eye for detail: a long month passes quicklyNovember 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Posted in midwich, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: ap martlet, aqua dentata, astral social club, bbblood, breather, brian lavelle, chrissie caulfield, clive henry, dale cornish, daniel thomas, devotional hooligan, dr:wr, drone, dsic, eddie nuttall, electronica, foldhead, gerado picho, hagman, hardworking families, helicopter quartet, improv, in fog, joe murray, john tuffen, julian bradley, karl mv waugh, la mancha del pecado, michael clough, michael gillham, midwich, miguel perez, neil campbell, new music, nick allen, no audience underground, noise, orlando ferguson, panelak, pascal ansell, paul walsh, paul watson, posset, psychedelia, pyongyang plastics, scott mckeating, shameless self-congratulation, simon aulman, the piss superstition, the red cross, the zero map, tom bench, van appears, yol, zn
It is now a month since eye for detail, the midwich remixes album, was released as a Bandcamp download. In that time there have been 35 purchases and well over a thousand plays of the individual tracks. More than £150 has been raised for The Red Cross as a result. I can only repeat how grateful and touched I am to those that contributed and to those that have supported it. Keep spreading the word.
Now that a little time has passed some critical reaction has started to bubble to the surface. Opinion first popped into being via Twitter, of course, and friends of RFM like Miguel Pérez and Paul Watson used their 140 characters to praise favourite pieces. Others have stepped out of the limelight to send me personal emails, such as the enigmatic Daniel Thomas. Paul Margree posted a welcome summary over at We need no swords – grinning and shrugging at the enormity of it and shooing his readership in this direction. Andy Wild has played extracts on the 81st edition of the Crow Versus Crow radio show too. The ‘scene’ has rallied around in a most heart-warming fashion.
Further to the above I have also, amazingly, had not one but two track-by-track accounts sent to me. The first of which is a collection of one-liners from the over-clocked, fizzing metaphor engine that is RFM’s own Joe Murray, the second a lengthier effort from my friend Nick Allen.
Joe needs little introduction but Nick is a new name here. We have been friends and work colleagues for many years. He is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic music fan and a frequent gig-goer but is by no means a noise head. He has listened in a tolerant, amused and open minded manner to me gabbing on about it all the while we’ve been sat in an office together and has done me the courtesy of coming to see me play live at Wharf Chambers. In return I have suffered no worse than occasional piss-taking which I consider fair exchange. Being a good sort he donated a tenner to the cause and, after dipping his toe in once or twice, decided that he was going to spend a Saturday afternoon immersed: listening to the whole lot, in order and making notes as he did so. Blimey.
Both sets of reactions are posted in full below. Why not open the eye for detail Bandcamp page in another window and listen along as you read?
Oh, and finally, Nick is an occasional writer of poetry and the combination of a glorious Yorkshire sunrise experienced whilst listening to the track by ZN inspired him to write ‘Juego de la Luz’ – also posted below. Should you enjoy it, Nick has a terrific 32 page, A6, self-published booklet of his work (called, with admirable brevity, ‘Poems’) available for nowt much so email him at the address at the foot of this post and make arrangements. I’m on my fourth copy because I keep wanting to pass them on to others I think will be interested – high praise.
First up – Joe:
Various Artists – Eye for Detail (The Midwich affair)
Micro-reviews/descriptions/impressions of each piece from the Now That’s What I Call Midwich smash hit.
Dale Cornish – Management. Hissing clicks like freshwater shrimps gone loco. Wonderfully sparse.
Aqua Denta – Natural Wastage. A glassy shroud wrapped round a tin body. After time rusty horns blow.
In Fog – Verdigris. A Mynah Bird enrols at IRCAM. This is her final project (informed by heartbreak).
Dsic – Procedures. The gods throw road mending equipment through a black hole.
Clive Henry – Witch Mania, Mend Gem. Scrabble tiles become sentient and form one-note Tangerine Dream tribute act.
Brian Lavelle – Slowly, we illuminate future truths. New Star Wars theme slowed down 1000 times.
Van Appears – Molluscs. Undersea skat. SCUBA improv. Oxygen/Nitrogen mix set to high
AP Martlet – New Plateaus. Elegy for out-of-date School Atlas (circa 1951).
