Future Tense – Waiting In Celestial Isolation

Hello you. It’s been a couple of weeks since I last updated these pages as I’ve been on a well-deserved trip up north. While my actual planned trip and a couple of festival appearances were all cancelled, a break with the Foggy clan for some book reading and dog walking was welcome as always. I’m now a little older (Happy Birthday to me!), hopefully a little wiser and still convinced that happy days will come again – as much as can be achieved for those of us finding ourselves stuck on a right-wing little rock, at least.

Besides, there are still plenty of goodly works going on. Not least ‘Waiting Rooms’, the recent new soundwork produced in collaboration with graphic artist, writer, philosopher and all round thoroughly good egg Leila Peacock, for her recent exhibition at the al_vista space in Zurich: The Past, The Present And The Future Walked Into A Bar: It Was Tense.

This is the latest in a number of sonic pieces we’ve made together over the last decade or so, but the first we’ve made remotely, a meditation on time, the universe and existence that displays just the kind of ‘Knight’s Move Thinking’ (plus the odd blast of amusing, pun-based wordplay) that first drew me to Leila’s work back a decade ago or more.

The sound design incorporates some unreleased tape loops from the Howlround vaults that – hopefully – strike just the right cosmic note. Indeed, a very kind person once compared an embryonic version of the recordings I’ve used here to the ‘alien ocean scene’ [sic] in Solaris, which I will definitely be taking that as a compliment!

Speaking of good eggs, it was my pleasure earlier this month to guest on the latest episode of The Central Office Of Information’s new podcast ‘Hauntology’, where I chatted to the ever-affable Alex Cargill about tape loops, musique concrète, creativity from failure, oldskool hardcore, Resonance FM, Daphne and Celeste – and played some lesser known Howlround tracks too.

These days I’m really not sure if I can honestly still shoehorn myself into the Hauntology bracket (recent work sounds less haunted and more downright broken) but I’m honoured to be included in the rolecall and a chat with Alex is always a pleasant way to pass the time. Well, for me at least – having been rather deprived of conversation with fellow music nerds for the previous three months, I fear I may have talked the dear chap’s ears off! While it’s true that listener feedback seems to have been very positive, I’ve noticed the adjective ‘long’ has cropped up more than once, but really this is all par for the course. Another kind person once described me as ‘not one to keep quiet about the things you’re enthused by’, which is a rather clunky sentence, but pretty much on the money. I’ll take that as a compliment too, plus the fact that I’m following in the footsteps of genuine Hauntological Royalty in the shape of Bob Fischer and Martin Jensen of The Home Current. All episodes can be streamed now on Apple Podcasts. The two Central Office Of Information long-players to date are also extremely worthy of your time.

Very exciting news in the world of publishing from ‘luminescent pop culture demon’ Rian Hughes, who launched his latest mammoth project “XX”: A Novel, Graphic last Friday.

I haven’t got my grubby mitts on a copy yet, but by all accounts, it’s a brain-frazzling, cosmos-traversing, thousand-page interstellar epic. Most excitingly, amongst the manifold delights on offer it also contains a review for an imaginary album by a shadowy duo known only as Celestial Mechanic:

Named, they claim, after a character in an obscure SF novel by a university professor turned new-age cult leader called Herschell Teague, Celestial Mechanic don’t play music so much as construct it, writing code from which the songs (I use the term here advisedly) are generated. Genny Forster, selfstyled ‘lead programmer’ of the outfit, describes their working method: “We build compositions algorithmically, like sonic cathedrals of sound. Classical music has often used motifs that are repeated, mirrored, overlaid, stretched or offset to counterpoint themselves. We are doing the same thing here, but rather than let our intuition govern the final form, we set up parameters for the formal play and the limits of structural divergence at the outset, then feed in seed data and see what evolves. Our job as musicians in this respect is closer to that of an editor – we decide what the most pleasing results are, then use those as seeds for further layering. The complexity we can quickly build is extraordinary”.

