Reworked, resequenced, repurposed, remastered + represented – Howlround’s 2022 miesterwerk Trespass & Welfare, a swirling barrage of decaying acid-gash loops, molten techno loops, asynchronous machine noise and fourth world, reel to reel hypno-mulch – now on a super limited blood red vinyl LP.
Thrilled to announce that Buried Treasure are putting out a one-time super limited-edition vinyl reissue of Howlround’s 2022 album Trespass And Welfare on Friday June 2nd. Remastered to REALLY BANG on blood red vinyl, the colour of madness, and with four brand new tracks; this new edition is available in a super limited edition of just 100 copies and that’s it. THERE WILL BE NO MORE! Don’t sleep on this one – order yours from Buried Treasure here.
Kicking out pieces that thunder and grind, rather than whisper and whine… Trespass And Welfare captures that causticity and roughness more thrillingly than any previous release – THE WIRE
With his inimitable sonic adventuring, our hero has once again crafted otherworldy sounds beyond our wildest expectations – Electronic Sound
Properly mind-blowing…. Robin The Fog is a crazy genius – MOONBUILDING
Frantic machine dialogues and sizzling circuitry – FREQ
Howlround are delighted to announce new release Noise Flaw EP – Live At Iklectik. It’s a collection of live (and quite noisy) extracts taken from various performances at over the past few years. 100% proceeds from the sale of this release will be donated to the Resonance FM Annual Fundraiser. Three lathe cut discs featuring two tracks from the EP are being released simultaneously and are now live on Ebay, with all proceeds raised going to help keep Resonance on air. Find links to all three via linktr.ee/robinthefog – these will be the only copies of this 7″ made!
Disc 1 is here. Disc 2 is here. Disc 3 is here. Get bidding!
Hello You. Time for another visit to the MSCTY School of Sound Art, my series of irregular video tutorials of sonic experimentation for Nick Luscombe’s long-running project exploring new ways of relating to the world around us through sound and space. And I’m exploring a rather more confined space than usual in this episode, produced as it was towards the end of last year when I found myself trapped in my bedroom by a very trendy virus. With studio and equipment several miles away, I was forced to rely on wit and imagination alone in the construction of this episode, which proved decidedly unproductive until I was reminded of two crucial facts: The first being that I’d made some rather intetresting spur-of-the-moment recordings a few days before being struck down with the dreaded lurgy; and secondly that my flatmate Vanessa was in possession of an Oboe and a clean bill of health!
Lesson 4 finds our audio adventurer fighting off cabin fever after spending a week confined to his bedroom … having succumbed to a rather enduring virus that’s currently on a non-stop world tour. Not to be outdone, Robin uses this opportunity to search for inspiration within the four walls of his home, eventually stumbling across a recent recording made entirely by chance, that sets him off on a journey into the wonderful world of the ‘Happy Accident’.
As well as creating a brand new work, we’ll take a brief look at some other artists who have incorporated chance and serendipity into their own practice, plus musician and flatmate Vanessa Howells drops in [at an appropriate distance!] to help out with some improvised oboe.
Those of you interested in further exploring some of the recordings referenced in the video can read more about the Whitechapel Bell Foundry tape archive and the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage team’s discovery of the ‘Accidental Ambience’ tape on the original London’s Sound Heritage blog post from 2021. The entire collection can be accessed through London Metropolitan Archives and there are plenty more sublime recordings on offer – the only difference being the rest were made by wonderful serendipity!
You can also find Ian Rawes’ original recording of the Tower Bridge Bascule Chamber on the London Sound Survey LP Thamesvia the Persistence of Sound label. The vast number of recordings created by Ian under that name have now also been entrusted to the London Metropolitan Archives, but can also still be accessed by visiting SoundSurvery.org.uk. Prepare to get yourself hopelessly, wonderfully lost!
The Conet Project CD boxset seems to be very rare these days, though I occasionally come across copies surfacing online for quite eye-watering sums. Ridiculous really, when you consider the entire released can be readily downloaded from the Free Music Archive. Prepare to get equally lost, but also decidedly spooked (this Pitchfork review from 2004 sums it all up nicely). The whole thing can be found on YouTube as well, so here’s the opening ‘Swedish Rhapsody’ that we used in the video (arguably the project’s most famous recording) to get you started:
In other news, what a week it’s been! Thanks so much to everyone who came down to my various outpourings over the last few days, be it with Ken Hollings as The Howling at The Horse Hospital, Copped Hall with Catherine Smith as part of the Dark Tales and Strange Sounds team or indeed at Boundary Condition with Alaa and the ever-redoubtable Iklectik crew. While no image could ever accurately depict the sheer lunatic intensity of it all, this picture of my two favourite clowns Tears | OV at a post-show debrief probably comes closest. Their performance was as fantastic as ever, of course!