Foldhead – Glacier. Super minimal like pink frost.
Chrissie Caulfield – oTo T50. A sharp intake of robot’s breath. Klezmer exhale.
DR:WR – Left Unresolved. Prison riot as heard through battered brass ear-trumpet.
Hardworking Families – Be to under weather to be. Sunshine distilled into individual waves, pickled then shook in a jar.
John Tuffen from Orlando Fergusson – Weather to be Under. As above but dubbed like On-U Sound.
Panelak – Irnwrks. Chipped-crockery-core! Salty blood runs over teeth staining them pink. Sharp to the touch.
Simon Aulamn – Too Early. A spitting porpoise (of course).
Paul Watson – Midwich. Sneak into the chapel. Stuff the organ pipe with potato. Hit the keys for chips.
Posset – A Moment of Stillness. Dictaphone frottage in Lovecraftian word jam.
The Piss Superstition – tinymuscle. The Detroit mass transport system scored for bic pens and pocket fluff.
Michael Clough – Left Unresolved. Thomas Tallis jumps in the Tardis and demands sexy-android motet.
Neil Campbell – MidwichMIX. Sly Stone comes round to polish yr Horsebrasses? Beware excessive Brasso fumes.
Devotionalhallucinatic – August in Ribblehead. Severe throttling. Barbed Wire snogs. Not a great first date.
Michael Gilham – oTo T22 Part II. Tractor beam vibrations, asteroid mining, dirty spacecracft.
Daniel Thomas – Striking Flint. Cast Iron Cello rubbed till the rivets pop out.
Breather – Floating. The real Pirate Radio material…stick that up your Skinner!
Yol – Stoma 2. Real-live stutter gob vs Jojouka horns (acid remix)
ZN – La Industria De La Luz. The Museum of Misery opens its doors. Churning machinery whirrs inside with dismal efficiency. In your pocket, an invitation…
Andy Jarvis – Bosky. Shit. Wish I’d thought of this. Pure vocal drone like some Pandit Pran Nath dude. Heavy vocal sludge gets more and more looped and freaky. God damn perfect!
OK, that’s that for Joe, over to Nick:
I know almost nothing about this music – so here goes – I have had one run through a week or so ago…in bits…when I picked out Cassie Caulfield and Michael Clough as early front runners, let’s see how they perform now its all in one sitting. It is 1.30pm on Saturday 18 October, press PLAY and let the spontaneous prosody begin:
Management – Dale Cornish
static bursts or restrained pissing…something frying long pauses…a message not reaching me
Natural Wastage – Aqua Dentata
outside…natural atmospheric background…perhaps a distant motorway…higher scratchings…spirals…low-level tinnitus…flying saucers from Plan B from Outer Space…an itching…something more coming into view…more solid…almost expect the screen to wobble a la transportation device of sci-fi TV…nevertheless a peaceful embracing enveloping atmosphere…also something of Sunday morning church bells (I can hear my dishwasher in the background glugging a rapid beat)…entering bat territory…higher higher pitch…like listening to a Turner painting, hearing colours…inside a sensory depravation tank with my eyes open…pulsing…meditative…a note, sustained…riding over, riding over…a crashed car with the horn jammed…a ferry…pulled out of calm…fade…stop
verdigris – In Fog
accidental musicality…placid…measured…sounds like a workshop…with an insect trapped…a guide bell…a mood reminiscent of the White Lunar album (N Cave and W Ellis)…fitfull/restful
Procedures – dsic
clamour…clamour…irregular jerking clamour…opening different doors in an industrial factory one after the other…working with the caffeine to increase heartbeat…I can’t help wondering why…space invaders!…and then a drill…all sent to annoy…some pre-recorded music and bleeping…finished and not sad
witch mania, mend gem – Clive Henry
digging, chipping…low backdrop…the sound of an insect invasion, walking…bricklaying…nothing restful…constantly constant…to a whistledown stop and something…walking on bubblewrap (question mark)…wet finger on a glass rim…paranoia perhaps…this could hurt…two apparently unrelated soundtracks…converging on an incoming tide…the hurricane winds battering the wooden window boards in downtown Florida somewhere
Slowly, we illuminate future truths – Brian Lavelle
revelation, and the clouds part…for the first time I close my eyes…a wider picture…within…too calm to be euphoric…there is a place, there is a place…boats passing boats, unseen – that’s something from Apocalypse Now, I’m sure…
Molluscs – Van Appears
Headunderwaterlistening…high tide perhaps…recorded dolphin speak but the voice has been disguised to protect their identity
New Plateaus – ap martlet
