XX book US edition and Celestial Mechanic EP release

XX US edition

The US release of Rian Hughes’ debut novel, ‘XX’ happened yesterday, the book, as mentioned before, is a sci-fi epic coupled with graphic design elements throughout. To mark the occasion we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out via Bandcamp with a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ and several piano pieces created for the album but unused in the final mix.
Check it out here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission and if you like it there’s a whole album too, made by myself and Saron Hughes with contributions from Robin The Fog on tapes and Saron’s husband, Peter Harris on guitar.
Rian’s book is out on Overlook Press with a different cover, if you’re in the US you can order it here.
Also, Thursday night, Nov 12th, Rian is doing another web chat with writer Grant Morrison online and it’s free! Log on at 7pm Eastern Time, more details here

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)

New Celestial Mechanic EP

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)To celebrate the US publication of Rian Hughes book, ‘XX, A Novel, Graphic’ on Nov 10, we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out today, including a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ alongside satellite piano variations made during the ‘Citizen Void’ LP.
https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission

Celestial Mechanic is a new project I’m part of, directed by Rian Hughes and in collaboration with his sister, pianist Saron Hughes. Rian put us together and commissioned a soundtrack for his book earlier this year. In his novel “XX” he includes a review of a fictional album based on a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin. I and Saron were tasked with the job of taking this review and making the album a reality. In what may be a first, the review actually preceded the music.

“XX” is published by Picador (UK) August 20 2020, Overlook Press (US) November 10 2020.

 

Bedroom Beats & B-Sides book

BBBfrontLooking forward to getting stuck into this history of instrumental, electronic hip hop (trip hop if you must) by Laurent Fintoni. Laurent interviewed me for it about 6-7 years ago so I’m glad for it to finally see the light via Velocity Press. Also featured from the Ninja stable are Coldcut, Roots Manuva and label manager, Peter Quicke.
Order here https://velocitypress.uk/product/bedroom-beats-book/

BBB back

Caza – Kris Kool reprint book pre-order

KK cover

Finally, after years of wanting a copy of Caza‘s psychedelic space book, Kris Kool, Italy’s Passenger Press has reprinted and recoloured it AND translated it into English! The original French language version of this always fetches high prices and this version has been done in association with Caza himself and includes extras as well. For the first 200 copies there’s also a signed print as an incentive too! You can pre-order it here

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Rian Hughes’ XX book featured in Electronic Sound

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Very pleased to see Rian Hughes’ new book ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’ featured so prominently in the new issue of Electronic Sound magazine with a double page of layouts.If you want an idea of what the book’s about then Sci-Fi Now has a very good review.

ES XX Right

The Celestial Mechanic album that I created with Saron Hughes and Robin the Fog soundtrack’s the novel and also gets a mention – you can hear that here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com

Print

 

Dan Lish EgoStrip book Kickstarter finally here

EgoStrip cover
Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of Dan Lish‘s work, having featured him several times over the years. Ever since he started posting his work on the web people have been saying, ‘do a book, when are you doing a book?’. Last week he finally launched his EgoStrip book Kickstarter after years of drawing some of the greatest portraits of hip hop, funk and jazz musicians out there. Looking forward to this immensely and, at the time of writing he was less than £6k off his target with 25 days to go. Take a look here

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Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void album

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Released today is a new album of music I’ve been working on over the past few months – ‘Citizen Void’ by Celestial Mechanic. The music is a companion to the debut novel by designer, illustrator and typographer, Rian Hughes, ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’. The book is released in hardback in the UK today (later this year in the US) by Picador and, as you can see from these photos, it’s a huge, beautifully-designed monster at nearly 1,000 pages.

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This is no ordinary novel, as with everything Rian does, the devil is in the detail and the book is a beautifully designed object in itself, both inside and out. This is also not a graphic novel or a straight prose sci-fi tale as you can see from some of the spreads below. Synopsis from the Picador press release:

‘At Jodrell Bank a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin has been detected. Artificial Intelligence expert Jack Fenwick thinks he can decode it. But when he and his associates at Hoxton tech startup Intelligencia find a way to step into the alien realm the signal encodes, they discover that it’s already occupied – by ghostly entities that may come from our own past.

Have these ‘DMEn’ (Digital Memetic Entities) been created by persons unknown for just such an eventuality? Are they our first line of defence in a coming war, not for territory, but for our minds?

XX presents a compelling vision of humanity’s unique place in the universe, and of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history.

As compelling as it is visually striking, Rian Hughes’ first novel incorporates NASA transcripts, newspaper and magazine articles, fictitious Wikipedia pages, undeciphered alphabets, and ‘Ascension’, a forgotten novelette by 1960s counterculture guru Herschel Teague that mysteriously foreshadows events.

Wrapping stories within stories, Rian Hughes’ XX unleashes the full narrative potential of graphic design. Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, it ask us who we think we are – and where we may be headed next.’

XX spread2 XX spread3 XX spread4 XX spread5 XX spread6 XX spread7 XX spread8 XX spread9

Even if you’re unfamiliar with Rian and his work, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it at some point over the last 35 years. He wears many hats, from writing and illustrating comics for 2000AD, Escape, and the much-heralded return of Dan Dare for the short-lived Revolver in the early 90s to designing logos for virtually any character and publisher who’s anyone in the comics world. His branding for the Forbidden Planet franchise is still in place over two decades later, he’s authored books about 20th century advertising, the sci-fi artist Chris Foss and published collections of his comic work and burlesque life drawings. He’s also an accomplished typographer having designed hundreds since the 90s, first with the FontFont house and now for his Device Fonts imprint.