But the biggest vote of gratitude must surely go to David Harper for literally saving our (vegan) bacon on Saturday night and fixing Revox B77 Wendy’s faulty power supply at the last minute, using the toolbox and soldering iron that he apparently just carries around with him for fun. The man is a hero and a legend and I don’t care who knows it. If there was any money in tape manipulation at all I’d be putting him on staff full-time.
Hello You. Apologies for the radio silence on these pages for the last couple of months, it’s certainly not been for want of incident or intrigue and my nose has been pressed hard against a number of grindstones. I’ve been recording tape loops in the basement of Somerset House, frozen lakes in Austria and even been trying to get my head around a rather complicated analogue feedback setup in Den Haag. Plus I conducted a sonic seance in memory of Avanti West Coast trains at Carlisle’s Vinyl Cafe over Christmas – their not dead, incdientally, it’s just the bottomlessly awful state of the railways in this country makes it feel as if they are. Anyway, doubtless all of this intrigue will find its way onto these pages in due course/once I get a moment. But for now our pressing business is a trio of live shows occurring this week that I would very much to waggle excitedly under your collective noses.
Starting off at The Horse Hospital on Thursday 9th February, featuring genius multimedia collective Tears | OV, plus myself and the redoubtable Ken Hollings teaming up once again as The Howling for a night of clown-related heaven and infomercial hell. Do come and join us, enjoy the premier performances of some brand new work and help support one of the finest venues Central London has to offer – like pretty much every other arts establishment in the city these days, the The Horse Hospital finds itself under continued threat from the usual forces of Turbocapitalist darkness. Further info available here.
An equally extraordinary building plays host to myself and the Dark Tales Team once again on Saturday 11th, though this one is perhaps at less immediate risk than the Horse Hospital – after all, Copped Hall has already burned down once! Join us at this remarkable partially restored Georgian ruin for an evening of spooky performances, including an exclusive site-specific new work created by myself and Catherine Smith from recordings made while roaming the darkened corridors This will be repeat performance of the Dark Tales And Strange Sounds event from last November, in an attempt to atone for all the disgruntled punters left out in the cold when the tickets quite literally flew out the door. Get yours here while stocks last. It’s a fantastic evening in great company and I always say that in the unlikely event that Copped Hall isn’t haunted already, it certainly moves closer to ‘at-risk territory’ by the time we’re finished with it!
And finally on Sunday 12th I’ll be back at good old Iklectik in Lambeth North for another fabulous Boundary Condition event. This particular edition features 9+ artists in a hybrid of multichannel live-sets & immersive projections encompassing ethnomusicological site specific film on Pamir, auto-destructive, acousmatic & generative compositions, fungal fetishist performance art and heavy tape machinery performed in the AMOENUS 17-speaker ambisonics system. What else do I need to tell you?! This is my third Boundary Condition, they’re always incredible and this time we’r joined by the remarkable artist and filmmaker Carlos Casas! Tickets are available here.
Well, that should about do for our business here today. All the other usual nonsense will resume ASAP – once I’ve had a nap!
Hello You. Very proud to be making a contribution to the latest charity compilation by the ever superb Front And Follow label, the third volume in an ongoing series where all profits are going directly to help those in need around the Manchester area. This latest edition joins its two predecessors in boasting a massive line-up featuring the pick of the UK experimental scene, all experimenting with a rather novel new approach where each artist is encouraged to steal from another! Trust me, it all makes perfect sense…
Front & Follow and Gated Canal Community present VOLUME THREE of RENTAL YIELDS – a multi-release collaboration project raising money to tackle homelessness in Manchester. Inspired (if that’s the right word – perhaps ‘motivated’…) by our current housing system, the project encourages artists to steal (or borrow, nicely) from another artist to create their own new track – in the process producing HIGH RENTAL YIELDS. Over 100 artists are now involved (the spreadsheet is fun), each one tasked with creating a new track from the sounds created by someone else – we are then collating the tracks and releasing them over the course of the next year.
This is VOLUME THREE, featuring 25 new tracks and 50 artists. All money raised will go to SPIN (Supporting People in Need), whose purpose is to feed, shelter, clothe and generally support the homeless and people in need of Greater Manchester.
Elsewhere, those of you whose appetite is not sated by a weekly dose of Resonance FM’s Fog Cast might be interested in a guest mix I put together forDronica on sister channel Resonance Extra a couple of weeks back. Featuring some of my favourite music from the past year or so, including a few selections I consider a bit ‘too hot’ for my usual weekly outlet, listen out for The Utopia Strong, Svitlana Nianio & Oleksandr Yurchenko, Hainbach & My Panda Shall Fly, Nad Spiro, SkyH1 – and that’s just the first 15 minutes! The full two hour mix is now available to stream in full from the Resonance Extra Mixcloud page and it’s a pretty fantastic voyage, though I say so myself!