pressure build…irritation…a white noise box to mask traffic and city clamour…in a block of flats above an urban motorway, the JG Ballard flyover, and from the balcony you watch the lights swing following the same path, following the same path, lighted traction from the darkest fraction…a city in all its horror and glory…follow the red lights bead…the blinking white lines…sodium…it must all lead somewhere…repetition, the flow, of repetition…dementia…fractures our habits…the neverending nightcity hum…enter the void…there is a darkness beyond…still falling or climbing, hard to tell…exposure…try not to blink…water pressure builds…the last lost signal is broadcast – END
glacier – foldhead
less glacier, more fog, sea fret…immersion and low frequency vibration…soothe…calm intention…passed through some kind of body scanner…observed…minutely…for some reason whales come to mind…perhaps their song…I see in greens and blues…the Sea of Tranquility is green and bottomless and calm…adrift…dreamlike…slumber beckoning…sleep phantoms loom and pass harmless, soft creatures of the deep withstanding enormous gravity, eyeless blind…take an age, we grow…to achieve
oTo T50 – Chrissie Caulfield
outside or wind or…something landing…musical, structural almost a rhythm…there is a Who intro keyboard, slightly…violin-ish…and then cello…trepidation…a sense of lurking…before the trauma…Hitchcock’s Psycho…and so of course, blood in water…some message tapped out
left unresolved (short) – DR:WR
too many voices calling…cannot pick out a thread…interwoven…a sense of cacophony controlled…layers…no structure but mass…diminish…what will happen…
Be To Under the Weather to be – Hardworking Families
the start, the keyboard, the looping beat, then the skip, move up, shape, an invitation to dance, and to risk a beat, this is the dance track, played backwards, beats meet you out of sequence causing surprise, call and refrain, where are the horns, playful, happyhappy, repeatedly running towards me smiling in the video, definitely a song for spring not autumn
Weather to be Under (five is the number he is bounteous) – John Tuffen from Orlando Ferguson
Ibiza choon…arms waving through lights…risings…sunrise…this could pass for euphoria in a bleak world…where next though where next out of the loop…some scattered thoughts fleet and dash before being grabbed and harnessed…and so the loop, ever on, ever on with the loop…mobius sound…within sight of the place we started…zone in zone out…not boredom but the same effect of inattention…the focus is shattered…no, something softer than shattered…but the centre is nevertheless lost in all the rounding circularity…spirals…concentrated meandering always tethered…I’d like my drugs now please
Irnwks – Panelak
flckng rd sttns…nny nny…no pleasure to be had…Alex in Clockwork Orange had his eyelids pinned open…watching someone operate on a broken bone in your leg in your leg because they forgot the anaesthetic…followed by indecision…not unhinged, just hingeless…why would you…
remix of Midwich’s Too Early from Every Day is the same – Simon Aulman
(at 3 minutes this is the Ramones remix)…channelling paranoia…from a bad bad place…do less…much less…a longed for beat stop
Midwich (Hangover mix) – Paul Watson
lethargic crepuscular start…moving with a heavy heart…a car door?…in darkness water dripping…ripples and swirls…open the hands over the mouth and close again childhood megaphones…movement…through a corridor…listening from inside a cupboard afraid of detection…muffle…hiding, stay hidden…steps overhead, steps overheard…feels like ghosts…when you’re unsure
a moment of stillness – posset
verbal verbal…muttered words overlaid an aural mosaic senseless confusion I hear treacle but this is not glutinous it shatters and cracks and loops insensible a moment of stillness is sought, is noted a moment of stillness a moment a moment it is brave and compulsive I imagine him rocking rocking rocking without stop without eventually reaching for the wall like an exhausted swimmer
tinymuscle – the piss superstition
something organic growing one of those slo-mo shots of plants shoots emerging…the remnnants of a dance loop…an antiquity…dust on the needle…laboured breathing, perhaps emphysema, with an oxygen tank by the side of the chair…old industry…with a light touch…a hope…I start to imagine Ian Curtis’ voice…I’m at a loss as to why…
left unresolved cakemix edit – Michael Clough
a spaceship’s groans as it flexes…who would hear it…is it instead the magnified groanings of our knees as we stand again, cartilage upon cartilage…nevertheless it is a wave of sound that seems to enfold in an understated calm…something derived from the element of things…not quite the Buddhists’ chant of Om…closer less ethereal…I am reminded of the alien goo in Under the Skin, that absorbs men, erections and all…which all seems a long way from “cakemix”…the bringer of peace?
