Wyrd Winterland: Scooping Up Awards With Tooth And Claw, Howlround On Tour, Turntables Galore
Hello you. First off, what a fabulous evening at the launch of Projected Music, the brand new 5” lock-grove picturedisc by Sculpture at the Hackney Old Baths last week! Featuring live sets by Miriam Rezaei, Janek Schaefer and the zoetrope-bashing due themselves, plus a performance by a whopping great ensemble of no less than 26 turntablists. In keeping with the concept of the launch, the many-headed group featured one performer for each of the album’s locked grooves, including myself and many friends and comrades such as DJ Food, Graham Dunning and Chloe Frieda to name but three. All gamely engaged in noisy battle and much messy fun ensued:
My pictures are pretty rubbish as I was juggling my phone with one hand and a portable turntable with the other, but Pierre Bouvier Patron and Blanca Regina captured some fabulous images of the evening that can be viewed on Flickr.
Surely one of the finest nights of the year and in the company of so many friends too! Projected Music is now available to purchase and features an additional digital bundle of reinterpretations by Philip Jeck, Maria Chavez and others. As this is very much a ‘modular’ release it was always the intention for the grooves to be combined and remixed in different ways, so I would heartily endorse acquiring multiple copies and getting together with a bunch of your friends and creating your own versions. It’s tremendous fun!
Congratulations are also in order to Steve for picking up another award for A Creak In Time at the Instanbul International Film Festival. Astonishing to think that almost three years on from completion, this micro/macro stroll across the universe still continues to gather plaudits across the festival circuit! Copies of Howlround’s soundtrack, together with download and streaming links for the film can be purchased here. A busy year for Psyché Tropes once again!
Speaking of awards, further congratulations to Michael Umney and the Resonance team for having their recent Radio 4 documentary ‘In Tooth And Claw’ recognised by the prestigious Association of International Broadcasting. Presented by Charles Foster and featuring incidental music I composed for the occasion using Michael’s field recordings, this ‘Highly Commended’ documentary exploring mankind’s frequently violent relationship with the natural world can still be heard here. And anyone else with a documentary they need sound-tracking with some recordings of haunted nature are strongly advised to get in touch, I’ve developed quite a taste for this work!
On a slightly jollier theme, some time ago I was approached by Mr. Ian Holloway of Wyrd Britain and asked if I would be interested in contributing to regular feature on this esteemed blog, in which various artists, writers and other like-minded individuals are asked to pick ‘3 Wyrd Things’ and write about them. The only rule was that the three items in question – a book, a record and a film or TV series – all had to be of British origin. I duly obliged – indeed might even have got slightly carried away – and my selections can be found here, featuring spies, pies and a really quite bonkers vinyl surprise. Thanks to Ian for the invitation – a visit to the Wyrd Britain website is always an agreeable way to pass the time, as is his checking out his long-running Quiet World label.
Howlround are gearing up for a final trio of shows before the end of the year, after which I’ve promised myself I’ll knuckle down and start actually trying to knock the next album into shape. First up on December 17th is a collaboration with Mark Peters for the Sonic Cathedral event Opening The Box Of Delights at The Social on London’s Little Portland Street. It’s a special event celebrating the release of Mark’s cover version of the title music from the spooky 1980s drama series of the same name, so we’re teaming up to provide an improvised soundtrack to this cult 1980s classic. Original score was by Radiophonic Workshop legend Roger Limb, so no pressure! Mark is also about to release a new festive EP Winterland and they’ll be a DJ set by Maps, so do join us if you can. I’ve never yet managed to make the machines sound remotely festive but this might yet be the miracle breakthrough. Tickets are available here.
