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….
The scene is almost absurd, and very British; a Cleesian visual element to a superlative chorus of outsider sound art. Concrète theatre. The drone thunders on, temporally alien and multilayered. Defeated, Robin places the machine down and lowers the squall. “That’s as good a place to stop as any, I suppose,” he says. Oto cheers. It’s glorious. Drone isn’t supposed to be fun, is it?
We’re charmed and humbled by this article on Howlround in FACT magazine and the splendid Mr. Tom Howells, particularly the description of the delightful chaos that ensued during that Cafe Oto set alongside Mr. William Basinski. And for digging out a track from Soundcloud that we’d practically forgotten making! Eagle-eared listeners might have noticed that it’s actually an early version of this track from our second album:
— FACT (@FACTmag) March 16, 2016
The fact that this embedded Tweet insists on sitting to the left of the frame instead of in the centre is really affecting my OCD impulses….
Please enjoy the latest edition of the Near Mint show on Resonance 104.4FM, featuring a field trip to sunny Southend to visit this week’s special guest Jennifer Lucy Allan. Writer, journalist, former staffer at The Wire magazine, co-runner of the rather super Arc Light Editions label, qualified carpenter and the first person ever to undertake a PHD on Foghorns, it should be immediately obvious why we asked if we could have a rummage through her collection. And what a rummage it was…
It’s a pretty heady brew she’s served up for us, featuring everything from a Japanese record on the subject of earthquakes, super-rare Finnish jazz, 60s Bollywood, Pierre Henry’s magic space pop and even some forthcoming Arc Light Editions treats from the legendary Joan La Barabara. Huge thanks to Jen for a great show and you can find this show as well as all previous episodes in the Near Mint series on my Mixcloud page. I rather think that future guests are going to have to work jolly hard to keep up the standard we’ve maintained on the series so far!
And finally, thanks to Ben Soundhog for digging out this stimulating visual accompaniment to the show’s opening track:
A double-bill of Resonance radio treasures for you today. First off is the latest episode of the adventures in compulsive record-collecting series Near Mint, presented by myself and fellow obsessive hoarder Hannah Brown. This week Hannah take the controls to bring you a Synaesthesia special – to whit, a mix of ‘delightful smelling’ tracks – that is, it’s the music itself that smells nice rather than the vinyl it’s pressed on. Synaesthesia is a neurological condition where, in some cases, music can evoke ‘phantom smells’ for the listener, and Hannah, being something of an expert on the subject, has carefully curated a playlist of the highest olfactory excellence. It’s probably not a coincidence they sound pretty good too. Good work, Hannah Brown. Going to be very poor tracking down my own copies of these gems:
The Pastels – One Wild Moment (Stereolab Mix) (Up Records)
Happy Meals – Altered Images (Night School)
Brooks & O’Hagan – Calibair (Ghost Box)
Jonti – Nightshift in Blue (Stones Throw)
Jane Weaver – It’s Not Over Yet (Bird)
Vermont – Übersprung (Kompakt)
Secondly, I should also thank Alan Gubby of Buried Treasure for joining me on last Saturday’s OST Show in Jonny Trunk’s absence and for bringing in such a fine selection of music, to all the listeners who rang in for the competition with their appallingly bad puns and to Ghost Box for letting us give the Hintermass album it’s ‘world exclusive first play’ (allegedly). The full three hours are available here in two parts, warts and all, exactly as they went out, which is quite a sacrifice for me – I usually don’t let anything out the gate until I’ve buffed it to a high sheen. You’ll hear an unreleased “John Baker” cue (we’re 99& certain!). lots of falling about laughing occasionally leading to coughing fits, a couple of slices of dead air you could drive a bus through, and the unfortunate use of the term ‘eclectic’; but also some truly extraordinary and sublime music. Kettle and earphones on…
On a similar note, Jon Brooks of the above Brooks & O’Hagan and Hintermass, but also of The Advisory Circle too has very kindly donating a signed test pressing of his solo LP Shapwick to the Resonance FM fundraising auction. An LP that was released in a very limited edition back in 2013, sold out within minutes and then a repress sold even faster. At the time of writing you have five days left to enter this auction or face paying £65 on Discogs for a copy. Once again, all proceeds go towards keeping the greatest radio station on Earth transmitting for another year. Worthy cause, great LP. Get with it:
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!
