Playing For The Home Crowds – Fog Cast Episode 5 + Off Site Sessions

Caterina Barbieri – Bestie Infinite [from Bestie Infinite / Wear Patterns, Important, 2018]
Il Santo Bevitore / An Trinse – Interferenze Possibili (An Trinse Remix) [from An Trinse And Il Santo Bevitore, An Trinse, 2020]
Jim O’Rourke – And A 1,2,3,4 [from I’m Happy And I’m Singing And A 1,2,3,4, Editions Mego, 2001]
Jóhann Jóhannsson & BJNilsen – I Am Here, Part Two [from I Am Here, Ash International, 2014]

Hello you. Hasty report this week to present the latest edition of Resonance FM’s Fog Cast for your approval, and to wish that magnificent station and all who sail in her a VERY HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY! Probably not quite the time for a proper celebration, things being as they are, but their pledge to keep going right the way through lockdown has certainly bought some much-needed joy to many! Friday 1st May is the official anniversary and Resonance will be celebrating with a special day of programming, so do tune in and then go visit and make a donation – perhaps even a regular monthly one? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, London and life in general would be a lot duller without them.

Speaking of places that are continuing to contribute to cultural life under lockdown, South London’s finest venue Iklectik have been putting on a fabulous series of Off-Site live performances on their youtube channel. Subscribe for future updates and then seriously consider bunging them some cash too.

Like so many others, Iklectik have had their income decimated by the Corona pandemic and face a seriously imperilled future. You can make a donation on their website as well as check out a number of fundraising releases donated by some of the performers that have graced their stage over the last few years, a gladdening reminder of just what a special place this venue is for so many, myself included. Most importantly, on Friday 1st May Bandcamp are waiving their revenue share from all sales, so that artists get 100% of all money they make on that day. I’m donating all digital sales of Howlround releases on The Fog Signals (sadly the physical merch has long since sold out) on 1st May to Iklectik, as well as my share of any revenue from the Touch Isolation subscription project I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t yet signed up for this bargain tour-de-force of the Touch roster then Friday 1st May would absolutely be the right time to do so! Howlround’s contribution ‘Insula Acid’ will be surfacing very soon, but there’s plenty of classic material being served up already…

Meanwhile, the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project continues apace, despite our nationwide task force being almost entirely grounded under lockdown. While the initial aim of digitising half a million rare and at risk analogue recordings has of course been put to one side for the time being, outreach is also a hugely important part of the #SaveOurSounds project, so team members from up and down the UK have been coming up with novel and interesting ways to engage with the public while keeping everyone involved safely ensconced at home. I’ve been working with my own team at London Metropolitan Archives on something rather exciting that I really hope is going to capture a few imaginations when we launch it next week, so do watch this space. Here’s a sneak preview to whet your appetite in the meanwhile:

Join us next week for a sonic adventure into the outer reaches of your house… #SaveOurSounds

And, most excitingly of all, THIS happened. There are another eighteen minutes of this recording that I hope to be able to share with you in the not too distant future. Until then, stay safe – and support your lockdown art institutions!


Resonant Oscillations – Fog Cast Episode 4 + Treasure Down The Kaleidoscope

Hello You. Though I say so myself, this week’s Fog Cast on Resonance FM is a special occasion even by normal standards! We’re celebrating the imminent arrival of new albums by Oscillatorial Binnage on Sub Rosa, Drew Mulholland on Castles In Space, Lea Burtucci and Wonderful Beasts. Four LPs I’m very excited about, though I should point out that on this occasion I’m actually playing extracts from Lea’s previous effort, 2018’s Resonant Field, partly because it’s a truly sublime piece of work and partly because I still haven’t got my grubby mitts on the new vinyl yet.