Sounds pretty damn enticing, doesn’t it? And it gets better – what was initially a few descriptive paragraphs inside this weighty tome’s story-within-a-story now exists as a fully-fledged long-player in its own right. DJ Food and Saron Hughes were challenged by Rian to take this piece of prose and reverse-engineer it into the album that it so lucidly describes, almost certainly the first time in history that a record review has actually preceded the music itself. I’m very proud to announce there are some of my own contributions popping up here and there as well, particularly on epic closer ‘The Signal’, so do look out for those distinctive curlicues of tape echo. It’s all a bit of a trip, quite frankly. Book and album are available now and together should provide enough audio-visual stimulation to comfortably see out the summer.  But just in case…

The good folk at Front And Follow have also just released the second volume in the series of their Isolation And Rejection compilations and at the time of writing it’s looking like it’s just about to be proceeded by a third:

This new edition features another twenty-four tracks of sonic splendour from old friends such as Gagarin, Time Attendant, fellow South-Londoner Drunk Keith! and plenty more besides. As before, all proceeds go to The Brick in Wigan, ‘a fantastic charity on the front line of supporting those most in need, seeking to address the inequalities across our country exacerbated by COVID-19, but there all along. Need I say more? Almost two hours of exclusive music and a worth cause for a mere fiver. Do the right thing and dig deep.

Finally, a mysterious test pressing turned up at Fog Towers this week. But that’s for another time…


The Past, Present And Future Walked Into Vinyl Cafe…

Hello you. Very pleased and excited to announce a new collaborative work with an old friend – the Swiss-based artist, writer, philosopher, polymath and all round good egg Leila Peacock. It’s an audio essay entitled ‘Waiting Rooms’, one of three new original works that make up her current exhibition running at Zurich University of the Arts‘ exhibition space al_vista until mid-August.

We know how to measure time. We know what time is as long as we don’t have to explain it. It is a useful fiction that structures lives. Substance of sci-fi explorations into the realms of the possible. The perpetually perishing present moment you can never grasp. The illusion of history as progress, the reality of the countdown until our own death-to-come, the longing of the long wait.

Leila and I have produced a handful of works together over the years. She was there when I was just beginning to put Howlround together and was instrumental in helping to realise the Secret Songs Of Savamala LP when we were working in Belgrade back in 2013). Her essays are always a real conceptual trip and so I try each time to create a sound design that’s appropriately far out in accordance. On this occasion we’re criss-crossing back and forth through time in the company of some recordings of chiming clocks I salvaged from a performance at York’s Manor House and taken them even further down the rabbit hole. Perhaps a little obvious when you consider it – but damn, do they sound evocative! Have a listen below and if you’re in Zurich I urge to pop over and investigate further – while respecting social distancing, of course. For the rest of you, strap on some ear goggles on and dive straight in!


Closer to home, but also quite out there in its own way, this week also marks the last episode of Fog Cast before Resonance FM takes a well-deserved summer break. A lot has changed in the 18 weeks since the show emerged blinking into the strange new world of March 2020, but I thought I would end the series with a note of optimism by including a clutch of LPs from a recent expedition to my (joint) favourite record shop Vinyl Cafe in my hometown of Carlisle, which has thankfully now re-opened after months of lockdown-enforced closure.

Naturally our local independent record shops (along with the artists and musicians who make the records they stock) need our support now more than ever, so if you happen to be passing through Abbey Street in Carlisle, do pop in and have a browse. Or for those less conveniently located, simply visit futureisvinyl.co.uk and have a virtual dig through the racks. There’s always plenty of treasure awaiting your discovery – I walk away each with a stack of new surprises and this week’s show is certainly testament to that. I’m aware I’ve said it before, but if you had told me a decade ago that one day there would be a space in my old home town where I’d be able to shop for records by Meredith Monk, Suzanne Ciani and Cabaret Voltaire, make a bunch of like-minded new friends and even put on some Howlround shows, I would have branded you a hopeless idealist and backed away slowly. And yet here we are!

This latest trip was even more of an ear-opener than usual as I must confess to having been previously ignorant of the wondrous works of Ann McMillan, Craig Kupka or Julia Barwick, all of whom feature prominently on this final episode of the series. This is surely why we go to record shops in the first place, isn’t it? Not so much to find what we already know, but to discover the stuff you don’t know yet, that moment where the person behind the counter spots you and says ‘TRY THIS!’ Hurrah for the reopened Vinyl Cafe – now let’s all continue to support it – and all of our local independent record stores! In the meantime, here are this week’s treasures:

Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson ‎– From Light To Refraction [from Emanate, 130701, 2020]
Julia Barwick feat. Jónsi – In Light [from Healing Is A Miracle, Ninja Tune, 2020]
Craig Kupka – Trombones of Lithia [from Crystals: New Music For Relaxation 2, Folkways, 1982]
Ann McMillan – Gong Song / Gateway Summer Sound [from Gateway Summer Sound – Abstracted Animal & Other Sounds, Folkways, 1978]
Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson ‎– Interlude II [from Emanate, 130701, 2020]
Julia Barwick – Inspirit [from Healing Is A Miracle, Ninja Tune, 2020]


Triple Mix – Fog Wood Frequency

Hello you. A triple whammy of treats this week, with a new episode of Fog Cast on Resonance FM, plus an Out Of The Wood mixtape from the vaults and a brand new radio session from the ever-productive Grey Frequency. That’s four solid hours of ambient audio gold, so probably best to pop the kettle on before we go any further…

Fog Cast this week is a small tribute to the recently departed Barbara Pointon, tireless dementia campaigner and force for good in the world who was also (along with Ian Helliwell) responsible for a retrospective compilation of her husband’s compositions surfacing on the Public Information label in 2016. Sobering to think how this fascinating body of work could have been lost forever without her care and attention – along with potentially so many other great swathes of our electronic music heritage, mouldering away in attics and basements across the nation. It’s certainly a subject close to the Helliwell heart and Ian’s compendium of early pioneering composers Tape Leaders  is well worth hunting down if you haven’t done so already. Our other featured album is from The Soulless Party, yet another classic addition to the Castles In Space canon (will their current golden run ever cease?!), plus new surprises from Kit Records and Wormhole World to boot. As Super Grover would say, ‘no need to thank me, I live to serve’! Strap on your ear goggles and dive straight in:

The Soulless Party – Ghost Planes [from The Black Meadow Archive Volume 1, Castles In Space, 2020]
Cleaver Boi and The Hungry Ghost – Minnal [unreleased, 2020]
Malcolm Pointon – Then Wakes The Ice [rec. 1970s, from Electromuse, Public Information, 2016]
Cosmic Neighbourhood – Squirrel / Waving Tree [from Library Vol 1, Kit Records, 2020]
boycalledcrow – Ghost In My Head / Chasing Rainbows [from the forthcoming album Mystic Scally, Wormhole World, 2020]
Malcolm Pointon – Trojan Woman / Study 2 [rec. 1970s, from Electromuse, Public Information, 2016]
The Soulless Party – Walking On Black Meadow / A Voice In The Heather/ The Village Under The Lake / He Took Her Hand [from The Black Meadow Archive Volume 1, Castles In Space, 2020]

Up next is a classic edition of Out Of The Wood, the regular Sunday lunchtime show that comes live from from West Norwood’s Book And Record Bar and is streamed on WNBC.London. With its rotating roster of regular DJs and special guests, this show is always the perfect way to while away a Sunday, preferably in store while drinking coffee or beer, flicking through records and listening to shop owner King Michael’s tall tales of record hunting adventure.

I say it’s a ‘classic’ edition because although it only dates from a few months back, it was the final edition of OOTW to be broadcast before lockdown (in fact I remember the date exactly – March 15th – because it was Mother Fog’s birthday and I managed to convince everyone in the shop to join me in serenading her down the phone). Doesn’t that feel like a long time ago already? Furthermore, putting this two hour ambient special together was also what gave me the idea for Fog Cast, the first edition of which would swiftly follow a couple of weeks later. Plus they’ve chosen that one photo of me by Victoria Hastings where I come very close to almost looking smouldering (My secret? That faraway look comes from trying to read the venue’s ‘Specials Menu’ under subdued lighting). Anyway, very glad to see The Book And Record Bar is now back open and I’m sure that new editions of OOTW can’t be far away either (Michael has invested heavily in hand-sanitiser). Until then plenty of delights from the show’s sizeable archive are available from https://outofthewood.london/

And lastly here’s Grey Frequency’s ‘Haunted Ambient Mix’, originally broadcast Saturday 18th July on CAMP Radio and including Howlround’s ‘A Creak In Time Part 2’ as the filling in a Laurie Spiegel / Else Marie Pade sandwich. How about that for an accolade?! There’s also appearances from recent Fog Cast alumni such as Simon Klee, Forest Robots and the Grey man himself alongside Steve Nolan. Somebody buy this man a pint, he’s earned it…

