Expo Worlds

Expo Worlds is a programme of World’s Fair short films assembled by Ian Helliwell over the past 20 years. These mainly 8mm films take the viewer on a journey from the Brussels Expo in 1958 via Seattle 1962, New York 1964/65, Expo 67 and Expo 70. All originally silent, Helliwell has composed electronic music to fit each one, evoking the spirit of the experimental nature of these gigantic world events.

Showing here are short sections of each of the eight films in the programme; the complete Expo Worlds is available to hire for screening from Ian directly. Check out his extensive site and work, from music to film and beyond, a truly unique man of many talents, his exhaustive ‘Tape Leaders’ book was one of my favourites last year.
Expo Parade
The Brussels Exhibition
Seattle World’s Fair 1962
New York World’s Fair split-screen
Expo Prepares
Expo 67
Man and His World 1970
Expo 70 Funland

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Artifacts #22: DJ Krush @ The Custard Factory, 09.07.94 Mo Wax Headz Tour

DJ Krush Headz Tour 94 cover web
A rip of a limited edition cassette of DJ Krush‘s performance at The Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK on the Mo Wax Headz Tour 9th July 1994. No playlist available, feel free to make one and post it in the comments. There is a similar companion cassette of a DJ Shadow set at The Cockpit, Leeds from the same tour out there too.

Children of Alice album + new Other Voices 7″

COA website
Children of Alice, the Trish Keenan-dedicated group of James Cargill, Roj Stevens and Julian House, are releasing an album on Warp. Essentially a compilation consisting of their ultra-limited Devon Folklore Tapes cassette ‘Ornithology’ from 2013 (original below left, new cover below right) and their appearances on the Folklore Tapes‘Calendar Customs’ material . Available to pre-order now from Bleep, the vinyl comes in a mirrorboard sleeve with a fold out poster. Go to childrenofalice.com for a sample.

COA LP front
Also related is the next episode in the Ghost Box 7″ off-shoot series, ‘Other Voices’ which this time features Belbury Poly and Moon Wiring Club. Released a week earlier than the Children of Alice LP on Feb 17th – you can sample it here and pre-order later in the month.
GBX719 front and back 800

FourFromFoodFridays: 17.2

FourFromFoodFridays 17.2
Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things that have been doing it for me. They can be new or old, any style so long as it’s been getting some rotation in the studio. From top left:
Bam Bam – Where’s Your Child? (Desire) 7″ (finally!)
Clocolan – Nothing Left To Abandon (Enpeg) Digital (STILL listening to this, officially out today)
Various – A Krautrock Sampler (ES) CD cover mount w. Electronic Sound mag #25 – really good!
Run The Jewels – RTJ3 (Mass Appeal) LP/DL (you know these guys)

Future Shock 40 years of 2000ad poster

2000AD40thCartoon Museum
Two different 2000AD original art exhibitions mark the comic’s 40th anniversary this coming Feb. The first opens at the Cartoon Museum  in 13 days for 3 months. The second is on for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 3 days mid Feb at Geek 2017 at Dreamland in Margate and, I believe, is mainly culled from Rufus Dayglo‘s incredible collection – certainly one of the best I’ve ever seen.2000AD40thMargate

Eat or Heat charity gig flyer

Eat Or Heat flyer

Very pleased to be a part of this line up for the Eat or Heat food bank and charity. The event kicks off at 2pm, with music on at different venues throughout the day. Entry to all venues is FREE – you can just turn up on the night. Donations are encouraged – there will be donation buckets for Eat or Heat, but donation not compulsory. And if you want to donate before the event there’s an online link here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/e17-eatorheat-21jan2017. There will also be donations incorporated as part of drinks sales, a raffle, and possibly t-shirts.
More info here and DJs being added all the time.


FourFromFoodFridays 17.1

Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things that have been doing it for me. They can be new or old, any style so long as it’s been getting some rotation in the studio. From top left:
Brian Eno – Reflection (Warp) LP
Coldcut – 6 Music New Year takeover (BBC6Music) Radioshow
The KLF – The Sound Of Mu(sic) (Mixcloud) DJ Food / Mr Trick Fan Mix
Depeche Mode – Big Muff (K_Master Remix) (Soundcloud) Fan Remix

