2020

Stay Alert papers

Where to start? – a horrible year in so many ways and not one I’m sure many will want to remember or repeat in a hurry. Not to want to gloss over the fires in Australia or Trump nearly starting WW3 at the start of the year, the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the BLM movement or Joe Biden winning the US election in November, but 2020 was dominated for many by the pandemic.

2M v2

Like many, when lockdown came, I started sorting, clearing, taking stock. Archives were dug into, things thrown away, digitised, uploaded, sold. Old projects that had laid dormant for years were revived, restarted, some even finished. All those jobs that I’d meant to do started getting done. I turned 50 in May, in the middle of the first lockdown and that all gave pause for reflection. Did I need all this stuff? What could I live without? Oddly, the limiting nature of the lockdown seemed to unlock the creative gates and I had time again to do musical projects. I’ve always juggled graphic design, DJing and music production and, if I’m honest, the music side always comes last as I just don’t have the time and head space to do all three. With gigs firmly out of the picture there was suddenly space again.

2M v3

After the initial shock and adjustment had passed, I started to like lockdown, the quiet, the space and pace of life in London when I did venture out, the fact that it was Spring helped too. The cleaner air, the public displays of affection for the NHS and key workers in windows around my neighbourhood which I took the time to explore far more than before. Just the time to stop, reflect, get off the deadline treadmill and do some personal life evaluation was welcome. Of course there were down days too, frustration at the government’s handling of the situation, the futility of it all, the not knowing when it was going to end, the cabin fever.

The realisation that the entertainment sector was not going to get back on its feet any time soon and any thoughts of gigs should be put out of mind for the foreseeable future. More importantly though, copious amounts of friends who work in the live sector of the industry who suddenly have no job to go to and no income once the furlough period ends. The thing about the creative sector though is that they are resilient, fast-acting and respond to situations like these in many different ways. There have been numerous charity compilations, protests, self-help articles, the #weareviable movement and online gigs and forums set up to help people’s mental health. Without a doubt, in terms of coming to the aid of artists trying to see a decent return on their music, Bandcamp have been the heroes of the music industry in 2020. Their revenue-waiving Fridays have become like monthly record store days (a now barrel-scraping exercise in unnecessary reformatting of material no one was asking for by the majors). It has also re-ignited the discussion about stream revenue from platforms like Spotify which can only be a good thing. Mixcloud too jumped into the fray with their Select subscription channels and streaming upgrade, each paying a portion of proceeds to the artists being played as well as those playing them.

2M v1

Turning off the news became a necessity to stay sane, just tuning out to protect from spiralling down into a day of depression and inactivity. But there were unexpected pluses once things began to reopen, the break had given some a chance to change, bring their businesses up to date, upgrade, expand, come back better than before. More space in shops and restaurants, increased hygiene, less people on public transport – great! For those who don’t live in the city, it’s packed at the best of times and not always the better for it. Buying a round of drinks at the pub on an app and having it bought to your table rather than fighting your way to the bar, viewing the menu through a QR reader and paying for it on the phone, I’m up for that although I’ll no doubt be cursing once the targeted advertising starts. The sale of bikes soaring and more people able to work from home, giving them new options for home locations, less commuting stress and more family time – all welcome.

I’ve neglected this blog a fair bit other than my weekly archive mixes and the odd release-related news, I’d like to get back on it a bit more in 2021 but can’t promise. The speed and immediacy of Instagram has taken over where some things like street art and record finds are concerned. Looking back over the year it’s been another vintage one for music releases and books, obviously less so for gigs and exhibitions. I’ve listened to more podcasts and audiobooks than ever before though, a noticeable change in wanting to hear informative chat or comedy over music sometimes. The creative roll that the Castles In Space label has been on this year has been a constant with the regular label and now the subscription library to add to that in 2021 plus I’m pleased to have a release forthcoming on the label early in the new year. Discovering the Astral Industries and Russian Library labels via Bandcamp were two highlights and Robert Fripp‘s continuing weekly Music For Quiet Moments series gave me something to look forward to each Friday. Likewise the weekly 2000AD progs never faltered when most comic lines derailed, even reaching new heights with the incredible new story, The Out whilst season 2 of The Mandalorian reinstated a love for the Star Wars universe again. Without wanting to focus on the negatives (we’d be here all week), there was a lot to love in 2020

