Flexibition 2018: Aver, Soho Radio and Wobbly Sounds

Not much flexi disc action this year aside from the odd purchase here and there but there has been a flurry of activity of late regarding our flexible friends.

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First up, Aver from The Natural Curriculum contacted me with a super limited lathe cut flexi promo from his new album, ‘Dressed For CCTV’ – out today. The track is cut onto x-rays of his dad’s broken pelvis from an accident years ago, each one is unique and you can see the various different cuts on his Instagram. There’s only one feature on his largely instrumental album but it’s a big one, Cappo – say no more. You can get the album here

Next up, earlier this week I joined Stephen and Paul of X-Ray Audio fame at Soho Radio to pre-record a one hour show all about flexi discs. We were also accompanied by Barry Cain, one of the original publishers of Flexipop magazine, the anarchic early 80s pop monthly that came with a free disc each issue containing exclusive music from some very big artists of the day (The Jam, Adam & The Ants, Soft Cell, The Cure, Spandau Ballet…).

We all bought a handful of favourite flexi’s to play and Barry showed us a super rare promo compilation of some of the flexi’s the mag had featured, cut onto a vinyl LP. The programme will air mid November as part of a week-long residency by the X-Ray Audio team including five themed shows and an installation in the front of the station.

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Lastly, I’m pleased to be involved with a forthcoming book from Four Corners Books called ‘Wobbly Sounds’ which will form part of their Irregulars series of esoteric collections. Jonny Trunk (Trunk Records), Shane Quentin (Garden of Earthly Delights) and myself have pooled our collections of UK-manufactured flexi discs for a selection of these playable plastic curios and it should be out in the Spring next year.

New mix for The Word radio show Brokers

I was asked to contribute a guest mix to Belgian radio show Brokers on The Word radio station in Brussels, which just aired on Monday morning. It’s a little glimpse into what’s currently floating my boat from recent releases with the odd old gem thrown in for good measure.

Hinterhof – Molecular Love With A Molecular Sound (Deep Distance)
Trevor Jackson – Machine Worshippers (Pre_)
Correlations – Resistance Is Underground (Spun Out OF Control)
Todd Rundgren – Born To Synthesize
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Version 4.2) (Electronic Sound)
The Tomorrow Syndicate – A Glitch In Time (Polytechnic Youth)
Kallaste Elektrooniline Muusika – Pohjast Pinnani Aina Lomalla)
Silke Schwinger und Fatty George – Sexsong (Digitone)
Concretism – Black Special (Castles In Space)
The Tomorrow Syndicate – Altered State (Polytechnic Youth)
Rodinia – Neusi (Now Again)
Nicola Spiromarino – Senza Titolo Uno (Delights)
Popera Cosmic – Batman (Finders Keepers)
Silke Schwinger und Fatty George – SchluBmusik (Digatone)
The The – Occupy Your Mind (Lazarus)
The Natural Yoghurt Band – Satellites (Black Milk Music)
Embryo – Tausendfussler (Wah Wah)
Popera Cosmic – Etreinte Metronomique (Finders Keepers)
Nicola Spiromarino – Senza Titolo Due (Delights)

Rat Records instore to mark Pete’s last day


A little 7″ only set I did instore at my local, Rat Records in Camberwell, this summer to mark Pete’s last day after working there for years. It was sweltering hot and we were all dripping with sweat but it was a fun, laid back day just hanging out and drinking on a Saturday. Rat is one of my favourite record shops in London, always something new in there to find, cheap prices and weekly rack restocks keep me coming back regularly.

Spun Out of Control label

SOOC frontThe Spun Out Of Control label  – purveyors of limited cassettes featuring synth-heavy soundtracks to real and imaginary films – has started releasing vinyl. The first is a reissue of Steve Nolan‘s ‘Sodium Party’ soundtrack, originally the third release from the label in 2016 and the second, a new outing by Correlations, ‘Aftermath’, a sort of follow up to his previous ‘Night Acquisitions’ album of last summer. This release features a few names familiar to readers of this blog, Simon James (The Simonsound / Akiha Den Den) and Pablo Clements (The Psychonauts / Toydrum) both contribute on certain tracks and the whole album is mastered by the busiest man in electronic music, Jon Brooks.

