Thursday, September 28, 2023

Dream daze

Lovely to speak with Rudy Tambala for the first time in 34 years about A.R. Kane and the wonderful new A.R Kive box of their kore kreation.  The distillate of our 3-hour conversation appears at Pitchfork as this Q+A

Chatting with Rudy by Zoom, I learned a surprisingly large number of things I never knew about the group, which is perhaps odd given how many times I interviewed A.R. Kane back in the day. But then again, in those days I wasn't really a journalist in the conventionally understood sense. I conducted colloquies with musicians that got pretty lofty pretty quickly - and generally gave a wide berth to the nitty-gritty stuff about band formation, biography, etc. The conversations would be written up with no reference to where the interview took place, what the artists looked like or how they dressed, their manner or gestures. A disembodied encounter between spirit-beings. 

Hey, the approach got results! And it suited the sort of ethereal, leave-and-let-loose-the-real-world music I was exalting.  Features that were mutually dreamed between the writer and the group,  rather than reported.  

Nowadays I find it all interesting and all potentially revealing. The facty backgroundy stuff, the recording process, the business side of being a band, almost every aspect pertaining to and surrounding music: it can enrich and, if handled right, it doesn't necessarily have to encumber and deplete the "we are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams" element.   


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - Harvest Festival edition - Elizabeth Parker, The Stone Tape, Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan, Kilkenny Electroacoustic Research Laboratory Anthology Vol. 2

 Trunk Records recently put out a very nice compendium of short spooky works by long-term local resident Elizabeth Parkerwho'll be familiar to many parishioners from her volunteer work for the Radiophonic Workshop.  The vinyl long-player is called Future Perfect. And what an attractive cover! 

This piece in particular struck me as Caretaker-adjacent in theme and vibe if not texture and method

Release rationale 

Elizabeth Parker is a composer you may not have heard of until now. Well here she is, in all her musical glory, having worked for decades at the front line of British electronics, radiophonics, soundracks and more. This is an album full of musical ideas ahead of the curve, with contemporary technology that was to go on and very much shape the future of sound we know now. From classic tape loop techniques to modern sampling concepts you will find dark ambience, drones, beer adverts and drifts into space. This is the first ever Elizabeth Parker LP and represents (with 26 tracks) a very small retrospective of her extraordinarily prolific and commercial output. Not to be missed.

Ms. Parker back in the day being interviewed about soundtracking The Living Planet

An Electronic Sound interview with Parker, in which she talks about being "the last" Radiophonic composer and also her encounters with Delia Derbyshire. 

Sound on Sound interview about Parker's post-Workshop career 

Underscores and FX that aren't on the Trunk comp 


Something else BBC-vibed... 

Release rationale via Bandcamp:

Christmas Day 2022 marked 50 years since the original broadcast of the ground-breaking BBC supernatural thriller, 'The Stone Tape', written by Nigel Kneale.

In early 2023 Hidden Britain commissioned a group of UK based musicians to produce a new piece of work inspired by this extraordinary 1972 TV film.

The result is a 16 track tape compilation which blends reimagined theme tunes and Radiophonic incidental motifs with dark ambience and hauntological synth explorations.

The artists involved in this release come from some of the finest electronic and experimental labels currently operating in the UK, such as Wayside & Woodland, Clay Pipe, Castles in Space & Spun Out Of Control.

Out in late October, in an edition of 50. 

Limited edition C90 transparent cassette tape with foldout artwork inlay and exclusive sleeve notes by writer and comedian Stewart Lee. Also ships with an exclusive A3 Risograph print on 270gsm Colourset paper.