2020 LPs

Music –
Type 303 – Sticky Disco / Analogue Acidbath 7″ (45 Live)
The British Space Group – The Ley of the Land CD (Wyrd Britain)
Squarepusher – Be Up A Hello LP / Warp 10 NTS mix (Warp)
Future Sound of London – A Controlled Vista ‘I Can’t Find You’ (FSOL Digital/Touched Music)
dgoHn – Undesignated Proximate (Modern Love)
LF58 – Alterazione LP (Astral Industries)
Brian Eno – Music for Installations CD box set (UMC / Opal)
Robert Fripp – Music For Quiet Moments series (DGM)
Run The Jewels – RTJ4 (BMG)
Simf Onyx – Magenta Skyline / The Unresolved 7″ (Delights)
Luke Vibert – Modern Rave LP (Hypercolour)
JG Thirlwell & Simon Steensland – Oscillospira (Ipecac)
Aural Design – Looking & Seeing 7″ / DL (Russian Library)
Luke Vibert – Rave Hop (Hypercolour)
Clipping. with Christopher Fleeger – Double Live (Sub Pop)
APAT – Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ performed on Modular Synthesizer (YouTube)
Field Lines Cartographer – The Spectral Isle LP (Castles In Space)
Jane Weaver – The Revolution of Super Visions single (Fire Records)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – K.G. LP (Flightless)
Humanoid – Hed-Set – forthcoming on (De:tuned)
Ghost Power – Asteroid Witch 7″ (Duophonic Super 45s)

Sleeve designs 2020

Design / packaging –
Jon Brooks – How To Get To Spring LP (Clay Pipe Music)
Bernard Grancher – Soleil Gris Eclatant LP (Castles In Space)
Plone – (Ghost Box)
Various Artists – Portals LP (Behind The Sky Music)
Luke Sanger – World of Inherent Noise Cassette (Miracle Pond)
Proto Droids – Cybernetic World LP (Spun Out Of Control)

Podcasts

Podcasts
Adam Buxton – Podcast (Acast)
Louis Theroux – Grounded (BBC)
The Bureau of Lost Culture (Soho Radio/Mixcloud)
Richard Herring – RHLSTP / Retro As It Occurs To Me
Broken Record episodes w. Rick Rubin (Pushkin)
Cartoonist Kayfabe (YouTube)
The Bunker (Acast)

films 2020

Film / TV –
Inside No.9 (BBC)
What We Do In The Shadows Season 2 (Netflix)
Tales From The Loop (Amazon)
Keith Haring – Street Art Boy (BBC)
John Was Trying To Contact Aliens (Netflix)
The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Season 2) (Disney+)
Long Hot Summers – The Style Council documentary (Sky Arts)
Zappa (Alex Winter)

Books 2020

Books / Comics / Magazines
Confessions of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)
The Often Wrong – Farel Dalrymple (Image Comics)
Take It Like A Man – Boy George (Harper Collins)
Adam Buxton – Ramble Book (Harper Collins)
Edwin Pouncey – Rated SavX (Strange Attractor Press)
Jeffrey Lewis – Fuff (all issues – really late to the party on this one)
Elton John – Me (MacMillan)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Rian Hughes – XX – A Novel, Graphic (Picador)
Cosey Fanni Tutti – Art, Sex, Music (Faber)
Caza – Kris Kool (Passenger Press)
Dan Lish – Egostrip Vol.1
Electronic Sound magazine
Decorum – Jonathan Hickman & Mike Huddleston (Image)
Discovering Jack T. Chick’s ‘Chick Tracts’ mini comics
John Higgs – Stranger Than We Can Imagine
Simon Halfon – Cover To Cover (Nemperor)

Tomaga

Gigs / Events –
Tomaga & Pierre Bastien @ King’s Place, London (RIP Tom Relleen)
Discovering my neighbourhood more intimately than ever before on regular walks

Exhibitions –
Aubrey Beardsley @ Tate Britain
Shoreditch and Brick Lane never ceases to be a constant source of inspiration art-wise
Secret 7’s – Greenwich Peninsula


