Monday, 27 August 2012

The Eccentronic Research Council - 1612 Underture

Only came across this the other day in the Guardian, and knew I had to get a copy fast. The Eccentronic Research Council consist of  Adrian Flanagan, Maxine Peake and Dean Honer. The 1612 Underture is a 12 chapter sound poem based of the mistreatment and memory of the Pendle Witches who were executed in Lancashire, England, on 20 August 1612; Elizabeth Device, James Device, Alizon Device, Anne Whittle (aka Chattox), Anne Redferne. Jane Bulcock, John Bulcock, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt and Jennet Preston, as well as the accused Alice Grey and Elizabeth Southerns (aka Old Demdike) who died while awaiting trial (Finders Keepers). The track Another Witch is Dead has the wonderful line Contains Greens and Worms and Carrots, 16th Century Holland and Barrett. The album really does sound quite wonderful and is out now on Finders Keepers off shoot Bird

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Highdown Rocket Site

Finally managed to pay the Highdown Rocket Site on the Isle of Wight a visit. I have gone on about Highdown elsewhere on this blog so I will not go into to much detail here, and drone on about it all over again, apart from to say that Highdown, was the static test area for the UK's Black Arrow and Black Knight rockets from 1954-1972. Have to admit I was very excited about finally visiting this place, and must say I was not disappointed. The former control rooms of the site now house the exhibition space, which is small, but very informative with lots of old black and white photos of men dressed in lab coats sitting at banks of equipment. It all looks and feels very much like something out of an old Quatermass film. At times you can almost feel the excitement and enthusiasm that these scientists must have had, knowing that they were working (on a very tight budget) on what could be the UK's own independent space program. Alas it was not to be and after one successful Satellite launch (Prospero) the UK Rocket/Space program was shut down, and the Highdown Test Site was dismantled and all but forgotten. Then in 2003 volunteers and the National Trust started to clear the site. It was finally opened to the public in 2004, but is definitely an on going process of restoration. Its a bit of a hike to the Highdown site, but if you drive its only £4 to park for the day at the Needles car park. Then its a bimble along the cliff path to the Needles Battery. The only mistake I made that day was to go into the Needles park, which is pretty dire and grim (over priced fast food and very dodgy coffee)
I managed to climb down and get into the observation blockhouse. This is where the safety Officer monitored the static tests at the gantries to the left and right of the blockhouse.
Inside the blockhouse
Gantry One
Some of the equipment, on display in the old control room.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Peter Strickland Interview Berberian Sound Studio

Director Peter Strickland talks about his new film Berberian Sound Studio which premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June. Starring Toby Jones with a soundtrack by Broadcast.
1976: Berberian Sound Studio is one of the cheapest, sleaziest post-production studios in Italy. Only the most sordid horror films have their sound pro- cessed and sharpened in this studio. Gilderoy (Toby Jones), a naive and introverted sound engineer from England is hired to orchestrate the sound mix for the latest film by horror maestro, Santini (Antonio Mancino). Thrown from the innocent world of local documentaries into a foreign environment fuelled by exploitation, Gilderoy soon finds himself caught up in a forbidding world of bitter actresses, capricious technicians and confounding bureaucracy. The longer Gilderoy spends mixing screams and the bloodcurdling sounds of hacked vegetables, the more homesick he becomes for his garden shed studio in his hometown of Dorking. His mother’s letters alternate between banal gos- sip and an ominous hysteria, which gradually mirrors the black magic of Santini’s film. As both time and realities shift, Gilderoy finds himself lost in an otherworldly spiral of sonic and personal mayhem, and has to confront his own demons in order to stay afloat in an environment ruled by exploitation both on and off screen.
If you can't catch it on thee old big screen, the Film has got a DVD release date of Dec 2012-Feb 2013 this is gonna be a must for me.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tangerine Dream German TV 1971

Found this wonderful old film of Tangerine Dream on YouTube from 1971. Bit of an oddity because on YouTube for some reason its been called Ricochet 1??????? and its definitely not Ricochet. Not 100% sure what the track is? Some people on YouTube think its Fly and collision of comas sola from the album Alpha Centauri others think its Journey Through a Burning Brain from Electronic Meditation? Whatever its called it sounds superb and really gets going at 5.46. At times it sounds in a similar vein to More/Zabriskie Point/Careful With That Axe Eugene era Pink Floyd. Pheadra and the sequencer were only a few years away.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Test Transmission Archive Reel 10 (Garden Mix)

Originally mixed for The Garden of Earthly Delights Radio Show 10/08/2012. On this mix we have Kryzsztof Komeda, Billy Childish & Sexton Ming, The Wendingo, Belbury Poly, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Derek Scotts Moog Killer Watts, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and tons more for your listening pleasure. I am of on my Hols now. A few projects (Mr Stevens and Album) and work to sort out for the Autumn. If all goes well Archive Reel 11 will be ready for November (where does the year go????)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A New Tune. Who knows?????

Finished recording the new album a while ago and decided to have a break while it was being mastered. Through a lack of work at the moment I had some spare time and got bored, so started working on a new track. This was what I came up with. A work in progress that might get longer or shorter. Who knows?????
The new album should be out in the New Year.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Oramics to Electronica

Finally got round to paying a visit to The Oramics to Electronica Exhibition at The Science Museum the other day. Been looking forward to this for quite some time now, and was not disappointed. In general the exhibition covers the work of 3 pioneering British studios (EMS, The Radiophonic Workshop and Daphne Oram's studio in Kent. With lots of display cabinets containing Synths (Wasp VCS Fairlight) bits and bobs from the Radiophonic Workshop and of course Daphne Oram's magnificent Oramics Machine. My only minor criticism (its not really a criticism) is that it would have been nice if the exhibition had been a tad larger, with maybe some more installations, perhaps also including work produced by FC Judd and maybe even Joe Meek.  But of course I do realise that this was not a definitive look at everybody and everything to do with early British electronic music, and electronic music pioneers. Maybe that would be something for the organisers of this exhibition to consider at a later date. Anyway I really enjoyed this exhibition and if this sounds like your thing, then you can't go wrong with paying it a visit. But be quick because its only on until 1st of December.
The Oramics Machine
 The Mighty Fairlight
VCS 3 (Putney)
The Wasp
Daphne Oram and Peter Sellers
Radiophonic Workshop items

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Garden Vaults Aug 2010

Just got an email from The Head Gardener at The Garden of Earthly Delights informing me that my session for The Garden from Aug 2010 (has it really been that long) has now been put onto Mixcloud here.  The 3 tracks for the session were Highdown, Tom's Dark Science and Residential Alchemy. All of which ended up on my album Consistently Mediocre and Daydreams.  What a top chap The Head Gardener is.