A quick and very late update this week, typed in haste while sat on the floor in Amsterdam airport, returning from a digging trip to Slovenia and the Netherlands with some rather groovy ‘Ex-Yugo’ electronica LPs under my arm and a slight headache. But that’s not important right now. I must just very quickly draw your attention to the latest episode of Resonance FM’s crate-digging showcase spectacular Near Mint, which this week features a thumb through the stash of the Ljubljana-based turntablist and producer DJ Woo D. And what a stash it is….
Knocked together in a single take from recent acquisitions, lounge oddities and the kind of fabulously obscure funk that you and I don’t stand a cat-in-hell’s chance of ever finding for ourselves, it’s a heady brew that I’ve had on loop for the past week. And certainly a damn sight better than the Toni Braxton and Chris DeBurgh currently emanating from the airport toilets. Bad taste knows no borders….
This week’s Near Mint show on Resonance FM is the first of a two-part special delving deep into the record collection of singer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, robot-builder and puppet enthusiast Sarah Angliss. She took some time out from her busy schedule of recording and composing to give us a tour round the contents of her record box and the result is an effortless journey from bird song to Messiaen to punk rock to schlager-pop. Anyone familiar with Sarah’s work will already have figured out how she joins the dots between all of these things, while the rest of you are strongly advised to visit SarahAngliss.com and have a gander. Our finest show yet? Quite possibly – until next week when we let loose the ‘Wildkatze’!
But there’s quite a bit to get through before then, as the coming few days are shaping up to be unusually full of social engagements, partly because I’m coming to the end of my latest recording project and thought it might be time to get out of the studio and enjoy some fresh air. Firstly, I’m heading to the latest Club Integral event at The Others in London’s Stoke Newington this Friday 22nd April, where I’ll be spinning some discs in-between performances from Brunk, Tristan Burfield, King & Cornetto and Ntchuks Bonga). Further details can be found here. Club Integral events are always fantastic, Tristan Burfield is an old acquaintance and my record collection is of course the stuff of legend; so I’m very much looking forward to it!
The following evening, Saturday 23rd, Howlround will be taking part in the Open Jack Weekender Festival at New River Studios, Manor House. Three whole days of glorious sounds from the cream of London’s noise-makers at this excellent new venue that’s rapidly acquiring an impressive reputation. We’re playing on Saturday evening and I’ve just discovered that our quartet of increasingly cranky and unpredictable reel-to-reels will be gracing the stage directly after the eye-popping, brain-fizzing audio-visual delight of a live set from Sculpture – so no pressure there, then!? Details of the full festival line-up can be found here. Out-of-town friends might also like to know Howlround are playing The Other Side: An Audiophonic Séance in Cambridge on 12th May, and Cardiff on May 28th. Further details will follow in due course.
Speaking of Sculpture, their latest release Zyprazol is now on-sale and, entirely predictably, it’s a thing of wonder – another 7″ zoetrope picture-disc containing two tracks of tape hiss, drum machine clatter and electronic blatt and squelch. It looks and sounds unsurprisingly amazing:
The thing I love about this duo is that their sounds and images always compliment one-another perfectly, more so than any other audio-visual project I’ve ever witnessed. Incorporating a unique combination of vintage techniques and technology, adapted and modulated for the 21st century, the blips and splats of the sounds perfectly compliment the giddy psychedelic tumble of the visuals – and both are manipulated live on-stage! It’s brain-candy of the highest order, which should further help to clarify, why I am nervous about having to perform after them on Saturday night! Check out this promo video and you’ll surely sympathise:
Anyway, you’re advised to get your order for the 7″ in quickly as the last one sold out very fast indeed and then proceeded to go for ‘Bugs Bunny Money’ on Discogs (damn those flippers!). Make sure you also bag yourself a copy of the new Brood Ma LP Daze on Tri-angle Records, another set of dark, digital delights from the mastermind at the heart of the Quantum Natives collective. Highly praised in The Wire, even deeper, colder and harder than last year’s POPULOUS and already shaping up to be one of my records of the year. Can’t recommend it enough!
