Third Man Record pressing plant

Jack White‘s Third Man Records just opened a brand new record pressing plant in Detroit, featuring eight completely new record presses, the first new ones to be built in decades. The attention to detail is stunning from the label branding on the employees’ uniform to the work space mural created by a local artist Robert Sestock (that’s him by his mural below). That someone as successful as White visibly invests so much into such a business (both his and the music industry) and the city, which desperately needs such investment, to the benefit of so many is admirable. The plant is a work of art and Third Man will go down as one of the great labels when the history books are written. Loads more info at Third Man Records‘ site.

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Ghost In The Shell posters

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Some really nice Ghost In The Shell posters appearing recently. Still don’t know what to make of it from the trailer, it looks great but it seems to have all the hallmarks of any number of Hollywood blockbusters. That could just be the way the trailer was cut though. At least they don’t have one of those classic 80s pop songs reinterpreted in an emo style in it.

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An Ambient Evening with the Orb and friends

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I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be part of The Orb‘s ‘An Ambient Evening…’ at the Royal Festival Hall on April 21st alongside The Orb (of course) Youth, Roger Eno, Metamono, Gaudi, George Holt (Cakelab), Micheal Johnson (The Book & Record Bar) and more. As part of the ever-growing local South London crew that have gravitated to the West Norwood Broadcasting Company (WNBC) operating out of The Book & Record Bar, Alex Paterson invited us to be a part of the evening to showcase some of the people within this community. Tickets are on sale now .

Not only that, Pete W (Out Of The Wood radio/WNBC) and myself will be unveiling the first outing of our new venture into sight and sound: Further.

Further letters logo
We’ve been kicking this idea around since last summer, wanting to create a space where music and visuals come together in different social settings to form an environment with as much emphasis on the visual as the musical. We’ve gathered an arsenal of analogue kit to make this happen, multiple slide and oil projectors, 3″ cassette effects and all manner of antique controllers to trigger them, with the aim of going back to some of the pre-digital practices that are being lost as we advance into a virtual world. It’s also a chance to showcase the kind of music we’ve been playing in the record shop, on the radio show and in venues like Spiritland over the past year or more – a willfully obscure blend of anything goes from the deepest, unexplored corners of our record collections.
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The idea is to install Further into different places, working with different layouts to make each one different and fresh. Musical and visuals guests will be invited and given space to do their thing and and we’ll provide the environment for them to fit into. Think the 60s UFO club meets a 70s Arts Lab meets the 90s Land of Oz nights with a leftfield audio/visual agenda. We’re currently talking to various different people about the possibilities of staging one of these events in their venue so if you think this could work for you then please get in touch: [email protected]

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Ali Wade & Ambigraph video

Ali Wade – ‘Breccia’ (fd004) from Frequency Domain on Vimeo.

Fantastic video by my friend Ameet Hindocha aka Ambigraph and Ali Wade for the track ‘Breccia’ from his album ‘Geomorphology’ – released late last year of Frequency Domain. Also check this beautiful piece of work by Ali for Anthony Child on the same label.

Anthony Child – ‘Caught Dreaming In A Perfect Past’ (fd003) from Frequency Domain on Vimeo.

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What is The Delaware Road?

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The Delaware Road currently exists in several forms; an actual road in London where the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop was originally situated, a compilation released in 2015 by the Buried Treasure label and a multi-faceted performance piece based around a story created by the label’s founder, Alan Gubby and David Yates aka Dolly Dolly. The Radiophonic connection is no coincidence, being that the piece that ties the music contained on the album and play together is loosely based on two key figures working at the BBC Workshop at the height of its powers. Gubby describes it as, “…a work of fiction based on actual events & some unusual anecdotes gathered whilst researching for archived electronic tape music albums released in recent years”.

