Southbank Sonics: Morley And Resonance

Hello You. Welcome to another irregular update from the slightly chaotic life of a South London Sound Artist. And there’s currently quite a bit going on here in ‘the land that Thames forgot’, so I thought I’d best hammer out a quick missive and bring you up to date sharpish.  As well as my usual in-studio activities sparkling my magic professionalism all over various radio programmes, I’m currently teaching two classes at Morley College in Lambeth, on Sound Installation and Creative Field Recording respectively. As you’ll probably have figured out by now, both are subjects very close to my heart, but even I’ve been surprised by some of the discoveries the groups and I have made together so far. For example, have a listen to this re-interpretation of Alvin Lucier’s 1969 work I Am Sitting In A Room, produced with students from the Sound Installation course, using nothing more than the classroom, a PA system and a couple of hand-held digital recorders:

I’ve made resonant frequency pieces numerous times in the past, of course and each one sounded different, but this was certainly the fastest and the most immediately distinctive to date. Not counting the ten minutes I’ve just spent EQ-ing the results, the whole piece came together in well under half an hour. As the classroom was air-conditioned, filled with computers and situated next to a busy road above the Bakerloo line, we guessed afterwards that these factors were what gave it those deep bass tones, which needed to be significantly rolled-off to prevent speaker damage as we went. What gives it the snarling mid-range frequencies is anyone’s guess!

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The Field Recording group has also proved most stimulating (for me, certainly – and my students as well, I hope!), particularly the evening when we went on a Soundwalk around the Waterloo area, armed with various microphones, coil pickups and at least one rather oversized portable reel-to-reel tape recorder – guess who that belonged to?! As ever, carrying clunky recording equipment around on a busy Friday night proved a bit of a faff; but who cares when you discover material like this recording made just under the railway bridge by Lower Marsh? This is being played back at half-speed, but otherwise completely unmolested! Isn’t that wonderful?!

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In other news, it’s’ fundraising time once again at Resonance FM, the greatest community arts radio station in the world and my spiritual home since 2004. Your help and support is needed more than ever in 2018 as the station now needs £100,000 to fund an evacuation of its Borough High Street studios and the seeking out of new premises – by no means an easy task, given the eye-wateringly ridiculous rents currently being charged in the capital. However, Resonance’s army of volunteers, programme makers, engineers and loyal listeners across the globe have never disappointed yet, so I’m confident that they’re in with a good chance of hitting the magic figure. Do please dig deep, folks. Speaking personally, I can think of no other institution that has given so much to the cultural life of London on such a tiny budget, and the world would be a sadder, sorrier place without it – especially in the current climate of cutbacks! 

Details of how to get involved can all be found at http://Fundraiser.Resonance.FM, where you’ll find a programme of live events occurring all this week in various venues across London, as well as an online auction of desirable objects and experiences up for grabs. I’d particularly like to draw your attention to two events at Iklecktik on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th respectively. The former features, amongst other delights, two of my favourite artists in the shape of veteran sound recordist and improviser Max Eastley, and Dan Wilson, the composer and instrument builder whose Misadventures on the Scorn Cycle was one of my favourite LPs of last year.

The latter event is a Club Integral night featuring a number of artists each performing for 13 minutes, including Bob and Roberta Smith’s Apathy Band and my Foggy Self, giving the tape machines their first outing of 2018 (with the exception of Maddalena, who was with me on my aforementioned Morley Soundwalk and appears to have enjoyed it so much that she’s now functioning even less well than before). Hope to see you at one or both – and that no further damage to the machines is incurred, otherwise I’ll be needing to organise a fund-raising programme of my own!

This original work by Bob and Roberta Smith is just one of the man covetable items up for grabs.

Plus there’s Dexter Bentley’s annual marathon ‘Pay As You Go Hello Goodbye Show’, where once again the long-serving denizens of Resonance’s Saturday lunchtime slot auction off airtime at the rate of £10 per minute. At the time of writing there’s still a few slots available on next week’s programme, February 10th, that are yours to spend as you please – perhaps something from your back-catalogue? A poem? An extract from your memoirs?  Whatever you fancy, basically – head to HelloGoodbyeShow.com for details of how to get involved and listen again to part one here.

As for me, I’m hoping to announce some special items of my own to be added to the auction in the coming weeks, but am currently finalising details and so hoping to make an official announcement in the coming days – watch this space. In the meantime, here I am popping up as a guest on the Lucky Cat show, attempting to drum up some fundraising business while eating spicy mushrooms and playing Licorice soul. Thanks again to Zoe and Lina for having me!

