The Fog Gets The Horn

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Aleksander Kolkowski and the Denman exponential horn, with the Resonance FM studio in the background

Presented for your approval, here is last Sunday’s OST Show Denman Horn Special, recorded live at the Science Museum and broadcast, depending on your geographical location, either down a colossal 27-foot exponential horn or on Resonance 104.4FM. Regular host Jonny Trunk was off down the seaside, doubtless trying to bag himself a coconut, or treat the family to some retro donkey-riding action; so once again I was charged with the task of steering Resonance FM’s soundtrack / library music programme through the choppy arts radio waters.

I’ve presented the OST show on numerous occasions, but never before had a 27-foot horn to play with, so I was determined that this special edition of the programme should have a bespoke playlist specifically designed to best honour Roderick Denman’s enduring legacy; not forgetting the efforts of Aleks Kolkowski and his team in bringing it back to life. The resulting hour is perhaps a little more ambient and drifty in nature than the usual groovy titillation, but features some quite marvellous new releases from Public Information and Arc Light Editions; as well as some classic radiophonic obscurities. Best appreciated on headphones if you don’t have a great big horn of your very own. As it were.

Or you can download it if you’re in a hurry. Here’s that horny tracklisting in full:

? – Tutankhamen’s Horn (archive recording from 1939 – source BBC)

Delia Derbyshire – Theme From Tutankhamen’s Egypt (The Music Of Africa, BBC Records, 1971)

Ingram Marshall – Fog Tropes (Fog Tropes / Gradual Requiem, rec 1984, Arc Light Editions, 2014)

Evelyn Glennie –  The Seaside / In The Womb (Touch The Sound OST, Normal, 2004)

BBC Sound Effects – Fog and Ship’s Horn Montage (various, mixed by Robin The Fog)

Dick Mills – Seascape (The Soundhouse: Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, 1983)

Howlroundнеизвежбан (Secret Songs Of Savamala, The Fog Signals, 2013)

Selections from Happy Machine: Standard Music Library 1970-2010, (Public Information, 2014):

– Brian Hodgson – The Craters Of Mars

– Brian Hodgson & Reginald D. Lewis – Song Of The Wilderness

– Elliot Ireland, Allessandro Rizzo & Tom Greenwood – Sonus Soul

Selections from Tod DockstaderRecorded Music For Film, Radio & Television: Electronic Vol.2 (Boosey and Hawkes, 1981 – reissue Mordant Music, 2013):

 – Silver Float

 – Stardrift In Two

 – Snowbell Waltz

David Vorhaus – Sea Of Tranquility (A/B) ((The Vorhaus Sound Experiments, KPM, 1980)

Bill Fontana – Landscape Sculpture With Fog Horns, Live Radio Version, 1982 (KQED-FM, 1982)

As a bonus treat and an attempt to recreate a little of the magic of standing in front of the horn during the programme, here’s a recording of the above BBC Sound Effects montage made using a simple hand-held hard-disk recorder and sitting in the front row, approximately seven feet from that cavernous black mouth. This was made by sneaking out of the studio and grabbing a front-row seat, thereby simultaneously becoming both  host and audience. Nothing can truly recapture the magic of hearing this recording while standing in front of a 27 foot horn, but until I can afford a big enough studio to build one of my own, it’s not a bad start:

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The horn in it’s orginial position, image stolen from the Science Museum’s blog.

Resonance continues to broadcast on-site until the end of the month, while the Exponential Horn exhibition ‘In Search Of Perfect Sound‘ continues until the end of July. I urge you to visit if you haven’t already, as nothing can truly replicate the experience of standing in front of the horn. No microphone will do it justice, it’s a full aural immersion, go and hear it while you can!

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Power Lunches In The Psychoacoustic Country

Howlround Mirror A rather hurried post today, starting with an extract from Howlround‘s final gig (for the time being) at The Electric Dog Show, Power Lunches from earlier this month. It’s a ‘greatest loops’ set of sorts, so you may hear a few of our favourites alongside some brand new material, of which we now have rather a lot. We really do need to start knocking it all together into that album we’re supposed to be getting on with:

You can read a very complimentary review of the entire event (including superb sets by Quimper and Gyratory System) by Michael Holland (who we also have to thanks for these lovely photos) on the Ears4Eyes blog, but I’ve taken the liberty of quoting the paragraph pertaining to ourselves here:

‘Howlround were amazing, perfectly eerie, a droning, revolving yawn of sound, a morass of crumbling noise, whale moans, the distress of slowly compressing hulls and skulls, they conjured a hard to place melancholy – perhaps from the knowledge that the tapes and machines are at the end of their lives, still vibrant but with numbered days.  Long strands of tape spun around stands, the duo stumbled around the flickering web like spiders, the audiences’ minds caught and bound, constricted further with each passing minute.  A ballet of thread-hanging twirls, or a pair of tape-architects measuring drone boundaries for fencing-in sound-ghosts…

In other news, a most flattering post regarding Howlround’s debut album The Ghosts Of Bush (as well as a few other bits and pieces from the Foggy Archive) appeared this week on the excellent A Year In The Country website. Filed under ‘Trails and Influences / Other Pathways’, it’s the latest of the blog’s extensive investigations into ‘the underlying unsettledness to the English bucolic countryside dream’, and proves as immersive and well-researched as ever. This is amply proved by the fact that they dug out this home-made press release I’d forgotten ever making: Howlround-Robin-The-Fog-the-ghosts-of-bush-alt-press-release-Ghost-Box-Scanner-Simon-Reynolds-A-Year-In-The-Country And lastly, to pile glory upon glory, ace music curators and Boomkat offshoot 14 Tracks have included ‘неизвежбан‘ from Howlround’s second album Secret Songs Of Savamala in their recent selection ‘Psychoacoustic Geography‘. It’s the second time I’ve been featured on one of their regular download compilations, each one centred around a specific theme; and this latest selection also features work by Ingram Marshall, Moondog, David Toop, Janek Schaefer and Anne Guthrie amongst many more! Very proud to be in such company, particularly as the reissue of ‘Fog Tropes’ on Arc Light Editions is, entirely predictably, my favourite reissue of the year to date and one of my favourite releases full stop. And so, as Howlround prepares to head back underground to concentrate on finishing albums and shunning the spotlight (and as Chris prepares to head to Dubai – thus making the project a truly global concern), we appear to be experiencing one last flurry of welcome publicity. Hopefully this will keep our enormous fan-base happy long enough for us to get our act together and finish the three album’s worth of material we currently owe various people. Best foot forward, then.

Yours in haste,

RTF