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Musically the label leans towards synths and dark ambience in the Carpenter/Howarth, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream vein without sounding completely retro. With over 20 releases in under three years, usually limited to 100 copies, the label is just testing the water with vinyl. Their latest tape arrives this weekend for Cassette Store Day in the shape of Stefan Bachmeier‘s ‘The Infernal Machine’. Hiding behind a back story of an author who wrote soundtracks to accompany his books and then disappeared leaving his tapes to Stephen Buckley (Polypores), this is the second of Bachmeier’s archive excavations, with a beautiful clockwork skull in pink and green cover.

Infernal tape

If you’re looking at the Bandcamp page and wondering where to start I can recommend the Correlations and Bachmeier releases obviously, the Jan Borré and Turquoise Moon too, ‘WASP’ by Bryce Miller, Steve Nolan and the Repeated Viewing releases have some great moments too and that’s about as far as I’ve dug in so far. The design for the label is spot on too (yes, that’s a real obi strip, not printed on the sleeve), provided by Eric Adrian Lee who has the whole Mondo / Deathwaltz horror genre down pat with his beautiful work. Check more of it here.

Infernal tape inside

New music recommends Sept / Oct

Conversation

There’s a lot of great music coming out at the moment so I thought I’d stick it all in one post.
Above is Trunk’s reissue of David Shire‘s ‘The Conversation’, a minimal piano-led score available on vinyl for the first time. Initial ‘transparent overcoat’ copies are already scarce and completely sold out at the label but some shops may have them, otherwise it’s standard black vinyl only, no download on this one.

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One of my favourite artist discoveries of the year so far is Regal Worm aka Jarrod from I Monster / Cobalt Chapel. His new album, ‘Pig Views’ is a contemporary prog masterpiece as is its forerunner, ‘Use & Ornament’check out his Bandcamp page and dive into the world of Regal Worm.

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After buying the initial yellow CD version of ‘System’ from Trevor Jackson at the Indie Label Market earlier this year I’ve been playing it non-stop at home. I’m glad he didn’t leave it to languish as just a limited edition CD because the reworked white design must be contender for one of the best-looking releases of the year and musically it’s too good to only be heard by the few. Some of the most sublime techno you’ll hear this year, I think the 2nd edition CD is sold out but there are still some cassettes left.

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Markey Funk‘s Delights label releases its tenth serving in two weeks time and this one’s from a mystery artist, Nicola Spiromarino, with two slices of giallo soundtrack electronica and beats, a top notch release, both tracks killer, let’s hope there’s more to come. Pre-order here

Nicola Spiromarino

A new release from Dinked Records sees Run DMC‘s Hair-sampling, Pete Rock & CL Smooth-featuring ‘Down With The King’ paired with an instrumental in a beautiful gatefold sleeve (perfect for storing doubles if that’s your thing).   Pre order now

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Buried Treasure come up trumps with a comp of Amphonic & Soundstage library music, ‘Moodsetters’,  featuring Keith Mansfield, Alan Parker, Paddy Kingsland, Jim Lawless and the Art of Noise‘s Anne Dudley among others. Library seems to be the word at the moment with the recent KPM Allstars gig, the release of the Library Music Film that Shawn Lee’s been making for years + forthcoming complimentary compilation as well as a companion disc to the recent ‘Unknown Sounds’ book about to hit.

Moodsetters

Finders Keepers, always with one foot in the opposite direction, release the excellent ‘Popera Cosmic ‘Les Esclaves’ French musical concept album from 1970 and adds a no-stone-unturned account of its genesis and demise, penned as ever by that fount of all leftfield musical knowledge, Andy Votel.

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Julius Vanderbilt has so far (to my knowledge) only cropped up as a footnote on the LP by The Dandelion Set, A Thousand Strands’ (seriously – grab a copy of this, there are a handful left, it’s the ‘Dr Z’ of 30 years time plus it’s great!). Julius may or may not be closely related to a member of the Set and he’s released a cassette and CD of library (it’s that word again) cues in a beautiful little package called ‘Action Catalyst’. Purchase herewith.

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And last but not least (because I’ve devoted a whole other post to the label but you might not see that) Spun Out of Control, the limited edition cassette label specializing in real and imagined soundtracks, has started pressing vinyl!

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Howlround & Steven McInerney – A Creak Retimed

This is a bit special – Howlround’s ‘A Creak In Time’ soundtrack to Steven McInerney‘s film of the same name – remixed both aurally and visually. The third release on Steven’s Psyché Tropes label, it features exclusive new tracks by Howlround, Dan Hayhurst, Tom White, Merkaba Macabre and Ian Helliwell. 180g Toxic Yellow LP, available now in a limited edition of 275.
The film component has been reworked from 16mm film reels that didn’t make the final cut, resulting in a zero waste film project.‍‍‍ The album features two exclusive Howlround tracks, one brand new composition and one outtake from the original sessions.