Oscillatorial Binnage – Lamppostian Fronds [from Agitations, Sub Rosa, 2020]
Lea Burtucci – Wind Piece [from Resonant Field, NNA Tapes, 2018]
Drew Mulholland – Under Signal Control / To The Saltmarsh, Shingle & / The Black Beacon
[from A Haunted Strip Of Marshland, Castles In Space, 2020]
Oscillatorial Binnage – Wok Tones [from Agitations, Sub Rosa, 2020]
Lea Burtucci – Resonant Field [from Resonant Field, NNA Tapes, 2018]
Wonderful Beasts – Love Her [from The Art Of Whisper, Wormhole World, 2020]
DJ Food – Hour Glass / Shattered Glass (Early Version) [unreleased, rec. 2000]
Wonderful Beasts – She Is Sweet [from The Art Of Whisper, Wormhole World, 2020]

I’m also excited to announce that nestled in amongst all this exciting new material is an unreleased archive classic from DJ Food, included here to mark the anniversary of seminal LP Kaleidoscope, released 20 years ago this month. How time flies, seems only yesterday I was spacing out to this landmark album in my student bedroom. Besides being a Neo-Noir classic in its own right, Kaleidoscope introduced me to so much other music as well – the Bedazzed OST, the start of an obsession with the work of Ken Nordine, Mr. Geets Romo and How To Speak Hip – a perfect combination of the ridiculously sublime and the sublimely ridiculous. The version of ‘Hour Glass / Shattered Glass’ included here is an alternate unreleased version of a track from album companion The Quadraplex EP that until earlier this month had been buried deep in the Food vaults, never having seen the light of day. I’m very chuffed to be able to give it an airing here!

To further celebrate this momentous anniversary, Strictly Kev and PC (DJ Food was a duo back when Kaleidoscope was recorded) have been rummaging around in the archives and provided a pair of companion mixtapes, full-to-bursting with further unreleased content: alternate mixes, early versions, demos, outtakes and previously unheard tracks. It’s all something of a revelation for anyone familiar with the original album, and a throbbingly good listen for anyone yet to succumb to its pleasures. I was particularly excited by the further alternate versions of Quadraplex tracks edited together into an extended suite that builds to a pummelling climax. But that’s in the second part. For now, have a listen to Part 1 above (curated by PC) and then head over to the official DJ Food page for Kev’s mix and extensive additional sleevenotes. Top work, chaps and congratulations – all over again!

In other news, Buried Treasure, the label that brought us The Delaware Road, Revbjelde and all manner of splendid library, folk-horror vinyl weirdness are currently holding a lockdown sale, with the last few remaining copies of some of their back-catalogue now on offer for what label head Alan Gubby describes as ‘silly money‘. And with four classic LPs for a mere £30, he’s not kidding. If I didn’t basically own the entire kit and caboodle already, I’d be jumping on these like they were on fire. There’s even a tiny handful of the original Delaware Road still available for a mere fiver. Diehard Howlround fans (I’m sure we have at least a token handful) will remember that most excellent compilation, particularly its opening track, surely?

Plus if you still haven’t picked up this year’s Hooha Hubbub from Revbjelde, now is the time as stocks are dwindling fast. It’s a stark, angry, fuzzy, yet surprisingly groovy affair that to my ears is a mere dry cough away from perfectly encapsulating this blighted year of 2020. But nowhere near as bad as that makes it sound…

Deep Cuts – Fog Cast Episode 3 + Isolation Tapes Aplenty

Hello you. Hope you and yours are safe and well. First off, absolutely thrilled to bits with this week’s FogCast on Resonance 104.4FM, despite it being a sombre affair after the recent passing of Mandy Wilson aka Kassia Flux. My favourite track from last year’s Ergot In The Wine features prominently and I’m intending to include more in subsequent editions. There’s also an exclusive new work from Matt Atkins and a book-ending live performance from Raxil 4 and Alistair Smith, recorded at one of the STEEP events at St. Mary’s Tower – yet another institution that I’m very much looking forward to frequenting once again when all this is over. Intimate Spaces – and indeed packing a large number of people into any form of confinement – is of course not really the done thing at the moment, but I’m as convinced as ever that good times will come again. In the meantime, here’s an hour of amazing sounds, made by talented friends to keep us going!