Another year over and what have I done?
Got burned by an artist and agent overseas on some ‘prospective’ design work they never paid me for
Designed ‘Blood’, Dreams’ & ‘Bone for the Swan Songs trilogy of albums for The Real Tuesday Weld, available in 2021/22 as well as the 2020 foldout Xmas card & 3″ CD.
Made some zoetrope labels for the band Peninsula‘s ‘Constellations/Constelaciones’ LP
Designed a zoetrope picture disc for an as yet unannounced reissue project that was a dream job…
Promo mixes for the 45 Live record label, De:tuned‘s 10th anniversary round up, Out Of The Wood, Soundwave blog, Shane Quentin‘s Garden of Earthly Delights show and did an Instagram takeover on @forgottengraphics for a week.
Unearthed and digitised old DJ Food mixes for my new Mixcloud Select channel with full track lists and notes.
Made the ‘Kaleidoscope Companion’ mixes with PC on the 20th anniversary of our album and compiled a version for a vinyl release on Ahead of Our Time in 2021
Started a label, Infinite Illectrik, for turntable experiments and other one-offs including a remix of Four Tet‘s side of locked grooves from his ‘Sixteen Oceans’ LP
Designed three covers for Nebari on OTA Recordings plus one for Syon Ward
Finished the Howlround meets DJ Food release, ‘The Superceded Sounds of…’ The New Obsolescents, inc. a track on Castles In Space’s ‘Isolation Tapes’ comp with the LP due on the label in 2021 sporting five different screen printed foil covered sleeves.
Cut my own hair for the first time
Designed a zoetrope for Pendulum that went unused and several for BT Sport’s European Final TV spot with Doves that sadly didn’t make the cut because of a technicality.
Made the Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ album in collaboration with Saron Hughes for Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX, a novel, graphic’, as well as a 30 minute EP. Both available on Bandcamp with a vinyl LP forthcoming in 2021 on Utter
Created the cover image for Clocolan‘s 3rd album, due in 2021 on Castles In Space
Designed De:tuned DE:10 courier bag + slipmat for Bleep‘s Xmas advent calendar and saw the label repress the DE:10 series from last year on coloured vinyl
Designed Steven Rutter and Humanoid releases for De:tuned
Created a one hour long ‘Cineolascape’ from my The The support set material in 2018 for release on Matt’s Cineola label in the future.

RIP: Wolfgang Dauner, Neil Peart, Steve Millington (Dry British), Terry Jones, Wes Wilson, Nicholas Parsons, Kirk Douglas, Andy Weatherall, Max Von Sydow, Tom Watkins, Genesis P. Orridge, Manu Dibango, Albert Uderzo, Eddie Large, Bill Withers, Hal Wilner, Mort Drucker, Tim Brook-Taylor, Tony Allen, Florian Schneider, Ben ‘Ty’ Chijioke, Little Richard, Christo, Steve Priest, Bonnie Pointer, Ian Holm, Milton Glaser, Ennio Morricone, Q magazine, Time Out, Russell Mears aka Rusty Spray – an original artistic inspiration, Tom Relleen, Simeon Coxe, Diana Rigg, Terence Conran, Eddie Van Halen, Sean Connery, Geoffrey Palmer, DJ Spinbad, Dave Prowse, Harold Budd, Richard Corben, Barbara Windsor, Jeremy Bullock, MF Doom.

Looking forward to:
More designing, more music making, releases of some of the above records after what seems like years in the wilderness – trying to remain positive against all the odds although I can’t wait for 2021 to be over already, it’s not going to be much fun.
The Castles In Space Subscription Library
Beautify Junkyards – Cosmorama LP (Ghost Box)
Jane Weaver – Flock LP (Fire Records)
The Book of Boba Fett
Tales To Enlighten (come on Matt, this year, eh?)

 

Happy New Year x

Lennon Ono Tiers

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Cape Town Electronic Music Festival comp: Friends & Frequencies

Friends and Frequencies front
The Cape Town Electronic Music Festival
2020 is online only this year and, after a live stream last week they announced this Friends and Frequencies compilation. It’s a great selection of the many artists and friends who have played for them over the last nine years of running the festival. I’m very pleased to be kicking off the 137 track comp with the final song from 2012″s ‘The Search Engine’ album, the compiler’s felt that the spoken word on the track said what they wanted to say perfectly.
The compilation is designed to raise funds for all the artists involved as well as the industry supply chain so if you are in a position to pay more than the asking price please feel free to do so. Available here

F&F 1 F&F 2 F&F 3

Almost Jazz Funk & Soul Festival online event

Almost_Announcement
Birmingham’s Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, like so many others, is under threat and they are putting on a fundraiser online and a virtual event to raise funds to keep the wolves from the door. I played last year and it was one of my favourite gigs of the summer. Tune in for a special audio visual mix by myself and DK based on our Now, Listen Again mix sets and if you can please consider donating to this good cause.

