Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - Spring 2017

Lots of activity in the parish this spring! There's a new release from Patterned Air Recordings; the latest album from Keith Seatman; another themed compilation from A Year In The Country; and exciting news of an unusual live event organised by Buried Treasure - a name completely unfamiliar name to me, although it appears they have been quietly living in the parish for quite a time.  


In the current issue of the Wire, there's a write-up by yours truly of When It's Time To Let Go by Lo Five, a review that doubles up as a sort of quasi-profile of Patterned Air Recordings. As you're probably aware they put out three of my favorite long-players of 2016 (not bad going considering they were the label's first three releases and the sum total of their releases at that point!). The review explores the mystery of hauntology's uncanny persistence and also allowed me to think aloud about the issue of framing - how release-rationales and the conceptronica trend (which extends way beyond the H-zone) can be at once catalytic for creators, experience-expanding for listeners, but also runs the risk sometimes of confining the music's meaning-potential. Tricky one that, and something I have yet to resolve in my mind - I tend to take it on a case by case basis. But it does seem like there has been a bunch of music these last five or so years where the spiel surpasses the feel.  

The Lo Five album - another fine addition to the Patterned discography, and an unusual listen -  is out on April 14. But you can hear it now and pre-order


Also out in mid-April is the latest album from Keith Seatman - all hold hands and off we go.

Excellent stuff  from Mr Keith -  darker and more woozily abstract than his previous releases. 


Perhaps the most prolific of hauntology's second-wave labels, A Year In the Country has a new themed album, The Restless Field, for release on May 2nd: another exquisitely packaged affair with audio contributions from Patterned Air's Assembled Minds, Field Lines Cartographer, Vic Mars, Bare Bones, Grey Frequency, Endurance, Listening Center, Pulselovers, Sproatly Smith, Polypores, Depatterning, Time Attendant, and David Colohan.  

One of their best efforts so far, I think - murky and ominous as befits the guiding thematic: places that are spectrally imprinted with past conflicts and struggles. Particularly enjoyed the blackly buzzing pulsescape  of "Congested District" by Listening Center.

Release rationale: 

The Restless Field is a study of the land as a place of conflict and protest as well as beauty and escape; an exploration and acknowledgment of the history and possibility of protest, resistance and struggle in the landscape/rural areas, in contrast with often more referred to urban events.

It takes inspiration from flash points in history while also interweaving personal and societal myth, memory, the lost and hidden tales of the land.

References and starting points include: The British Miners Strike of 1984 and the Battle Of Orgreave. The first battle of the English Civil War in 1642. The burying of The Rotherwas Ribbon. The Mass Tresspass of Kinder Scout in 1932. Graveney Marsh/the last battle fought on English soil. Gerrard Winstanley & the Diggers/True Levellers in the 17th century. The Congested Districts Board/the 19th century land war in Ireland. The Battle Of The Beanfield in 1985.

Series statement:

The Restless Field is Released as part of the A Year In The Country project, a set of year long journeys; cyclical explorations of an motherly pastoralism, a wandering amongst subculture that draws from the undergrowth of the land – the patterns beneath the plough, pylons and amongst the edge lands.

Those wanderings take in the beauty and escape of rural pastures, intertwined with a search for expressions of an underlying unsettledness to the bucolic countryside dream.

It is sent out into the world in two different hand-crafted Night and Dawn editions, produced using archival giclée pigment inks; presenting and encasing their journey in amongst tinderboxes, string bound booklets and accompanying ephemera 


Word reaches me of a very special event this summer organised by Buried Treasure.

The Delaware Road takes place on July 28th at the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker - the lineup includes many well-known faces from around the parish (Robin the Fog's Howlround project, Britronica archaeologist Ian Helliwell, Concretism, Dolly Dolly, DJ Food) along with a number of names new to me (Telplasmiste, Loose Capacitor, The Mummers & the Pappers, Radionics Radio, The Twelve Hour Foundation, Glitch, Saunders & Hill). 