Alistair Smith – Gong Solo [Extract, The Intimate Space, St Mary’s Tower, Raxil 4, 2018]
Matt Atkins – As The Glowing Embers Fade To White [unreleased, 2020]
Kassia Flux – Luthier Levitate [from Ergot In The Wine, Linear Obsessional, 2019]
Raxil 4 & Alistair Smith – Duo [from The Intimate Space, St Mary’s Tower, Raxil 4, 2018]
Thomas Köner – Andenes [from Teimo, Barooni, 1992]
Alistair Smith – Gong Solo [2nd Extract, from The Intimate Space, St Mary’s Tower, Raxil 4, 2018]

Seriously, the more I think about how much amazing music continues to get made in spite of the rotten state of affairs, the more positive I feel about both the cultural state of our nation and the great fortitude of all the people creating it. Proof arrived last week with the latest issue of Electronic Sound coming through my letterbox along with Parapsychedelia, the fabulous new collaborative album on Castles In Space from The Heartwood Institute & Panaminte Manse:

Normal service is still a long way from being resumed, but little nuggets like this continuing to make their way through offer a sense that we’ll all find a way to muddle through somehow.  Indeed, I was so excited at the arrival of the aforementioned Electronics periodical that I somehow managed to bash myself right over the nose with it. And it’s quite a hefty volume, a fact that will be readily attested to by anyone who is either a regular subscriber or who happened to be present on that other occasion when I dropped a copy spine-first on my big toe. One advantage of lockdown, however, is that few will get to see the bruising. Or be disturbed by the rich and varied collection of profanities I habitually invoke in the moments that follow such occasions. I’m confident of a full recovery. Anyway, you can order your beautiful black and red LP here, secure in the knowledge that even in the post is a bit slow, you’ll have an instant download to enjoy while waiting. Just look at this cover art!

Exciting news now from a quiet corner of Wales, where redoubtable producer, DJ and sartorial elegance embodiment Ben Soundhog has gone into the lathe-cutting business with his new venture Plastidisc. Though only a couple of weeks out of the trap, he’s cut records for Drew Mulholland, a Revbjelde 7″ that sold out in about five minutes and 100 copies of a superb new 3-track EP from Clocolan, a copy of which turned up on my doorstep last week, causing as much excitement as Electronic Sound, but with less physical injury.

I can certainly vouch for the quality of the cut – and the music too! Bag one of the very last remaining copies here. Then visit the Plastidisc website and get him to cut some treats for you. I’m making plans already!

Finally, while Castles In Space-related activities have quite rightly commanded a good share of this week’s post, I couldn’t end our business here today without drawing your attention to the cover art for their forthcoming compilation The Isolation Tapes, which was posted online this morning. The deadline for submissions for tracks to this collection of tracks recorded by artists in lockdown passed last night and I have it on good authority that it’s going to be a very special affair indeed. More details will follow, but I certainly hope they’ll be do some prints of the sleeve or something. It’s a thing of absolute beauty, even by their own high standards:

Allowing The Light – Fog Cast Episode 2 + Touch Isolation

Hello you. Presented here for your approval, the second episode of Fog Cast, my new series of deep listening, isolationist soundscapes for Resonance 104.4FM. Broadcast Wednesday night at 11pm and repeated Sunday morning at 2.30am, this is aimed at anyone looking to find some kind of aural balm during our current lockdown situation. This week’s show features predominantly recent work, including a new unreleased piece recorded in the Brunel Tunnel, but there’s room for a couple of throwbacks as well, of course. As ever, I really want this programme to be a platform for contemporary artists to showcase new work, so please do get in touch with any suggestions of what should feature on future shows!

Rob Mullender-Ross – Ex-Voto [unreleased, 2020]
Graham Dunning – The Tracing of a Single Tide [from Something About Still Trying, Flaming Pines, 2020]
Pascal Savy – Allow the Light [from Dislocations, Experimedia, 2018]
BJ Nilsen – The Sound of Two Hands [from Focus Intensity Power, Moving Furniture, 2018]
Pascal Savy – Shadows Out of Time [from Dislocations, Experimedia, 2018]
Carl Matthews – Harmony Through Conflict [from Call For World Saviours, Mirage, 1984]
Jon Brooks – Violet Tide [from Walberswick, More Than Human, 2015]
Lasos – Formentera Sunset Clouds [from Inter-Dimensional Music, Unity Records, 1975]