 

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‘A Creak In Time’ Makes IFFR Official Selection – Plus Overdue 2017 Review

Hello you. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at Fog Towers, settling into both the new year and a prolonged bout of ‘flu’ that has rather hampered productivity since that bumper period during the festive season, when, as you’ll recall, I turned my parent’s dining room table into a sound laboratory. However, I’m fighting fit again now and working on new projects, details of which will hopefully be revealed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, however, I’m very excited to announce that A Creak In Time, the experimental film directed by Steven McInerney and with an original score by Howlround has made the official selection for 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam! Details of screenings can be found here and you can still purchase a copy of the soundtrack on heavyweight vinyl soundtrack (with complimentary streaming and download links) on the website of Steve’s Psyché Tropes label. I think I can safely say it’s the most beautiful project I’ve ever been involved with…

In other news, I was planning to present my annual review of  the previous year on these pages at the beginning of the month, but was prevented from doing so by the onset of this aforementioned spiteful strain of lurgy that I’ve been wrestling with. I recognise it’s rather late to be doing it now that we’re firmly into 2018, but I’m also a real stickler for tradition (or if you prefer ‘doing the same thing over and over again until being asked to stop’); so I decided I’d just pick 10 of my favourite moments at random below, and leave it at that. Here, then, in no particularly order:

1. The Delaware Road at Kelvedon Hatch ‘Secret’ Nuclear Bunker:

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Where to even start with this one? This take-over of a genuine nuclear bunker by the many-headed beast that is the Delaware Road collective was surely the most stunning evening of the year in terms of sheer scale and ambition, not to mention venue. Howlround’s set in the Telex Room (together with mannequin tape restrainers) earned a nod of approval from the legend that is Steve Davis! A credit to both the slightly disturbed imagination of Buried Treasure Records lynchpin Alan Gubby and the distinctly disturbing presence of the headmasterly Dolly Dolly, acting as a sort-of Churchill-channelling master of ceremonies. Hoping for more of the same in 2018.

2. Further at The Portico Gallery:

Performing the first ever live soundtrack to A Creak In Time</em>, alongside DJ sets from Jim and Julian of Ghost Box, plus hosts DJ Food and Peter Williams. With projections and film loops covering every single inch of the venue, Further was second only to the Delaware Road in terms of sheer visual spectacle – and they didn’t have a Nuclear Bunker to play with! Again, more in 2018, please!

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3. Deliaphonic at Coventry Cathedral:

A celebration of the life and work of Radiophonic pioneer Delia Derbyshire on what would have been her 80th birthday, in the hallowed surroundings of Coventry’s magnificent Cathedral. Howlround performed alongside the legendary Peter Zinovieff, Pete Kember of Sonic Boom, Hannah Peel, Jonny Trunk and the ever-affable Jerry Dammers. A worthy tribute to a remarkable life – and yet another fantastic venue to tick off the list!

4. Supernormal:

5. Yes, Damage!: 

A second commission from White Noise was this ‘mixtape’ inspired by a cassette recording of London-based pirate radio station ‘Pressure FM’ that I played to death as a teenager. Now badly deteriorated through years of repeated listening and a transmitter that was pretty shaky in the first place, fragments of the recording were looped and layered through the tape machines in an attempt to join the dots between the hardcore and jungle of my youth and the abstract musique concréte-inspired work of my years as a ‘mature’ adult. You can read more about the project in Helen Frosi’s article on the White Noise website.

6. A Can Of Worms:

Helping to celebrate the 100th release of The Tapeworm in fine style with Howlround contributing to the bumper 34-track cassette and an evening of live performances at Iklectik, both of which marked the label’s centenary. I used the occasion to officially unveil the new sounds that I’ve been experimenting with over the past year, and all being well you should be hearing more from this performance in the coming weeks. Watch this space…

7. Royal Institute of British Architects Commission:

A commission by The Royal Institute of British Architects and Nick Luscombe’s Musicity project to produce an original composition using sounds from the RIBA headquarters at 66 Portland Place in Central London. This is a stereo remix of a work originally presented at Musicity’s gala event on 4th April 2017. For a project so obsessed with using buildings and acoustic spaces, where better to begin than a building built FOR architects? I particularly admired their beautiful-sounding floorboards! Special thanks once again to Nick, Meneesha Kellay and Lisa Cullen.

