This week’s Near Mint show on Resonance FM is the first of a two-part special delving deep into the record collection of singer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, robot-builder and puppet enthusiast Sarah Angliss. She took some time out from her busy schedule of recording and composing to give us a tour round the contents of her record box and the result is an effortless journey from bird song to Messiaen to punk rock to schlager-pop. Anyone familiar with Sarah’s work will already have figured out how she joins the dots between all of these things, while the rest of you are strongly advised to visit SarahAngliss.com and have a gander. Our finest show yet? Quite possibly – until next week when we let loose the ‘Wildkatze’!
But there’s quite a bit to get through before then, as the coming few days are shaping up to be unusually full of social engagements, partly because I’m coming to the end of my latest recording project and thought it might be time to get out of the studio and enjoy some fresh air. Firstly, I’m heading to the latest Club Integral event at The Others in London’s Stoke Newington this Friday 22nd April, where I’ll be spinning some discs in-between performances from Brunk, Tristan Burfield, King & Cornetto and Ntchuks Bonga). Further details can be found here. Club Integral events are always fantastic, Tristan Burfield is an old acquaintance and my record collection is of course the stuff of legend; so I’m very much looking forward to it!
The following evening, Saturday 23rd, Howlround will be taking part in the Open Jack Weekender Festival at New River Studios, Manor House. Three whole days of glorious sounds from the cream of London’s noise-makers at this excellent new venue that’s rapidly acquiring an impressive reputation. We’re playing on Saturday evening and I’ve just discovered that our quartet of increasingly cranky and unpredictable reel-to-reels will be gracing the stage directly after the eye-popping, brain-fizzing audio-visual delight of a live set from Sculpture – so no pressure there, then!? Details of the full festival line-up can be found here. Out-of-town friends might also like to know Howlround are playing The Other Side: An Audiophonic Séance in Cambridge on 12th May, and Cardiff on May 28th. Further details will follow in due course.
Speaking of Sculpture, their latest release Zyprazol is now on-sale and, entirely predictably, it’s a thing of wonder – another 7″ zoetrope picture-disc containing two tracks of tape hiss, drum machine clatter and electronic blatt and squelch. It looks and sounds unsurprisingly amazing:
The thing I love about this duo is that their sounds and images always compliment one-another perfectly, more so than any other audio-visual project I’ve ever witnessed. Incorporating a unique combination of vintage techniques and technology, adapted and modulated for the 21st century, the blips and splats of the sounds perfectly compliment the giddy psychedelic tumble of the visuals – and both are manipulated live on-stage! It’s brain-candy of the highest order, which should further help to clarify, why I am nervous about having to perform after them on Saturday night! Check out this promo video and you’ll surely sympathise:
Anyway, you’re advised to get your order for the 7″ in quickly as the last one sold out very fast indeed and then proceeded to go for ‘Bugs Bunny Money’ on Discogs (damn those flippers!). Make sure you also bag yourself a copy of the new Brood Ma LP Daze on Tri-angle Records, another set of dark, digital delights from the mastermind at the heart of the Quantum Natives collective. Highly praised in The Wire, even deeper, colder and harder than last year’s POPULOUS and already shaping up to be one of my records of the year. Can’t recommend it enough!
On a slightly less abrasive note, check out is this latest ambient mix from Pernille Krogmog, one of my friends from Copenhagen’s Strøm collective; recorded at one of the regular God Goes Deep events at Vor Frue Kirke or The National Cathedral of Copenhagen. Contains Aphex, Noto, Eno and even something from the Howlround archive that some of you might remember. I’ve been using it as background music for my quiet moments of contemplation over the last few days, though as it’s been quite a busy week, I’ve struggled to make time for the full hour. Would have just loved to have heard these sounds echoing around the insides of the National Cathedral – perhaps some other time, Pernille?
And finally, on a completely different and thoroughly abrasive note, do you remember a light-hearted article I published three years ago on the subject of ‘The Illuminati’ and the apparent campaign to suppress their activities that was being single-handedly waged by ‘Hard-Dance’ DJ from Wisbech? No? Well, neither did I until last Sunday morning. It was hardly award-winning journalism and not terribly serious in nature. In fact I’d completely forgotten ever writing it until, appropos of nothing, I received the following message:
“Remove that page or I going to cops as it’s slander and has efcted my life and bookings so you got 2dsys if from this messages if not I will speak to the cops” [sic]
Those of you with better memories may recall that the man in question, a certain Mr. Basshammer, had originally expressed some concern back in 2013 that the article cast a less-than-favourable slant on his life’s work. But once we’d chatted (amicably enough) via Facebook, he seemed placated, particularly once I ‘d pointed out that a) there really is no such thing as bad publicity and b) it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which comparing one’s artwork to a 17th Century Bavarian philosopher’s head exploding could be considered in any way character assassination. I had certainly assumed the matter closed and carried on in blissful ignorance right up until the moment three days ago when the above suddenly popped into my inbox over the breakfast table. It seems that Basshammer had suddenly re-decided that this obscure blog post that everyone else had forgotten about is having a detrimental impact on his life and was now planning to summon ‘The Feds’. I must say that for a man who releases mixtapes peppered with references to ‘sucking’ this and ‘f**king’ that, he gets offended REALLY easily.
On the plus side it was very decent of him to have allowed me to keep the article online for a further two days, as this gave me the opportunity to share it one last time with my Facebook followers, imploring them all to fill their boots and enjoy it all over again while there was still time. Indeed, as news of the scandal broke and more people picked up on the story, my website experienced it’s busiest day for months! In fact, it’s enjoyed more hits over the last 72 hours than Basshammer’s Soundcloud page appears to have received in the past three years. On the less positive side, I was sloppy enough to miss his imposed deadline and I’m now writing this from under my desk while waiting for the flying squad to bash the door down. Tell Mother I regret nothing…
Well, what an adventure I had this week! Huge thanks to the Strøm Festival and to everyone who came down to the sold-out show at Cisternerne on Monday night to witness performances by myself and Logos. It was an honour to play in such an unique space with an incredible natural acoustic, so I made sure I stepped up to the occasion with a set of brand new material and the longest loops I’ve ever made, running for several meters across the space and balanced precariously above the permanently wet and grimy floor. They certainly appeared to impress the crowd:
I realise it is customary at this point for me to include an audio extract from the performance via my Soundcloud Page, but on this occasion I regret to say that I’m unable to do so – the performance was deliberately tailored to play to the Cisternerne’s seventeen second reverb and so a simple ‘output recording’ would be missing half of the experience. I believe that there was some filming and recording taking place, so perhaps that will surface at some point, but for the moment those of you who couldn’t get a ticket will just have to take my word that it was an amazing experience. Plus I’m hoping that I will be allowed to give this historic structure the full ‘album treatment’ some time next year, a proposition that Strøm top-brass appear to be intrigued by, so all is not lost. Until such times, please enjoy these photos by Rasmus Kongsgaard together with some snappy sound-bites derived from running the article they came from through some slightly ropey online translation software:
Although cisterns are worth a visit in itself, it is electronic music of the most radical and uncompromising kind that is in the centre at tonight Power-event.
There is no anywhere other than exactly here that these works may be noticed in this way. There’s nowhere else you can stand underground and fall in spell over a flickering candle while vaulting around you is echoing with issue noise from another world.
Distorted locomotive whistle, deep roar that could evoke an imam fair and elongated, umelodiøse soundscapes instantly puts the listener in a state of alluring scary. For although it is extremely difficult to get hold of the sonic bursts that puts both eardrums and stalactites in swings, and most of all sounds like the soundtrack to a dystopian sci-fi nightmare, it’s impossible not to be drawn into .
The following afternoon I was performing my secondary role at the festival of leading a workshop on field recording and composition using some of the basic principles of musique concréte, as part of Strøm’s summer school programme open to students across Europe and beyond. This took place on a converted dredging ship by the docks, which made for a terrifically fertile environment for our class of 36 enthusiastic students to explore. Before long groups of people were scattered all around this waterside complex, looking for things to rub, hit and scrape. It was incredibly gratifying to observe these discoveries and to have such an attentive class, many of whom seemed to have a natural ear for spotting sounds ripe for manipulation – the small group I was leading found a very tasty drainpipe and nearly gave themselves permanent hearing damage in the process!
The plan had been for each small group to submit their best material to be dubbed onto quarter-inch tape and then for all the recordings to be appraised together as a class and worked into some sort of composition; while outlining some of the techniques that magnetic tape puts at one’s disposal. Unfortunately my quartet of reel-to-reels were feeling rather uncooperative that afternoon – perhaps still sore at spending the preceding evening in what was to all intents and purposes a dungeon – and so refused to put anything at anyone’s disposal what-so-ever. Thankfully I was still able to demonstrate some basic tape loop construction, though the bulk of the composition was demonstrated on my trusty-though-less-interesting laptop – did the job, just wasn’t as much of an immersive experience.
However, feeling that this itch hadn’t quite been scratched, I pulled out their recordings again when I arrived back at my studio last night and knocked the above short piece together. Hopefully it will retrospectively offer the students a clearer idea of the things we were discussing and provide some much-needed closure for me!
Before I forget, extra special thanks must go to Jim Slade (and family!), Pernille Krogmog and Allan Hansen for making it all happen, to co-performer and fellow-junglist Logos and of course to Laura Yawira Scheffer for being a shining beacon – quite literally as it was very hard to de-rig in the pitch darkness of the Cisternerne and her smartphone had a torch. Now I really must have a serious word with those naughty machines Daphne and Delia. I’m certainly not taking them on tour with William Basinski if they’re going to misbehave like this!
Oh, did I mention Howlround were going on tour with William Basinski? I did? Well, expect me to continue harping on about it for a while yet…