Through A Glass VERY Darkly – MSCTY And The Madman

Hello You. It’s time to unveil episode two of my new MSCTY SCHOOL OF SOUND ART series, produced in collaboration with Nick Luscombe and his fabulous pan-global platform devoted to sound, space and architecture. This month we’re heading into the Essex Countryside in search of spooky sounds within the partially restored ruins of Copped Hall. The footage here was shot late last year while gathering raw material for the first of Andy Popperwell’s Dark Tales And Strange Sounds events that took place back in January. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the bare brick walls, darkened staterooms and tumbledown masonry provide the most perfect setting for a bit of Haunted Radiophonics – plus it’s the single coldest building I’ve ever visited, making the frigid December day outside seem balmy in comparison. Seriously, the Hall did half the work for us!

As it happens I shall be returning to Copped Hall this weekend with Andy, Sinister Masterplan, Julia Stallard and very welcome new addition Dane Law for a second helping of Dark Tales And Sinister Sounds; but unfortunately I’m unable to invite anyone along as this second event sold out almost as quickly as the first! Hopefully the above video will provide sufficient intrigue until we can get a third dose of darkness in the diary – and perhaps even inspire a few people to have a go at haunting some houses of their own? I never cease to be amazed at the sheer transformative power of a wet finger on a wineglass!

In other news my radio show Fog Cast continues to haunt the Resonance FM airwaves every Wednesday at 23:00 UK time, providing an hour of deep listening and isolationist sounds which are (mostly) perfect for drifting off into the night. Following last week’s International Women’s Day Special, I’m delighted to now present a second episode guest-curated by Bay Area DJ, Crate Digger and Library Music Uber-Nerd Diagonals, aka Nick Daly of Oakland, California. Nick’s claims this second episode ‘has been inspired by insomnia, synesthesia and the colour blue: a feast for the ears and perhaps the eyes too’ and who could argue with that? Strap on your ear goggles and have a listen above, then head over to the Diagonals Mixcloud page for plenty more deep grooves including his first Fog Cast appearance from last month. Meanwhile, it’s currently Resonance FM fundraising season, so why not bung some cash in the direction of Fundraiser.Resonance.FM? The World’s Greatest Community Art Radio Station needs you!

Finally, I must take my hat off to the twin forces of The Dark Outside and Bibliotapes for putting together their new two-volume compilation Diary Of A Madman at such short notice in response to the crisis in Ukraine. Both cassette editions sold out within five minutes, but the digital download version is still available here, with all proceeds going straight to the Ukrainian Red Cross. My own contribution, just one of a whopping 121 tracks, is the exclusive new Howlround work ‘Vile Input’. As the name implies it’s almost certainly the single most piss-and-vinegar piece of tape noise that I’ve ever produced, but frankly what other kind of reaction would have been appropriate? Hopefully it proves as cathartic to listen to as it was to make.

Bonus points if you can correctly guess the original source material, which was actually quite a harmless and inoffensive sound until I started pushing it into the red and running it through a broken mixing desk. Like I said, entirely appropriate…

Author: Robin The Fog

Sound Artist, Radio Producer, DJ, founder and chief strategist of tape-loop proejct Howlround. Devout Catalyst.

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