8. The BBC’s First Disc-Cut Report in Over 50 Years:

The first BBC report to be played live on disc for over 50 years, cut by Mike Dixon of Lathecuts.com, during his tour of the UK documenting the work of the song-writer Michael Nau. A sort of weird reverse-history in the making – and I still can’t believe we didn’t get arrested lugging all that gear around the Southbank!

Our report started on London’s Southbank outside the Tate Modern

9. Pierre Henry Finally Comes To Liverpool – 50 Years Late:

It was intended to be a bold and futuristic new composition to mark the inaugural mass at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral when it first appeared as a striking addition to the city’s skyline in the 1960s, but due to unforeseen circumstances The Liverpool Mass by renown French composer Pierre Henry missed its deadline. But now, to mark the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary, long running local arts venue The Bluecoat are preparing to finally bring the work back to the building that inspired it […] Robin [The Fog] went along to observe preparations and to discover a work that, five decades after its composition, still retains the shock of the new…

By no means the last word from the great man, who died a few weeks later after a career spanning seven decades and changing the course of music history numerous times. But it was incredible how thrilling and shocking this work remained when it finally got its debut performance in the venue that inspired it, only half a century late…

10. A Creak In Time (Obviously!):

Not Unlike Brian Eno Remixing György LigetiElectronic Sound
Image and sound alike point to some unfathomable oceanic bleaknessThe Wire
A cinematic triumph of style and substanceWallpaper* Magazine

I’ve gone on about this album quite a lot this year, I know, but I’m still tremendously proud of it – and of Steve’s magnificent film. Click here to listen to me discussing the album with Elizabeth Alker, as featured on Shawn Keaveny’s 6Music breakfast show, improbably enough. Still can’t quite remember how that happened, but I still totally owe Elizabeth a pint for this one…


Christmas Creativity: The Vinyl Cafe And The Dining Room Table

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a smashing festive season and wishing you the very best for 2018. Christmas is always a very special time of year at Fog Towers as I leave the cares of the big smoke behind and head up north to the family bosom, catching up on local gossip and enjoying both home-cooked food and and endless rhetorical questions about how could I possibly have gotten the dogs that filthy along the way. On the other hand, the frequently foul Cumbrian weather also offers a green light for a yearly indulgence in one of my less admirable tendencies: drinking beer in front of repeats of both Bullseye and Knight Rider.

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Though about as far removed from each other as can possibly be imagined, David Hasselhoff and Jim Bowen were both staples of a 1980s childhood, and the fact that there is absolutely nothing else on that I want to watch is either an indictment of the current state of British TV or merely the natural continuation of a befuddled sense of judgement instilled in me by such programming as a youth: at that tender age the sun-kissed open highways of California seemed to merge so seamlessly with the efforts of Ian and Carol from Barnsley to win a Mini Metro. However, I wouldn’t want you to think for a moment that I’ve slipped into slovenly habits, for there has been much activity afoot during the large stretches of the day when neither show was on. Firstly, there was my 2017 Best Of Mix, finished just before Christmas:

A heady brew of some of the very finest music to have crossed my threshold in the last twelve months, it’s currently riding high in the ‘Experimental Chart’ (at this stage I will take whatever accolade I’m handed) and still available above for your listening pleasure. But even these delights are small potatoes compared to the various kinds of excitement caused by transforming my parent’s dining room into a mini Radiophonic Workshop!

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My experiments were messy and hugely fun, though frequently thwarted by the table having to revert to its original intended use (typically signified by arrival of actual potatoes). Nonetheless, these sessions generated a great deal of interesting new material that I’m looking forward to tinkering with further, once I’ve found a restraining mechanism as reliable as Mum’s novelty reindeer candlesticks. While such experiments have left me firmly convinced that I really must bring a 30kg suitcase full of tape machines home for all future Christmases, I should clarify that there was a very good reason they accompanied me on this particular occasion: ‘Winter Solstice Soundscapes’ at Carlisle’s Vinyl Cafe on December 21st:

I know I’ve said it before, but if you told me a few years ago that one day before too long I’d be able to buy LPs by Meredith Monk and Sun Ra and Lee Hazelwood in my old hometown just by walking into a shop (and getting a coffee and scone while I was about it), I would have shaken my head sadly and fetched you a doctor. But it’s true. And so of course when proprietor James suggested I come and play some haunting sounds to warm up winter solstice, I jumped at the chance. And when I then asked my Dad to give me and my 30kgs of equipment a lift to the venue, a twenty-mile round trip in the pouring winter rain, he jumped at the chance too!