Markey Funk DJ sets in London, Sept 2018

Further 15th Sept-21WarmGlowOur friend Markey Funk stopped off with us for a few days mid September in the middle of his annual Delights tour and played three sets in London – two of which were recorded and posted here for your perusal. His opening set at Further will have to remain in the the memory of those who were there but the next day he graced the decks at the Book & Record Bar for WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood radio show. Made up of tunes from his set vs tunes he’d picked up along the way, it’s 2 hours of treats and he left a bunch of his Delights releases with the shop if you want to pick them up in London.

Markey@Spiritland

After a quick dig through the shop and some late lunch we headed to Kings Cross and Spiritland for a 4.5 hr set stretching into the evening. Monday saw us outside Rat Records in Camberwell at opening time and then back off to West Norwood for a proper dig at the BARB, opened specially for Markey on Michael’s day off.

Markey@RatRecords
After lunch it was into Soho for a look in Reckless and coffee with Shindig magazine’s Paul Osborne and then back to mine for a breather after the whirlwind three days. It was great to catch up, show him some London spots and play host, our whole reason for doing Further that weekend centered around the fact that Markey was coming to the UK and looking for a London gig.

Acid House 7″ mix #3 for 45 Live

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It’s my turn again to provide a guest mix for the 45 Live radio show, hosted by Greg Belson and featuring only music played from 7″ vinyl. As usual I wanted to stray from the path and have been digging hard to find rare or obscure acid house singles that either I or 45 Live co-founder, Pete Isaac, haven’t played before on our 303-heavy mixes. Pete and I have been collecting acid 45s alongside one another for the last few years now and a healthy competition has developed between us in finding tunes from this tiny niche. But it’s a microscopic playing field, even counting today’s modern acid scene, and only numbers in the hundreds of releases on the 7″ format. It’s heartening to see current labels like BBE and Get On Down finally putting some classic house and acid gems on 45 in recent months to add to this finite corner of the digging world.

My first all-7″ acid mix was for the I Love Acid radio show a couple of years ago, the second for 45 Live last year and for this third outing I’ve spent months finding euro oddities from the 80s to give an authentic period mix – the one exception being the lead track, Mr. Fingers’ ‘Washing Machine’, which was first released in 1986 but not issued on 7″ until 2018. All other tracks featured were released in ’87, ’88 or ’89 with one lone 1990 release (ACR’s ‘Good Together’ which first appeared on a stamped pink label 12″ in ’89). At times I’ve felt like I’m scraping the barrel but there’s always an unexpected gem to be found where you least expect it.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned whilst digging for acid 45s over the years:
Most of them originate in the UK or Europe, there weren’t many US 7″s pressed as it was the longer running 12″ that was the most ideal format. Because the music charted heavily in the UK, record labels pressed 7″s with edited versions of many releases into the early 90s when they were eventually replaced by CD singles around ’92/’93. You can also find a limited supply of rave 45s fairly easily but by the time jungle happened they were a dead format for dance music save for the odd magazine freebie.

In Belgium, Spain, Italy and Germany there was a small industry in copycat cash-in singles feeding off the MARRS ‘Pump Up The Volume’ / Bomb The Bass ‘Beat Dis’ / Coldcut ‘Doctorin’ The House’ / S-express style of cut-up house, often using whatever synths they could find to emulate the Roland TB-303 acid sound. All these singles are peppered with ‘enjoy this trip’ radio announcer-style samples, Run DMC ‘ah yeah’s’ or ‘check this out’s’ and cries of ‘acieeeeeed’ if they were released in ’88. They must have all been sampling from the same sources and, with only a few exceptions, these records are universally awful, have smiley’s on their sleeves and have dated horrendously.

For a short period of time in the late 80s it seemed that any old pop act got an acid makeover – Bros, Bananarama, Yazz, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Army of Lovers, even Sam Fox got into the act (‘Love House’ – the ‘Sulphuric Mix’ is actually passable). There are all sorts of acid mixes hidng on the B-sides of British pop artists, by some of the greats of the house genre – Bam Bam, Adonis, DJ Pierre, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Kevin Saunderson all have some of their earliest major label remixes hidden away on singles by the most unlikely artists. Some of Saunderson’s first remixes were for the Wee Papa Girl Rappers (‘Heat It Up’, ‘We Know It’ and ‘Blow The House Down’ alongside Adonis) and he also serviced Neneh Cherry, Paula Abdul, Sam Fox and Loose Ends.
Bam Bam – of acid classics ‘Where’s Your Child and ‘Give It To Me’ – had his fingers in many pies remixing Coldcut, Yazz, The Shamen (years before their 90s pop success) and most bizarrely, Brass Construction.

Ex-Frankie Goes To Hollywood backing singer, Paul Rutherford, had some of the best acid makeovers for his debut single, ‘Get Real’, produced not by natives of Detroit or Chicago but by Martin Fry and Mark White aka Sheffield’s ABC! Of the three 12″ versions of the single out there the rare nine minute ‘Hardcore’ mix is the best but hardest to find as it was pressed with the ‘Sinister’ mix label and cover and you can only tell a copy by checking the matrix number on the run out groove. I’m betting Hardlfoor heard this mix before writing their huge ‘Acperience’ track years later.

But we’re straying from the subject of the 7″ – typically, few of these remixes made it to the 45 version but occasionally one would turn up on a foreign pressing. There’s an acid version of a worldwide late 80’s hit that exists only on one of two different french pressings that’s so far alluded me, the differences between the versions being so minescule that most sellers simply list the wrong version when it comes up for sale. By 1990 things had died down as the fad had passed in the fast-moving world of dance music and Hip House and the Italo sound replaced the unfashionable acid squiggle and smiley. But it had made its mark, the Madchester scene, Deee-lite and Screamadelica were all products of acid house and the Dutch and Germans sped up the tempo and pushed it into new forms of techno throughout the 90s. I already have nearly enough 45s for a 90s-00s acid mix but this new one is possibly my last word in 80s era cuts save for a handful of singles that I’ve yet to find.

The 45 Live Radio show airs twice a month on a Friday night from dublab in LA but you can catch up from their Mixcloud page or subscribe through iTunes. Much love to DJ Greg Belson for hosting and curating it over the last three years and Pete and Scott for steering the 45 live ship.

 

Trevor Jackson ‘System’ album

System CD yellow

Back in May I bought the yellow/orange version of this album direct from Trevor at the Indie Label Market from an edition of 150 copies, now he’s released it fully in a revised edition (the music is the same, just the packaging is new) and it’s debatable which is nicer. The cool, clean white / clear of the new edition nearly had me buying the CD again but I went for the cassette instead. This is the last release on his Pre_ label of archive music solely made by himself over the last 15 odd years and this one is excellent. As of writing there are only 10 copies of the CD left on Bandcamp – be quick

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Further preview radio show

It’s less than a week until the next Further at the Portico Gallery, and i’ve has put a special preview together of the acts playing for the Out Of The Wood radio show on WNBC.London.


The first hour consists of a primer for special guests The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk followed by a selection of Boards of Canada – the subject matter for my ‘O Is For Orange’ audio visual performance. Finishing with the kind of eclectic set co-host Pete Williams will be spinning in the last half hour, you get the gist of the sounds going down this Saturday 15th in West Norwood.

Add copious amounts of retina-singeing visuals, the Karminsky’s giving away copies of their new VR glasses (see above) and tasty local food on sale via the Pimento ’62 people (see menu below) and you get the idea about what to expect. Final batch of tickets for Sept 15th available here.

Sculpture ‘Nearest Neighbour’ short and remix

I know I post about Sculpture a lot but I just cannot get my head round how they do some of their stuff – this video has so much work in it that my brain hurts. The comic of the album gets the animated treatment with a couple of tracks from the album including ‘Nite Flight’, my favourite. Listen and buy a copy on cassette or DL here as well as this free remix

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The Karminsky Experience Inc. See Inside VR glasses freebies at Further

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We’re really excited to be hosting The Karminsky Experience Inc. for a DJ set at Further on Sept 15th but got even more excited when they revealed that they’d be giving away some of these VR viewers to punters at the gig too. This pair of Cardboard VR glasses, beautifully illustrated by Dry British, lets you view their new 360 degree film to go with ‘See Inside’ from their last LP, ‘Beat’ which they should also have copies of on sale. I’m told this will be the first time you’ll be able to get your hands on these beauties but numbers will be limited.

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After extracting and assembling the glasses, you scan the QR code on the side with your phone or find the video on YouTube via the URL they provide – adjust the settings accordingly, press play and pop the phone into the viewer. From then on you’re taken into a Karminsky world whilst the music plays and you look around. Obviously it’s impossible to convey in writing, you really have to experience it first hand. Come along and maybe you can have a Karminsky Experience of your own.
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Tickets for Sept 15th w. The Karminsky’s, Markey Funk (Delights), Pete WIlliams and myself are available here.

Further 2 at the Portico Gallery, November 2017


Seeing as I never got round to posting these at the time (I moved house the week after) and with a new event upon us in a month’s time, here’s a quick look back at the last Further at the Portico Gallery, November 2017 with guests Sculpture and Simon James (The Simonsound). Photos by Martin LeSanto-Smith and myself

Simon James at the Buchla 200e Electric Music Box


Here’s a film of Simon’s performance by his brother, Curtis James

Simon James Buchla 200e performance at Further from Simon James on Vimeo.

The record and merch stall was kindly provided by Michael and Dorian from the local Book & Record Bar



Sculpture at soundcheck and during their performance

Tickets for the next one – Sept 15th, 2018 with myself, Pete WIlliams, The Karminsky Experience Inc. and Markey Funk (Delights) are available here.

Aphex Twin advert at Elephant & Castle station

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This is last week’s news now but I finally found myself in Elephant & Castle underground station this week and went in search of the Aphex Twin adverts that had appeared the previous Monday. Nestling in a corridor near the lifts below the shopping centre end of the station are the two op-art-esque logos, seemingly tiled into the wall although closer inspection reveals a carefully designed paste on advert like any other, just with special attention made to the scale of the tiles being rendered.

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AFX cornerIt really is a great example of advertising assimilated into its environment and having all the more impact for it, it’s beautifully done, even if whoever pasted it up couldn’t quite be bothered to line the tiles up on the right hand side (see above). Other, similar designs also started popping up in other countries too, follow #3 aka Paul Nicholson, the original logo designer, for pictures and locations.

By now we know that this was advance warning of a new release, the ‘Collapse’ EP, scheduled for release on Warp mid September on vinyl, CD, cassette and limited foil-covered 12″ which intrigues me the most because the French company who used to produce those foil sheets you sometimes see on old record sleeves went out of business about a decade ago. Someone must have found a way to make them again and it’s a custom Aphex logo design rather than a pattern, very interesting…

Anyway – there’s a new video by Weirdcore that references the design above and the various formats can be pre-ordered here. (Beware – really awful website design alert – probably intentional)

With odd timing I’m pulling my Selected Aphex Works AV set out of retirement this weekend for an outing at the Space Theatre in Bangor, N. Ireland so I’m including the new video in the mix and then also playing a bonus club set at The Hop House nearby afterwards.

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Further returns Sept 15th

Further 3 Portico poster

Further returns to its spiritual home at the Portico Gallery for another night of Light, Sound & Design.

Markey Funk flys in from Jerusalem to present his take on the heavy fuzz and psych sounds coming from his Delights label.
I’ll be bringing my AV ode to Boards of CanadaO Is For Orange – to the big screens with exclusive visual extras.
The Karminsky Experience Inc. grace the decks with their selection of swinging library, soundtrack and beatnik grooves.
And just when you think you’ve heard it all, Pete WIlliams pulls out those special audio treats he’s been hoarding for just this occasion, all accompanied by the sensory overload of the Further slide, oil and video projections.

Delicious food will be available from Pimento ’62 Catering and a fully licensed bar.

V. ltd. early bird tickets available here now!

Tomorrow Syndicate poster and LP

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Fantastic artwork by Nick Taylor on the new Tomorrow Syndicate album and promo poster. You can get both from the band’s Bandcamp page – the poster is A2 and in the merch section but the album is only available in digital form frustratingly. Much as I love the music Polytechnic Youth are putting out, they don’t make it easy to actually buy it. Small runs are sold via pre-order from their Facebook page with no audio previews and few represses, you have to be quick and, as the label gains popularity, if you’re not on the web when pre-orders go up then you have to chance your luck with mail order from the likes of Monorail or Norman Records. Still, it makes it all the more fun and precious when you do manage to get one. The album’s great and takes in most of their previously released tracks (two 7″s and a VHS) with nods to La Dusseldorf krautrock and Radiophonic Workshop spacey synth madness.

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