Thursday, October 23, 2014


Robin the Fog  a/k/a Howlround - of Ghosts of Bush renown -  has a new record entitled Torridon Gate, 23 minutes of spectral splendour made entirely out of sounds produced from a garden gate! 

Purchase it here

From the press release: 

All of the music on this album was created from a single recording of a front garden gate on Torridon Road in Hither Green, London. These sounds were captured using a contact microphone and processed, looped and edited on three reel-to-reel tape machines with all electronic effects or artificial reverb strictly forbidden....  In an age where one can create all manner of electronic music with a simple swipe of a mouse, Howlround prove not only how much fun is to be had in making things complicated again, but conversely just how little effort is sometimes needed to create a genuinely uncanny and beguiling soundworld: the rough underbelly of our pristine, Pro-Tools universe.”

"Available now in a series of four beautiful limited editions from A Year In the Country, the label and blog that has developed a cult following through its continuous “searching for an expression of an underlying unsettledness to the English bucolic countryside dream”.Each edition - Night, Day, Dawn and Dusk - comes with a selection of unique custom printed, hand-finished  artwork and packaging. The Night edition also includes a selection of badges, alongside sections of the original tape loops used to make the album."

I asked Robin to clarify the "no artifical FX" thing and he said that while "it does sound as if we used lots of them during the making of this album - I wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't been there making it!", nothing digital or plug-ins-y was applied:  "the echo and feedback you hear is a basic aux send and return to another tape machine, allowing us to feed the sound back into itself. I suppose you could argue that the end result is a similar effect to reverb, but the important thing to bear in mind is that - unlike reverb - nothing is being added. All  the sounds were created by their manipulation on reel-to-reel tape...."

Well, it's an amazing achievement, sort of like the missing link between Ekoplekz and On Land, or  Stahlmusik gaseously expanded into Kosmische Musik. 

                                             [photo nicked off A Year in the Country blog]  

Torridon Gate -- oddly, the German for gate is "tor". Or rather, it's one of several German words for different kinds of gate.  I went with Gatter, for Gatterkomposition, because of the proximity to the English and also the echo of Ms Gately. But strictly speaking, "garden gate" is pforte - which aptly sounds like a musical instruction on a score, or a compression of pianoforte.