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It was a fantastic evening, with performances from Howlround and local ‘Hauntronica’ artist The Heartwood Institute, plus mulled wine and mince pies for everyone. While the crowd seemed to enjoy Howlround’s set, I must confess I was less happy – as is frustratingly common with tape performances, everything sound-checked beautifully, only for naughty old `Daphne to completely lose the plot for the entire duration of the set, foregoing her usual ‘whirling dervish’ tape delay splendour in favour of some kind of inexplicable and apparently unfixable grating electrical hum. In hindsight it would appear that powered speakers mess with her delicate little insides, bless her, though as you can see from the short Twitter clip posted above, she did appear to have regained her senses by the time she reached my parent’s dining table. I’m just hoping all this doesn’t foreshadow another expensive repair bill – I swear in my next life I’m just going to stick to mastering something inexpensive and simple, like a flute, penny-whistle or kazoo. Anyway, here’s a brief, hum-free extract from the set, combined with some faintly-trippy home-made visuals created one evening last week using a phone camera, a wine glass, and a fervent desire not to leave the sofa (Bullseye was about to start and my comfortable seat was being eyed by a muddy spaniel).

Super, smashing, great. My sincere thanks to James at The Vinyl Cafe for having me, and I implore you to visit the shop on Carlisle’s Abbey Street if you’re passing – or at least visit his website and/or Facebook page. Thanks must also go to Stephen Benson for the gig photography displayed above (follow him on Instagram, why don’t you?) and to Jonathan of The Heartwood Institute for both playing an awesome set and providing the PA. His latest LP Secret Rites has just been released this week on the mighty Polytechnic Youth label, and damn fine it is too. Why not put that Christmas money to good use and bag yourself a copy?

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Merry Christmix – 2017 Sounds Rewound

Hello You. Presenting for your delectation my latest hotly-anticipated annual Best Of Year Mixtape, featuring a great big sackful of my Foggy favourites from 2017. Over two and a half hours of amazing tunes from the last twelve months, lovingly mixed and blended for your infotainment. It seems to be going down a storm on the social media as well, so why not join the party and fill your boots?

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It’s been such a bumper year for music and I’ve been so swamped with amazing new material that it’s been hard to pick a single favourite LP; though it might well be Simon James’ brilliant Akiha Den Den soundtrack, which has been providing plenty of spooky atmospherics to my recent nocturnal perambulations around the hometown.

Simon James’ Akiha Den Den LP. One of the very finest this year.

I do have a favourite track, though – The glowering ‘Boylan Devils Mix’ of ‘Glass’ by Logos. Beautifully minimal, bleak and brutal, in places it’s little more than a single bass note baring its teeth, while shards of noise whip and whirl around your ears. I’ve been trying to make Howlround tracks like this all year (with occasional success – results forthcoming in 2018), but nothing beats the moment here when all the other elements fall away and the ‘drop’ hits you. This whole ‘Weightless’ scene has fascinated me this year, though I’m aware I might be a little late to the party…

Track of the year as far as this cat’s concerned…

A close second, for very different reasons, was Orbital’s cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘Numbers’, recorded exclusively for that most excellent of publications, Electronic Sound Magazine. Of course, compared to Logos and Boylan’s effort above, this track has a rather vintage feel, but I loved the playful use of samples and the quirky humour they applied to this famously austere Teutonic classic, blending that familiar itchy rhythm track with recordings of actual ‘Numbers’ stations, a trip to the Supermarket and dear old Polly Styrene to give it a uniquely British spin.  Plus they’re one of the greatest live bands ever:

Orbital take on Kraftwerk

These are just two among many – I could write pages and pages about all the great music I’ve been sent this year, but time is not on our side and I’ve spent a fair proportion of today chasing the Christmas spirit round the bottom of a glass, so it’s probably best to quit yammering and just give you the aural injection. For added intrigue I’ve included links to a few of my favourites below. All of them are worthy of both your time and your money – and released on tiny independent labels, so probably sorely in need of both!

Polypores excellent ‘The Impossibility’

Special Request: Belief System

Keir Nuringer and Matthew Wright: ‘Speak Cities’

Nochexx: ‘Planet Bangs’

My wish for a new Meadow House album finally came true this year – twice!

Revbjelde’s debut LP this year was a slept-on classic

Franziska Lantz: Expanding Arid Zones

‘The Quietened Cosmologists’ from A Year In The Country

Time Attendant: ‘Ruby Modifier’, in which our hero takes his sound in a surprising new direction.