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Above are just some of the covers of the book within the book, Herschel Teague‘s ‘Ascension’, which features a certain Celestial Mechanic as its central character.

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So why have I written an album of music to go with a sci-fi novel?

Part of the book features a cover design and review of an album by a fictitious group, Celestial Mechanic, for their album ‘Citizen Void’, created by taking an alien signal from space and working it into musical forms.

Rian commissioned me, along with his sister, classically-trained pianist Saron Hughes, to make this album and it may well be the first album written after the review.

The basis for much of the material was Saron’s solo piano experiments which I then took and reworked, masses of NASA recordings from space, some of which went through generative sound apps that spat them out in a myriad of ways. Tape experiments left over from the forthcoming album by The New Obsolescents that I made with Howlround were also pillaged as were pages from Rian’s book which I fed into an image to sound app to generate original samples. The family connections are strong on this project with Saron’s husband, Pete Harris featuring on guitar on one track and her and Rian’s late father, Alan Hughes reading his poem, The Silent Voice’ throughout. One of my sons even provides treated guitar effects on one track.

As anyone who knows me will appreciate, this is a bit of a dream project – music, sci-fi, design, typography, comics – multiple boxes ticked. Working with Rian and collaborating with Saron has been extremely rewarding and we’ve all learnt lots from the experience so far. It’s also nice to sit back and let someone else handle all the design side for a change and not have to do a thing, knowing that the person in charge is more than capable, with years more experience and their own unique vision.

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You can hear it by using the QR code in the book or above (the card above is from a promo copy of the book) or this link to take you to the Bandcamp page. It was always the intention to have two ‘sides’ to the album with the 20 minute epic, ‘The Signal’ taking up the second half, as per the review in the book. The first side is intended to be listened to merged together and this will be included as a bonus download when you purchase the album from Bandcamp.

There isn’t a physical version at the moment, there may never be, the nature of the way the album came to exist in the book and the zeros and ones of the cover design dictated that it should be digital in form. So the book is the nearest thing you’ll get if you want to buy a copy to put on the shelf and it’s an amazing novel, there’s nothing else like it out there that I know of.

No, there won’t be a vinyl or CD version at the moment, maybe if a label expresses an interest but Bandcamp is the only way to get it right now.

No you don’t get the album for free if you buy the book, likewise the book if you buy the album. They are separate entities but are linked and part of the same release.

Rian will be doing an online Q&A with Grant Morrison via the Forbidden Planet site today, Admission to this event comes FREE with every copy of XX (signed hardcover), which also comes with an exclusive signed art card PLUS an exclusive enamel pin for the first 100 customers – order your copy here. A code to access the talk will be mailed on Wednesday 19th August to all Forbidden Planet customers who have purchased a signed copy of XX.

Look for reviews and interviews appearing all over the place too. There are things still in the pipeline for the US release later this year and talk of an audio book, so who knows what will appear between now and then.

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Dieter Roth

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Sometimes an artist’s work stops you in your tracks and you have to put aside all current tasks to check them out. Today I saw Dieter Roth‘s work for the first time and it is stunning. These are spreads from his ‘Kinderbuch’ work (Children’s Book) where shapes gets progressively smaller as the book unfolds and each page has a die cut showing parts of the next through it. He did a similar thing with the follow up, ‘Bilder Buch’ (Picture Book) which had transparent coloured film with die cuts that made different compositions when overlaid.
He also made books from overprinted printer’s proof cast offs, comics with holes cut in them and op art designs, although those are harder to find decent images of.

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Savage Pencil – Rated SavX book

Rated SavX bookSavage Pencil aka Edwin Pouncey has been floating in and out of my life for decades now. Whether through the Wiseblood ‘Motorslug’ 12″ insert, ‘Nyak, Nyak’, the Big Black sleeve for their Headache EP or Blast First‘s compilation cover, ‘Nothing Short of Total War‘. He cropped up in the NME and Sounds, doing spot illustrations for album reviews, The Wire magazine with his Primer feature collages and Trip or Squeek cartoon strip and numerous other leftfield magazines.
There he was in Knockabout Comics‘ anthologies, a page here or there in Weirdo or some long-forgotten independent zine or one-off publication. I used to see his Dead Duck comic on the spinner in Forbidden Planet and his designs for Slam City Skates in Covent Garden before going downstairs to Rough Trade where I would find obscure indie singles with his art on the covers, posters of Godzilla-like monsters behind the counter and his biker movie picture disc compilation, ‘Angel Dust’. In recent years I’d run into him at Orbital Comics, signing copies of the latest Satanic Mojo comic, the memorabilia shop in Cecil Court where he sometimes worked or at record fairs where he’d be either selling behind a stall or perusing the bins with Thurston Moore.
Eventually we met properly when I interviewed him for Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary book in 2016 and again when I spoke to both Edwin and Chris Long about their Battle of the Eyes project with the late Andy Dog in a still-unpublished interview. And now he rears his head again in Strange Attractor Press‘ excellent book of his career, ‘Rated SavX’.
This seems to be the definitive book of his work so far, lots of archive-delving has gone on here and there are many lost or unpublished illustrations from across his life whether it be black metal sleeves, fly illustrations, his punk past or his love of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth’s monster cars and cartoons. It’s all here in eye-straining detail with enough info to have you wishing you’d picked up that tiny print run publication he released all those years ago. Nevertheless, I zipped through it and now have new items on the wants list – highly recommended. There’s still time to get the limited edition hardback of this with extra (S)crapbook of unpublished roughs and Appreciation Society patch from the publisher’s website. While you’re there check the rest of their inventory, they have some fascinating books about counter culture, music, psychedelia and the occult world.

