“A Hint Of Provenance”: ‘Tales From The Black Tangle’ Reviewed In The Wire

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WireReview-Jan2016

A big thank you to Mr. Louis Pattison for a jolly nice review in this month’s edition of  The Wire. Unfortunately, those hoping to get their hands on the last of the Vinyl will find it too late to be of much practical assistance as it is now officially all sold out, once and for all. Ghost Box took the last fifteen and they sold out in about five minutes. Hopefully the fact that the digital copy is still available here and will be for the foreseeable future is of some consolation. The Wire is, of course, widely available from all good Newsagents (and some bad ones too). It was also a very thoughtful of the magazine to choose the exact same font colour for their front cover as we used for ours. The marketing practically writes itself!

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Best Of 2015 Mix – A Relatively Definitive Guide

It’s that time once again where I present you lucky folk with a lovingly crafted mixtape of hand-picked favourites from the past twelve months.

I should clarify that, despite the hubris-laden sentiment of the title, this could hardly be considered a definitive best-of. Heavens, no. Any attempt to get a serious handle on all the astonishing music that was released in 2015 would surely be about twenty hours long and cripplingly expensive to compile. Instead, I have attempted to balance obvious classics with lesser-known personal highlights – and some tracks that I feel were just downright slept-on. There’s much to treasure here, but also a number of glaring omissions in spite of my best efforts. By the time the mix had been online for a mere half hour, I’d already noticed the absence of the beautiful Millenium Mills by Aino Tytti on Touch, and final, posthumous album The Thing by psychedelic rock-types Cove. Both appalling oversights on my part – very sorry, chaps, but I’ve no doubt there are plenty more ‘how could I have forgotten?!’ moments that await me still. Probably in the small hours….

Regrettable oversights aside, the one thing that does unite many of these works is that they were created by people I am privileged to call colleagues and friends.  In fact, musically or otherwise, one constant throughout 2015 has been the presence and support of so many awesome and talented people. I’m a lucky chap indeed to have such friends. Happy New Year to each and every one of you!

Let’s hope all our dreams come true in 2016. Apart from that one about being naked in the Maths exam, obviously…


Click Bait: Howlround’s TV Debut, First US Shows & More…

BBC-Click

Very excited to announce Howlround’s TV debut on the BBC’s flagship technology programme Click is now available here for your viewing pleasure (we feature about 10 minutes in). I’m posting all this slightly belatedly as I was out in the wilds of Yucca Valley without internet during it’s first airing and remained in blissful ignorance of such exciting developments for an unprecedented 36 hours. Anyway, please watch and enjoy affable host Spencer Kelly paying a visit to the New Broadcasting House studio featuring the creaking mic stand that has given Howlround so much raw material to play with over the past year; then heading to our own studio where we introduced him to the machines and allowed him free reign of the mixing desk. I think he rather enjoyed it!

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As if all this wasn’t exciting enough, the track we created during the team’s visit is now available from Soundcloud as a complimentary download, so feel free to make a few Clicks of your own in this direction:

Howlround - Barcelona4 Howlround - Barcelona1 Howlround - Penge20

The feature also included footage from last year’s set for 4’33” Cafe at The Base Elements Gallery in the gothic quarter of Barcelona, so I thought you might appreciate another airing of the original video with a nod and a wink once again to our friends JP and Ale!

In other news, finally back from a whirlwind couple of weeks in the US, playing Howlround’s first American shows, doing a spot of record digging and having our minds expanded with a ‘Sound Bath’ at The Integraton, a truly remarkable domed structure out in the wilds of Yucca Valley – and the only venue I’ve ever visited that was financed by Howard Hughes and built under the guidance of alien intelligence. The day concluded with some late-night desert recording with my old friend Guy J. Jackson in freezing conditions under a full moon in the back of an abandoned tour-bus, though thankfully free of extra-terrestrial intervention. More on that at some point later…

Integraton

Huge thanks must go once again to Erik and Ben of the excellent Gray Columns, to equally splendid support band Offret and to Andee, Allan and Kirk of aQuarius recOrds, San Francisco for making it all possible. And especial thanks to Guy and Holly, plus my ever-patient and brave travelling companions Gemma Ritson and Kaitlyn Spillane! When can we do this again?

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Howlround - Gray Columns - Offret

with Offret (left) and Gray Columns (right)

Curiously, I had no trouble at all getting tape machines Elisabeth and Magdalena through airport security. As one official shrugged – ‘It’s cool, this is Portland’! Which may also help to explain my discovery of this little gem while perusing a local emporium. I can feel a new mixtape coming on already…

HowToStrip

And finally, I must quickly plug the latest instalment of Art Assembly‘s ‘Saisonscape Decay’ radio programmes that was broadcast last week in anticipation of their show at Cafe Oto. Featuring Lisa ‘Sleeps In Oysters’ Busy, Graham Dunning, Kemper Norton and Sarah Angliss discussing their work in conversation with host Julia Dempsey and mixed and edited by myself and partner in tape Chris Weaver. In fairness, he got the lion’s share of the work as I had a plane to catch!

Taking place in autumn, “Decay” reflects on the natural cycle of the season – leaf litter and organic material dropping to the ground and breaking down into one, renewing the soil with a rich and nourishing composition. This programme focuses on artists who use archives of field recordings, folk story and who layer instrumentation, objects and found sound. Sounds, ideas and material mulch into new combinations, providing fertile ground for unexpected work. 

New material is expected imminently from each of the programme’s guests and I’ll try and cover as much of it on these pages as possible, but for now I can confirm that Lisa Busby’s new solo album Fingers In The Gloss is out already and available here on limited CD. There’s also this decidedly eerie promotional video for the single ‘Hollow Blown Egg’ to savour. So many talented friends!