Flexibition 2017: Stephen Coates #4 – Echo magazine No.2

Echo 2 cover
From the collection of Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld, Antique Beat, X-Ray Audio), Issue 2 of Echo (“the magazine you play on your phonograph”) arrived in October 1959 containing five off-white, semi transparent flexi discs with features on Steve Allen, Queen Elizabeth‘s Royal Tour, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, the Ahmad Jamal Trio and Le Mans 1959. Art director Tony Palladino did some lovely work in this issue using very modern type treatments, cropped photos and lots of blank space to give it quite a timeless feel.
Echo #2 contents Echo #2 royal tour flexiEcho #2 DH LawrenceEcho #2 Publisher note Echo #2 jazz Echo #2 Riverside recordsEcho #2 flexi stamp Echo #2 Monk stamp2Echo #2 Le MansEcho #2 subscribe2Echo #2 advert2Echo #2 back
Issue 1 was featured a few days back and if you missed a look at issue 3. back in my original Flexibition posts then look no further. To my knowledge Echo lasted for four issues before folding, a potted history of which can be found on Boing Boing by John Wilcock.


2017: WTF Is Going On?

K2Plant Hire
You may have seen my name loosely connected with The KLF in various different articles over the last few days due to a speculative comment in my end of year post coupled with a year old video made by my old friend Dave Hopkinson that appeared on New Year’s Day teasing a possible return. After speculation and denial we get a confirmation (or do we?). This story seems to be progressing by the hour at the moment. Follow K2PlantHire here

For those wondering what all this is about – here’s some history, a mixumentary by United States of Audio.

A little caper myself and Mr Trick cooked up in 2005, playing at being the JAMMs, wishful thinking for a return…

Some Million Mu notes that I designed for the KLF-themed event held at the Cube Microplex in Bristol in 2015.


Flexibition 2017: Stephen Coates #3 – French flexi disc magazines

Theatrorama cover
The French, it seems, went gaga for flexi disc magazines in the late 50s as these four examples from Stephen Coates‘ collection illustrate. The 7″x 7.5″ ring bound format, similar to the American Echo magazines and their own long-running Sonorama seems to have been a winner although there are less pages in these examples which lean towards more specialist subjects. Occasionally included as a supplement with the main magazine, Theatrorama showcased extracts from plays across no less than nine discs and made it to at least a third issue in 1959.Theatrorama flexi 2 Theatrorama indexTheatrorama flexi
Cuisinorama (can you spot a theme emerging here?) followed the same format in the same year with five discs, a full colour cover as well as colour pages inside, concentrating on recipes, restaurants and food prep. You can see more examples of ‘orama’ spin-off publications on this excellent Made In Vinyl page including many of the issues featured here, Echo and the previously featured Soviet magazine, Krugazor.Cuisinorama cover Cuisinorama flexi 1 Cuisinorama flexi 2Cuisinorama back
‘Sound magazine of medical information’ Medicophone, issue seven from 1961. I’ve found evidence of up to 26 issues of this, all with the same cover. This one came with five discs covering such fascinating subjects as the heart and hernias.Medicophone coverMedicophone flexi 1Medicophone insideMedicophone flexi 2
In The Beginning There Was Rhythm, ‘strictly reserved for the medical corps(this is stamped no. 0131 inside) concentrates on jazz and seems to be a freebie produced or sponsored by Vegetaline, a coconut-based lard.

ITBTWRhythm cover ITBTWRhythm flexi 1 ITBTWRhythm flexi 2

Flexibition 2017: Stephen Coates #2 – Echo magazine No.1

Echo #1 cover
Again from the collection of Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld, Antique Beat, X-Ray Audio), Echo magazine no.1 (“a magazine of sight and sound”) debuted in 1959 with five two-colour, card-backed flexi discs featuring Mike Nichols & Elaine May, Fred Astaire, Larry Alder, ‘Gypsy’ and Alexander King on the Human Dilemma. Art directed by Cynthia Pennell, the issue has an almost medieval look from the choice of fonts with a more ‘jazz’ feel to the discs which include the red and gold of the cover – sadly lacking in later issues, of which no.2 will be featured here soon.

Echo #1 Publisher noteEcho #1 Fashion flexiEcho #1 Intro offerEcho #1 red flexi Echo #1 Fred AstaireEcho #1 Alder flexi Echo #1 EntertreneurEcho #1 Avant GardeEcho #1 King Flexi Echo #1 Needle hereEcho #1 back

Maps of the 20th Century exhibition

MOL PlaymapThe British Library is currently hosting a fascinating exhibition of maps – no!, come back! really! Not just everyday maps of towns, cities, countries and continents but also metro maps, moon maps, curious cartography of imaginary places, mind maps and Beatles guides to Liverpool. Maps & The 20th Century is on until March 1st.

MOL London detail MOL London MOL Beatles2 MOL Beatles1 MOL Beatles MOL Playmap detail MOL ?

