Counting Off The Beat – Remixing and Kickstarting

A few random bits and pieces to bring to your attention this week. Firstly, do you remember that remix I produced for shouty London groove-merchants Chips For The Poor back in 2012? Well, I enjoyed doing it so much that it’s only taken me two years to produce another (with apologies to Gum Takes Tooth, who have been waiting almost a year for theirs – I swear I’m working on it!). This latest reworking is for the new  Brood Ma Remix album on the awesome Quantum Natives label, that shadowy collective of beat-makers, programmers and graphic designers that includes Ornine, Yearning Kru and Brood Ma himself amongst others. If the name sounds familiar, it could be because his second album P O P U L O U S was the subject of a very flattering review in last month’s Wire magazine. To my ears it sounds like OneOhTrix PointNever or Autechre trying to make an oldskool hardcore record (with hammers), and indeed Daniel Lopatin has confessed himself a fan. Wasting no time at all, remix album re P O P U L O U S is out this week, and I’m very pleased to have asked to add a contribution. Two remixes in as many years? Nothing can stop this runaway train!

“r e P O P U L O U S” is a view of the original work from 7 different perspectives, as seen through a virtual reality headset slowly fossilising under ash and magma. Two of the album’s tracks, ESTEEM and NRG JYNX, have been rehewn and augmented, different stresses placed on the nervous euphoria and heat-hammered visions of the originals: Ornine’s chittering percussive trance ritual, Al Tariq’s industrial dancehall schematics, Recsund’s melodic electro strata, Yearning Kru’s cthonic collapse, Lyd’s open-air psychedelic zone, Robin the Fog’s claustrophobic pleasure release, and Ana Caprix’s distant, mourning viewpoint. These excavated snapshots reveal a wider panorama of a world moments before the inevitable” 

You can check out re P O P U L O U S on the above soundcloud link or download the entire album here for FREE! There’s plenty more to be had, including the original P O P U L O U S long-player at the delightfully panoramic Quantum Natives website, while Brood Ma’s debut full-length F I S S I O N for Mantile Records is also well worth hunting down. I’m a bit of fan, can you tell?

Next up is Sarah Tanat Jones, a musician and illustrator that Chris and I met when Howlround took over the Alien Jams show on NTS Radio back in May (or rather we were invited by host Chloe Friedman and politely made ourselves at home, but ‘took over’ sounds more edgy and exciting). Sarah produces electronic synth-pop under the name Synaesthete, equally groovy illustration under her own name (the above ‘Record Shops of Soho’ is, entirely predictably, my favourite) and co-runs the Kit Records label. Her music is very much in the vein of  artists such as Glasser, and I’d even go so far as to say that her recent EP Earth and Air contained more glacial electro pop brilliance in its four tracks than on much of the former’s recent album. This is my personal favourite:

Now Sarah is asking for help to record her debut LP, Array, a CD and picture-book project combining her two talents. Releasing albums being the expensive business that it is, there’s a Kickstarter campaign that could do with your support here, with lots of nice benefits up for grabs. including original artwork. At the time of writing the totaliser is nudging just over the halfway mark with less than three weeks to go, so get cracking. You can also buy the Earth and Air EP here.

Lastly, and on a note that couldn’t be more different if it tried, I was sorry to hear this week of the death of Francis Matthews, the actor who, as part of a long  and distinguished career, played detective Paul Temple; but was probably better known – somewhat to his chagrin- as the voice of ‘that bloody puppet’ Captain Scarlet.  The archetypal dashing and debonair Englishman, I was lucky enough to interview him along with Alex Fitch for Resonance FM’s ‘I’m Ready For My Close-Up’ way back in 2009; and as there doesn’t seem to have been much else in the media by way of a tribute, Alex has dug up the original podcast. Hope you enjoy spending some time in his company as much as we did!


Alien Jams and Electric Dogs

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For those of you who somehow found last Sunday afternoon’s weather conducive to doing anything other than staying in and listening to the radio (and found themselves lacking a smartphone or internet-ready umbrella), I’m very pleased to inform you that the latest edition of the Alien Jams show on NTS Radio featuring SPECIAL GUESTS HOWLROUND!!! (my caps) is now online for your streaming pleasure. We took the opportunity to road-test some brand new material from our as-yet-completely-unfinished next release, and indeed a sizeable chunk of airtime was given over to brand new works fresh off the spools, plus at least one new piece that will probably never be heard or referenced ever again. It’s something of a departure from our previous LPs, but we think it fits into the Howlround niche quite nicely. Dig in, won’t you?:

Extra special thanks to host Chloe Frieda and producer Padraigh for having us and make sure you pre-order the new LP from Ommm, coming soon on the Alien Jams label

There’s other news this month, both very good and slightly bad. The very good news is that we’re excited to be playing The Electric Dog show at Power Lunches in Dalston on May 7th. Brought to you by Soft Bodies Records, we’re playing alongside Quimper and Gyratory System and it looks set to be yet another killer line-up to be slotted into! Further details here and there’s also a Facebook Event Page as there so often is with these modern events. The slightly bad news is that this will be your last chance to catch Howlround live for the FORESEEABLE FUTURE! 

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But before your throw up your hands and commence wailing and gnashing, I must reassure you that this is by no means the end of the our tape loop adventures, though given that I’ve just been boasting about playing exclusive new material from a forthcoming release, you may already have picked up on that. Aside from avoiding very real damage being caused to our quartet of Revoxes every time they leave my studio (not to mention our spines!), we’ve decided that now is a good time to hunker down and concentrate on building a solid repertoire of tape music while they still just about work. That way, when each machine is assumed into Revox Heaven (and the day cannot be that far off), we’ll have lots and lots of material in reserve that we can release posthumously in a steady drip-feed, while raking in the cash. A bit like Tupac. Oh, and Chris is moving to Dubai. Did I mention that?

So, a bit of a change on the horizon. I must admit I shall greatly miss jamming with my indispensable partner-in-tape who has bought so much to the project over the past year; but work will continue thanks to the wonders of THE INTERNET and we’re both very excited about where things are going (quite literally, in Chris’s case). I hope that after a listen to the new material on the Alien Jams show you’ll be just a little excited too. Just a little…