Wyrd Geography – Isolation Wanderer

Hello you. Presenting for your approval another dose of Resonance FM Isolation antics in the shape of the latest edition of Fog Cast, which this week pays another visit to the magnificent Touch:Isolation compilation (although at a total of 28 tracks and three hours we’ve still barely scratched the surface), plus the superb new album After Geography by Francisco Dominguez, better known as Forest Robots. Purported to be a ‘love letter to his daughter about the wonders of nature’, it strikes me that we could all do with a reminder of such things, especially when they’re as blissful as this. Hoping to hear a lot more from Forest Robots in the future. Also hoping his little girl appreciates it. Seem to remember my infant niece being pretty ambivalent when I tried a similar approach a couple of years back.. There really is no accounting for taste…

Forest Robots – Subtly Widening Bergschrunds [from After Geography, Forest Robots, 2020]
Rosy Parlane –  Awa [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Oren Ambarchi – Sbagliato (Demo) [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Philip Jeck – Followed by Bells [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Bana Haffar – Conference of Birds [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Yann Novak – The Elation of Protest [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Forest Robots – A Detailed Cartography [from After Geography, Forest Robots, 2020]
Forest Robots – Karst Wildlife Surveying [from After Geography, Forest Robots, 2020]

I’m keeping it extra brief this week as I’m having a much needed week off up north, the dogs need walking yet again and the letter ‘n’ on my laptop has stopped working, none of which is terribly conducive to coherent marshalling of thoughts. But I must just share this smashing new mix from Melmouth The Wanderer, which features some classic tropes from the glory days of Hauntology,  including ‘post-apocalyptic Cold War paranoia, Number Stations, Public Information Films and the music of high rises, subways and the concrete landscape of our once bright future’. All the good things, basically. It’s been a while since I swam in these warm Hauntological waters, but good grief doesn’t it feel apposite in the current climate?! Plus it features a blast from the Howlround past, alongside goodies from Concretism, Septimus Keen, Cabaret Voltaire and – in this cat’s humble opinion  – one of Portishead’s finest yet most underrated songs.  Fill your boots!

If all this has whetted your appetite for more Urban Wyrd-ness, you will no doubt enjoy the two books on the subject that Folk Horror Revival have prepared for your delectation and to which this mix should provide the perfect accompaniment. They’re available here and here with all profits being donated to The Wildlife Trusts. I’m planning on diving in myself once I’ve knocked a few more inches off the ‘in’ pile currently teetering on the Foggy nightstand. I blame Ken Hollings. His books about trash movies and flying saucers are just so moreish….

Touch Isolation And Rejection

Hello you. It’s a very special edition of Resonance FM’s Fog Cast this week, focusing on two albums that have been produced in direct response to our current worldly state of affairs: Isolation And Rejection Vol. 1 from Manchester’s Front And Follow that I mentioned last week; and Touch:Isolation, the subscription-based compilation from the long-running London imprint that I mentioned last month (or at least I think it was around then – the dates are getting increasingly hazy as the weeks roll by).

Both albums are united by their championing of new, exclusive content from an astonishing wealth of talent that only serves to underline the rude health of our bedevilled music scene in 2020 (in spite of everything), and also by the sheer quantity of excellence on offer – together they offer over FIVE HOURS of original music and there’s not a single duff track to be found amongst the forty-eight on offer. Plus it would appear that Front And Follow are planning another FOUR volumes in this series, so the age of ‘Isolation Inspiration’ is only just beginning. As a result, this week’s show can only offer a light, tantalising dusting of the treasures on offer, but it’s still a truly sublime experience – even by regular Fog Cast standards!

ELEH – Still, Not Waiting [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Claire M Singer
– Rionnag a Tuath [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Zachary Paul – Aeolus [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]
Hybernation – Fragile Times [from Isolation And Rejection vol. 1, Front And Follow, 2020]
K – Failure Of Presence [from Isolation And Rejection vol. 1, Front And Follow, 2020]
Yellow6 – Work1 [from Isolation And Rejection vol. 1, Front And Follow, 2020]
Yumah – Escape [from Isolation And Rejection vol. 1, Front And Follow, 2020]
Bethan Kellough – Lines of Flight [from Touch:Isolation, Touch, 2020]

The Spun Out Rejection Selection

Hello, you. Ready for another quietly spectacular edition of Fog Cast? Of course you are. And this week it’s an absolute humdinger, featuring two recent albums from the ever-dependable Spun Out Of Control label and another visit to Mark Vernon’s An Anontated Phonography Of Chance, an album that almost seems to have been designed specifically with Fog Cast in mind! Plus there’s an exclusive nugget from Long Meadows, so pop on your headphones and let’s roll.