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2019

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What a grim end to the year and the decade, good riddance to the last four years at least. Writing this on the morning of Friday 13th as the results and fallout of the election come in, it’s hard to muster the energy and will to rejoice in anything when the turkeys have voted for Xmas. I used to be largely ignorant of current affairs and politics, back in my youth, I thought it was dull and boring, why would I be interested in any of that? But you grow up, you have a family and these things start to matter because they affect your life whether you like it or not. Back in the first half of December it felt like there was still hope, a chance to pull things back from the brink, but not now when the country has voted overwhelmingly for Johnson’s government in the belief that he will fix things that he helped engineer in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I was ignorant again, as ignorant as those who didn’t vote or voted on personalities, believing the lies and propaganda peddled by the media. But you can’t just turn that tap off, not once you’ve understood how the system works and see the soap opera play out. You CAN however blot it out for a bit by reading, watching, visiting or listening to great art made by your fellow man, or woman or non-identifying person. There was a lot of it this year and here’s some of the favourite ways I blotted parts of this year out.

LPs 2019

Music / podcasts –
way too much new music to keep up with only so much time and money, I probably listened to Adam Buxton‘s shows from the archive more than anything else this year:
Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth LP (Ghost Box)
Various – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Recordings)
Chris Moss Acid – Heavy Machine 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless)
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette (Miracle Pond)
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP (Fire Records)
Big Mouth podcast (various) (Acast)
Beans – Triptych LP (Gamma Proforma)
Roisin Murphy – Incapable single (Skint)
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine LP (Om Swagger)
People Like Us – The Mirror LP (Discrepant)
Coastal County – Coastal County LP (Lomas)
Adam Buxton podcast (various) (Acast)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song For Paul LP (Karma Chief)
Jon Brooks – Emotional Freedom Techniques LP (Cafe Kaput)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Organ Farmer (from Infest the Rat’s Nest LP) (Flightless)
Jane Weaver – Fenella LP (Fire Records)
Polypores – Brainflowers cassette (Miracle Pond)

Seemed to acquire a lot of tapes this year too…

Tapes 2019

 

Designs 2019

Design / packaging – so much good stuff out there, Nick Taylor goes from strength to strength, Reuben Sutherland‘s work for Sculpture always inspires and Victoria Topping continues to do great art for On The Corner Records:
Pepe Deluxé – The Surrealist Woman lathe cut 7″ (Catskills)
Various – Science & Technology ERR Rec Library Vol.2 (ERR Records)
DJ Pierre presents ACID 88 vol. III LP (Afro Acid)
Mark Ayres plays Wendy Carlos – Kubrick 7″ (Silva Screen)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input 10″ (Polytechnic Youth)
The Utopia Strong – S/T LP (Rocket Recordings)
Jarvis – Sunday Service LP (ACE records)
Andy Votel – Histoire D’Horreur cassette (Hypocrite?)
Sculpture – Projected Music 5″ zoetrope picture disc (Psyché Tropes)
Lapalux – Amnioverse LP (Brainfeeder)
Hieroglyphic Being –  Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism LP (On The Corner Records)

films 2019

Film / TV – I really don’t watch too much TV or get to the cinema as often as I’d like to:
Sculpture – Meeting Our Associates (Plastic Infinite)
This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC)
Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
Imaginary Landscapes – Sam Campbell (Vinyl Factory)
What We Do In The Shadows (BBC2)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Books 2019.2

Books / Comics / Magazines I read constantly, all sorts of stuff, a lot online, I found less interesting new comics this year or there were fewer that made an impression. Also many of my regular reads came to an end so there was less to consume on that front.
Beastie Boys Book – Mike Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Spiegel & Grau)
Cosmic Comics – A Kevin O’Neill Miscellany (Hibernia Books)
Electronic Sound (Pam Comm Ltd)
Eve Stranger – David Barnett / Philip Bond (Black Crown)
Bicycle Day – Brian Blomerth (Anthology Editions)
Moebius – 40 Days In The Desert (expanded edition) (Moebius Productions)
Rock Graphic Originals  – Peter Golding w. Barry Miles (Thames & Hudson)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Silver Surfer Black – Donny Cates/Tradd Moore (Marvel)
Help – Simon Amstell (Square Peg)
The Scarfolk Annual – Richard Littler (William Collins)
Wrappers Delight – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)

Gigs 2019

Gigs / Events – I spent a lot of time in Café Oto, socialising to the sights and sounds of Jonny Trunk & Martin Green or watching groups that featured Cathy Lucas this year:
Vanishing Twin @ Prince of Wales Pub, Brighton
Stereolab @ Concorde 2, Brighton
People’s Vote march 23rd March, London
Wobbly Sounds book launch @ Spiritland, London
Confidence Man @ The Electric, Brixton, London
Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Moseley, Birmingham
Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Manchester
HaHa Sounds Collective play David Axelrod’s Earth Rot @ Tate Exchange, London
School of Hypnosis play In C @ Cafe Oto, London
Palace Electrics, Antenna Studios, London
The Delaware Road, New Zealand Farm, Salisbury
Breaking Convention closing party, Greenwich, London
Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s Hidden Library @ Spiritland, Southbank, London
Negativland / People Like Us @ Cafe Oto, London
HaHa Sound Collective plays the David Axelrod songbook @ The Church of Sound, London,
Sculpture, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei + the 26 turntable ensemble @ The Old Baths, Hackney, London Vanishing Twin & Jane Weaver’s Fenella @ Studio 9294, Hackney Wick, London