On a slightly less abrasive note, check out is this latest ambient mix from Pernille Krogmog, one of my friends from Copenhagen’s Strøm collective; recorded at one of the regular God Goes Deep events at Vor Frue Kirke or The National Cathedral of Copenhagen. Contains Aphex, Noto, Eno and even something from the Howlround archive that some of you might remember. I’ve been using it as background music for my quiet moments of contemplation over the last few days, though as it’s been quite a busy week, I’ve struggled to make time for the full hour. Would have just loved to have heard these sounds echoing around the insides of the National Cathedral – perhaps some other time, Pernille?
And finally, on a completely different and thoroughly abrasive note, do you remember a light-hearted article I published three years ago on the subject of ‘The Illuminati’ and the apparent campaign to suppress their activities that was being single-handedly waged by ‘Hard-Dance’ DJ from Wisbech? No? Well, neither did I until last Sunday morning. It was hardly award-winning journalism and not terribly serious in nature. In fact I’d completely forgotten ever writing it until, appropos of nothing, I received the following message:
“Remove that page or I going to cops as it’s slander and has efcted my life and bookings so you got 2dsys if from this messages if not I will speak to the cops” [sic]
Those of you with better memories may recall that the man in question, a certain Mr. Basshammer, had originally expressed some concern back in 2013 that the article cast a less-than-favourable slant on his life’s work. But once we’d chatted (amicably enough) via Facebook, he seemed placated, particularly once I ‘d pointed out that a) there really is no such thing as bad publicity and b) it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which comparing one’s artwork to a 17th Century Bavarian philosopher’s head exploding could be considered in any way character assassination. I had certainly assumed the matter closed and carried on in blissful ignorance right up until the moment three days ago when the above suddenly popped into my inbox over the breakfast table. It seems that Basshammer had suddenly re-decided that this obscure blog post that everyone else had forgotten about is having a detrimental impact on his life and was now planning to summon ‘The Feds’. I must say that for a man who releases mixtapes peppered with references to ‘sucking’ this and ‘f**king’ that, he gets offended REALLY easily.
On the plus side it was very decent of him to have allowed me to keep the article online for a further two days, as this gave me the opportunity to share it one last time with my Facebook followers, imploring them all to fill their boots and enjoy it all over again while there was still time. Indeed, as news of the scandal broke and more people picked up on the story, my website experienced it’s busiest day for months! In fact, it’s enjoyed more hits over the last 72 hours than Basshammer’s Soundcloud page appears to have received in the past three years. On the less positive side, I was sloppy enough to miss his imposed deadline and I’m now writing this from under my desk while waiting for the flying squad to bash the door down. Tell Mother I regret nothing…
Gather round, friends, lots of exciting new stuff to talk about this week. First off the latest Near Mint show on Resonance 104.4FM sees myself and Hannah Brown taking a trip deep into the jungle, where we’re searching for treasure – more specifically, the rarest and most ridiculously over-priced treasure we can find. It’s the first of a two-part special playing the most expensive hardcore and jungle we could… well, I was going to say lay our hands on, but at these prices that would be fraud.