Over three years after the last ‘gathering of the tribe’ at a top secret military training facility in the heart of Salisbury Plain (not to mention five years since the tribe gathered for an evening inside an equally top secret Nuclear Bunker in Essex), the screenplay that has to date inspired a series of zines, a compilation album, three substantial festivals and a huge amount of renewed interest in Radiophonics, black propaganda, esoteric traditions and Wyrd British folklore is now available as a lavishly packaged anthology edition with postcards, fliers, a pack of ‘DELATABS’ and the usual beautiful artwork by Nick Taylor.
A limited number even feature this delightfully cute 4″ ‘Transcription Disc’ produced by Delaware Road lynchpin Alan Gubby and featuring Howlround tape noise, words by Dolly Dolly and some secret, forbidden recordings from who knows where or when, quite frankly.
When I say ‘cute’, I am of course talking in terms of size only, the actual recorded contents sound positively demonic! This is officially the second smallest recording format of my career, but as no copies survive of the actual smallest (a deeply ridiculous and impractical object), you’ll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, pre-order your copy here while stocks last.
Hello you. I’m delighted to announce that the MSCTY project celebrating the Fantastic Funghi Festival at the National Trust’s Emmett’s Garden near Sevenoaks in Kent is now live. Seven brand new compositions created by Nick Luscombe and myself from the sounds of the gardens, put together with a little help from participants to our field recording workshop held at the garden a couple of weeks ago.
These compositions are now discoverable by visitors to Emmett’s via a series of QR-codes located at various positions around the gardens, but those of you situated further from Sevenoaks than the proverbial stone’s throw can also listen via the MSCTY.SPACE website. Although I’d still highly recommend listening on site if you get the opportunity, it’s a lovely place for a day out and looking particularly beautiful at the moment in resplendent autumnal hues.
The mushrooms are worth the trip alone and with such lurid colouring on display it’s no wonder some of our compositions ended up sounding a bit psychedelic. You can also hear extracts from the workshop, unreleased bonus tracks and additional field recordings by catching up on last week’s edition of Resonance FM’sFogCast, which also includes cuts from recent album The Countless Stones from workshop participant Emile of the mighty Plant 43. Rather a fine episode, though I say so myself:
The workshop also happened to feature what may be the single shortest tapeloop of my career, created on a wooden bench in the South Garden, avoiding the wind. Even I was amazed that it worked!
Anyway, thanks to Viktoria and all the staff for having us and being very accommodating – and for not complaining even once about all the people wandering around wearing headphones and making strange noises. Hopefully they’ll have us back next time. Very nice cream teas if you’re passing…
Secondly, thank you so much to London Month Of The Dead, the staff of Brompton Cemetery and a huge crowd of lovely, enthusiastic attendees for making Saturday’s candlelit concert in the chapel such a thoroughly ‘ectoplasmic’ experience! A hugely memorable occasion in an incredible venue with a four-second reverberation time and just the right atmosphere of crepuscular Gothic grandeur in which to put on a Howlround show. Indeed, the third and final piece of the evening was created live on the spot with just massed voices, a tape loop and some feedback, yet it grew so intense that at one point I thought we were about to open some kind of sonic wormhole!
I’ve had a brief listen to the recording which is much more distorted and evil-sounding than you might expect, hopefully it will surface somewhere in the not-too-distant future once I’ve knocked off the smooth edges. In the meantime, I wonder if any other cemeteries might be up for some kind of tape machine roadshow? I mean since the National Trust are now clearly on board with the Howlround sound?! Alternately perhaps someone has a funeral they’d like me to soundtrack? Always open to interesting offers…
On a similar note, Eighth Tower Records has just released a fantastic new compilation of original music inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the original novel) that features a brand new and exclusive Howlround track entitled ‘For Those Who Sleep Unwisely’. It has been described by a trusted advisor as sounding like ‘Low-Res Philip Glass’, which I’m not sure is entirely accurate, but hell, I’ll take it:
The Digipack CD with the usual beautiful artwork we’ve come to expect from Eighth Tower can be purchased here and also features Grey Frequency, Rapoon and plenty more besides, each track inspired by a different chapter or scene in the novel. Can guess which part my contribution was inspired by?!