Tickets available here

Buried Treasure - founded by Alan Gubby - is also a label. Past releases include John Baker: The Vendetta Tapes - Incidental Music from the 1960s BBC TV Series and Other Radiphonics  and The Delaware Road, a compilation based around a narrative devised by Gubby and Dolly Dolly's David Yates that concerns a pair of Radiophonic-style pioneering electronic composers who "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."

Buried Treasure have released a whole bunch of stuff, it seems - including an anthology of works by Soviet psychotronic musician Yuri Morozov  and a pair of remixes of  Groundhogs mainman Tony McPhee's 1973 electrono-bluesrock stampede "The Hunt"

At the end of this month Buried Treasure are also releasing the new album by REVBJELDE, a foray through hinterzones of "industrial noise, motorik folk + jazz psych"

Uncanny persistence indeed...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Electronic Music From York



Verily a holy grail for electronic / tape-music collectors, but oddly unCreeled as yet:  Electronic Music From York, a 1973 triple LP box of pieces made at the University of York Electronic Music Studio.

I had a bash at virtually reconstructing it in its entirety, using the riches of the internet - and didn't get very far. 

At all.

Electronic Music From York tracklist

A1Andrew BentleyMoan

No luck
A2Martin GellhornCompression ICES '72

No luck
B1John CardaleDionysus

No luck 
B2Richard Orton (2)

       No Luck
C1Richard Orton (2)For The Time Being

No luck
C2Richard Orton (2)Clock Farm

No luck

however I do own a copy of this, so that's 
something I s'pose

D1    Martin Wesley-SmithMedia Music

No luck

D2Richard PickettLight Black

No luck 
ETrevor WishartMachine Part 1

Yes luck

F1Trevor WishartMachine Part 2

Yes luck
F2Trevor WishartMachine Part 3

Yes luck

The whole of Machine at the Other Minds


So that is  - Wishart aside - a complete bust. (And in fact I already had the

Paradigm reissue of Machine, so it's an even total-er fail)

If  you've got one 
(wheedling tone) do us a burn will ya?

However bits 'n' bobs from Electronic Music from York are said to be part of

this long mix (in two parts) called Epsilonia Mix: Trevor Wishart and Friends

It's an excellent listen (includes things from Trev's Journey Into SpaceRed Bird
Mouth MusicSing CircleBeach Singularity, etc + stuff from another incredibly
 rare release from York Electronic Studios, the more song-oriented 
All Day - York Pop Music Project.

 But be warned: nothing is identified or in discernible sequence so who knows
 how much or which components of the elusive triple LP are in here.

In my questings for properly tagged and identified Electronic Music From York 

tune-age I did find a few other  Wishart odds 'n' sods that I'm not certain I've got 
(got a lot - on CD too  - plus various stray internet gleanings).

This tune is from  Intregration, a cassette compilation  from the early Eighties
that minimal synth and DIY Anglotronica fiends regard highly. 

Now I think about it, I believe I do have this next one on disc, but what the hey, 

it's mad stuff, do give it a listen.

I also came across an an extensive obituary of Richard Orton.

However the other chaps on Electronic Music From York
Andrew Bentley, Martin Gelhorn, John Cardale, Richard Pickett and Martin Wesley-Smith - appear to be so obscure that they don't even have entries in Tape Leaders, last year's indispensable book about early  Brit electronic and concrete composers by Ian Helliwell - and that's a man who does love him some obscurity. 

In fact most of that lot don't seem to have composed anything else at all apart from the pieces on E.M.F.Y. 

Martin Wesley-Smith has left the most traceable spoor. 

Now Martin Gellhorn's piece "Compression ICES '72" derives part of its name from
International Carnival of Experimental Sound aka "ICES 72", an August 1972 avant-garde music
festival held at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London...

Poster design is by Gee Vaucher - yes, as in Crass.