The graphics adorning the floor & walls that guide you around the exhibition are as captivating as the contents too.

MOL floor2MOL floor 3 MOLfloor MOLfeet

Flexibition 2017: Stephen Coates #1- Postcard records

Atomium postcard 2
Stephen Coates – he of The Real Tuesday Weld, Antique Beat and the X-Ray Audio project amongst other things – gamely lent me part of his collection of flexi discs and postcard records late last year with the express purpose of me showcasing them on the blog. So here we have the first of several posts highlighting some of the treasures he’s found over the years.
Some of these were on show at the Horse Hospital in 2015 when the X-Ray Audio book debuted but have been hidden since. I especially coveted the nearly 6″ in diameter Atomium postcard above when I spied it back then and inspecting it now I see that it seems to be an idealised painting or possibly a hand-tinted photo with part of the background erased as similar photographs don’t quite match this viewpoint. The song, ‘Marche Atomium’ by M. Leemans, is a swinging brass type number which sadly doesn’t mirror the futuristic architecture it plays over.

Atomium postcardback

The tiny, beautiful but fairly unremarkable postcard below takes on a new importance when you turn it over to discover that the Beach Boys ‘Help Me Rhonda’ is etched into the front image. Or ‘Help Me Rondoo’ as it’s spelt here. It measures 12cm x 10cm and, despite sounding like you’re listening to the song through a sandstorm, you can easily make out the pop classic, possibly a live version to boot which has very odd soft and loud parts near the end.

Beach boys card frontBeach boys card back

The 19cm x 16cm postcard below is the Polish singer Maryla Rodowicz as a young woman, and the song pressed across her face was the one that made her famous, ‘Malgoska’.

Maryla Rodowicz frontMaryla Rodowicz back

US Marines were allowed to record messages home for their loved ones and discs came with a pre-printed design as well as an envelope that broadcast the contents for the postman and recipients. This one is unused, approx 6.5 inches across and has a second hole stamped in the center label, presumably to steady the disc when it was being cut. The darker ring over the illustrations is a thick, shiny layer where the grooves would have been cut. The cartoons make war out to be a fairly light-hearted affair.

US Marine letter record

US Marine letter

and that was 2016


For some reason I started writing my review of the year back in January, determined to keep a record of it as I went along so that I could just press the ‘publish’ button over new year weekend and not sit around for a day trying to remember what I’d seen, done, listened to or read. I couldn’t have picked a worse year, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first…

“2016 (‘the year that just keeps on taking’ was how someone later referred to it) was a shit year that I will want to forget“. I wrote that in April, just after Prince had died and I was ready to see the back of it before we’d even reached June. I now know I wasn’t alone in this sentiment. No two ways about it, good, creative, innovative people passed away, seemingly on a daily basis while greedy, immoral, ignorant people in positions of power got away with murder at the same rate. If only a few of the bad ones had been taken as well, if only to even things out.

In June (half) the UK voted to exit the EU and the fallout, cop out and subsequent reshuffle in the aftermath defied belief and went beyond satire. Labour’s backstabbing and in-fighting to oust Jeremy Corbyn from the party when they should have been calling the Tories to account just showed them up to be as inept as those in power. The closure of Fabric in September* put yet another nail in the coffin of the city I love, one that’s rapidly having it’s center squeezed of any creativity, individuality and relevance as big business moves in and any form of alternative culture is forced out. Things change, I know that, it’s progress and it has to happen, but when that change feels more like a regression I start to look elsewhere.
* thankfully set to re-opened under new conditions

As the beginning of the lead up to Brexit began and the pound sunk to an all time low, it was hard to feel anything but despair at the idiocy and blatant greed of those in positions of power playing games whilst lining pockets and taking from those who need it most. A friend left for LA over a year ago and I feel he got out in the nick of time.

I had my own family problems this year too and I lost my mother to cancer in early July, a year after she was diagnosed. The photo above was taken the day she died, the last second of the day, a blink of the eye later it was 0.00. A new day, everything reset, now I had one parent, not two. Thankfully I’m very lucky to have a great group of family and friends close by for support and without them things would have been very different. 2016 brought a massive phase of my life to an end and 2017 will see it take a new turn, don’t expect a new record too soon I’m afraid, I don’t have the head space.

And then the unthinkable on Nov 9th (9/11 by our calendar, how ironic)Trump
There have been several times when I’ve woken up to a day when everything has changed, a mental shift in world events which means that nothing will be the same again. The day after 9/11 was one, the birth of my children, Brexit, my mother’s death… Now Trump gets added to that list, sadly my friend jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Early reports show that the youth voted for Clinton while the elderly voted for Trump, much the same as Brexit in the UK then. Satire is no longer a comfort, you couldn’t make this up and it’s certainly not funny anymore.