After that I’m heading north on December 20th for a very special return visit to my friends at The Kirkgate Centre in Shipley, playing alongside Reet Maff’l, GRST and more. Had a fantastic time with these guys earlier this year and I must say it really is very decent of them to invite me back after I blew up the PA…
And lastly, very excited to announce that The Heartwood Institute and I will be returning to Carlisle’s Vinyl Café for our third annual Winter Solstice Soundscapes event on December 22nd. We’ve even got a special guest joining us for the occasion, but Mum’s the word on that for the moment…
As the year draws to end, I realise it will soon be time to once again unleash another of my highly-opinionated Best Of Year Mixtapes upon a grateful world; and with 2019 being such a fantastic year for music (though very, very little else, as ever) it’s going to take a real Herculean effort to try and squeeze all of the amazing stuff I’ve heard this year into a manageable three-hours. So while breaths are bated and anticipations quiver, I thought I’d freshen your collective palettes by wheeling out my Best Of 2018 Mix again. Not only because it contains two-hundred-and-twenty-something minutes of ABSOLUTE BANGERS, but also because I feel the mix didn’t quite receive the place in the sun it deserved at the time; belatedly arriving several days into the new year as it did, thanks to my little niece taking advantage of the Christmas period to give the entire family some lesser shade of the black death. So it’s back on the block and your warmly advised to dive in. If the opening gambit of Soundhog, Twelve Hour Foundation and Daphne and Celeste doesn’t turn you on, then why would you even be here?
And finally, A Year In The Country’s latest compilation The Quietened Journey has just been officially released, featuring Howlround’s most abrasive track of the year, ‘Thrown Open Wide’. But that might be a bit much for our semi-festive purposes here today, so I’ll leave you instead with Pulselovers‘ fabulous opening track by way of an appetiser. A copy of this, the Sculpture disc and that Mark Peters single would make some rather fine early Christmas presents for yourself, don’t you think?
PS You know what would also make a fantastic Christmas present for the rest of us? Kicking the Tories out. Please don’t forget to vote this week!
XWORM: Howling With Hollings This Thursday
This Saturday In Shipley…
Lambeth and Guildford, Tooth And Claw, Present And Continuous
Hello you. Busy weekend lined up for Howlround as the machines head out on the road for our first pair of live dates this year. First up is a Touch Presents… evening at Iklectik in Lambeth North, a welcome return to everyone’s favourite former Buddhist monastery in support of fellow signings UnicaZürn. We last played together at SuperNormal festival back in 2017 and I can vouch that their live shows are something of a spectacle!
The following day I’m heading to Guildford for the 2nd Moog Symposium, hosted by the University of Surrey’s Institute of Sound Recording and rescheduled from last year. The second day of a weekend of talks and performances in memory of Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, the day-long programme includes talks from David Stubbs, Richard Norris and David Ball of The Grid and culminates with live performances from Howlround and Important Records’ legend Eleh, an artist who needs absolutely no introduction. Rumour has it that a second release for Touch is in the pipeline, following 2010’s Location Momentum, but no details are present at the moment. Anyway, it’s an excellent line-up and should make for a most stimulating day. Further information and limited tickets are available here.
Grateful thanks must go to esteemed blog [The Present Continuous] for including Howlround in a recent lengthy article exploring modern trends in tape music, alongside such giants of the scene as Hainbach, Amulets and of course the great William Basinski. A fascinating primer on the subject and highly recommended reading. I’m most flattered to be included in such company, of course, although I must admit I had never realised that new Howlround album The Debatable Lands contained such things as ‘whimsical in-jokes’! That album is of course now available both online and from all good record shops, so feel free to order yourself a copy and see if you can spot them. Anyway, a doff of the cap to Mr. Daniel Williams for a fascinating read.
And finally, some brand new tape music can be heard adding additional atmosphere to the recent Radio 4 documentary In Tooth And Claw, presented by Charles Foster and produced by the great Michael Umney. It’s an investigation into human relationships with the natural world, particularly those of writers and poets, and explores the darkness that so often seems to dwell at the heart of such encounters. Charles teases out the threads of violence – human, animal and ecological – which run through so much nature writing and asks why we find solace and peace in places haunted by competition, destruction and death as the press release would have it – and the soundtrack incorporates field recordings from some of the locations they visit, sounds of wind and water threaded through the machines and subjected to a modicum of violence themselves. It’s a compelling listen, so click here to tune in.
Sonic Waterloo At Iklectik
Howlround are delighted to be playing at this most esteemed of festivals this Saturday, 8th July alongside Steven McInerney, Pascal Savy and Janek Schaefer! See you there!
A Christmas Wish From The Ghost Of Future Composers Past
An Enigma Wrapped In A Howl
Full disclosure soon. Moderately enigmatic promotional teaser still available here. Moderately less enigmatic videos still available right here and: