new midwich product! ‘single figures’ on kirkstall dark matter

March 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Posted in midwich, new music, no audience underground | 5 Comments
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midwich – single figures

(3″ CD-r, edition of 49 with handmade insert or download, Kirkstall Dark Matter)

midwich - single figures - frontmidwich - single figures - back

Wow, things move fast nowadays, eh?  I’m late for my own party here!  This was released in the early hours of Wednesday morning and, thanks to the wonders of facebook and the like, is already old news to all the little william gibsons out there.  A very flattering account has already been posted to inaugurate the new reviews and interviews section of Miguel Perez’s Oracle blog.  Go check it out then return here and settle down with me in the study.  I know certain members of my constituency are of a more, shall we say, pipe-smoking inclination so I’ll explain what has occurred at a leisurely pace.

Dave Thomas, half of Hagman and the whole of ap martlet – both lavishly praised on this blog, recently felt the urge to start a microlabel.  It comes to us all and he isn’t to be blamed for it.  In cheeky homage to Sheepscar Light Industrial he has chosen the moniker Kirkstall Dark Matter for his endeavour.  Soon, no doubt, each district of Leeds will have its own microlabel, allegiances will shift and bloody wars will break out with a Game of Thrones style ferocity.  For now though all is calm.  Dave asked me if I would like to submit something.

Around that time I was winding down my year-long return to the live ‘arena’.  Over the course of half a dozen gigs I proved (if only to myself) that a bloke wigging out to his own drones can be entertaining and rediscovered that the natural volume for midwich stuff is trouser-flappingly loud.  However, I find performing live, even for twenty minutes and with a set-up that fits comfortably in a rucksack, quite a commitment.  I was privately glad to use impending fatherhood as an excuse to return to semi-retirement.  But I get ahead of myself.

Before Christmas I revisited the sun-burnt, suburban heat-haze of ‘augmented field recording’ eaves – my smash hit Summer single – and thought it was time to try something similar but colder.  Using the dictaphone function on my mp3 player (slipped into the turn-up of my woolly hat) I recorded the walk home along Chapeltown Road during a wet, dark evening rush hour.  The rise, rumble and fall of the traffic, unedited and pleasingly oceanic with plenty of sub-bass, leant itself perfectly to an accompanying slow pulsing drone riff and ‘seasonal adjustment’ was complete.  Not only did it fit as a companion piece to eaves but there was a link back to the workaday alienation that informed the very first midwich stuff such as ‘every day is the same’.  Ooo.. hark at me, eh?  Check out the fancypants artistic vision!  Smell the integrity!

‘penny dropped’ started life as another dicta-recording, this time of a cake tin lid rocking back and forth on our kitchen work surface.  It’s a noise I find strangely soothing, despite its proximity to the sound of sharpening knives, and it seemed an obvious bookend to a shorter, more vigorous drone piece.  Rebranded as single figures (parts one and two), these tracks totalled twenty minutes: a new set!

Just before Christmas I premiered this ‘Winter’ version at a gig organised by my old mucker Matt Robson and it got a second outing at the Hogwash night on 9th January.  The latter gig was where I played alongside forgets and Chrissie Caulfield and thus has already been extensively documented on this blog (and also reviewed here).  A recording was made by improv-tigger Pascal Ansell, given to Dave and you can now hear it too courtesy of KDM (complete with that scamp Phil Todd shouting ‘get off’ before I even begin: his comedic reaction to my news that I didn’t have any guitar effects pedals at all, following two acts that may have had 30 between them).

The physical edition (of 49 copies) comes recorded on games console-style CD-rs with black mirror playing surfaces.  Each disc is packaged in a unique wraparound insert made of an adulterated page taken from a copy of John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos – the book from which my band name is lifted.  A hand printed strip, similar to what would be found in a library book back in the days of the card index, contains the details.  All is protected by a robust plastic wallet.  It is carefully thought out, winningly executed and very satisfying.  For those unconcerned with objects, or who otherwise miss out, a download can be nabbed on a pay-what-you-like basis from the same Bandcamp page.

Buy here.

5 Comments »

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  1. Great reference on the Neuromancer author there! jajaja! it made me laugh a lot! but anyways of COURSE this makes perfect sense! listening EAVES and then SINGLE FIGURES is a total trip! I am doing that today on my mp3 (more Gibson here) player. Congratulations Rob since you hit it hard with this one again!

  2. many thanks Miguel, I’m very glad that you liked it. I’m delighted with how this one turned out. Watch this space for the next midwich release due out on Andrew Perry’s WGGFDTB maybe later in the Spring. I’m busy for a guy in semi-retirement, eh? And, hey – everyone else reading this should keep an eye on Miguel’s output this year – some great stuff coming!

  3. I’m listening to Seasonal Adjustment now and it’s literally making me choke up. It’s absolutely fantastic.

    • Wow – what can I say in reply to such a humbling comment?! Thanks, Ben – much appreciated, and I’m very pleased you’re digging it. Love, Rob x

      • And then at the end we discover it’s a live performance… uneffingbelievable. So now I’m desperately trying to get a job done for a client who pays via PayPal… stand by…


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