midwichMIX – Neil Campbell
tuning up…layers…not yet distressed enough to be Sonic Youth…as if you were touching a piece of metalwork and hearing the vibrations at its atomic level…there is a cohesive harmony but it is hidden among the density…such weight…occasional shafts of light penetrate
august in ribblehead – devotionalhallucinatic
(I like Ribblehead)…adrummerinthedistance…is the foundation…scraping away (an old Jam song)…an element of something happening over there… a show, a performance to be watched, passively…completely immersive
oTo T22 – Part II – Michael Giliham
gently meditative…not quite pastoral…slowly lifting…could be an interlude…so much scope, so much space…allows steady breathing…we float…unhurried…nothing seems immanent…the Northern Lights
Striking Flint – Daniel Thomas
deep echo…slowed dub electronica…all about the pattern on the cardiogram caused by the waves…the repeat and the variance…the approach and the retreat…the search for the optimal point…benign hypnosis…there must be a centre…standing on the shore of an avatar sea…watching the lights on the boats…knowing that the unknowable teems beneath…shoals…that pulse in light…thin filtered light…all this submerged beauty…beyond reach…beyond…timetracklost of…
throating (stomaching) – Breather
(almost) feedback…return nourishment…non-stomaching…which is of course vomit…not a reflection on the sounds, which are gastric at best…push a gurgle through a re-verb…insistent like an alarm…bike horns, he asks unsure…pleasant enough without cramping…
Stoma 2 – YOL
This sort of noise in a supermarket would make you skip to the next aisle and vow to yourself that next time you’ll do the shop on line.
La industria de la Luz – ZN
(this was partially responsible for a poem on the first hearing; see end, Juego de la Luz)
builds and builds…slow accumulation…uncertain pressure…pushing…
something below…an expectation builds…waiting…a chrysalis splitting…no clear view yet…never quite in focus…yet intense…perhaps it is a birth…waiting for what…it is breathing, it is everything, it is repetition it is grind and it is the turning day…the sound of white light at the end of the tunnel…
Bosky (AJ vocal remix) – Andrew Jarvis
…and so the last one…tibetan monk chanting lost behind feedback… something bizarre…squalls over mutterings…vague sense of it being something from another time…or unearthly or uninterpretable…an outtake from the White Album…if I hear a scouse twang I’ll believe it…comes a point where a rock song could climb and take off…but instead it meanders and fades…never less than interesting.
…and we’re done – at 17.23 – off to Fanny’s.*
[*Editor’s note: Fanny’s Ale House is a pub in Saltaire near where Nick lives. I thought it best not to leave that ambiguous…]
Juego de la Luz
The tentative dawn spills gentle and golden
Sweeping the valley like euphoria
This is what I imagine a warm wind
Would look like, or a heart in love
Rising behind the mass of Windhill
As if a great dam is breaching
Making shadow theatre silhouettes of the radio mast
Which lacks only sails to ride out to sea
And the great chimneys of the ex-factories
Blackly loom exclaiming their redundancy
The lambent air is still, the river’s skin
Lies un-nipped and un-blistered
This gold slips warm and soft along
The singing overhead cables
While the melting iron of Dali’s tracks
Lead the sliced eye to flattened horizons
What will today bring. I suspect
The attentive heron knows, the drifting swan
And the bolting deer locked in their moment of
Stillness, will both know. I am gently enraptured
By this timorous dawn, under whispering mists,
That offers a promise of transcendence
On arriving in the city I find
I no longer understand traffic jams
Nick Allen: Panic@6haroldplace.co.uk
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