I’ve spoken often on these pages about my great love for oldskool and hardcore jungle music of the 1990s and my quest to fill the odd gaping whole in my otherwise robust collection. But the sky-rocketing second-hand price of some of the rarer 12″s over the last couple of years has really started to hamper my efforts – and I’m not the only one to notice. For example, the record shown above is our opening track, a 1994 single-sided white label by DJ Crystl that’s currently retailing on the Discogs website for £125.22 – and that’s the cheapest record featured on the programme. A legendary producer and a great track – but is it really worth that much? Mind you, it’s probably a little early to start asking that question, I can inform you in the second part next week the silliness levels go right off the chart. Listen closely and savour the experience, you’ll almost certainly never come across these records in the flesh…
In other news, Buried Treasure Recordings commander-in-chief Alan Gubby has been extremely busy of late, producing and uploading a number of videos from last year’s Delaware Road launch party, including this rather spiffy video trailer:
You might remember his appearance as my special guest on Resonance FM’s OST Show last month, where he treated us to some as-yet-unreleased Radiophonic delights. Well, after the success of the launch party and the plethora of extremely complimentary reviews that has followed in the album’s wake, he’s let slip that he has big plans for the future of the project, including a series of further live dates and even a screen-play in development. I will of course keep you informed on all the latest. In the meantime, you can find the Delware Road video playlist in full here. And the label is also poised to release an album by Delaware contributors The Dandelion Set. Only one track from A Thousand Strands 1975-2015 is currently available online, but it’s a collaboration with the legendary Alan Moore and an absolute belter to boot. Have a listen:
Over in Portland, Oregon, my good friends Gray Columns also have an excellent new album to show off. Making good on the anticipation caused by posting a couple of tasty tracks online last year, debut full-length release Cloud of Night is a single track split into four movements and recorded in just two days. Described as ‘masterful, beautiful, and the right kind of unnerving’ by ExperimentalPortland.com, it’s a dense and gorgeous tangle of crepuscular drones, creaks and crackles. Erik and Ben, I salute you. Now when are you going to come over here so we can get that collaboration started?! The kettle is on…
Speaking of talented comrades, very excited to hear new material surfacing from Ordinate. The duo of JP Hartnett and John Flynn (who also records solo under the name Spaces) contributed a track of thick, murky techno to Earwiggle’s excellent Eight Wigglin’ Ways To Die compilation last year and now look set to release their debut 12″ next month. To further whet our appetites they’re produced a session for Mantis Radio On FutureMusic.FM, choc-full of new and unreleased material. Have a listen to the programme, then befriend them on Facebook and Soundcloud, why don’t you? Can’t wait to hear the finished release!
Gosh, what a bumper crop of awesome stuff I’ve unearthed this week. I really am too good to you….
Yep, it that’s time of the year once again where the world’s greatest radio station asks its listeners and supporters to dip hands into pockets and donate towards keeping them on air for another year. But it’s by no means a one-way street as there’s a whole pile of special broadcasts taking place all this week and an online auction with plenty of fantastic objects, artifacts and experiences you can win in exchange for your cash: Record bags, festival tickets, a psychedelic tour of London in a Rolls Royce – the full list can be found on the bespoke Resonance Fundraising website here. I’m currently bidding on brunch for two at the Oxo Tower. There are a couple of Howlround items up for grabs as well:
First off, the final remaining copy of the Torridon Gate LP, number 100/100, hand-numbered and stamped, screen-printed cover by Hannah Brown and printed translucent sleevenotes. A one-off pressing of 100 copies only, the entire stock sold out in a single afternoon back in April 2015, but we’ve been holding this one back especially. Click on the above image to bid!
Secondly, an even-rarer test pressing of latest album Tales From The Black Tangle. Hand-written label, numbered 2/6, in full-colour LP sleeve. This album is also now completely out-of-print and despite lots of harrumphing from the populace in general, there will be no re-presses. Sorry, all, but a promise is a promise! This is your last chance to own a slice of Howlround history! Click on the above image to bid!
Next up, and forgive me for banging on about this again, but I really am super-excited about this coming Friday (19th), when we’ll be rocking the Book and Record Bar in West Norwood, with all proceeds going to the fundraiser. Lucky Cat Zoe, Hannah Brown, Michael the Landlord and myself along with very special guest DJ Food will be manning the decks from 8pm and there’s a raffle with fabulous prizes and a bar (please don’t spill any on the vinyl). Rumours that DJ Food will be giving away a large chunk of the records he plays remain unconfirmed, but persistent. Part two of his guest appearance on mine and Hannah’s new Resonance show ‘Near Mint’ is repeated this Friday at 10am, but you can also now listen to both parts on my Mixcloud page here.