‘Lessons’: 2CDs of modern classics brought to you by Front And Follow

That’s probably enough to be getting on with. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, particularly the ever-growing pool of artists, producers, DJs, collectors, curators, nerds, oddballs and weirdos that I’m privileged to call friends – I’m a lucky chap indeed to be surrounded by such richness! Here’s hoping for more sonic adventuring in 2018…


Final Howlround Gig Of The Year!

Final Howlround gig of the year and I’m playing my dear old hometown for the first time EVER! Live in-store at Carlisle’s excellent Vinyl Cafe alongside The Heartwood Institute. An evening of mulled wine and wintery sounds to warm your cockles. Hope to see some of my northern contingent there?! In the meantime, further information can be found at the Vinyl Cafe Website and Facebook Page. Go, have a click and befriend them, won’t you? I certainly never ever thought I’d see the day when you could walk into a shop in Carlisle andbuy Meredith Monk LPs. What a world!

In other news, I’m busy compiling my now-traditional Festive Mix of personal favourites from the past twelve months, which looks set to be another bumper-packed goody bag. It’s going to take a while to put it all together, so I thought that you might appreciate a reminder of last year’s effort while you’re waiting. Proof that even though the vast majority of 2016 ‘sucked on toast’, it still featured more than its share of essential bangers. Probably just as well…


Touch Further Quantum Closer

Rather a hasty update once again, thanks to the delights of faltering wi-fi and a frustrating lack of elbow-room (first world problems!) but there’s a few things I wanted to draw your attention to before I start my yearly tidying of my Foggy affairs in preparation for the festive season. Firstly, world-building collective Quantum Natives are celebrating their recent appearance on the cover of The Wire with this special label mix of Native classics from their ever-expanding back-catalogue. It’s exactly the kind of rich sonic stew we’ve come to expect from this label and I’m rather proud that it concludes with my remix of Brood Ma’s ‘ESTEEM’ from his r e – P O P U L O U S album of 2014. I’ve always had a soft spot for that track, so chuffed to see it included in such fine company. Fill your boots below and then enjoy the full length original remix (if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron) on their Soundcloud page here.

On a similar note, you may also remember Howlround’s inclusion on the Front And Follow 10-year anniversary compilation LESSONS that I posted on these pages a few weeks ago – a very fine double CD of killer jams from Pye Corner Audio, Leyland Kirby, Time Attendant and more. Now label co-founder Justin Watson has compiled a special retrospective mix for respected online periodical A Closer Listen, featuring a smorgasbord of audio intrigue from the label’s rich back-catalogue; including ‘Unnatural History’ from Joseph Stannard’s 2013 compilation The Outer Church. It’s one of my earliest ambient works and also a rare example of a track actually released under my own name, though I have to confess its existence had rather slipped my mind until this timely reminder. Find it below – and many more goodies besides:

I must also draw your attention to the latest edition of Touch Radio, a 2016 live performance from the Iklecktik archives by genius ambient composer Pascal Savy. Having recently posted links on these pages to a couple of his feedback works, Pascal now tells me he is shopping around for a label to release his latest album Dislocations. Interested parties should form an orderly queue over at his Twitter page. Touch Radio enthusiasts might remember that there’s also a Howlround edition in the archives, which is an extract from our first ever live appearance way back in… was it 2013? Guess it must’ve been. Forgive the uncertainty, but I don’t trust the integrity of the wi-fi signal I’m on to make a proper investigation. Besides, I’m not sure I want to be reminded of our first faltering steps into the live arena, or the various injuries to property and person caused by carting four full-size Revoxes to the south coast and back. I still bear the scars from that time I tripped and took a chunk out of my kitchen wall, which then went on to put a sizeable dent in the return on my deposit – even though it was clearly just a polyfiller job. Still, no guts, no glory, eh?

Pascal Savy: Out there somewhere….

And finally, please enjoy this recent live set from Simon James at West Norwood’s Portico Gallery. Better known as the man behind The Simonsound, Black Channels and this year’s magnificent Akiha Den Den soundtrack (selling fast, grab one here while you can), here he is performing a live set on his magnificent buchla synth at the latest Further event. I arrived late to the party, so I’m extra glad he’s popped it online for our enjoyment. It’s a gorgeous chilly sound, matched perfectly by Strictly Kev and Peter William’s far-out visuals. My only criticism at the time of writing is that it’s not quite loud enough to drown out the Karaoke Khristmas Karnage I’m currently enduring. That’ll teach me not to leave the house in December! And if I have to listen to ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ one more time I can assure you there will be both guts AND glory!

