Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Musica Electronica Libre

and from one of Polonio's electroacoustic operas

"One of the characteristics of his work since 1969 is the almost total abandon of traditional instruments in favor of electroacoustic sources. He generally interprets his own work in concerts, combining magnetic tapes, synthesizers and processors in real time - often accompanied by videos or other elements created by visual artists. 

Among the most imposing examples of this cooperation with these plasticians are: “Calidoscopi” (1976), an audiovisual spectacle with lights sculptures by Eduardo Magliano, Sala Zeleste, Barcelona ; “ Per a Matar·ho ” (1977), a performance with the painter Ferrán García Sevilla, Mataró, Barcelona ; “Dempeus Assegut Agenollat” (1981), an action with Rafael Santamaria, Espai 10 - Foundation Miró, Barcelona ; “Sottovoce” (1983), musical environment for a video installation by Rafael Santamaria, Metrònom Gallery, Barcelona ; “Vilafranca-Eclipsi” (1985), video installation with Carles Pujol, Sant Joan’s Chapel, Vilafranca del Penedès, Barcelona ; “El Lloguer del Miraller” (1987), performance with Rafael Santamaria, Tramesa d'Art en favor de la creatividad, Palau de la Música, Valencia ; “Alteraciones” (1989), a spectacle with sound sculptures and lights with the painter Toni Rueda, Encontre de Compositors X, Palau Solleric, Palma de Majorca ; “Electroacústica, Visuales y Grand Chapeau Chinois” (1991), performance with photography by Santiago Torralba, 4 Minimalismos 4, Autumn Festival of the Madrid Community ; “Tócame una poloniesa” (1993), Foundation Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona and “Ressó, Imatges • Performance Electroacústica” (1994), Foundation Pilar y Joan Miró, Palma de Majorca, concerts with slides by Santiago Torralba and videos by Carles Pujol ; “Música imaginada” (1996), spectacle with films and slides by Santiago Torralba and Pablo Arribe, Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid ; “L'Arc” (1997), installation with Carles Pujol, Caixa de Manresa, Manresa, Barcelona; "Einai"(1998), video with Eugeni Bonet; "Sugar Cane" (2000), Instalation with Xabela Vargas, Huelva Museum. 

He has composed two electroacoustic operas: “Uno es el Cubo • fantasía kepleriana en cinco sólidos perfectos” and “Dulce mal”...", 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

synth city

memoradelia (short term flashback)

missed this when it came out (April 2014)

always a little taken aback when I find that yet another recruit to the oddly undwindling and undisbanded H-battalion has slipped under my radar

in this case the outfit self-describe as "landscape folk, fond of field recordings and strange technologies"

release rationale:

"We are living... in an period of immense and rapid change. After thousands of years of simple almost unchanging life patterns, we have been catapulted into a world of hitherto undreamed of technical complexity. This sudden acceleration in the speed of advancement has left us slightly bewildered and while in the main we welcome the new, we also regret the passing of the old. the process of change is by no means yet complete and though we are adapting well outwardly, our hearts remain stubbornly unmoved, Rather like a pie in the baking when the crust is crisp and golden but the meat inside is still uncooked" 

Bob Copper - Songs & Southern Breezes, Country Folk & Country Ways 1973 

The Further Navigations EP is a continuation of the exploration of the ancient Harrow Way the "lost" road of Southern England, which informed The Memory Band album On The Chalk (Our Navigation Of The Line Of The Downs) also released last year on Static Caravan. It features remixes from Belbury Poly and Grantby and a brand new Memory Band track. 

The choice of collaborators are two producers who have had a profound impact on The Memory Band sound in different ways, fellow travellers on the journey between an eternal past and technological innovation. Both bring to the fore the cinematic elements of The Memory Band's approach to traditional music and landscape in the digital age. 

In the decade since The Memory Band began one of its greatest contemporary influences has been the impressive catalogue of work released by the Ghost Box label, in particular the Belbury Poly aka label boss Jim Jupp. Spectral, haunting and yet vibrant and knowing, his work has established Jupp as a truly English original, making some of the essential electronic music of the new century. The "hitherto undreamed of technological complexity" which Copper described of his time has itself seeped into our folk history and become the source of that strange mixture of nostalgia, discomfort and wonder which the past evokes in all of us. It is this seam of contradictions that informs the core of the "hauntoligical" sound critics have ascribed to the Ghost Box aesthetic. For "Hobby Horse" Belbury Poly takes the blueprint from the Memory Band's version of the traditional funeral march "When I Was On Horseback" transforms it by speeding it up, flicking the swing setting and produces something that sounds like David Munrow making music for schools on analogue synthesizers. 

Grantby aka Dan Grigson has a mysterious history, famed for the Timber EP and tracks for labels such as Mo-Wax in the mid ‘90s, his work defined and exceeded trip-hop and garnered a loyal international underground following. Memory Band leader Stephen Cracknell worked alongside Grigson on some of those early recordings and when Grigson withdrew from music after an ill-starred move to Creation Records, Cracknell focused on his own projects which led to formation of The Memory Band. Recently Grigson returned to music, working on music for film and television music before returning to remixes and production. Here Grantby takes the traditional ballad "As I Walked over Salisbury Plain" leads it into the military zone and the result is "The Ballad Of Imber Down” named after the "lost village" of Imber upon Salisbury Plain, from which its inhabitants were evacuated by the Army during the Second World War only to learn that after the War that it had been decided the village would remain the property of the military and that they could never return again. Their ultimately doomed campaign to return has itself passed into legend. 

The Memory Band original "Walk Along It" is a hymn to majesty of walking in the open air. It borrows heavily from the anonymous and haunting version of the traditional English tune The Lincolnshire Poacher, broadcast from a shortwave numbers station and believed to be operated by the British secret services.