RIP Florian Schneider-Esleben of Kraftwerk

FlorianWhat can be said about Florian Schneider that won’t have already been said by millions around the world? It’s no exaggeration to say that the group that he founded changed the face of music in ways that we now take for granted. The music that they went on to make broke boundaries, changed preconceptions and influenced untold artists after whilst touching on concepts years or decades ahead of their arrival in our everyday lives with albums like ‘Computer World’. Whether pushing technological boundaries, live performance or their own image as a group, they predicted the future whilst trying to escape their county’s past. Always a reluctant interviewee, rather letting partner Ralf Hutter take on those formalities, Florian often came across as the one with the mischievous twinkle in his eye for a split second when attention was elsewhere. His initial love of the flute was slowly phased out of the group’s sound and speech synthesis became his focus, something that he went on to work with after he left the group in 2008. He was a legendary figure in 20th Century music who’s contribution will never be forgotten.

In 2012 I did a month’s worth of Kraftwerk posts on this site, highlighting the most obscure sleeves, ephemera, video, graphics, reviews and tributes I could find. You can find those posts here.

Later in 2013 I did a ‘Kraftweek’ to celebrate their run of London gigs – find those here.

For all 100+ entries of Kraftwerk-related material on this site – go here.

Florian Autobahn smile

Detuned vs Touched Music

Box+10xDE.10+bag+stickers

The final phase of the De:tuned 10th birthday releases (or is it?) is a collaboration I’ve been hinting at for a while with Touched Music. To mark World Cancer Day 2020, Detuned and Touched have created a limited number of ultimate box sets for fans and collectors. A handmade, laser-etched wooden slipcase to house all 10 releases from the recent Detuned 10th anniversary DE:10 series will be offered with a variety of options including a full set of finished 12″s, a full set of test pressings and black or silver versions of DE:10.10. All options come with a unique tote bag colourway and sticker sheet and they are VERY limited.

10xtest pressings set up Box side on Box side + spines10xDE.10+bag+stickers Bag 1

2019

LBDbanner

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

Instagram Top 9 2019

Instagram Top9 2019
There’s a way to go until my own end of the year post (Dec 31st) but I did that Top 9 thing over on my Instagram account and this is what came back. Interesting to see the old Ninja Tune logo three times (!) which bodes well for the label’s 30th birthday next year.
No surprise to see Beastie Boys and Kraftwerk there but odd that a patterned 12” record got so many hits.
I guess nostalgia is the biggest attraction and the FunkiPorciniFast Asleep’ cover was way ahead of the pack.

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Vote!

A7FCCB38-DE5B-46B6-BB81-9DC1D6509ECE

There are a lot of good memes, slogans and piss takes surrounding this election, here are some that have caught my eye. The slogan above, using the same fonts at the mastheads of the right wing press, is by spellingmistakescostlives.com aka Darren Cullen. He has a pop up Museum of Neo-liberalism in Lewisham right now that’s worth a visit to find out the origins and architects of how the UK is in the state it is now.

I’m not sure where the Tories Over if you want it originates but the Heavenly Social posted it and I thought I’d Photoshop it into a picture of John and Yoko to bring the reference full circle.
The Monopoly box rearranged to No More Tory is by Andy Votel and I’m unsure about the rest but the sentiments either ring true for me or make me laugh. Please remember to vote on Thursday, unless it’s for the Tories.

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Sculpture, Projected Music release party

Projected Music poster
A huge night coming up on November the 29th in East London, Psyché Tropes celebrate the release of the 5″ picture disc of locked grooves Sculpture have done with them by putting on a gig of avant garde turntablism. Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei and Sculpture themselves will be headlining and interspersed will be a 26 turntable ensemble made up of: A’Bear, Arran Bolders, Ben Rodgers, Billy Pleasant, Bjorn Hatleskog, Blanca Regina, Chloe Frieda, Chris Thomas Allen (The Light Surgeons), Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Daniel WJ MacKenzie, DJ Food, Graham Dunning, Hems, Horton Jupiter, Janek Schaefer, Lia Mice, Mariam Rezaei, Merkaba Macabre, Odd Lust, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Rado Bogasch, Reuben Sutherland (Sculpture),  Robin The Fog (Howlround), Spatial, Tida Bradshaw, Tom Richards.