Art 2019

Exhibitions – there was so much art to see in 2019, I managed most of it but London does spoil you sometimes and you can’t see it all. Just a stroll round the Brick Lane area of east London will delight with the free art painted, stuck or sprayed on the walls for all to see:
Sister Corita Kent @ House of Illustration, London,
Augustinbe Kofie @ Stolen Space, London,
Victor Vasarely @ Pompidou Centre, Paris,
Mary Quant @ V&A Museum, London,
Stanley Kubrick @ The Design Museum, London,
Tim Hunkin’s Novelty Automation Museum, London,
Keith Haring retrospective @Tate, Liverpool,
Nam June Paik, Tate Modern, London,
Takis @ Tate Modern, London,
Shepard Fairy @ Stolen Space, London,
Damien Hirst ‘Mandalas’ at the White Cube, London,
Bridget Riley @ The Hayward, London,
Museum of Neo-liberalism, Lewisham, London.

Openmind 2019

Another year over and what have I done? quite pleased with this lot this year:  
Become by own agent for the first half of the year (not fun)
Designed As One’s ‘Communion’ LP sleeve for De:tuned
Toured my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set
Contributed to the Wobbly Sounds book on flexi discs published by Four Corner Books
Performed a 30 minute reimagining of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radio-Activity’ album
Appeared on Big Mouth, Out Of The Wood, Jonny Trunk’s OST, Dusk Dubs, Mix-Ins, 45 Live, Mostly Sounds podcasts / shows
Continued the design for De:tuned’s 10th anniversary with a 10th volume, poster, tote bag and more
Built a modified turntable with three extra floating arms for future performances
Designed a fold out 3″ CD Xmas card for The Real Tuesday Weld – more to come in 2020…

For no other reason – Badges, along with the cassettes it’s like the 80s never stopped

Badges 2019

RIP: Daryl Dragon, Ron Smith, Ken Nordine, Peter Tork, Mark Hollis, Keith Flint, Magenta Devine, Hal Blaine, Scott Walker, Quentin Fiore, Dr John, MAD magazine, Vertigo comics, Rutger Hauer, Ras G, Peter Fonda, Richard Williams, Pedro Bell, David Cain, Patsy Colegate, Clive James, David Bellamy, Phase 2, Gershon Kingsley, Emil Richards, Dave Riley (Big Black), Vaughn Oliver, Neil Innes, Syd Mead.

Looking forward to: – not much to look forward to except a year of Brexit, economic downturn and US Presidential campaigns but these might lighten the mood…
Paul Weller and Plone on Ghost Box
A Touched Music special release in conjunction with De:tuned for World Cancer Day – 4th Feb.
The second Revbjelde LP, ‘Hooha Hubbub’, from the Buried Treasure label
More designs for The Real Tuesday Weld…
The next Group Modular album, released on a UK label
The Castles In Space label releasing a remastered vinyl version of Clocolan’s excellent 2019, cassette-only, ‘It’s Not Too Early For Each Other’ album.
The return of Slow Death Comix
45 Live releasing their first acid 7” with Type 303 in Feb
Ian Holloway from The British Space Group’s new label, Wyrd Britain – the first release will be his own ‘The Ley of the Land’.
The Amorphous Androgynous album, ‘Listening Beyond The Head Chakra’ and album-length single, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’ around Easter
Ninja Tune’s 30th anniversary in the Autumn
An exhibition about electronic music at the Design Museum featuring Kraftwerk, Jeff Mills, Ellen Allien, Jean-Michel Jarre and BBC Radiophonic Workshop among others
The Masters of British Comic Art book by David Roach in April
The return of Spitting Image (we really need this)

Happy New Year x

Flexi Record Store Day stuff

RSD19 haulJust so much going on at the moment, hard to keep track – Record Store Day was great fun, got a few releases (the Yage and Acid 88 releases are excellent, the Stone Tape less so). Played silly flexi discs at Audio Gold with Shane Quentin first thing, the shop was bustling and my Jonathan King ‘Lick A Smurpf For Christmas’ disc got a cheer. The staff generously treated us to pizza and drinks as well as pushing a couple of filthy flexi’s my way – thanks guys!

Kev@AudioGold Shane@AudioGold New Flexis

Excellent package of the day goes to the Kubrick 7″ from Silva Screen which is a delight on many levels even though it’s actually Wendy Carlos arrangements re-recorded by Mark Ayres and not quite what it was sold as on the original RSD info mail out. The Acid 88 design is also particularly tasteful with the label designs causing some excellent flickering motion when revolving.

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After this we headed down to Palace Vinyl in Crystal Palace for a bit of acid techno with the Downfall crew and a dig through their considerably stuffed crates – if you want any kind of secondhand electronic dance music from the last 30 years then this is the place to go although they mainly sell online. The new Corroded Circuits EP on their label is another winner.

Last stop was the Book & Record Bar in West Norwood where we nearly didn’t get in it was so packed for the showing of Shawn Lee‘s ‘The Library Music Film’, a 2 hr journey through the medium that had our legs aching as we had to stand the whole way through. Records were bought, played and beers consumed afterwards too and it rounded off a great day with friends and a set from King Michael that culminated in a shop-clearing Goblin tune.

Monday saw a private showing of Vickie Bennet‘s ‘Gone, Gone Beyond’ 360 degree film at Goldsmith’s College, a kind of fever-dream across multiple screens with surround sound that made me wonder if she was sane. Collage cross-referencing across multiple decades and genres was the order of the day with a particularly successful hall of mirrors sequence and crazed compression of what seemed like my 70’s childhood for a finalé. If you get the chance, go and see it but it’s only showable in a tiny amount of spaces due to the nature of the surround medium.