Also on the subject of Lockdown, I’m excited to announce that Howlround have contributed to a brand new project from the Touch stable, the long-running label founded by Mike Harding and Jon Wozencroft that recently celebrated its 38th birthday – and of course put out our sixth LP The Debatable Lands last year. Touch Isolation is a new subscription series that will feature twenty exclusive tracks by the label’s impressive roster of artists, each to be gradually unveiled over the coming weeks together with bonus content and other surprises too. £20 will get you all of these tracks and more, plus the warm fuzzy feeling that you’re directly helping to support the artists in a time where, needless to say, performance and revenue opportunities have been severely compromised. Any income generated will be shared equally between the artists and I’m planning to donate Howlround’s portion to Iklectik, the Lambeth-based arts venue that has been forced to close its doors and will be increasingly in need of support in the coming months. Our contribution ‘Insula Acid’ was recorded a fortnight ago while self-isolating and fittingly contains nothing but closed-input recordings from a single tape machine, produced in under an hour. Plus it sits alongside other new and exclusive works from Chris Watson, ELEH, Jana Winderen, Zachary Paul, Philip Jeck, Bana Haffar to name but a few – what a line-up!

The cancellation of gigs and festivals has already severely impacted our artists creatively and financially. In addition it has denied you, our audience, the opportunity to see them play and support them. The notion of ‘independent music’ might, in effect, be pushed deeper into the self-isolation mode it is already struggling to break free from. We don’t need studios to the same extent, but we do need a stage, a physical reference and if not, a mental space with which to question the drive to online existence.

We set out to respond to these challenging times in a creative and helpful way. The idea is to present Touch: Isolation whereby a new exclusive track from one of our artists, each with a bespoke photograph/cover image, is presented on a regular basis over the coming weeks. All the income received is collected from your subscriptions and put in a kitty, the proceeds of which are then divided up between the contributing artists.

These new and exclusive interventions will include works by Oren Ambarchi, Richard Chartier, ELEH, farmers manual, Fennesz, Bana Haffar, Howlround, Philip Jeck, Bethan Kellough, Daniel Menche, Anthony Moore, Yann Novak, Zachary Paul, Claire M Singer, Geneva Skeen, UnicaZürn, Mark Van Hoen, CM von Hausswolff, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen and others to be confirmed – all expertly mastered by Denis Blackham.

We invite you to take this unique opportunity to support the artists, without whom there would be no alternative to corporate art… support the industries which realise the artists’ creation – the uncredited producers, designers, software developers, distributors, vinyl cutters, mastering engineers, friends and family etc., who all symbiotically depend on the other to bring their works to fruition […] The subscription costs £20 for 20 (or more) tracks – please support the artists by investing in the Touch: Isolation project, and expect surprises – good ones for a change.

So, a great project for a good cause. What’s not to like? Click here to sign up!

Isolation Soundtracks – Introducing Fog Cast

Hello You. It’s been just over a month since I last updated this site and you won’t be needing me to tell you that in that short time just about everything has changed. Half the world is in lockdown, all venues are closed, all gigs, performances, releases, music and good times in general postponed for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of the populace are stuck in isolation, friends and families are estranged and concern continues to grow for vulnerable loved ones. It’s a sad and strange time and looks set to continue for a little while yet. But there is always hope. I deliberately used the word ‘postponed’ above, because, thanks to a curious strain of optimism I wasn’t previously aware of, I remain firmly convinced that happy days will come again. In the meantime we’ve all just got to sit tight and look out for each other.

