‘Robin The Fog Conjures Magic’ – Electronic Sound Magazine
Hello! My name is Robin The Fog and I am a sound designer, radio producer, audio archivist, educator and occasional DJ based in London. My work falls under the broad term ‘Radiophonics’ and includes composition, sound installation, radio drama, field recording and documentary – it being my belief that the greatest audio work blurs the boundaries between all of these things.
I am currently proud to be part of the British Library’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, a nationwide attempt to preserve and document half-a-million at-risk analogue recordings at risk of degradation and decay. Working at London Metropolitan Archives, my duties include working as an audio preservation engineer, creating materials for learning and engagement and also leading workshops and demonstrations. Here’s a recent example, inspired by a graphic score from a 1970s educational box set, this is aimed at encouraging young people and families to get creative using whatever they can find around the house:
Recent freelance work over the past couple of years has included bespoke sound designs for The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, St Thomas’ Hospital in London, The National Trust, The Science Museum, the European Investment Bank and the Radio 4 Documentary In Tooth And Claw to name just a few. I’ve also taught sound design and radio production at a Further Education level and conducted numbers workshops on experimental composition to students of all ages. I also present Fog Cast, a weekly series of late-night, deep listening soundtracks on Resonance 104.4FM. Other production work has in in the recent past has included bespoke sound designs for several BBC Radio 4 dramas, numerous broadcast packages for Radio 4 and BBC World Service, as well as contributions to Radio 3’s Between The Ears, Deutsche Welle, ABC Australia, Monocle, NTS, Resonance and many more. There was also the short Afro-futurist radio play I once produced for genius author Nnedi Okorafor, where we created tentacled alien horror with nothing more than a flaky ISDN connection to Lagos, some hand-soap and absolutely no budget at all. The results were broadcast all over Africa one Boxing Day evening and may well have put some listeners off their dinners.
[Performing at Coventry Cathedral for Delia Derbyshire’s 80th Birthday Celebrations]
My composition work has come increasingly to the fore over the few years, largely as founder member and chief strategist of Howlround, the tape-loop ‘quintet’ (myself and four reel to reel machines) that creates performances and recordings from manipulating naturally occurring sounds on vintage magnetic tape, with all additional effects and artificial reverb strictly forbidden. Our records have been compared to William Basinski (who I toured with in 2015), Burial and Selected Ambient Works-era Aphex Twin. We’ve been in session for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, effused as to the power of tape loops on 6Music’s The Freakier Zone, been profiled in The Wire, Electronic Sound and FACTmag (who described it as glorious) and the even BBC’s flagship tech programme ‘Click’ (who described it as ‘an acquired taste’ but gave us several minutes of precious global television exposure).
To date Howlround have produced six vinyl LPs including the soundtrack to multiple award-winning epic A Creak In Time, plus two split albums, innumerable compilation appearances, sound installations and performances across Europe and the US. It’s been quite a trip! A follow up to 2019’s ‘spikily psychoactive’ The Debatable Lands is currently in the works…
— FACT (@FACTmag) March 16, 2016
I’m originally from Cumbria in the North of England, but I’m currently based in sunny Penge, South London, in a flat crammed with records (far too many), books (roughly the right amount) and a studio’s worth of analogue gear that I seem to be constantly stubbing my toes on. I also make an excellent cup of tea and look very nice in a suit. I’m always looking for interesting projects to get involved in, new sounds to discover and new places to perform in, so if that sounds up your street, you’re warmly invited to get in touch, either by emailing robinthefog at gmail dot com or following @robinthefog on Twitter. You can also find me on Instagram. Or just pop round. My kettle’s always on…