They have quite a discography, The Memory Band

From last year, featuring titles like "Children of the Stones" 

That album comes with a bibliography attached! 

'Poly-Olbion, A chorographicall description of all the tracts, rivers, mountains, forests, and other Parts of this Renowned Isle of Great Britain' by Michael Drayton (1612 &1622) 

'English County Songs' by Lucy E. Broadwood and J.A. Fuller Maitland. (J.B. Cramer 1893) 

'Frensham Then and Now - An Informal History' by Harry Baker and H.C. Minchin (Langham 1938) 

'A Voice Through A Cloud' by Denton Welch - (John Lehman 1950) 

'English Fairs And Markets' by William Addison and Barbara Jones (Batsford 1953) 

'Mercian Hymns' by Geoffrey Hill (Andre Deutsch 1971) 

'Gilbert White, a biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne' by Richard Mabey (Century 1986) 

'Map of a Nation: a Biography of the Ordnance Survey' by Rachel Hewitt (Granta 2010)

This from 2013

and earlier

indeed actually predating Ghost Box et al with the very earliest, more or less folk records

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

mouth music (eldritchronica)

Friday, February 17, 2017

kelp and jungle bowels and carrot ballet


"... the holy grail for Renaldo and the Loaf enthusiasts. The first ever release of the 1978 recordings: the "Tap Dancing In Slush" EP and the "Behind Closed Curtains" LP. Both were recorded as Plimsollline, a short-lived entity that just predated the adoption of Renaldo and the Loaf as the band's title. Arguably, the spirit of what would become RATL is very evident in this work but be prepared for some surprises as well. We know this is already more than enough to whet your appetites, but being generous we are giving you even more: a full CD of recordings entitlted "Rotcodism". These contain the earliest recordings by Renaldo & The Loaf and show a totally unknown side of the band. 

from the 2017 new (first in 30 years) album Gurdy Hurding

Sunday, February 5, 2017

take a Bow

here's an earlier Hardly Baked post about Bow Gamelan Ensemble, Paul Burwell and Ann Bean... including my review of their ICA performance in 87

Oh and looky here - made available this very week, a tribute to Paul Burwell, on the 10th Anniversary of his death, by Fergus Kelly,.

Here's what he wrote about the piece:

May a great noise fill the air !

'Napalm Calypso' was composed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Paul Burwell's death. It was created with a mixture of his solo work and work with the Bow Gamelan, interview material and slices of some of his favourite music and exerpts from films and TV shows he enjoyed.
The solo extracts are taken from his 1979 album, 'A Mummified Person With A Pleasant Smile Is Kept In A Cupboard In The Vestry'. The Bow Gamelan material is taken from a documentary about the 'Offshore Rig' performance of 1987, made for Channel 4 arts programme Alter Image, some footage of them performing on the concrete barges at Rainham Marshes in 1986, and from my own bootleg of the 'In C And Air' performance at the ICA in 1986, some of which includes Paul talking to me afterwards.
It also includes my field recording of tidal wash at the Forty Foot in Sandycove, Co. Dublin in June 2016, with foghorns sounding. Dublin Bay as stand-in for Thames Estuary. The latter being a place where Paul & Bow Gamelan did various gigs. Water was also my means of transport between Ireland and England when working in London in the 1980s, as I used to travel by boat from Dunlaoghaire to Holyhead, so it forms part of my initial connection between Dublin and London and between Paul and myself. Before cheap air travel. Before internet and mobile phones. Less clutter, less distraction.
Paul loved Kung Fu movies and Westerns and was a big fan (like myself) of Apocalypse Now, which I've sprinkled liberally throughout the piece. The film soundtrack includes some great explosions, which are entirely in keeping with Bow Gamelan's penchant for using fireworks as a form of percussion. Someone once memorably described Bow Gamelan as 'like a cross between Turner and Apocalypse Now'. I like how the sound effects in the film creates a deep, widescreen sense of landscape, with the constant battering ram of near and distant shelling puncturing the air.
I only met Paul a couple of times, so I hardly knew him, but I took to him straight away. I liked the cut of his jib. His friendliness, openness and free-spirited nature was inspiring. When I re-watch Bow Gamelan footage for the nth time and see him interviewed I feel a great fondness for him. This piece is a tribute to that - my way of saying, 'Thanks Paul'.
Some of the elements in this piece are woven deep in the mix, and won't necessarily reveal themselves on first listen. Other elements move around the stereo field to create a sense of momentum in a soundworld I like to think of more in terms of a radio play or cinema for the ears.
Therefore, it must be heard connected to a proper amp/speaker set up or headphones (not computer speakers) with good stereo separation.
Thanks to Anne Bean and David Toop for suggesting the sources, which include:.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)
Kwaidan (1964)
Woman In The Dunes (1964)
Bad Day At Blackrock (1955)
Rashomon (1950)
Hancock's Half Hour
Dad's Army
Baby Dodds drum improvisations
Buddy Rich drum solo
Jet Harris & Tony Meehan: Diamonds
One String Sam: I Need 100 Dollars
Screaming Jay Hawkins: I Put A Spell On You
Albert Ayler: Ghosts
Roderick MacLeod performing the Scottish piobaireachd, 'Old Men Of The Shells'
Orson Welles narrating Joseph Conrad's 'Heart Of Darkness'.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


and more Japanese mixology! This time, it's a trawl through the Shibuya-kei sound/scene  (as discussed in Retromania) courtesy of tour guide  W. David Marx, the Japanese pop culture expert I interviewed in the book's chapter on that country's curatorial flair and retrophile fervour.

And here's Marx's accompanying essay at his blog Neojaponisme

Further reading: his six-part series on Shibuya-kei