Simon James Buchla 200e performance at Further from Simon James on Vimeo.


Much More Than Machines

Hello you. How was your weekend? I do hope it was a bit less dramatic than mine:

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Curiously, the above is not an edited version of some longer video, I’d literally just started filming at that exact moment because I figured the centre wouldn’t hold for very long and that I’d better capture it for prosperity quick-sharpish. The aforementioned centre held for a further ten seconds before unleashing mere anarchy on the studio. But one snarled-up tape loop, a Buddha-shaped dent in the floor and a quick flash of my bare knees on social media (you’re welcome, ladies!) wasn’t the worst of it. Far more disturbing was the distinct burning smell and coils of grey smoke coming from one of the Revoxes when I switched her on. I’m hoping it’s just some rogue dust smouldering, but smoking machinery is never really a good omen, is it? My guess is that another expensive repair bill is on the way – plus the usual attempts to try and bribe my old chum Lucky Cat Zoe into driving me to Southend again. Hopefully the pull of seaside crate-digging and a fish and chip supper in the shadow of the longest pier in Europe will still be as strong for as it was the last time…

Speaking of the perils of vintage technology, check out Running On Air’s new collection More Than Machine – Remixes, which came out last week. Better known as longs-standing artist, producer, composer and promoter Joe Evans, the track ‘More Than Machine’ originally surfaced last year on Running On Air’s self-titled collection of unreleased 90s electro nuggets via Patterned Air Recordings. Now he has gathered together a collection of friends, colleagues and associates to re-interpret the track, including Howlround, Clive Henry, Ekoplekz, Farmer Glitch, Kemper Norton and more. My current favourite in a crowded field is Lo Five’s squelchy ‘Pain Deconstruction’, but I’m also a sucker for Stephen Christopher Stamper’s ‘Rave Tape Amnesia’ – though that might partly be because I’m sad enough to be able to tell you exactly where he found the sample. Oh, those mis-spent teenage years…

‘Each artist was asked to push the track in whatever direction they wanted and encouraged to take it as far away from the original as possible’, as Joe explains in the album’s liner notes, ‘Lost summer raves, machine intelligence, and jack-booted tyranny are some of the themes that emerge. The result is an extraordinary collection of surprises that almost develops its own narrative, easily standing as an album in its own right.’ Can’t argue with him there – plus all profits from the release are being donated to Freedom United, an organisation dedicated to combating modern slavery throughout the world. A great listen and a worthy cause, so click on the above image to order your copy.

Continuing on the theme of new releases by small-but-mighty labels, just check out this forthcoming missive from Buried Treasure, home to Revbjelde, The Dandelion Set and the ever-growing, many-headed beast that is The Delaware Road. Currently finishing off a strong year that has seen releases by Alan Sutcliffe, Yuri Morozov and the self-titled Revbjelde LP (one of my very favourite releases this year), plus the multi-sensory take-over of Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker back in the summer; Buried Treasure now has it’s sights on 2018 with the announcement of the release of Logic Formations by Jerry Siedler, a DVD promising ‘over 2 hours of vintage 1970’s style video graphics & modular atmospherics inspired by the super rare 1970’s EMS Spectron video synthesizer’. Plus you get a 10 track download of modular music designed to accompany the videos. Out in January 2018 and already available to pre-order here. Shut up and take my money!

And lastly, special mention must go to the latest release from the ever-superb Ghost Box label, Outward Journeys by The Belbury Circle – a collaboration between Belbury Poly mainstay Jim Jupp and synthesiser wunderkind Jon Brooks of the Advisory Circle, Cafe Kaput and much more. Entirely predictably, it’s a gorgeous work of warm synth fuzz and crisp tick-tocking drum machines, plus a couple of guest vocal turns by the legend that is Mr. John Foxx.

Sounding to my ears not unlike a punchier, stripped down version of Oxygene, or perhaps some great lost library LP soundtracking a British Transport Film commissioned to demonstrate how sleek and sexy Intercity Rail Travel was going to be in the 1980s, Outward Journeys might wear it’s beating electro heart on its sleeve (quite literally, with Julian House’s superb artwork which appears to be channelling an entirely fitting Commodore 64 vs. Ceefax aesthetic), but as ever with this label, these chaps have too much pedigree to ever lapse into parody. Plus Jon Brooks has already released one of my other favourite LPs of this year, Autres Directions on Clay Pipe music –  like most of his back-catalogue, already long sold-out and looking likely to sell for ‘Bugs Bunny Money’ on Discogs. Better jump on this one while you can!