I doubt the same people will ever be in the same place on 26 turntables ever again – should be a riot!
The record is great and available here and tickets for the event are available here for the absolute steal of £5.

Spun Out Of Control tapes for Cassette Store Day

SOOC tapes frontIt’s Cassette Store (Shop) Day today in the UK and two of the best-looking entries this year are from Spun Out Of Control . Namely the third Stefan Bachmeier release – a clone-obsessed author gets paranoid when he starts to discover other dopplegangers – and Grayson by Jane Borré, a conceptual sci-fi soundtrack in a glitter-speckled shell. These will go quick, they usually sell out in a few hours so be ready if you want one. Also out is The The‘s See Without Being Seeing which also sold out from their site on pre-order last week.SOOC tapes back

The Delaware Road 2019

Delaware Road flyer crop
It’s been nearly a week and I’ve been away since returning from this madness so this is late but: The Delaware Road, 2019 : Ritual & Resistance, a 1 day event deep in the heart of Salisbury in a working army base was a blast. Hidden at the end of a road which went through a ghost village and fields of rusted tanks and distant watch towers, red Routemaster buses ferried us to the destination, driven by a man who asked us to reset our watches to the local time of 1944.

DR Salisbury plains DR Salisbury tankDR Salisbury buses DR Danger sign

Along the way locals muttered about a rave happening at the military base but this was no ordinary party. 40 performers ranging from live bands to DJs, poets, installation art, spoken word artists, a witch and a lot of men looking very intently at laptops, tape machines, keyboards and modular synths filled the concrete spaces with a huge amount of sonic beauty and debauchery. The stark concrete and brick huts and outhouses housed all manner of the most leftfield electronica and alternative music and performance you’ll see in any venue or festival, let alone a working M.O.D. facility.

The Delaware Road encampmentDR MOD campDR bus stopDR camping

The main gathering space and stage inside the curved Nissen hut

DR fest site

Stand out moments are hard to quantify as there was so much on and it was a battle to either catch certain acts or get into the rooms they were playing in as some were cramped/crammed by the time you’d arrive. The exception was the main Nissen hut/stage which was big enough to accommodate many and came into its own once the sun went down and the projections kicked in. In the Psyché Tropes room, Sculpture rocked as they always do and Howlround with Merkaba Macabre in a tape loop/modular synth soundclash definitely blew the cobwebs away and probably affected the baby swallows in the nest up in the rafters forever. The Castles In Space room was rammed for Polypores, The 12 Hour Foundation and Concretism and the Buried Treasure room hosted Ian Helliwell, Simon James and Soundhog whose set I caught the last part of with the memorable special lighting effect deployed during his ode to the Commodore 64. Add Andrea Parker playing an electronic pioneers set and Doug Shipton layering cosmic sounds in the main hut before a frankly terrifying performance by Lone Taximermist after which Steve Davis and myself closed things and this was still only half of what was on offer. You could have gone again and had a completely different festival so props to Alan Gubby for all his hard work making it one of the most memorable and manic line ups yet in the Delaware Road saga.

Andrea ParkerDR Andrea Parker
Doug Shipton
DR Doug Shipton

Polypores
DR Polyphores

The 12 Hour Foundation DR 12 Hr Foundation

I never did find out who this lot were but they seemed to play all over the place, Push and Neil from Electronic Sound magazine look on over the wall.DR unknown

Frances Castle from Clay Pipe Music exhibiting her wares DR Frances CastleFrances Castle prints 2Frances Castle prints

Ben SoundhogDR Ben Soundhog

Ian HelliwellDR Ian Heliwell

Simon JamesDR Simon James

Nick Taylor from Spectral Studio exhibiting his workDR Nick Taylor printsDR Nick Taylor

Howlround and Psyché Tropes DR Howlround + Psyche Tropes

Sculpture DR Sculpture

A short blast from their set at this link https://www.facebook.com/strictly.kev/videos/10156224556540025/

Steve Davis and yours truly courtesy of Robin The Fog
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Steve having a wail of a time closing the festival.
DR Steve Davis

Last call for Delaware Road tickets – this Saturday it all happens

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(above) The line up for Saturday’s event, I’ll be on before Steve Davis, playing acid/kraut/electronica to get you moving.
(below) Event guides, one for each audience member. Some ticket options have now sold out. Visit FIXR, Bandcamp or Ticket Tailor for availability:

Ticket Tailor: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/thedelawareroad/212840
FIXR: https://fixr.co/event/839412645
Bandcamp: https://buriedtreasure.bandcamp.com/merch/the-delaware-road-2019-festival-camping

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(below) Exclusive Spectral Studio merch by Nick Taylor, available at the event, there should be plenty of goodies for sale so bring cash (no wi-fi on site so no card payments) and Frances Castle of Clay Pipe Music will be selling her wares too.

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Music Declares Emergency

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Proud to add my name to this new initiative by the UK music industry calling on the government to recognise and act on climate change/emergency whilst attempting to minimize current impacts created by our sector. For more info.

Completely separately, yesterday I stumbled across this online resource, Anything But Plastic which has alternatives to everyday household items I’d not even considered replacing with greener alternatives.

I currently use Naked Larder for package-free shopping on certain items – you sign up, order from them once a month (minimum order £25) then book a pick up time to collect your order in your own containers.

And to the eBay user who gave me my first negative feedback in 18 years because I used recycled packaging to send him his record – F**K YOU!

Chanctonbury Rings album by Justin Hopper, Sharron Kraus & The Belbury Poly

Chanct CD front The newest release from Ghost Box is another leftfield curveball, even for a label so esoteric. In a scene currently awash with acts sporting tenuous back stories to the origins of their material (usually involving Satanic rituals, fictitious B-movie composers or uncovered master tapes), GB has unearthed a tale deeply rooted in UK history. In the South of England lies Chanctonbury Ring, an ancient site that contains a hill-fort and a ring of beech trees said to be haunted or the site of weird visitations. Scour the web and you’ll find numerous accounts of incidents said to have taken place there at different times of year from unnatural acts to strange sightings.

Chanct CD insideJustin Hopper, an American writer based in the UK, takes us on a journey to the Rings where several occurrences make his trip more than a quiet ramble in the countryside. His soft American accent is in stark contrast to the very British history and myth he explores but it works and bears repeated listens. Accompanying him musically is Sharron Kraus, folk singer and multi-instrumentalist who has previously appeared on the final Other Channels 7″ release from the label. I can’t say I was a huge fan of that release personally so I approached this album with some trepidation but needn’t have worried as, aided by Belbury Poly aka Jim Jupp, she fleshes out Justin’s observations beautifully with just enough to evoke the scenes he’s witnessing.

Chanct CD disc

Much like the best examples of Mike Mignola‘s original Hellboy comics, where ancient local myths and locations are explored in silent panels before a big reveal, Chanctonbury Rings, weaves its tale over 16 short chapters/tracks that work best as a whole rather than singularly. Listened to in one continuous, seamless sitting it has some genuinely affecting moments and I wasn’t expecting to be so easily transported to the South Downs whilst sitting at a computer in my concrete residence in such a busy city. The album explores and unsettles as it unfolds and I imagine would be quite the companion in headphones on a walk through the countryside it describes. Top marks to all involved for pushing out of the usual comfort zone but still exploring the essence of the hauntology genre the label is known for.
Pre-order it here: LP/CD/DL
Chanct CD back

To launch the above album, Ghost Box and Trunk records are holding an incredible gig on June 21st in London, featuring Justin and Sharron performing live, Pye Corner Audio, The Soundcarriers soundtracking a Julian House film, Jonny Trunk and Robin The Fog playing original Basil Kirchin tapes, a Wisbey request set, DJ sets, T-shirt printing, food and an exhibition of Clay Pipe Music artwork.

GB Summer Solstice poster

Delaware Road festival updates

The Delaware Road event in August continues to ramp up the line up as word gets around about it with more announcements to come. This will be a truly unique event, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale before. Transplant yourself to a secluded army base in the middle of the Salisbury countryside for over 12 hours of sonic, audio visual and performance-based adventures in sight and sound with a who’s who of the current crop of leftfield electronic, weird, and experimental practitioners working on the margins today. Buried Treasure, the label who hosted the last two experiences, have put together a mix showcasing some of the acts playing.

Tickets are available for the event, including group and camping options and follow the Facebook event for updates and competitions to win tickets and packages of merch from some of the featured acts and labels.

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