While there are of course much bigger things to concern ourselves with in the current climate, I cannot overstate how much music has helped me get through the past few weeks and an awful lot of people I’ve been speaking to have said the same. If there is one small glow of positivity in amongst all this (other than the freshly-baked loaf of my Dad’s homemade soda bread that unexpectedly turned up in the post last Tuesday), I finally have the time to do an awful lot of listening. It never ceases to amaze me just how much astonishing music, old and new, continues to come my way, even now in this blighted year of 2020, so I decided that the best thing to do while stuck at home for months on end would be to start putting the thousands of recordings lining the walls here at Fog Towers to good use. To that end I’m launching FogCast, a new series of ambient, deep listening soundtracks for our current age of isolation, which will hopefully act as a kind of aural balm for friends and comrades stuck at home in troubled times. Designed for solitary listening on headphones, each episode will be broadcast 11pm Wednesdays on Resonance 104.4FM, then available online via the station’s Mixcloud page – and obviously I’ll be sharing them here too, along with a full tracklist. Here’s episode 1, which sets the scene  rather nicely by mixing recent works with older classics:

BJ Nilsen – Beam Finder [from Focus Intensity Power, Moving Furniture, 2018]
Merkaba Macabre – Iridescent [Forthcoming on Psyché Tropes, 2020]
Carl Matthews – Approach [Call For World Saviours, Mirage, 1984]
François Bayle – Toupie Dans Le Ciel [rec 1979, from Tremblements, GRM, 2018]
A’Bear – Involution [Unreleased, 2020]
Morgan Fisher – On the Brink [rec 1997, from Water Music, Tiger Bay, 2019]

I’m really hoping this will become a platform for like-minded artists and musicians currently without an outlet (or indeed an income), so recommendations and new works that fit the ambient, deep listening, drifting (but not necessarily soothing!) soundscape remit are warmly encouraged. If you have a piece that you’d like to be considered for inclusion in a future episode, do please get in touch, either on social media or by emailing robinthefog at gmail dot com. Thanks to everyone who has already made submissions and suggestions – and for the kind words this opening episode has received! It goes without saying that if you are enjoying this show or any future episodes, you might want to consider making a donation, either to Resonance FM or to the artists responsible. They’ll need our help more than ever in the weeks and months to come – and we’ll need them!

In other news, I’m very grateful to Laima Lisauskienė for including Howlround’s 2019 track ‘Heavy Works’ in this rather killer new mix. Produced last year for Musicity Global x Culture Mile’s collaborative project commissioning geo-located soundworks that reimagined the various spaces of the Barbican complex, its appearance here is most timely – unless you live in the immediate area or  possess a cassette of the resulting compilation album (which I still don’t, come to think of it), this is pretty much the only way you can listen to it until the London barricades are lifted! Chuffed to be in such auspicious company such as Tom Richards, Felix Kubin and Stockhausen as well!

On a sad note, I was very sorry to hear that fellow Barbican artist Many Wilson aka Kassia Flux passed away this week. A lovely and gifted composer whose two recent albums on Linear Obsessional are well worth a listen. I’ll be featuring extracts from her most recent work Ergot In The Wine in a forthcoming edition of Fog Cast and it seems a third posthumous release may surface some point in the future. RIP.

Naturally there’s not a huge amount of other business at the moment, but I’m sitting tight and working on a couple of secret projects that I’m very excited about and hope to be sharing with you once we all emerge blinking into the sunlight after the madness is over. As a trusted advisor said to me recently ‘imagine all the art that’s going to get made!’ and thinking along those lines over the last few weeks (plus the occasional loaf of fresh bread arriving in the post) has really kept me going. But to finish this post on an upbeat note, it suddenly occurred to me that I never shared these photos taken by the great Beth Arzy of my collaborative performance with Zachary Paul for Touch Presents… event at Cafe Oto back in February.

An absolutely fantastic night surrounded by great music and many friends, not least fellow performers Unica Zürn and Bill Thompson. Zach and I had fabulous fun pitting his violin against my tape machines and I honestly think this was one of my favourite live shows of the past year. I really hope we’ll get to share the recording of it that’s currently sat on my harddrive with you all in the not too distant future.

It all makes for a very happy, not-too-distant memory that’s helping keep me going Surely it won’t be too long before we get to do all these things again? Maybe we’ll have to wait until summer or even a little later – but there is so much great music and great art out there, not to mention great fellowship, that I can’t believe it could ever completely disappear, even in the teeth of a global pandemic! Until then, just sit tight and make sure you have plenty of access to good friends and a decent soundtrack.

Take care of yourselves, my friends. We shall overcome!