The story is situated in London, the possibilities of technology and tape are being stretched by inquiring minds and the swinging sixties are upon us. “Two pioneering musicians compose electronic themes for television & radio. They discover a recording that leads to a startling revelation about their employer. Fascinated by the occult nature of the tape they conduct a studio ritual that will alter their lives forever.” Add in dashes of psychedelics, orgies, spirits summoned via stone tape theories and the relentless march of progress and you have the ingredients for a wild ride through the middle of 20th century London, from analogue to digital as the 80s approach and new ways replace old.

The live staged version of the concept album is narrated by the incredible Dolly Dolly, sitting stage right at his desk throughout the performance, suit and tie in place, illuminated by a single anglepoise lamp. His earnest delivery ties the acts together that sonically illustrate the different chapters in the piece, his speeches becoming more animated as the story progresses, enhanced by oil and video projections. The first performance was held at the South Street Arts Centre in Reading and featured a host of acts using tape manipulation, analogue synths, ancient percussion and home-made electronic devices, each in roughly chronological order as the years played out. There was even some jazz on the menu and the whole thing was book-ended by Jonny Trunk and Pete Wiggs playing suitably-themed tunes for the occasion, I covered the night for Shindig! magazine at the time and you can read my review here.

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The album suffered distribution problems upon initial release, as did other Buried Treasure output, but a new deal should mean greater availability and a re-release is planned, there’s even talk of some kind of illustrated version too with various artists being commissioned to bring scenes to life. I can’t recommend the record enough as it perfectly soundtracks the piece put together to showcase it and there’s nary a bad tune in its 20 tracks. Listen to it and buy via Bandcamp.

Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this now as a second performance will be taking place on July 28th, this time at the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker site in Essex. Tickets are on sale now but places are limited, there’s even a chance to book a place on a double-decker bus that will take you to the venue from the nearby Brentwood station and discounts for groups of four people. I’m also delighted to reveal that I will be opening and closing the event in a DJ capacity too! I’ll be bringing visuals and delving into my collection for a suitable selection to mark the occasion.
Follow the event and the bands playing it on Facebook, this is going to be a very special evening.
The line up so far is: DOLLY DOLLY, HOWLROUND, TELEPLASMISTE (Mark O Pilkington & Michael J York), RADIONICS RADIO, IAN HELLIWELL, GLITCH, SAUNDERS & HILL, CONCRETISM, SIMON JAMES (The Simonsound), THE TWELVE HOUR FOUNDATION, LOOSE CAPACITOR, DJ FOOD.

Delaware poster

Daydreaming with UNKLE exhibition at the Lazarides Gallery

F2T5The James Lavelle-curated Daydreaming with UNKLE show opened last night at the Lazarides Gallery in London. Full of original Futura 2000 and 3D canvases, prints, toys and record sleeves, video rooms and virtual reality headsets. The last was heavily oversubscribed so I didn’t get a look but Doug Foster’s arched videos accompanying new UNKLE material were beautiful, enhanced by a mirrored floor which gave the work another dimension. Favourite exhibit was the robotic Pointman figure from the 2010 video to ‘Runaway’. The show is on until February 23rd, worth it just to see the many iconic Futura pieces that have graced so many MoWax sleeves.

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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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John Jacobs – Inside TV VHS collage, 1984

After the amazing feast that was Foetus on Triple J – the John Jacobs plunderphonic interview with JG Thirwell from 1986 on Tim Ritchie‘s show – we rewind even further back to 1984. In a continuing series of lost Antipodean radio-phonic works unearthed by DJ HDD, and preceding a series entitled The Worx, we have another Jacobs piece, ‘Inside TV‘.
“A comedic cut-up/critique of Australian television thrown together by John Jacobs with a pair of domestic VHS decks… The edits are rough and jumpy, an analogue pause-button aesthetic. The sync rolls, the loops swing. The image is smeared and lurid as it goes down the grimey tube of VHS generations. Not having any outlet for these pre-Internet video cutups, John took the moniker ‘Built in Ghosts’ and secretly dubbed them back onto the ends of hire tapes for random late-night discovery by fellow video junkies.
Hopefully more to come…

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