Hattie Cooke – Chamber / Emerging / Ladders / Run / Something’s Watching You [from The Sleepers, Spun Out Of Control, 2019]
Long Meadows – Dungeness Pt. 1 [unreleased, 2020]
Steve Nolan & Grey Frequency – Been / The End Or The Exit / In Private / Not So Distant [from Intercept, Spun Out Of Control, 2020]
Mark VernonAspen House / Megalithic Circuit / Shrouded Yagis / Simmer Dim [from An Annotated Phonography Of Chance, Misanthropic Agenda, 2019]

An old friend of these pages, of course, Grey Frequency makes another appearance this week with the launch of this rather fantastic new fundraising compilation Isolation and Rejection vol.1. It’s the first in a planned series from a rejuvenated Front And Follow, emerging from hibernation to do some good in these troubled times, and featuring twenty tracks for a mere fiver. Lovely to see this label back in action, albeit temporarily, and this first outing boasts a predictably killer lineup, with contributions from old friends Time Attendant, Ekoplekz, Kemper Norton and many more.

Isolation and Rejection was born out of thinking about what happened to all the tracks that didn’t make it onto those fancy compilations, and is now turning into an ongoing project to collect, collate and promote rejected sounds. This is not an isolation project – it’s a rejection project. All income raised will go to The Brick in Wigan, a fantastic charity on the front line of supporting those most in need, seeking to address the inequalities across our country exacerbated by COVID-19, but there all along.

A superb compilation for a thoroughly worthy cause, then. Front and Follow have already raised an impressive £600 with volume one alone and further editions are on the way, one of which will feature an exclusive Howlround track. Dig deep, friends, this will surely be another future classic in what has already been a vintage year for experimental music and an absolutely rubbish year in absolutely every other respect. Compilations such as this and Castles In Space’s excellent Isolation Tapes offer hope for us all – and some new ear candy to enjoy while studiously avoiding everyone else. More isolation action next week!

The Art Of Reciprocal Phonography – Fog Cast Turns 13

Hello you. It’s Fog Cast 13 this week, but Resonance FM’s premier late night isolation soundscape show is feeling very lucky indeed to be hosting another stellar line up, much of which is freshly arrived on the block, proving that while this cursed year or 2020 does inherently suck, there is still a huge amount of remarkable sounds out there, just waiting to be discovered. It’s an observation I tend to make most weeks, but what can I tell you? I’m constantly being surprised anew with the depth and quality on display out there! And of course the search continues – I’m always looking for new material to include in subsequent programmes, so if you have something to consider, do get in touch either by email or Twitter.

In fact, the presence of art, culture and music on this increasingly right-wing little rock in a time of austerity and pandemic has been one of the few things that has kept me sane over the last few months and years, so if you feel the same I would ask you – as ever – to bung some cash towards the artists responsible for the fine musical selections in this week’s episode. Furthermore, I would ask you to consider signing THIS ONLINE PETITION calling upon the government to consider emergency funding for the arts. ‘The government should look to the aftermath of the second world war when the UK along with many other countries invested large sums in the arts as part of their plans to rebuild society’, its authors claim, entirely commendably. This is also a moment to review arts funding as a whole and to turn away from the discredited austerity, privatisation and private funding model that has dominated Culture and public services more widely.’ I have no dog in this particular fight, other than having a lot of artist friends who are really struggling to make ends meet right now. I’ve signed and I hope you’ll consider doing so as well. And once you’ve done so, reward yourself by strapping on your ear goggles, fixing yourself a stiff one and sliding head-first into another inviting sonic stew…

Mark Vernon – Succulent Gros / Overflown Ellipsis / The Larum Of The Living / The Consensus Is To Delete / Nossos Ossos / Revolving Rivers [from An Annotated Phonography Of Chance, Misanthropic Agenda, 2019]
Marina Rosenfeld & Ben Vida – VERTICE (Extract) [from the forthcoming album VERTICE, Phantom Limb, 2020]
Lo Five – Raising Awareness / Amor Fati [from The Art Of Living, Lo Five, 2020]
Simon Klee – Gamma Escape Sequence / Temporal Transmutation / Darkening Skies [from The Reciprocal Second, SubExotic, 2020]
Correlations – Xibalba [from Mayan Gods, Castles In Space, 2020]
Lo Five – Caught Between Lives / Ataraxia [from The Art Of Living, Lo Five, 2020]
Michael O’Shea – Voices / Anfa Dásachtach [rec. 1981, from Michael O’Shea, Allchival, 2019]