Shane&Jonny@spiritland Flexis@spiritland Flexi set RSD

Tuesday night saw Shane, myself and Jonny Trunk at Spiritland in Kings X for the Wobbly Sounds book launch, playing flexi discs on their mega sound system – it sounded awful! 😀 It didn’t matter though as the place was packed and everyone had a great time, especially the Four Corners Book publishers Elinor and Richard. I ended up chatting to actor Paul Putner (aka The Curious Orange from This Morning With Richard Not Judy among many other roles) who is a massive music fan who really knows his stuff.

Off to Bristol this Saturday for the second performance of my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV show at the Cube Cinema with DJ Cheeba, which is sold out! There are two mixes forthcoming this month too, one imminently and one on the 27th – both very different, more info soon.

Flexi discs and wobbly sounds

A quick round up of all things flexi disc-related that’s coming up over this month. The good news is that the Wobbly Sounds book by Jonny Trunk and published by Four Corners Books that I contributed to is back from the printers and looking great! It’s 160 pages and is only a tenner – pre-order here for an April 15th release date.

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As a result there’s a plethora of promotion coming up: The Eye on Design blog has just published this article on the book.

Audiogold flyer RSD19On April 13th (Record Store Day) I’ll be at Audio Gold in Crouch End, London with Shane Quentin from The Garden of Earthly Delights radio show, playing flexi disc sets with hidden discs in the racks and free beer as well – check the event page for more details.

April 16th sees the official book launch at Spiritland in Kings X, 6.30-8pm along with Jonny, Shane and Andrew Beedell Coram with an evening set by Jonny from real vinyl.

Later this month I should be joining Jonny on his OST show (4.30-6.30pm) on Resonance FM for a flexi special, playing selections from the book and more, hopefully with the usual competition hilarity.

I’m told print pieces in Record Collector and Shindig magazines are on the horizon too…

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Other non-flexi related things happening: I have a guest mix coming up on The Allergies podcast mid April

I’ll be playing on Out Of The Wood radio at the Book & Record Bar this Sunday 7th with Pete Williams during the first West Norwood FEAST of 2019.

Also at the B&RB on Record Store Day (April 13th, remember?) I’ll be playing records with Ceri Preston after a showing of The Library Music Film and a Q&A from Shawn Lee. Starts at 7.30pm and goes to 1am.

Unfortunately the Kraftwerk AV gig I was to do at the Sheffield O2 Academy on the 27th April has been rescheduled for Nov 8th now but will be locking more in for May/June.

Also, I’ll be supporting DJ Krush on June 20th at Oslo in Hackney – tickets just went on sale yesterday.

DJ Krush Oslo 2019 Instagram-2

Record Store Day 2019

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I was going to post about Record Store Day releases last week when the list was announced but wanted to wait for the announcement above as well. For once I’m heading to North London, after spending years down South or in the West End… to Audio Gold, those fine purveyors of vintage audio equipment, hi-fi components and records, old and new. My good friend Robin from Hexstatic has worked there for many years and has been trying to get Jonny Trunk and I up there for nearly as long.

Jonny will be promoting his RSD release on Trunk, the official reissue of Basil Kirchin‘s ‘World’s Within Worlds’, by playing original reels from Basil’s archive via one of the shop’s lovely machines no doubt. I’ll be joined by fellow flexi finder Shane Quentin who, along with Jonny and I, has contributed to the forthcoming book, ‘Wobbly Sounds’ which is all about British flexi discs. Shane’s collection of the disposable discs is enough to make any collector envious and between us we pulled out some sweet examples of the different uses they had from household product advertising to pop music promotion, event invites to educational aids, and yes, porn.

The book is published by those lovely people at Four Corners Books and forms part of their Irregulars series of Great British oddities, I don’t think I’m allowed to show you the cover yet though as it’s not online. Hopefully copies will be back from the printers and available at Audio Gold for April 13th. We’ll be playing some of our collections in the shop and I’m even going to hide some freebies in the racks for people to find…

Now – to my RSD ones to watch list – if your pockets are deep enough of course:

808 State – Four States of 808 (ZTT) 4×12″ box set

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Limited edition 4 x 12″ box set exploring four very different sides of 808 State; Hacienda-inspired acid house classics, Thunderdome-inspired full-frontal aural assaults, renowned collaborations, and downtempo sonic baths. Featuring 27 tracks across four discs, including rare and previously unreleased mixes, hidden tracks, brand new artwork and liner notes. Includes three previously unreleased tracks and three previously unreleased on vinyl. The entire set is remastered from the original master tapes.

Art of Noise – Daft As A Brush! (ZTT) 4×12″ box set

AON

Limited edition 4 x 12″ box set and a vinyl companion piece to the renowned 1986 CD compilation, Daft. Hear a fresh take on three game-changing records – ‘Beat Box’, ‘Close (to the Edit)’ and ‘ Moments in Love’ – while a fourth disc finally unleashes Trevor Horn and Paul Morley‘s mythical post-AoN project, Art and ACT. Featuring 25 tracks across four discs, including hidden tracks, brand new artwork and liner notes. 20 tracks previously unreleased on vinyl with the entire set remastered from the original master tapes.

Basil Kirchin – Worlds Within Worlds (Trunk) LP

Basil

Worlds Within Worlds (Part I and II) is one of the most important improvised jazz-based recordings of all time. Released in 1971 it sold just a handful of copies, but has become a keystone in the development of experimental and ambient sounds – originals now fetch £1000+. This pressing features a new gatefold sleeve (Kirchin hated the original sleeve), with images of Kirchin, his original field recording tapes and notes by WWW fan Thurston Moore. There are just 1500 being pressed with 250 on gold vinyl, which will be mixed randomly in with the 1250 black versions. There will be no way of telling which colour is which as all LPs will be sealed. The LP will not be repressed.