But despite this, there was plenty of good to be found everywhere, the cliché of the arts flourishing under oppression and depression seemingly true. Looking back over posts from this year, both here and on my Instagram, all I can see is a vintage year for music and a great year for the visual arts. There was SO MUCH great music everywhere that it was a job to get through it all and I seemed to be buying both new and old on a daily basis with a real need to dive into the bins and discover continuing over from last year. So many genuinely great records came out this year with the new easily outnumbering the old, vinyl overtook downloads in sales at one point (largely due to Sainsburys starting to stock it again I suspect) and we’re still being spoilt for sleeve and packaging design too.


David Bowie – Blackstar (ISO/RCA/Columbia)
Kosmischer Laufer – The Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972-83 Vol.1-3 (UCR)
Cosmic Ground 2 (Deep Distance) (technically 2015)
The Heliocentrics – From The Deep (Now Again)
The Allergies feat. Andy Cooper – Rock Rock (Jalapeno)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Void Beats/Invocation Trex’ (Duophonic UHF Discs)
The Comet Is Coming – Channel The Spirits (Leaf)
Synthi A – Ignition of the Sun (EBV)
Vactrol Park – II (ESP Institute)
Brain Machine – Peaks (Emotional Response Recordings)
Lost Idol – Chrome Machine Tales (EOE Recordings)
Various Artists – Cosmic Machine The Sequel (Because Music)
S’Express – Enjoy This Trip (Needle Boss Records)
Videodrones – Mondo Ferox (El Paraiso)
Various – I Love Acid 010 (Balkan Recordings)
Om Unit – Underground Cinema (feat Krust) (Cosmic Bridge)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Robot Stop (Flightless)
Peter Thomas & Mocambo Astronautic Sound Orcestra – Space Patrol (Raumpatrouille) (Mocambo)
Radiohead – The Numbers (XL Recordings)
Foetus on Triple J interview from 1986 (Mixcloud)
DJ Supreme – R.I.P. feat Son of Noise (Backbone Records)
F.S.O.L. – Environment Six & 6.5 (FSOLDigital)
Clipping. – Splendor & Misery (Sub Pop)
Vanishing Twin – Choose Your Own Adventure (Soundway)
The Pattern Forms – Peel Away The Ivory (Ghost Box)
Barry Adamson – Know Where To Run (Central Control International)
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – Beat! (Patterns of Behaviour)
Howlround – A Creak In Time (psyche-tropes)
Graeme Miller & Steve Shill – The Moomins OST (Finders Keepers)*
*technically released next year but I got an early copy

Honourable mentions:
Electronic Sound magazine going from digital to physical – filling a gap somewhere between the highbrow avant gardisms of The Wire and the retro 80s fest of Classic Pop – clean design and original angles + free CDs.

Andrew Harrison and Matt Hall‘s Big Mouth podcast – a weekly look at pop culture from music to TV to comics to films to books, great line up of guests and plenty of good tips to follow up.

The El Paraiso label – everything about it, from the music to the artwork, is spot on, a beautiful roster and catalogue. Hard to pick a favourite release but when I stumbled upon them in May I wanted everything and barely found a dud in the whole roster.


Clipping. – the trio really knocked me out when I ran across them in October, three albums and a handlful of EPs into their career, taking in all that was a sensory overload. The pure electronic noise coupled with the razor sharp delivery of Daveed Diggs‘ raps felt like someone was operating on my brain while I was conscious. The sonic palette and arrangements felt so fresh in the context of 99% of other hip hop records that they immediately made everything else seem stale. With repeated listens their Splendor & Misery LP revealed just what a stunning concept album they’d created, layers and themes interwoven to perfection, I only wish there was a full film to go with the two promo videos already out there. Album of the year in a year that was awash with great music.

Peter Williams for all his quiet energy, enthusiasm and organisation in and around West Norwood, his great music taste and for being a catalyst for change, hopefully we’ll do good things in 2017…

Lego for severing ties with the Daily Mail, opening a great new shop in central London and making that fab Beatles Yellow Submarine.

Spiritland for making me stretch out and indulge in the musical side of me that rarely gets an airing in my club sets.

Pete Isaac, Scott Hendy and Greg Belson of 45 Live for continuing to build a worldwide brand in clubland and on the radio.


