editions of Winter Solstice Soundscapes later and here we are. Long life Vinyl Cafe!
Long live magazines that come with a four-track Joe Meek EP as well!
Anyway, hopefully see you on Tuesday. I’m very much looking forward to the show and promise to have all my tape loops, audio cables and power supplies extracted from the bundle in good time. Join us, won’t you? They’ll become entangled again almost immediately afterwards, so you might as well enjoy the spectacle while it lasts. Years from now we’ll both be able to say we were there for that briefest of periods where everything was in some semblance of order…
Hello you. It’s Resonance FM fundraising season once again as the greatest community arts radio station on Earth attempts to raise enough cash to support another year of broadcasting ceaselessly independent, radical and uncompromising music, documentary, discussion and experimentation; all mercifully free from adverts and sponsorship. All life is here – programmes for London’s Pensioners and Congolese community rubbing shoulders with experimental composers, hastily-formed punk bands, Grime MCs – it’s a wondrous, inclusive cacophony. In our current blighted landscape I’m sure you’ll agree we need them more than ever and it truly is a cause for celebration that Resonance turns eighteen years old in 2020. But unfortunately the cake and bunting will have to be put on hold as redevelopment plans for their Borough High Street HQ means that the station is in urgent need of moving to new premises – and frankly that’s going to cost.
Fortunately there are lots of ways you can help ‘to make to make this fascinating and successful experiment a sustainable, on-going concern’, all of which can be accessed via the Fundraiser.Resonance.FM website. You can set up a regular donation, attend one of the numerous fundraising galas occurring over the next couple of weeks, or you can bid for all kinds of highly desirable items and experiences as part of the station’s Fundraising Auction – which I’m delighted to say features another exclusive offering by Howlround!
This year we have a lathe-cut 7″ single up for grabs on beautiful white vinyl, only three copies in existence and featuring two tracks exclusive to this release. All three are being auctioned off for the fundraiser and the only way to properly hear their contents is to make a winning bid – there will be no repress, no reissue and no digital. Truth be told I’m actually shooting myself in the foot a little bit with this ‘for six ears only’ ruling as both tracks are very fine indeed, featuring field recordings made in a remote log cabin in Yosemite, California and intended for release back in 2015 as part of the Creak In Time sessions (or failing that, part of some lavish boxset for that future moment when I suddenly remember I don’t have a pension). No offcuts here, my friends, this is pure tape loop gold!
The singles have been produced by our friends at OneCutVinyl.com, who have once again kindly donated their time and resources for free. You’ll find each listed separately on Ebay and you have until just after 19.00 GMT on Sunday 16th February to put in a bid. Each can be accessed through the Auction page of the Fundraiser website, but for the sake of convenience number one can be found here, number two here and number three here. All proceeds go straight to keeping Resonance FM on air, so please dig deep. London would be a duller, greyer place without it…
Greetings fellow denizens of our newly-formed Island prison. Here’s a little something to drown out the sound of all that gloating Gammon in this new age of isolationism: a new single by myself and Dolly Dolly, our first ever actual collaboration. All words by that most redoubtable wordsmith and all sounds created by Daphne the UHER 6000 and a spot of Wendy the B77 thrown in for good measure – using a closed-input feedback loop, which seems oddly fitting, doesn’t it? Expertly mastered by Jez Butler from The Twelve Hour Foundation, the whole thing was produced and mixed in one frantic hour the night before Britain left the EU and was officially released at ‘the unmagic moment’ of departure on 11pm on Friday 31st January – where it at least managed to make more noise than Big Ben did. It’s digital-only for the moment, but may find some physical form in the not too distant future, especially as I need to get this next album finished. In the meantime, it’s £1 a pop and 100% of the money raised will be donated to the so-called ‘Terrorist Organisation’ Extinction Rebellion. This fact, plus liberal use of the ‘G-word’ appears to have already made a couple of random strangers on social media VERY upset, though on the plus side the fact that they came across it at all must mean that our ‘reach’ as a brand is getting better, or something. Seriously, though, what is it about being on the winning team that makes some people so very angry?
GAMMON, FEEL THE NOIZE!!
Anyway, good luck, everyone and let’s continue to be kind and supportive to one-another where possible. I was contemplating ending with ‘Let’s be careful out there’, but then I remembered that’s how Alistair Stewart used to sign off episodes of ‘Police, Camera Action’ and decided against it. Somehow in the current climate it didn’t feel right…