In The Dark Meets Resonance FM – Monday 9th At The Social

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Very pleased to announce that two of my favourite organisations Resonance FM and In The Dark Radio are coming together once again to present a special evening at The Social in Little Portland Street this coming Monday.

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The Resonance team will be presenting a hand-picked selection of curiosities from it’s vast (and conspicuously well-maintained!!) archive and The Resonance Radio Orchestra will be performing a new work written by the station’s commander-in-chief Ed Baxter. And I’ll be providing a DJ set of Radiophonic pop, BBC Sound Effects and outer space songs in-between. It’s promises to be quite an affair. Tickets available here. Come on down – what else is going to be as good on a Monday night in November, quite frankly?

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‘Robin is the creator of one of ITD’s all-time favourite shorts “Train-Tracker” and long-time engineer for Jonny Trunk’s OST Show on Resonance FM and one half of the reel-to-reel tape loop duo Howlround’, advises the event’s web-page. More recently, I also gave a talk on Radiophonics a year or two ago at their marvellous Invisible Picture Palace, a listening centre that was installed temporarily in a greenhouse in the grounds of the old Power Station at Wapping, a marvellous gallery and art-space that has since been forced to join the ranks of similar London cultural spaces in making way for yet more luxury apartments. Oh, London, can you no longer even toss the arts community a greenhouse?

Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to hanging out with my In The Dark and Resonance friends once again. And while I’m not one to rake over past glories (not yet, anyway), I thought I’d dig that piece out one last time. I figured, what the hell, there’s probably intelligent life on a distant planet that I haven’t played it to yet!

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Radiophrenia – How It Is

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Very pleased to announce the launch today of Radiophrenia, an art radio station broadcasting live on 87.9FM for one week only (13th-19th April) to Glasgow and the surrounding areas, also streaming worldwide via Radiophrenia.scot. Curated by Mark Vernon and Barry Burns and with a programme of several hundred exclusive and original radiophonic works, including contributions from Octopus Collective alumni John Hall and Felix Kubin, Jez Butler, The Resonance Radio Orchestra and many, many more. My own submissions include another collaboration with the brilliant Leila Peacock and a brand new tape-composition using a recording of a New Broadcasting House microphone with a squeaking cradle. You’ll have to tune in to hear them in full of course, but magnanimous fellow that I am,  I’ve included a sneak preview:

The schedule can be perused here and you can also follow the latest updates on Twitter. I’m predicting that I shall be listening to this a lot over the coming days, partly owing the relentlessly high-calibre of people involved, but also to attain some respite from heroically supervising the packing of thousands of records into boxes. But that’s for another time…

Another recent collaboration that I can finally reveal is Michael Garrad‘s entry to the Kings College Creative Responses to Modernism competition, a dramatized extract from Samuel Beckett’s 1961 novel How It Is. Barry Ward provides the voice and I provide the soundtrack. The results are as relentless and visceral as anything I’ve been involved with to date, and it’s about as intense and bleakly thrilling (or thrillingly bleak) as anything the great man ever wrote.

This recording is interested modernism’s concept of making it new and conversely how outmoded techniques can evoke the futuristic and etherial. A squeaking drawer is the source for the electronic sound, recorded and manipulated on ancient quarter-inch tape machines, extracting hidden sound. The reading is monotone, breathless and the digital recording eliminates dynamic with harsh sibilance, distortion and extreme compression.

I can’t claim to be much of a Beckett scholar, though from my own perspective he made a huge contribution to radiophonic drama with works such as pioneering radio play All The Fall in 1957. It’s said that he was hugely influenced by the creative possibilities of then-nascent reel-to-reel technology, a fascination that manifests itself most obviously in works such as the quietly horrific Krapp’s Last Tape. And on a more personal note, I have a print of the Beckett quote ‘Fail again, fail better’ blu-tacked to the wall of my studio next to the mixing desk. It’s been a constant source of solace, as anyone who invests their career and general happiness in the functioning of a number of broken down and erratic tape machines will be able to readily imagine. Hand-painted by Sarah Tanat Jones as a reward to donors to her recent Kickstarter campaign, it’s a quote I first read on the back of a Peanuts calendar, of all things, a surprisingly deep nugget of wisdom compared to the previous day’s entry – ‘take snacks on long road trips to avoid having to buy them’.

In the selection from How It Is, the narrator, static in an abstract land of mud, has a lucid moment, reminiscing of ‘life above’ with his wife, whose death torments him. The piece crosses futures and pasts, warmth and harshness, and in its form exists out of body, place and time.

It’s another rather hurried post from me, unfortunately, as I must return to my frantic box-related activities. But hopefully these two and the promise of many Glaswegian radiophonic delights for the week ahead will keep you sated until THIS happens:

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