Another year over and what have I done?
Designed the De:tuned Records 6xLP Brainbox set + forthcoming spin-off 12″ and rejigged a bit of Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s ‘…Pleasuredome’ LP for reissue. Hosted Jonny Trunk‘s OST show on Resonance FM, written for The Vinyl Factory and been published in the Rough Trade 40 years book,. Performed with Howlround at the Museum of London, done instores in Rat Records and The Book & Record Bar as well as several appearances on the Out of the Wood radio show. Remixed Divine Styler, appeared at The Force Awakens holographic vinyl launch at Abbey Road Studios and created two different mixes of Acid House 45s for the I Love Acid and 45 Live radio shows. Designed and illustrated a brochure for the stage production Songs of Immigrants & Experience and the cover of the next Loka LP (without label deal at present). Plenty more mixes for Solid Steel, GCASFM, Spiritland, Looselips, Near Mint and 45/7 shows – most of which are available on my Mixcloud page. There have been a load of gigs (4 for Big Fish Little Fish alone), plenty of digs and a few things going on in the background but I’ve been too preoccupied with family things this year to add much to the portfolio.

Favourite gigs:
Cavern of Anti-Matter @ The Moth Club
The Soul-Inn
1st birthday party, Brussels
Record Store Day @ The Book & Record Bar, West Norwood
Rat Records instore with Jonny Trunk, Camberwell
Adam Ant Kings of the Wild Frontier @ Brixton Academy
My first gig at Spiritland, Kings X
The Pattern Forms @ Rough Trade East
Turntable & tape machine improv with Howlround + Jonny Trunk @ The Museum of London
The Karminsky Experience LP launch, Blue Posts
Pascal Savy / Steven McInerney / Howlround @Iklectik
Vanishing Twin / Cherrystones @The Others
Clipping. @ Corsica Studios

Favourite exhibitions:
Alan Kitching @ Somerset House
KAWS / Eduardo Paolozzi @ Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Thierry Noir @ Howard Griffin Gallery
You Say You Want A Revolution @ V&A Museum
Star Wars Identities @ the O2
Secret 7s @ the Sonos Building
Jimmy Cauty‘s New Bedford Rising in America St.


Favourite comics / books:
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth
– Mike Mignola / John Arcudi / various (Dark Horse)
Empty Zone – Jason Shawn Alexander (Image)
Heavy Metal – Various
Black Science – Rick Remender / Matteo Scalera (Image)
Low – Rick Remender / Greg Tocchini (Image)
Island – Various (Image)
2000AD – Various (Rebellion)
Saga – Fiona Staples / Brian K. Vaughn (Image)
Drawn To Drawing – John Vernon Lord (Nobrow)
Prophet: Earth War – Brandon Graham / Simon Roy / various (Image)
The Music Library 2nd edition – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)
Tape Leaders – Ian Helliwell (Sound On Sound)
Covers – Alex Bartsch (Kickstarter)
Zentropa – John Mahoney (Heavy Metal)
Pencil Head – Ted McKeever (Image)

Favourite film/TV:
Flowers, Upstart Crow, Rogue One, Steven McInerney‘s A Creak in Time

David Bowie, Mark B (technically 2015 but it broke over New Year), Paul Bley, Pierre Boulez, Alan Rickman, Clarence Reid aka Blowfly, Andy ‘Dog’ Johnson, Terry Wogan, Maurice White, The Independent newspaper, Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, Bruce Lacey, George Martin, Ken Adams, Keith Emerson, Phife Dawg, Ronnie Corbett, Zaha Hadid, Tony Conrad, Victoria Wood, Prince, Richard Lyons (Negativland), Isao Tomita, Muhammad Ali, Jo Cox,  Bernie Worrell, Caroline Aherne, Alan Vega, Jack Davis, Kenny Baker, Bobby Hutcherson, Gilli Smyth (Gong), Gene Wilder, Richard Neville (Oz magazine founder), Prince Buster, Don Buchla, Rod Temperton, Steve Dillon, Pete Burns, Jean Jacques Perrey, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, David Mancuso, Sharon Jones, Fidel Castro, Pauline Oliveros, Colonel Abrams, Andrew Sachs, Al Brodax, Greg Lake, Dave Brubeck, John Glenn, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Alphonse Mouzon, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds.

Wisdom: “Morph man, morph!” – Otis Fodder

Looking forward to:
The next phase…
Ghost In The Shell
The ongoing unearthing of lost collage works from Australia by DJ HDD
Eduardo Paolozzi @ The Whitechapel Gallery
Pink Floyd @ the V&A Museum
XX book by Rian Hughes
The Delaware Road live in a nuclear bunker
The return of the KLF?…
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars VIII

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