1. The British Stereo Collective - Written In Stone

2.The Hardy Tree - Chuffy

3.The Heartwood Institute - Taskerlands

4.The Night Monitor - It's In The Computer 02:57

5. Mike Dickinson - Brock's Prayer

6. SWLLWS - There Are Words

7. The Lost Past Society - We're Getting Data All The Time

8. Charles Vaughan - The Summoning

9. Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan - Comparing The Properties Of Stone, Brick And Concrete 03:52

10. Drew Mulholland - The Strange Beyond

11. E.L. Heath - Whiston

12. The Soulless Party - Vigilamus

13. The Metamorph - The Uncertainty Principle

14. The Toy Library - Lethbridge

15. Nicholas Bullen - When They Return

16. The Twelve Hour Foundation - Time's Patina

Now one doesn't want to be a wet blanket - but isn't this kind of thing a teensy bit on the late side? 

Still, perhaps to expect hauntology to be timely, or to evolve, is to misunderstand the genre... ... it wouldn't shuffle off the scene punctually... it would malinger on, fixated on the same totems and  talismans... 

This appears to be Hidden Britain's first audio release - they are a company that sells "handmade signs and print from British Folk Horror and unsettling TV. Film and literature" [sic]. Again, can't help  wondering, looking over their product range, how such a settled canon could still unsettle... 


One of the contributors to The Stone Tape  - Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan -  had a new record out last month, Building a New Town, on Castles in Space.

Release rationale:

"Recently found during the closure of New Town House, Warrington, these tapes formed part of the advertising by the Development Corporation in the early 1970s. Showcasing a more pastoral, rural idyll than the architecture might imply, this represented an opportunity for people from smoke grimed cities to escape into a greener, healthier setting."

The new towns claimed the perfect suburban life in a green paradise with spacious parks and tree-lined boulevards. This chimed with post-hippy ideals of returning to nature and living The Good Life. The music filters through period inspirations such as Pentangle, Mike Oldfield and early Tangerine Dream."

There was also this from earlier in the summer

Artwork for the previous releases:


A last minute addition to the newsletter  - the announcement of Vol. 2 of the Kilkenny Electroacoustic Research Laboratory Anthology! It's out on October 6th. 

Check it out here

Release rationale: 

Kilkenny Electroacoustic Research Laboratory Anthology Vol. 2 – Raidió na hEorpa

This is the second volume of the Kilkenny Electroacoustic Research Laboratory Anthology, which is a music compilation anthology attempting to preserve the fictional history of a small composer community based in rural Ireland existing from the late 60’s until the late 80’s. The project is written by the Irish composer and artist Neil Quigley.

This second volume in the series is released as a compact disc and  an accompanying 50-page booklet contextualising the organisation and each of the selected tracks in probably too much detail. It is released on the record label Miúin.

Volume 2 of the anthology was influenced by a variety of Irish news stories and cultural ephemera, Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, Garry Shandling, and post-war electronic music of the U.S., U.K and Europe.


No videos as yet for the new compilation but here's some reminders of Vol. 1

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Hauntology Parish Newsletter: Exchange Student Program

Here's a cool side-project by two members of the hauntology-aligned Ghost Box groop Beautify Junkards - João Branco Kyron and Tony Watts  aka Hidden Horse

Here's what I said of the new album Incorporeal, which is out now in vinyl and digital editions on Holuzam:

A startling step sideways from Beautify Junkyards’s sweetly spooky psychedelia, this parallel project brings the New Sonic Architecture of Eighties electronica into the 21st Century. Spacious and eerie, these glistening vistas bear comparison with Cabaret Voltaire, Chris & Cosey, and The Tear Garden, as well as moodscape artists like Burial and Actress. Unmissable.”

Jim Jupp also chips in: 

"A journey through odd spaces and echoing caverns, powered along by angular rhythms and hypnotic sequencers. An electronic, motorik tapestry that feels both industrial and organic - like a dystopian Harmonia. Utterly beguiling!"

You can buy it via Norman Records, Juno, or Boomkat

Here's a track from Hidden Horse's first album Opala 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

RIP Richard Davis

The heartbeat of Astral Weeks - and effectively the band-leader.

Another of a number of other career highlights

And another