Winter, Whistlers And Wood Pigeons – Fog Cast Goes Further

Hello you. We’re travelling to some very remote locations on Resonance FM’s Fog Cast this week, starting with the sounds of space captured by the British Antarctic Survey, then moving on to the remote Finnish ireland of Örö; before returning home to a silenced lockdown London, which in its own way feels like a distant world now that so many people appear to have completely forgotten we’re in the middle of a pandemic! Not to worry, though, it’s a sublime listen for those of you still stuck in isolation – though be warned it’s not always an easy one! Here’s the tracklist: 

Sounds of Space Project – Sonic Rain 4.45 AM / In the Heart of the Storm 8.00 PM [from Aurora Musicalis, Sounds of Space Project, 2020]
Amy Cutler –  a childish attempt to read the immense ineffable riddle of the world [from Örö Tape- Fieldtrips of the Damned, Fractal Meat Cuts, 2020]
Stubbleman – 6am – Chorus / 8 am – Soliloquy [from The Blackbird Tapes EP, Crammed, 2020]
Amy Cutler –  vigil for örö (one month of fieldtrip sounds – radar, bird calls, bunker bell system, ice, rust, swamp) / ghost antler lichen [from Örö Tape- Fieldtrips of the Damned, Fractal Meat Cuts, 2020]
Stubbleman – 4 am – Conversation – Soliloquy [from The Blackbird Tapes EP, Crammed, 2020]
Amy Cutler – moth examination station [from Örö Tape- Fieldtrips of the Damned, Fractal Meat Cuts, 2020]
Sounds of Space Project – Aurora Musicalis Compilation Sounds only [from Aurora Musicalis, Sounds of Space Project, 2020]

Our proceedings kick off this week with The Sounds of Space Project, a trio consisting of the British Antarctic Survey’s Nigel Meredith who supplied the space sounds, composer and pianist Kim Cunio, and Diana Scarborough who produced this very fine accompanying video. Their debut album Aurora Musicalis is available for free online and very splendid it is too, combining ambient piano with recordings captured by a Very Low Frequency (VLF) receiver at Halley Research Station in Antarctica to striking effect. The accompanying notes to this release claim it to be ‘partly an imagining of what it would be like to stay at the Halley station with a grand piano’, though to my ears the glacial celestial ambience on display is in no way redolent of the kind of logistical nightmare such a task might entail (for one thing the temperatures would surely play havoc with the tuning?)! A fascinating listen, anyway. I’ve featured two tracks here plus the bonus recording of unadulterated space sounds which closes both their album and today’s show, and would heartily recommend further immersion.

Someone else who is sensibly not travelling with a grand piano (unless I’ve missed something) is sound artist, writer and cultural geographer Dr. Amy Cutler, who spent an isolated month at the end of 2019 on the remote uninhabited Finnish island of Örö and has just released a new album of field recordings, spoken word and cut-up concréte poetry culled from her experiences on Graham Dunning’s Fractal Meat Cuts label (at the time of writing there are only TWO copies left, so go man GO!). Örö Tape: Fieldtrips of the Damned has been described by the artist as ‘audio for a final fieldtrip, or vigil, in a world becoming haunted […] a tape cassette of pathetic fallacy / emotional spectrums of atmosphere / the walk-through or play-through of a “last man” winter outpost / your heart turning to ice as extinction sets in’ and to my ears it’s as beautiful and austere as the wintery island that inspired it. Dive in and feel that Baltic chill!