The following afternoon, I shall be heading to the studio to present a marathon fundraising special of The OST Show in regular host Jonny Trunk’s absence. I’ll be joined by Radiophonic expert and Buried Treasure Recordings commander-in-chief Alan Gubby, who in a message probably unintended for publication has assured me he’s cooking up a stew of everything from “gritty 7″ rock n rollers to groovy radiophonic funk with lots of abstract tape experiments and early synth minimalism in-between – a couple of unreleased [insert names of legendary Radiophonic Workshop figures] bits, plus a competition prize package of Buried Treasure releases including the last vinyl copy of The Vendetta Tapes” – that last being, of course, the vinyl LP of unreleased John Baker cues, released last year and leaving Radiophonicists the world over in a state of complete frenzy. If you missed it the first time around, here’s one final chance to get your hands on a copy. Tune in, 15.30 on Saturday…
Speaking of Radiophonics and proof if any were needed of just how important Resonance FM is as an alternative broadcaster, have a listen to Rebecca Gaskell’s documentary on Delia Derbyshire Day that was broadcast last week as part of the station’s regular ‘Clear Spot’ feature. You might recall my BBC report on the event from a few weeks ago, but this goes into far more detail than can be achieved in four minutes and really lifts the lid on just what a remarkable composer she was, featuring lesser known extracts from her archive plus extended interviews with festival curator Caro C, archivist Dr. David Butler and musician Mandy Wigby – plus I’m proud to say I had a small consultancy role and sourced some of the music. It’s always nice to be useful!
And lastly, another superb Clear Spot from a couple of weeks ago was ‘Beauty and the Bleak’, produced by Art Assembly’s Julia Dempsey and mixed and edited by myself in a frantic scrabble to meet the Tx deadline – but it was more than worth it! The second of Art Assembly’s in the series of Saisonscape: Decay programmes, this edition features extended interviews with poet and musician Autumn Richardson and sound artist Lauren Bon discussing their work. Their locations and subject matter differ greatly, but their approaches to the subject of decay, isolation and, yes, bleakness, compliment each other beautifully. A real pleasure to work on, this one, event if it was a bit of a narrow squeak to get it finished!
And lastly, while it doesn’t really have anything to with Resonance, there’s another chance to hear Howlround’s sound installation ‘Mansion House Clocks’ produced for Vespertine York last September, at St. Mary’s in the city’s Castlegate area. From 17th-20th, Vespertine York are kicking off the year by exhibiting some of the bespoke works they’ve commissioned over the past year along with a programme of workshops and other delights. Further details here. That was a jolly fine installation, even if I do say so myself…
Adventures in compulsive record-collecting with obsessive hoarders Robin The Fog and Hannah Brown. This week: part two of a visit to the record room of DJ Food, in anticipation of his headlining set at our Resonance FM fundraiser at West Norwood’s Book and Record Bar this Friday. Are you ready to move out in style? Go, dig it out and swing with it!
Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore – The Medium Is The Massage (2nd excerpt) (Columbia)
The Electro-Harmonix Work Band – I Am Not A Synthesiser (Electro-Harmonix)
The Dreamies – Programme Ten (Stone Theatre)
The Hellers – My Life Story / In The Elevator (Command)
Ken Nordine – Lavender / Flesh (Phillips)
John Rydgren – The Dark Side of the Flower / Here Lies The Church / Move Out In Style (No Label)
Many thanks once again to Strictly Kev for opening up the contents of his magic record box for us and if this little lot doesn’t whet your appetite to come and see him in action in West Norwood this Friday, then surely nothing will. Except, of course, the knowledge that all money raised will be going directly towards helping to keep the greatest radio station in the world on air for another year. And the fact that Lucky Cat Zoe, Hannah Brown and my Foggy self will be spinning some tunes too. Plus the bar. And the raffle. Who are you to resist such delights?!
