Hello you. It’s been a busy old week here at Fog Towers, with plenty of excitement and intrigue to report, starting off with the grand unveiling of Howlround’s incendiary new album Trespass And Welfare!
…[A] full blown sonic assault […] Recorded entirely using closed-input feedback – two tape machines, a UHER6000 and a Revox B77, simultaneously recording a mixture of themselves and each other – no samples, no synths, no pedals + once you know that, listening is properly mind-blowing. Neil Mason, Moonbuilding
Containing ’12 semi-controlled bursts of hypnotic tape mulch, molten techno loops & asynchronous machine noise’, Howlround’s eighth studio album is now available to pre-order from Buried Treasure Records, ahead of its release on July 29th. Strictly limited edition CD with beautiful artwork in a cardboard slipcase complete with 20 page booklet of artwork and even a coaster, so you don’t spill your tea when the opening track blasts out of your speakers. The whole package is even more beautiful than I dared hope – and that includes the decidedly gnarly contents of the disc! There are only 100 copies in existence and sales have proved pretty brisk already, three weeks ahead of the release date, so it’s advisable not to sleep on this one. Click here to order your copy. Then while you’re waiting read this review from the lovely people at Freq which captures the essence and the spirit of the album so perfectly that you might not actually need to listen to it at all!
An elasticated whir-secting jive full of wording impressions, aural Rorschach blots that with every listen mysteriously reconfigure. Michael Rodham-Heaps, Freq
Elsewhere I’m very excited to announce that The Howling, my duo with Ken Hollings will be performing at London’s BFI Southbank on Wednesday 20th July as part of their regular Experimedia slot. We’re playing as a double bill with the premier screening of a brand new 4K restoration print of Ray Dennis Steckler’s 1964 trash classic ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies?!’ Having only ever had access to the film through gooey 10th-generation VHS copies, I’m very excited to finally be able to witness the insanity of this freakshow classic in all its glory, and the restored clips I’ve seen so far look incredible. Tickets for the event are available here and the hilarious gruesome seedy fun starts at 18:15. Don’t miss out!
Unfortunately for annoying reasons beyond my control I’ve had to postpone my performance at Saturday’s Ealing Extranormal for a future date, but Howlround will still be returning to Iklectik on July 22nd as part of the latest event from my old friends Club Integral, alongside Nad Spiro, Robert Storey and Maya Yianni. Then the machines and I will return once more a fortnight later on August 5th, where I’m very excited to announce that for the first time in a very long time I shall be putting on an event of my own! FOGFEST! And just LOOK at this lineup I’ve managed to assemble! All of my first choices said yes!
It feels entirely right and proper to announce all this exciting activity during the landmark week that Howlround celebrates its tenth anniversary. For exactly one decade has elapsed since the project officially came to life on July 12th 2012 with the launch of debut album The Ghosts Of Bush, released to mark the day the BBC World Service finally left its home at Bush House in Aldwych.
To celebrate this anniversary I’ve commissioned Lucy Morrow better known as Captured by the Fuzz to recreate the project logo in her own inimitable style. And hasn’t she done a wonderful job of it?
Recorded in a series of overnight sessions in a long-abandoned basement studio and created entirely by processing the sounds of the building through a pair of ailing reel to reel tape machines, The Ghosts Of Bush marked the end of an era for the corporation, but the beginning of another, smaller, weirder, noisier one for me! That day began with the album featured on the Today Programme and finished with Gideon Coe ending his 6Music show – and the evening’s broadcasting – by playing a sizeable chunk of the first side. Then somehow it just kept going from there: a **** review in Record Collector, Simon Reynolds calling it ‘The ultimate Hauntological artefact’, comparisons to Aphex Twin and Burial, having to rush a second green pressing then a third white pressing due to unprecedented demand. Happy and unprecedented days indeed.
Thanks once again to Lucy for providing me with this fuzzy felt classic (find much more like it by perusing her Etsy and Instagram pages) and to Lisa Hack and Hannah Brown for providing the original photography all those years ago (check out Hannah’s current printworks by visiting kvist.co.uk). My gratitude also goes out, somewhat belatedly, to Gideon Coe, Stuart Maconie, Simon Reynolds and all the many, many people who supported the record and showed such enthusiasm in those early days. I have never ceased to be awed and humbled by the love so many people have for this album.
Ten years and ten official releases (eight studio albums and two split albums with Time Attendant and Marta De Pascalis respectively), plus innumerable compilation appearances, live shows at Coventry Cathedral, touring with William Basinski, playing a cavern beneath the streets of Copenhagen, a slightly weird venue in Portland with a huge pentagram on the ceiling… the project has come a long way. It’s also got quite a bit louder, weirder and darker in the intervening decade, but the essential philosophy remains the same: music created by manipulating acoustic sounds on magnetic tape, with all additional plugins, effects and artificial reverb strictly forbidden. My hope now is that people will take Trespass And Welfare to their hearts and ears in much the same way as they did The Ghosts Of Bush. After all, the basic premise is still the same… just that little bit more filthy!
PS Just to clarify the ‘****’ alluded to in Record Collector magazine was ‘a four star review’, not some kind of expletive outburst…