Also featured on the show this week is The Blackbird Tapes, a brand new digital EP of London lockdown ambience by veteran producer and sound engineer Pascal Gabriel, trading here as Stubbleman but with an artistic CV as long as your arm. A sequel to last 2019’s Mountains And Plains LP, it’s a trio of new works that Pascal claims have been ‘inspired by the increase in birdsong floating in through the top floor window of my London home’ and it’s recordings like these that are pretty much the reason I launched Fog Cast in the first place. ‘Each of the three tracks is based on a field recording of blackbirds and their friends singing at different times of day over three weeks during the London lockdown in April 2020’, Pascal continues, ‘I’ve taken the melodies and atmospheres evoked by the recordings and used a minimalist arrangement, simply overlaid with upright piano and analogue synth, to create these meditative compositions’. In some ways it’s a shame to think that this quiet stillness has disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived, but hopefully Stubbleman has some more of this wondrous works up his sleeve. In the meantime this EP is out now on Crammed Discs.

Really quite a trip this week, wasn’t it? I do hope you’re enjoying Fog Cast as a series so far. If so, please consider making a donation to the ever redoubtable Resonance FM who have remained on air throughout the entire lockdown to ease isolation. All programme makers and engineers happily donate their time and resources for free and the station depends almost entirely on the generosity of its listeners, so why not visit https://www.resonancefm.com/donate and do what feels natural? They’ll thank you for it and so will I!

Isolation Gulag – Fog Cast Gets The Tapes Out

Zyklus – Colophon, 1998 / Wasteland, 1983 / A Thought is a Wave, 1989 / Another Flood, 1987 [from Gumbo Gulag, Buried Treasure, 2020]
Jude Cowan Montague – Moog – Church African – Red Gold [unreleased, 2020]
Plone –  Circler / Red Kite [from Puzzlewood), Ghost Box, 2020]
Long Meadow – Just Wait Until Spring [unreleased, 2020]
Not Quite So – This Nice Man [from 37 Minutes, Not Quite So, 2020]
Kemper Norton – Treliske [from The Isolation Tapes (Cassette Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Ffion – This Limbo [from The Isolation Tapes (Compact Disc Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
The New Obsolescents – Glass Sphere [from The Isolation Tapes (Compact Disc Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Polypores – Abstract Gardening [from The Isolation Tapes (Compact Disc Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Hawksmoor – La Peste [from The Isolation Tapes (Cassette Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Jonathan Sharp – The World Without Us [from The Isolation Tapes (Compact Disc Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Warrington Runcorn New Town Development Plan – Public Health and Wellbeing – Prog. 314 Meditation for Insomniacs [from The Isolation Tapes (Compact Disc Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Field Lines Cartographer – Time Crystals [from bonus ‘Side 3’ of The Isolation Tapes (Cassette Edition), Castles In Space, 2020]
Drunk Keith! – Keep This Frequency Clear! [from the forthcoming album The Death Of Drunk Keith!, Drunk Keith!, 2020]

Hello you. Rather later than usual this week, please enjoy the latest edition of Fog Cast for Resonance FM, much of which is given over to celebrating the release of volumes one and two of The Isolation Tapes on Castles In Space, boasting a whopping 66 tracks from the cream of weird electronics and psychedelic pastoralism; and also Gumbo Gulag, a retrospective of library and production music from Zyklus on Buried Treasure Recordings that’s full of the kind of grainy lo-fi synth goodness I get very excited about. Listen to 1983’s ‘Wasteland’ (second track on the show) and you could almost be watching the title sequence of some badly-interlaced, tenth generation video nasty on VHS. This is a very high compliment of course – and not just because I’ve been watching an awful lot of trashy B-movies lately. Although I can’t deny that has helped…

Anyway, both releases deal with specific time-spans, but at rather opposite ends of the spectrum – everything that appears on the two volumes of The Isolation Tapes was created in a single month under lockdown, whereas Gumbo Gulag runs from 1982 to 2004. All are highly deserving of your attention and selling fast, so I’d jump and secure yourself copies right away. Plus all proceeds from The Isolation Tapes are going towards The Cavell Nurses’ Trust, so it’s a thoroughly worthy cause too.