Finally, and on a subdued note, news reaches me that Iklectik and their Old Paradise Yard home may very soon be under threat from developers, alongside all of the other artists and small businesses that share this beautiful green enclave in a hidden corner of London’s Southbank. Apparently the plan would be to flatten the area (including Iklectik’s historic old schoolhouse, the oldest building of its kind in Lambeth) and construct yet more gleaming office blocks and luxury apartments. If this does come to pass we’ll lose a hugely valuable cultural hub, art space, testing ground for radical new ideas and performances, meeting place and warm welcome for alternative music and arts communities in London and beyond… It just doesn’t bear thinking about.
To me Iklectik is one of the few remaining beacons in a city that claims to pride itself on its cultural attractions while doing its utmost to eviscerate any spaces where grassroots movements can evolve. I’ve met some of my greatest friends here, witnessed some of the most inspiring performances of the last few years and even spent whole weekends just listening, watching, talking and laughing, always in good company and with great music. It’s a truly terrible thought that one of the finest and friendliest venues in London could soon be flattened to make way for yet more silent, empty artless turbocapitalism.
Hello You. Been a lean few weeks on this pages while I’ve been ensconced in the studio working on lots of random projects, some of which I’m hoping will surface at some point in the not-too-distant future. One of them has involved a lot of head-scratching trying to create the sound of a prehistoric object ‘whistling through the air’ and slamming into a ‘prehistoric warthog’, another has been trying to create a sense of vague creeping terror while my flatmate breaks in a new pair of boots. Eventually all of these things will hopefully make sense. Anyway, Very excited to briefly invite you to a couple of events I’m taking part in over the coming weekends, starting with a field recording and soundscape composition workshop taking place on Saturday 15th October at Emmett’s Garden near Sevenoaks at the behest of The National Trust. And because I’m dashing out the door to make final preparations, I’m just going to unapologetically quote the press release verbatim, like a lazy and hasty fellow:
Join field recordists / sound artists Nick Luscombe and Robin The Fog for this field recording workshop and be part of a new and unique soundscape project at Emmetts Garden. Explore the sounds of Emmetts Garden with a listening and recording/playback workshop. During the workshop Nick and Robin will detail their work and experience as sound recordists, and explain how to create soundscapes inspired by places. We will then record at various locations throughout the garden and then listen back to the recordings together.
Nick and Robin will then edit and mix the recordings and create seven unique soundscapes telling the sound story of each location. The soundscapes will then be available to listen to via http://www.mscty.space and via QR codes across the garden. If possible please bring your smartphone, if you have one, to record sounds with the group. No previous knowledge of recording required… just an interest in listening to the natural environment! Book your place here.
The following Saturday I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I’ll be returning to Brompton Cemetery Chapel for an evening of Audio Ectoplasm at the behest of my dear friends at London Month Of The Dead.
Here’s that lazy, hasty press release lift once again: Robin the Fog creates musique concréte compositions and performances purely by manipulating natural acoustic sounds on a quartet of vintage reel-to-reel tape recorders, with all additional electronic effects or artificial reverb strictly forbidden – a process that has seen their work compared to William Basinski, Philip Jeck, Morton Feldman and even the sculptures of Rachel Whiteread.
Now Robin is very proud to bring one of his spectacular live performances to London Month of the Dead, in which the secret sounds of Brompton chapel will be dubbed onto loops of tape and stretched precariously around the venue – creating an experience that is part sonic séance, part chaotic performance art.
It promises to be another remarkable evening of spooky candlelit splendour in one of the most magnificently ornate ‘Gardens of Sleep’ you’re ever likely to come across. Allow me to To whet your appetite further with this video of Howlround’s original appearance from 2016, shot by the venerable and redoubtable Victoria Hastings – who, if memory serves, was mostly just there for the free gin cocktail!
…Just kidding Victoria, you know I hold your film-making skills in high regard! More of this and lots more soon, but here’s a quick blast of something currently in the pipeline: A new work in progress which began late one evening on a night bus, heading home from a rehearsal of a forthcoming work by The Howling with Ken Hollings and Beth Arzy. A key issue that evening had been the question of how we could mimic the sounds of chirping insects and croaking frogs to create a convincingly spooky swamp atmosphere. Suddenly fate dropped a fellow passenger right into my lap (not literally, that would have been most improper) in possession of the most remarkable case of hiccups and the rest is history. Or rather will become history shortly, all being well. Bravo, Pippa English – and thank you for being a good sport!
Speaking of Beth Arzy, check out her photos of the Howlround set from the Touch 40 party at Cafe Oto a couple of weeks back. Aren’t they wonderful?! Although I do worry I look a bit threatening…
To survive for 40 years as an independent music project is the ability to bear witness to the massive changes in cultural production – and to hold a candle for artistic freedom and sonic invention. We invite you to these celebrations of past, present and future. As everything gets more atomised in terms of inner and outer worlds, we intend this as a beacon of our collective commitment to joy, pleasure, life, the challenge of being human in these uncertain times.