Oh, for a time machine!

The festival is discussed at Other Minds - that's the  audio of an interview with ICES organiser Harvey Matusow done in the early 1970s,  by Charles Amirkhanian:  

"Featuring 46 concerts in 14 days, including marathon performances in an refurbished railroad roundhouse, a music train to Edinburgh, films, happenings, and performances by avant-garde artists, dancers, and musicians from around the world, ICES ‘72 could be considered as a spiritual progenitor of such extravagances as Burning Man. That it was the brain child of Matusow, (with help from John LIfton and the editors of “Source Magazine”), is of little surprise as the man was part clown, part con man, and full time promoter of all things weird and wonderful. Once known as the “most hated man in America” for his role in informing, or misinforming, on Communists, including Pete Seeger, during the McCarthy Era, Matusow was a consummate show man and artistic visionary. In this interview he describes the Carnival, and introduces a number of recordings from it, including two works featuring the electronic music of Takehisa Kosugi as well as a sort of classical muddley by the Portsmouth Sinfonia. The Sinfonia was formed by group of students at Portsmouth School of Art in Portsmouth, England, however, unlike most student orchestras this one required that all the participants either be untrained or at least playing an instrument with which they were unfamiliar, all with very predictable results. A further description of ICES ‘72 and a recording of many of the pieces performed at the Festival can be found at"

(There's an album of AMM's performance at ICES but that appears to be as far as Pogus got with releasing archival stuff from the festival - there's no ICES02 on their catalogue online at any rate.) 

Here's a thorough non-audio account of the event and its participant performers by Dave Thompson

And here's a 1972 Rolling Stone piece .

Now The Wire had a large feature by Julian Cowley on this festival and the improbable Mr Matusow several years ago, but I don't believe it is online. However they do have a little treasury of links.

Ices ‘72 (aka International Carnival of Experimental Sound) (1972) by Anonymous

postscript 2/19/2020, Creel come through - on sale last year, and now free to all at YouTube

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Lovely audio tribute to Mark Fisher at Resident Advisor, convened by Angus Finlayson, and featured the words of Kode9, Holly Herndon, Tam Shlaim, Logos, Tim Lawrence, Adam Harper, Jeremy Greenspan, Lisa Blanning - and me.

(The streamcast also features a nice item on legendary grimestrumental "Pulse X")

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

haunty morsels

Moon Wiring Club with a triffic - and unusual - mix: Anxious Heart. A real departure actually - the English voice-snippets are still woven in there but the beat-matrix is much more electronic, veering into IDMish zones more often than soundtrack / library.

Ekoplekz and Farmer Glitch team up for a project titled  Pharmerz, based around acid house and the Roland 303. Which thought initially, I confess, made the old soul yawn a bit, but turns out the pair have managed to extract some different gloopy sound-shapes out of that seemingly exhausted icon of a machine.  20 Acid Glonk  Greats is very worth checking out.

Update 3/11: Nick Ekoplekz pops by to point out that there are actually zero "genuine 303 sounds" on Pharmerz. "We use a Korg Volca Bass for the acid impersonations. The only 303 involved was a two mile stretch of the A303 I drove down on my way to Yeovil for the session!". The goal though was to reclaim "some of lost potential of 'acid house' from that brief period before 303-orthodoxy set in".

Release rationale: 

What happens when Farmer Glitch (ex-Hacker Farm) convenes and colludes with Ekoplekz (Planet Mu, Mordant Music) at Yeovil's soon-to-be-legendary Eastville Project Space? Extracted from a marathon jam session, these eight tracks combine distinctly wonky acidic grooves with noise-improv interventions that bend and distort the Acid House template into new psychedelic shapes, via early Warp non-genres and Industrial-strength blasts from the post-punk past. Running counter-intuitive to current format trends, pHarmerz present these preliminary findings as a double 3" CDr in fold-out sleeve designed by Mark Hollis 

Purchase here