Presenting the first episode of Near Mint, a brand new Resonance FM series, Tuesdays at 1800 GMT on record collecting, record collectors and the compulsive and foolhardy pursuit of blowing all your earnings on the pursuit of strange and obscure vinyl, a subject I consider myself something of a scholar. Presented with my old Resonance chum Hannah Brown, this first edition is the first of a two-part special recorded inside the record room of Strictly Kev aka DJ Food. In anticipation of his star-turn at our ‘Digging Deep’ Resonance Fundraising Night at the Book And Record Bar in West Norwood, on February 19th, we thought it might be fun to have him to spill open his secret record box and allow us a peek into the contents. Playful psychedelia, cut-ups (metaphorical and literal), locked grooves, direct-to-disc booth recordings, children’s songs about the elements… The results were far too good to contain in a single half-hour programme, so part two will follow at the same time next week. Here’s what we played:
Alan Copeland – Mission Impossible Theme / Norwegian Wood (ABC)
Stock Hausen & Walkman – Buy Me, Sue Me (Hot Air)
Unknown Auto Recording (My Bike) (Calibre)
Christopher Rollen – #7″ (Hosing Records)
Johan Timman – The White Blood Cells and the Antiibodies (Look Out For the Killer) / The Brain (excerpt) (Hausa International)
Golden Orchestra & Chorus – The Space Alphabet: Comets / Hydrogen & Helium (Golden Records)
Alen Robin – Introduction / Humphrey (Janus Records)
The John Benson Brooks Trio – Love Is Psychedelic (Decca)
Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore – The Medium Is The Massage (excerpt) (Columbia)
A little post-show detective work revealed the above ‘Auto Recording’ to be a rather lo-fi cover of this. Though I must say I prefer our unknown friend! When was it recorded? Where? And who was this unknown motorcycle enthusiast? It’s the fact that we’ll never, ever know that gives it it’s savour!
Many thanks to Kev for not only pulling out such incredible treasures, but for taking the time to photograph the sleeves and send them over so that you can enjoy poring over as much as I did! And to cap it all he’s only gone and designed us a new poster for the fundraiser as well! If all this classy material doesn’t encourage you to come down on 19th, nothing will!
Crumbs, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Let’s start the beginning with my report for BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight on the recent Delia Derbyshire Day that took place at HOME, Manchester and that I was lucky enough to attend. Partly intended as an introduction to one of the great pioneers of the Radiophonic Workshop, much of the ground covered here will already be familiar to regular visitors to these pages; but listen closely and you’ll catch a couple of exclusive extracts from works that have lain unheard in Delia’s archive for decades! It’s a real privilege to be able to bring you even this small taster!
Part of my on-going commitment to keep the nation’s airwaves just that little bit Radiophonic, this report also went out on The World Service a few days later and was posted on The Today Programme’s Facebook page; all of which has hopefully helped to continue the festival’s stated aim to both preserve the legacy of this remarkable lady and to inspire new generations of electronic and experimental musicians to carry her work forward. This year’s third annual Delia Derbyshire Day, the brainchild of electronic musician and sound engineer Caro C, featured new additions to the archive in the shape of two films with original Delian soundtracks: One of These Days (1973) directed by Madelon Hooykaas (who flew over for a personal appearance!) and Two Houses (1980) directed by Elisabeth Kozmian. There were also two new artist commissions for the event, a beautiful original soundtrack and performance by Mandy Wigby (you’ll hear an extract from it closing the report) and film-maker Mary Stark‘s striking visual interpretation of a freshly-prepared sixteen-minute montage of sounds from the Delia’s archive put together by curator and archivist Dr. David Butler. David is the man who has been chiefly responsible for the mammoth task of cataloguing, restoring and preserving Delia’s archive since the University of Manchester took possession of it several years ago, and in his estimation, the freshly discovered archive material used for Mary’s film would have last been heard by the wider public at least forty years ago, if at all.
As you might well imagine, all this was absolute hog heaven.
What I found particularly inspiring about Caro’s approach to curating this event was her determination to look forward as well as back and to pass Delia’s work on into the future. ‘Someone’s got to inspire the next generation of wonky musicians!’ she laughingly tells us, and having sat in on the festival’s afternoon workshop and watched children of all ages happily creating their own experimental sound works with bowls, gongs and whistles, I’m certain the job has fallen into the right hands. Meanwhile, work on restoring the archive continues and hopefully before long they’ll be ready to share even more new surprises. But for now, bravo to everyone concerned and particular thanks to Caro, David, Madelon and Mandy for being such excellent and inspiring company. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome. Hope to see you again next year!