Bob Dorough – Multiplication Rock (Original Soundtrack Recording) (Jackpot) LP

Multi Rock

LP Colored Vinyl (Red/Blue Swirl on Multiplication Rock). 1st ever reissue, from the original master tapes. 1500 total worldwide. Original ABC 1973 TV soundtrack, part of the Schoolhouse Rock! Series. Jazz Bop Vocalist Bob Dorough (1923-2018) composed “Multiplication Rock” as a way for children to remember multiplicaton tables. Colored Vinyl LP from The Original Master Tapes with original Tape Box artwork. includes ‘Three Is A Magic Number’, as sampled by De La Soul.

Deadly Avenger – Your God Is Too Small (Burning Witches) LP

DA 3d

More sonic electro infused speaker decimation from Deadly Avenger in a brand new follow up to 2018′ s ‘I Am Godzilla You Are Japan’.Your God Is Too Small’ picks up the DA Godzilla story from the very begining in a prequel to IAGYAJ. Includes 3D artwork and glasses, Insert, and download card. UK Exclusive variant. Artwork by Luke Insect.

Desmond Briscoe, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – The Stone Tape (Silva Screen Records) 10″

Stone Tape

10″ EP on Green Vinyl Long awaited BBC 1972 soundtrack, previously unreleased. Numbered Edition.

DJ Pierre presents / Various Artists – ACID 88 volume 3 (Afro Acid) 2xLP

Acid

A double LP of 1 Black + 1 White vinyl of 12 killer acid trax selected by legendary pioneer DJ Pierre featuring Mark Archer, A Guy Called Gerald, K Alexi, Lauren Flax, Type 303, Hiroko Yamamura & many more.

Future Sound of London, The – Yage 2019

Yage

In 1996 iconic group The Future Sound of London released the UK Top 40 chart album ‘Dead Cities’, from which came a track ‘Yage’. Such has been the interest in this masterpiece of electronica over the years that the guys have been back into the studio to revisit it. Here, on this limited edition, individually numbered LP press exclusively for 2019′ s Record Store Day comes the results. ‘Yage 2019’ takes the core of the original and rebuilds it. All together there are eleven tracks reconstructions and interpretations, woven together (as FSOL do) into a 42 minute dreamscape journey across the 2 sides of vinyl. Only 1000 copies of this release will be pressed on vinyl.

Herbie Hancock – Dedication (Get On Down) LP

Herbie

Vinyl has never been officially issued outside of Japan. 3000 made worldwide. ‘Dedication’ is a unique Herbie Hancock outing in more ways than one. This is a solo Hancock release, all sounds heard on this recording are Hancock at the keyboards, be it an acoustic piano, a Fender Rhodes or a synth. The project was recorded live in Tokyo in July of 1974 and never saw release outside of Japan until well into the 21st century. For Record Store Day 2019 Get On Down presents the first ever US vinyl release of this important piece of Hancock’ s artistic legacy.

Worth it for ‘Nobu’ alone, no poster though!?

Propaganda – The Eight Testaments of Propaganda (ZTT) 4×12″ box set

Prop

This limited edition 4 x 12″ box set dives deep into the hits and mythology of Propaganda‘ s highly influential ZTT years. Take a fresh look at their two biggest singles – ‘Duel’ and ‘Dr. Mabuse’ – and their two most beloved live/album tracks, ‘Dream Within A Dream’ and ‘Frozen Faces’ . Featuring 24 tracks across four discs, including rare and previously unreleased mixes, brand new artwork and liner notes. Includes two tracks previously unreleased, and 13 tracks previously unreleased on vinyl. The entire set is remastered from the original master tapes.

Wendy Carlos /Rachel Elkind – Kubrick (Silva Screen) 7″

Kubrick

7″ Die Cut Sleeve/ Printed Inner Sleeve Transparent Orange Vinyl Double A Side: The Shining/ A Clockwork Orange For both these iconic films, Stanley Kubrick chose to work with the extraordinary Wendy Carlos, who wrote (or realised, as both are based on classical pieces) the main themes to both movies. The 7″ AA Side, March from A Clockwork Orange (1971), is an arrangement of Beethoven‘ s rousing Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (fourth movement) and is the first recorded song using a vocoder. Almost ten years later, Carlos was to work with Kubrick again on The Shining (1980). The Shining – Main Theme on the 7″ A side takes as its starting point the Dies Irae from Hector Berlioz‘ s Requiem (Op5), appropriately taken to new levels of darkness by Carlos and Rachel Elkind‘ s electronic treatment.

2018 – a vintage year for new music

It’s the end of the year and reading down the list of sounds that have moved me most in 2018 I’m struck by how much new music there is after years of digging a lot of reissues over current styles. This may well be because the well is finally running dry on a lot of the stuff I’m interested in but more likely that the old adage of great music being made in times of great strife is coming home to roost again. There is no order to the lists below, no No.1 or ‘best’ of anything although they are mostly chronological as I write stuff down as I hear or see it.

Special mentions though for the Castles In Space label that continues to go from strength to strength, the Confidence Man album which got a lot of play despite me missing them live twice. Trevor Jackson‘s beautiful design for his ‘System’ CD and cassette, so good I bought it three times, The Advisory Circle‘s ‘Ways Of Seeing’ LP and the Tomorrow Syndicate‘s excellent ‘Future Tense’ album, complete with Nick Taylor artwork.