Hollow Blown Egg HD720p from Lisa Busby on Vimeo.


Portland, Delaware, Portland

Hello. Firstly, for those of you who missed this week’s jolly marvellous Resonance FM takeover of In The Dark at The Social in London’s Little Portland Street, you will be gratified to know that you can at least enjoy some of the very fine discs that I took the liberty of spinning. Library funk rubs up alongside musique concréte and west coast psychedelia and even a couple of cuts from our Delaware Road friends. Have a listen here:

Delaware Road Poster

Speaking of the Delaware Road, very excited to announce that after months of preparation, the launch party for this most splendid album finally takes place in Reading this Saturday. Tickets are available here and you can enjoy live performances from Howlround, The Twelve Hour Foundation (whose track ‘Sun and Air‘ features on the above mixtape and remains a thing of wonder – as does their recent ‘Macaroni Cheese‘ 7″), the excellent Revbjelde (wonder what that name’s worth in Scrabble?) amongst others, alongside DJ sets from that affable scoundrel Jonny Trunk and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and The Séance. Your ticket (still available here) also gets you a free download of this magnificent 19-track compilation on Buried Treasure Recordings (although it’s a mere £6 on CD anyway, which seems ridiculously good value) and a free poster. Oh, and my Dad will be there. Can’t argue with any of that, really, can you? Anyway, don’t just take my word for it, here’s your host for the evening Dolly Dolly adding some further intrigue:

Following that, if any of my US friends happen to be in Portland, OR on Monday 16th, I would very much like you to join me at The Lovecraft, alongside the excellent Gray Columns and Offret. Further details here, and let’s hope the machines survive the journey…

Lovecraft

Gray Columns have just uploaded a new track and we’ve been listening to it an awful lot here at Fog Mansions while waiting for our gear to warm up. Have a listen yourself, it’s really quite awesome:

There’s also  talk of Howlround and Gray Columns shows in San Francisco, but I’m still crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the lower-case ‘j’s on that one. Fingers crossed…


New Howlround LP Enters The Radiophonic Orbit: A Word From The Masters

The Radiophonic Workshop (yes, THE Radiophonic Workshop) have just posted a link to the new Howlround LP Tales From The Black Tangle on their Facebook page. And there is no way I’m going to allow the incident to pass without at least one small trumpet from the rooftops.

You hear that?! Friends! FRIENDS! Oh, my!

Right, off for a nice lie down. As you were…


New Howlround LP: ‘Tales From The Black Tangle’ Limited Vinyl Available Now

Absolutely delighted to present the brand new Howlround LP Tales From The Black Tangle, available to pre-order NOW from my special boutique imprint The Fog Signals. The vinyl has finally arrived and is looking absolutely fantastic, shrink-wrapped with a full colour sleeve in a tasteful matt-finish, with artwork by myself and a beautiful rear photograph by the talented Victoria ‘Ringmaster’ Hastings. We’re very proud and excited, even more so when I tell you that in less than twenty-four hours a THIRD of the stock has been snapped up! It’s selling fast, so if you want to get your hands on a copy, might I suggest moving swiftly?

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - FRONT-LO-RES

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - REAR-LO-RES

And now the obligatory press statement: Following a busy summer that has seen the duo touring with “Disintegration Loops” legend William Basinski, profiled on BBC 6 Music’s The Freakier Zone, creating sound installations inside venues as varied as a Portuguese funeral parlour and a reservoir beneath Copenhagen; tape loop wranglers Robin The Fog and Chris Weaver are delighted to announce the launch of their fourth LP as Howlround – Tales From The Black Tangle

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SPINES-LO-RES

The pair create their music following a strict rule – all digital effects and artificial reverb is strictly forbidden. As with previous albums, Tales From The Black Tangle was created entirely by manipulating natural recordings on a trio of vintage reel-to-reel tape machines. Their increasingly spectacular live performances are no exception to their analogue-only rule, and see the pair leaving venues strewn with miles of tangled magnetic tape. Distant trains, industrial sirens, foghorns, ship to shore distress signals, and even a BBC microphone stand in need of some oil, are all are folded into the duo’s darkest and most eerily compelling work yet. A recent vinyl reissue of last year’s Torridon Gate album sold out in a single afternoon, so anticipation for this latest release is high.

You might remember that a small part of the sessions for this album were captured in this rather super Vine video Chris took over the summer, so it’s great to finally be able to present the finished results in a format longer than six seconds:

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SIDE1

Side 1 label. For added intrigue try staring at this label while the record is revolving, but take care not to operate machinery or go swimming for a few hours afterwards

Right, I’d better get off down that post office. Thanks so much for all of your custom so far and for the very positive initial feedback I’ve been receiving. I haven’t even had time to do press yet, so there’s no official reviews to speak of, but you can rest assured that if they’re positive they’ll be trumpeted from the roof of Broadcasting House…

Howlround - Tales From The Black Tangle LP - SIDE2

Side 2 label. You would not BELIEVE how many hours were spent on the tricky issue of hole-alignment…




The Delaware Road: Album OUT NOW, The Launch Party 14th November 2015

Delaware Road Poster

Pleased as punch to be part of this stellar line-up celebrating the launch of Buried Treasure’s gorgeous new 19-track concept compilation of modern day Radiophonia. The album (available here) is available now on CD for a mere SIX POUNDS and tickets to the launch party (available here) for include a complimentary download. I’m told both are selling fast, so don’t sleep on this one! Please enjoy this rather super trailer with further atmospheric details: