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.

Delaware poster +CD

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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Howlround ‘A Creak In Time’ LP and film


I’ve been looking forward to this since I had a sneak peak about a month ago, the new Howlround album is also the soundtrack to a film called ‘A Creak in Time’. Two years in the making, “A Creak In Time is a film directed by Steven McInerney exploring the interrelation of the macrocosm and microcosm navigating its journey through time in two parts. The soundtrack has been composed entirely from creaking objects and manipulated on magnetic tape machines.”
The film is “…Taken from source material discovered in London, Yosemite and the Mojave desert, these sounds, through simple manipulation, gradually cast off their moorings and head into space, leaving their original identities far behind and chiming perfectly with the film’s recurring themes of transformation and altered perception, switching scale in a heartbeat from microscopic topography to the vast distances of the cosmos. Shot entirely on 16mm film with a musique concréte soundtrack, it’s both science and fiction and marks a dramatic new direction for all involved”.

Howlround CreakLP
Available to pre-order on McInerney‘s audio-visual Psyché Tropes label now, the LP comes with a download and link to an online stream of the full film. You can order it here or, if you want to see it and hear Howlround live they’re playing a launch party in London on Dec 10th at Iklectik as part of Pascal Savy‘s two day residence. The night after they’ll be doing a more traditional tape loop set at the Brunel Museum as part of the Film Sound Performance weekend – more info and tickets here (no tickets on the door).

Colossus – The Forbin Project screenshots

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A great film about an American AI super computer that holds its creator and the human race to ransom for its own good. Some great cinematography and a cracking score by Michel Colombier (as yet unreleased), recommended viewing but a tale that could easily become reality all too soon. Maybe it’s what we need right now though?

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