Supporting both The The (on several UK dates) and the Art Of Noise was the stuff of teenage dreams and the former’s biography by Neil Fraser is a fascinating read. The Karminsky Experience Inc.’s ‘See Inside’ VR single was a genuinely eye-opening experience and having them and Markey Funk down at Further was a treat. Walking into the House of Illustration‘s John Vernon Lord exhibition to be unexpectedly confronted with the original drawing of his 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’, was the art high of the year and the People’s Vote march in October restored my faith in humanity for an afternoon. Electronic Sound magazine continues to excel and their first LP release, Jack Dangers‘ remix of Terry Riley‘s ‘In C’, was another disc that saw a lot of play this year.

On Dec 23rd I played a lot of my favourite releases of 2018 on WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood show which you can hear below, complete with mic. fluffs and wrong track listings.

As we go into 2019 I’m dreading the first three months, leading up to the Br*x*t deadline, hoping against hope for a last minute chance to reconsider but bracing for a fallout post 29/03/19 that could see chaos come to the UK. I hope that I’m writing a more positive missive this time next year, if not then at least the music will only get better and better…

Music 2Music / chat:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside 7″ (Patterns of Behaviour)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Flightless)
Beautify Junkyards – The Invisible Worlds of LP (Ghost Box)
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting LP (Trunk)
Bigmouth podcast (Audioboom)
The Turbans – Baba Ganooz 7″ (Mona Tone/Delights)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade LP (Duophonic)
The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing LP (Ghost Box)
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel (single) (Wondaland)
Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People LP (Heavenly)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre_)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (single) (Dairy)
Jonny Trunk – OST show (Resonance FM)
Regal Worm – Pig Views / Use And Ornament (Uranium Club)
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Electronic Sound)
Patrick R. Park – Library Sounds LP (Castles In Space)
David Shire – The Conversation LP (Trunk)
Amgala Temple – Invisible Airships LP (Pekula)
Adam Buxton podcast
Type 303 – The New Ravelution EP (Insult To Injury)
Luke Vibert – 165 303 – from the Gradients vol.2 LP (Astrophonica)
Luke Vibert presents Garave vol.1 LP (Hypercolour)
Kosmischer Laufer – Vol.4 LP (UCR)

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Packaging / design:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR glasses (Patterns of Behaviour)
Chop – CDL 10″ (Drumetrics)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (2nd edition) (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System 1st & 2nd edition CD + Cassette (Pre_)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour Cassette & comic (Tapebox)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense Regular + Ltd Ed. LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Spider Jazz – splatter vinyl edition LP (Trunk)
Spun Out Of Control vinyl + cassettes
Aver – River of Ice Cream 7″ promo flexi disc
Listening Centre 5″ lathe cut picture disc (Polytechnic Youth)

Packaging design

Books/Comics:
VS – Ivan Brandon / Eric Ribic (Image)
A Year In The Country ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – Stephen Prince
The Adventures of Jodelle – Guy Peellhaert (Fantagraphics)
Batman – White Knight  – Sean Murphy (DC)
Orla Kiely – A Life In Pattern (Octopus Books)
Electronic Sound magazine
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music – David Hollander (Anthology Editions)
House Industries – The Process Is The Inspiration (Watson-Guptill Publications)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour comic (Tapebox)
Proxima Centuri – Farel Dalrymple (Image)
Doomsday Clock – Geoff Johns / Gary Frank (DC)
Saga – Brian K. Vaughn / Fiona Staples (Image)
Long Shadows, High Hopes – Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)
Judge Dredd – The Small House (Rob Williams & Henry Flint) (2000AD/Rebellion)
Lawless  – Dan Abnett / Phil Winslade (Judge Dredd Megazine/Rebellion)
Pete Fowler – Decades of Lead (Unbound)
Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)

Books + comics

Film/TV:
Inside No.9 series 4 + Halloween special
The Inertia Variations documentary
Flowers series 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Yellow Submarine 50th anniversary remaster
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR + packaging
Bobby Gillespie on Newsnight
The Clock – Christian Marclay, Tate Modern
Bros: After The Screaming Stops (BBC)

Film3

Events / Gigs:
Art of Noise, British Library
‘O Is For Orange’ premiere Archspace, London
The The, Albert Hall, The Troxy, London, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
The Crystal Palace Festival afterparty @ The Paxton Pub, Gypsy Hill, London – one of those gigs where every track flows and lands just right.
The Indie Label Market, Spitalfields, London
The People’s Vote march in October
Jane Weaver at EArtH, London
The Soundcarriers, Gloria and Strange Majick @ The Victoria, London
Dirty Fan Male at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, London

Gigs

Exhibitions:
Sister Corita Kent – Ditchling Art & Craft Museum
Orla Kiely – Fashion & Textile Museum, London
Aphex Twin posters – Elephant & Castle underground, London
The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, London
May The Toys Be With You – New Walk Museum, Leicester
John Vernon Lord – The House of Illustration, London
Peanuts – Somerset House, London
Daniel Mullen – Lisa Norris Gallery, London

Exhibitions 2018

“Another year over and what have I done?”
Designed Peshay‘s ‘Reflections’ LP for the De:Tuned label
Created a 3 minute spoken word collage for Penguin/Random House‘s Voices event at the London Palladium on World Book Day
Supported the Art Of Noise at The British Library
DJed multiple times at Secret Cinema presents Blade Runner
Opened for The The at several of their UK gigs including the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Glasgow Barrowlands and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Further at the Portico Gallery with Pete Williams, Markey Funk and the Karminsky Experience Inc.
Designed a nine disc set for De:tuned‘s forthcoming 10th anniversary releases
Mixes for Solid Steel, 45 Live, Brokers, Rat Records, Out Of The Wood, Diggers Dozen and radio show appearances for Resonance and Soho Radio
Overhauled my Openmindesign.uk website

DJ Food gigs

RIP: France Gall, Ken Dodd, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Lovebug Starski, Jabo Starks, Tom Wolfe, Aretha Franklin, Orla Kiely shops, Carlos Ezquerra, Paul Allen, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, HMV, June Whitfield.