Moving on, I’ve finally had a moment to upload our debut TV appearance on the BBC’s flagship technology programme Click onto youtube. Now you can sit back and enjoy our unique combination of fascinating sounds, vintage equipment and ravishing good looks just by clicking on the link below, rather than all that messing about with iPlayer. It’s also happens to be a rather useful introduction to just how we created some of the sounds that were used on our last album and the recent compilation The Delaware Road (plus a forthcoming Howlround album as it happens, but that’s not for a while yet). Assisted by the brilliant Victoria Forbes, the end section of the report has been extended a little in order to allow the viewer a longer, uninterrupted listen to the track we created that day with Spencer Kelly and his team. Though of course the track is also still available in full as a free download from my Soundcloud page if you want to go the whole hog. I figure it’s always nice to have options.
Speaking of compilations, I’m very excited to reveal that ‘OH’, our recent collaboration with Ray Carmen’s abandoned playground project has been chosen as the opening track of UK Experimental Underground 016 Survey, a new album from Unexplained Sounds Group and curated by sound artist Raffaele Pezzella aka Sonologyst. The latest in a series of compilations exploring the contemporary electronic music scenes in a number of different countries (and the second concerning the UK), it also includes works by Merkaba Macabre (aka Steve from Psyché-Tropes), Pascal Savy, Tom White, Ian Haygreen and much more. Check it out in full here and see if you can get permission to join their Facebook Group while you’re at it – it’s a veritable treasure-trove of curios and obscurities!
In other news, we’re rapidly approaching that time again where Resonance 104.4FM asks for the help of it’s many listeners and fans the world over in raising money to fund another year’s work, so please do what you can and help this remarkable station continue it’s mission in broadcasting the weird and the wonderful and giving sounds and voices on the margins a chance to be heard – not to mention it’s wide roster of valuable community, political and discussion programmes. For our part, Howlround are going to be auctioning off some rare vinyl (more on that to follow soon), but for now I’m hoping to encourage you to attend a special fundraising event I’m organising with my esteemed colleagues and longstanding Resonance teamsters Lucky Cat Zoe and Hannah Brown:
Please do join us at West Norwood’s Book And Record Bar on February 19th, where we’ll all be spinning some discs and raffling off some covetable items, with all proceeds going to help keep Resonance on air. I’m also very excited to announce that we’ve managed to convince legendary DJ, producer, graphic artist and Resonance supporter Strictly Kev of DJ Food to headline for us (though rumours of him planning to give away a significant chunk of the records he’ll be playing remain unconfirmed at the time of writing)! The Facebook event page is here, so please feel free to pledge your allegiance. And of course you can always donate to this worthiest of causes any time you like by visiting the Resonance website and pledging some money, which is like pledging your allegiance only even more so.
I’ve also been enjoying this brief but beautiful EP by John Hall, stalwart member of The Octopus Collective and Full Of Noises, our friends up in Cumbria. “Born in Ashgate Maternity Home in 1959 and again in 1973 in Some Kinda Mushroom Records on Newbold Road”, Four Short Guitar Tunes and Six Iron Gates was recorded in Ulverston and is available now as a limited edition 7″ through his own Bifocals website. Beautiful cover art too. My copy came with three collectable ‘Sweet Charity’ cards, documenting John’s adventures in Oxfams and British Heart Foundations up and down the country, so I guess I’d better start collecting those too…
And finally, a belated RIP to Denmark’s First Lady of electronic and concréte music, Else Marie Pade. From her earliest realised compositions in the 1950s, to working alongside Pierre Schaeffer, to a recent collaboration with Jacob Kirkegaard; her life-long quest to discover new sounds and her fascination with the subject right up to the end is truly humbling. And that’s before you even consider her work in the Danish Resistance during the war. A remarkable life indeed…