Straight out the gate and into 2016 is Trade And Distribution Almanac Volume Five, the latest in the ADAADAT label’s on-going series of compilations exploring the fringes of contemporary experimental electronic music. And just look which contemporary experimental fringe-bothering duo have been chosen to kick the proceedings! You can hear Howlround’s contribution, exclusive new track ‘Bush Fountains VIP’ by clicking here. The opening track on the compilation, it features a sample of a drinking fountain recorded in Bush House that somehow managed to get left out of the Ghosts Of Bush sessions.
Must say I’m very pleased to have been asked to contribute as releasing something on ADAADAT has been on my bucket list for the best part of a decade, thanks to it’s long and distinguished catalogue that also includes chip-tune gabba classicism from the mighty DJ Scotch Egg, splattery hardcore from Germlin and pretty much everything else from the criminally-overlooked Hungarian Surf-rock duo Agaskodo Teliverek (seriously, watch the video). Still alive and well today, ADAADAT’s latest release features twenty solid tracks of contemporary experimental electronics by the likes of Rutger Hauser, oMMM, Atom Truck and label head Romvelope. What’s not to like? Thanks to Mr. Bjørn Hatleskog for masterminding this one. We owe you a shandy!
In other new release news, goodly egg and fellow Radiophonicist Matt Saunders formerly of 4AD darlings Magnétophone is all set to launch the latest album from his Assembled Minds alias. Creaking Haze And Other Rave Ghosts is the inaugural release on Patterned Air Recordings and has received airplay from Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft on 6Music and the nod of approval from Simon Reynolds and Wyrd Britain amongst others – and deservedly so, it’s a fine piece of work. I was very pleased recently to receive a CD in the post, which arrived in the most splendidly elaborate packaging, with lots of inserts, sleeve-notes and a nice leather cord to keep it all in place. It also contained a press release, which, as has become something of a tradition, I feel moved to quote from at length, rather than come up with any fresh ideas of my own. It’s been a rather long day, you see:
This is an album that almost doesn’t exist. It’s a cloud of old memories, a collective remembrance-pool of distant Saturday nights out, rave-fields, night-clubs, dancing getting intimidated, getting high, feeling the love of the tribe but always looking over your shoulder for some dark threat or other (and best not to mention the bad trips).
Creaking Haze is foggy, hauntological techno; a strange mix of British suspense/horror film tension and euphorically happy-beat-cycling. Listen closely and you’ll hear rust-flakes from the eerier moments of Tubular Bells, broken pistons from a flipped Detroit techno juggernaut, even flickery moon-bell-echoes of Morris jigs and baton clashes. It’s a wyrd electronic album of rural myth and country-fear and it’s flipside, city-rites and night bus anxiety…
Can’t argue with any of that, can you? Though I must say, having read both press release and sleeve-notes before listening, I was fully expecting it to be a rather gloomy and fragile ‘Death Of Rave’-style affair, like the work of occasional collaborator Farmer Glitch’s erstwhile Hacker Farm, Leyland Kirby or even one of Burial’s slightly less polished efforts. And while there is nothing wrong with any of that in the slightest, this album is actually a more rousing effort, mixing its fuggy and spectral electronics with liberal dollops of house and techno and pushing up the tempos steadily as the album progresses. Either way, it’s been on solid rotation for the last few weeks here at Fog Towers, particularly in the mornings, when I take it with coffee whilst trying to prepare myself for the day’s first coherent thought. Early contender for album of the year? Quite possibly…
Buy it here and check out the Patterned Air’s website here. The label claims to fall in the sweet spot between ‘early electronics, old techno, classroom composition, sleep music, general eeriness and weird things’, which I’m guessing will tick an awful lot of boxes for you as well. One to watch, I shouldn’t wonder, especially as there is said to be a collaborative work between members of Coil and Mount Vernon in the works. Now THAT should be interesting!