Looking forward to: The Delaware Road 2019, Keith Haring retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the Wobbly Sounds book, Further at the Ace Hotel, Sister Corita Kent at the House of Illustration, De:tuned‘s monthly 10th anniversary 12″s, Avengers: Endgame

Happy New Year!

John Vernon Lord at the House of Illustration

JVL_BeneathTheTreefullThe John Vernon Lord exhibition of Ulysses, Finigan’s Wake and Alice in Wonderland illustrations just started at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross. What I didn’t realise when I visited was that his huge 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’ was also on display and it was breathtaking to see in the flesh.

The details visible in the original, not possible to see in the version printed in his Drawn To Drawing book, were many, from tiny messages written along tree roots to hidden numbers and miniature details in the shadows. Worth the price of admission alone to finally see this incredible piece which usually resides in the collection of the University of Brighton.

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JVL_BTTdetail13 JVL_BTTdetail12 JVL_BTTdetail11 JVL_BTTdetail10 JVL_BTTdetail9 JVL_BTTdetail8 JVL_BTTdetail6 JVL_BTTdetail5 JVL_BTTdetail4 JVL_BTTdetail3 JVL_BTTdetail2 JVL_BTTinfo

Unusual Sounds book

Unusual Sounds book
A new-ish book – ‘Unusual Sounds’ – subtitled ‘The Hidden History of Library Music’ by David Hollander tells exactly that via a series of interviews and potted histories of numerous European and North American libraries and their major players. It’s a thick paperback clocking in at over 300 pages and illustrated with hundreds of sleeves in colour as well as photos of master tapes, studio shots and catalogues, ending with a gallery of film posters that contain library cues as their soundtracks.
The final section seems a little pointless and I’d have preferred more pages given to showcasing sleeves from some of the libraries featured earlier in the book (Musique Pour L’Image is given two pages and their beautiful 10″ covers are mentioned but not shown for example). There is some crossover with Jonny Trunk’s ‘The Music Library’ book, as you would expect, but this is a worthy addition to any bookshelf. It’s published by Anthology Editions for $55 and check out their catalogue as there are some pretty interesting titles.

Pulp Magazine archive

New_Worlds_193_1969-08_0000
Stuff that’s been clogging up the desktop Pt.4

Toby Whitebread (New Analog Illustration) sent me a link to a pulp magazine archive a few weeks back and I waded through it to find these beauties.

We start with a trio of lesser-seen Vaughn Bodé covers, at least one of which is a collab with Larry Todd

Amazing_Stories_v45n06_1972-03_sas_0000
1968-11_IF_0000 Amazing_Stories_v48n02_1974-08_0000

I’m not sure who these next two are by, the first could be Josh Kirby
1970-01_IF_0000 1970-03_IF_modified_0000

Three lovely Mike Hinge covers…Amazing_Stories_v46n01_1972-05_0000 Amazing_Stories_v46n05_1973-01_Gorgon776_0001 Amazing_Stories_v48n04_1974-12_Gorgon776_0001

Brian Lewis doing his Richard Powers / Yves Tanguy impressionNew_Worlds_069v23_1958-03_0001Science_Fantasy_28v10_1958-04_0000 Science_Fantasy_40v14_1960-04_0000

and finally, a couple of Richard Powers properStar_Science_Fiction_v01n01_1958-01_Sam_Hall-sleipnir_edit_0000Beyond_Fantasy_Fiction_v01n01_1953-07_cape1736_0000

A Year In The Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields book

01-AYITC book-front coverA Year In The Country, Stephen Prince‘s website dedicated to cataloguing, compiling and unearthing all things Hauntological, Radiophonic, Wyrd and uniquely British, is releasing a book of writings from the first three years of it’s output. Collected, revised and revisited, alongside some new writing, ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – subtitled ‘Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, The Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel World of Hauntology’ is now available to read as an e-Book via Am*z*n (if you must) or for pre-order for a print release on April 10th.

Contents include: (deep breath) Hauntology, Acid Folk, Folk Horror, Ghost Box Records, The Wicker Man, Peter Strickland, Finders Keepers, Vashti Bunyan, Broadcast, Children Of The Stones, psychedelic cinema, The Owl Service, Kate Bush, The Stone Tape Theory, The Folklore Tapes, Jane Weaver, Howlround, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and lots, lots more. I’d say that’s more than enough reasons to order a copy right there and that it’s the first book of it’s kind to catalogue all these disparate strands, many of which cross over time and space to influence one another.

A-Year-In-The-Country-Wandering-Through-Spectral-Fields-book-Stephen-Prince-back-cover-published-version

It’s also available via their Bandcamp and you can peruse the, now extensive, release catalogue that’s sprung from the site, even if the monochrome nature of all their releases makes it increasingly harder to discern one from the other. The label is a completist’s joy/nightmare being that they make night/day or dawn/dusk editions of each release but as a singular vision it’s a beautiful set of objects when seen en mass.

A full list of the contents and order links is available here – definitely on my reading list