As we’re now halfway through the year, I thought it might also be nice to look both backwards and forwards at some of 2020’s other offerings. The show is rounded off with exclusive new and unreleased material from Resonance’s own Jude Cowan Montague, the ever-affable Long Meadow, those charming chaps from Not Quite So and also the tipsy splendour of Drunk Keith!, a new project from the artist formerly known as The Protagonist! (exclamation marks his own – I’m not shouting). Plus I couldn’t have a mid-year show without including something from my very favourite LP of 2020 so far, the life-affirmingly joyous Puzzlewood by Plone. It’s been a rotten year for so many, but all this amazing music – and finally having a little more spare time to actually listen to it  – has been one small reason for good cheer. The lathe cuts of Howlround’s new EP with Merkaba Macabre selling out in under half an hour has been another, rumours of forthcoming releases by The Twelve Hour Foundation and Concretism another still. We might just all survive the year with our sanities intact after-all…

Cantor Dust And Monster Curve – Bandcamp Friday 7″ Special

**UPDATE: The physical stock sold out in under half an hour! Wow! But the EP is still available digitally and 100% of all proceeds are still going towards helping out Iklectik in these unprecedented times, so dig deep and let’s help our friends out!**

Hello you. Very excited to announce that Howlround and Merkaba Macabre are dropping Cantor Dust And Monster Curve, a brand new fundraising release for #BandcampFriday, launching tomorrow on 5th June with 100% of proceeds going to help support imperilled south London arts venue Iklectik. It’s a four-track EP of ‘Tape Loop Techno Meets Modular Madness’, containing some of the music we’ve been creating in collaboration over the past year, which started of course with our debut performance at The Delaware Road back in summer 2019.

Working with Ben Soundhog’s newly-minted Plastidisk outfit, we’ve created an edition of twenty lathe-cut 7″ singles, hand-made and hand-numbered with full colour labels and original artwork. Each side of the disc contains one heavyweight banger, expertly cut by Ben to get the loudest, most dynamic sound possible, and the release is rounded off by two more digital tracks of pounding beats and pulsing electronics. Plus of course every copy comes with a full digital download for the entire EP. There are only 20 physical copies available for the world and that’s all – no repress, no second editions, first come, first served! The release is now live. Don’t sleep on this!

100% of all proceeds raised will be going straight to help South London’s finest venue. And I do mean 100% as we’re donating the manufacturing costs as well, so any and all monies raised are going directly to help Iklectik during these unprecedented times. It’s been a hugely valuable platform, meeting place and social haven for so many artists and musicians over the last few years, and now’s the time to pull together and give something back: we’re hoping this highly desirable item will be just the thing. Plus you can always make a standalone donation anytime by visiting https://iklectikartlab.com/support-us/ or indeed just clicking on the image above.

Secret Songs Of Birds – Siberian Rubythroat (at 50% speed) [from Secret Songs Of Birds, British Library, 2010]
Jim Fassett – A Revelation In Birdsong Patterns [from Symphony Of The Birds, Ficker Records, 1960]
Secret Songs Of Birds –  Grasshopper Warbler (at 35% speed) / Pacific Winter Wren (at 30%) / Eurasian Reed Warbler (at 50%) [from Secret Songs Of Birds), British Library, 2010]
Ljuben Dimkaroski – Zvočni Pogovori [from Zvočni Pogovori / Sound Dialgoues, Ljuben Dimkaroski, 2009]
Jim Fassett – Symphony Of The Birds (Three Movements) [from Symphony Of The Birds, Ficker Records, 1960]

In other news, this week’s episode of Fog Cast takes to the sky with an avian theme, opening and closing with Jim Fassett’s truly remarkable slice of early tape manipulation Symphony Of The Birds and featuring several extracts of specially treated birdsong from the British Library’s collection. There’s also an extended piece by the Macedonian composer Ljuben Dimkaroski where he plays along with the dawn chorus (it sounds like it, anyway, the sleeve notes are unclear – and in Slovenian) using a Tidldibab, a recreation of a 60,000 year old Neanderthal flute found in Slovenia. It’s a curious truth that while birdsong is generally considered to be relaxing by the kind of people that peddle CDs of running water and rainforest noises in your local garden centre, this tenth episode of Resonance FM’s soundtrack to our current era of Isolation is perhaps the harshest listen yet. The slowed-down tracks have a strangely abrasive, alien feel to them, particularly on Fassett’s sixty year old recordings which occasionally show their age – not that they’re any less sublime for all that, mind you, we basically live in the world he and so many other pioneers created! Dimkaroski’s work is an intriguing affair as well, taken from a CD I picked up in Ljubljana while visiting a fascinating exhibition of prehistoric instruments, though despite his being a respected veteran composer I’m afraid I can’t find much more information or a link to the CD online! Perhaps a trip to Slovenia is in order, once lockdown is lifted? It’s a beautiful city and the food is magnificent. I’m now dreaming of these things as only a person who hasn’t left Penge in three months can…