rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 9! precision broadcasting!

June 12, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | Leave a comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 9

Hello comrades! Well, it’s Summer in our hearts, right? Here’s the latest collection of hardcore fury, dronal oddities, bubbling electrics and homespun improv to provide the aural equivalent of a second duvet during this inclement weather.

Features music from Rat Cage, Cahn Ingold Prelog, Kieran Mahon, Mariam Rezaei, The Leaf Library and Sophie Cooper. This week’s interlude is a determined rummage in a gigantic pile of Lego and the links were recorded whilst staring out of an open bedroom window in-between downpours. The episode picture is of a large painting dumped outside a coffee shop near where I live. It’s been there for days and I’ve become a bit obsessed.

If you enjoy the show please feel free to tug the sleeves of those around you. You can also listen via the embedded player below or subscribe and download these shows as podcasts from the Apple thing or other more manageable means.  Ratings, comments and whatnot always gratefully received.

Episode 9 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 8! such rich indulgence!

June 7, 2019 at 9:31 am | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | Leave a comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 8

Hello comrades!  Apologies for the late running of this service but real life commitments mean our weekly schedule will be disrupted by engineering works during the summer months.  Your indulgence is also requested as a moment of softness led to my son Thomas helping with the links in this episode and a moment of steely-eyed calculation led to me including excerpts from two projects I am personally involved in.

Features music from Closet Witch, Daniel Thomas, Dublock, Penance Stare, Earth Trumpet & Midwich and Kassia Flux.  The interlude is some wave-washed, pebble-scrunching recorded on a blustery beach – the crackling you can hear is my forehead reddening in the sun.

If you enjoy the show please continue to spread the word.  All comment on any media is much appreciated.  You can also listen via the embedded player below or subscribe and download these shows as podcasts from iTunes (or whatever iTunes has been replaced with should you be reading this after the Apple shake-up) and various other less crap apps too.  If you are given the opportunity to praise or rate the show, please do.

Episode 8 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 7! so tight!

May 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | Leave a comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 7

Hello comrades! Tuck in your napkin and enjoy a deep-fried selection of sludge-punk, melancholia, unplaceable oddness and joyous intimations of different climes. Featuring music by Cartilage, Ayankoko, Chrissie Caulfield, Thistle Group, Depletion and a jaw-dropping field recording of Gamelan Angklung. This episode’s interlude is an in-carriage recording of a chugging steam train on the West Somerset Railway.

Should you dig this I would appreciate you tweeting about it, commenting on mixcloud, pumping it from your car stereo as you idle at the lights to impress the kids etc. You can also listen via the embedded player below or subscribe and download these shows as podcasts from iTunes (and various other podcast apps too).  Should you feel the urge to leave a five star rating, hey, who could blame you?

Episode 7 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 6! for the righteous!

May 17, 2019 at 9:43 am | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | 1 Comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 6

You know when your enjoyment of the warm weather is undercut by the nagging feeling that an end-of-the-world storm is gathering? Yeah, me too. So here’s a soundtrack for your lunchtime stroll!

Episode 6 features dronepunkdadaelectronica from Unsanitary Napkin, Cloud Diameter, Anna Peaker, Posset, Robin Smith + Territorial Gobbing and Dane Law. The interlude is a chainsaw idling – no further explanation offered. This episode’s links were recorded in a park on campus so, as well as me yammering, you get birdsong plus aircon and generator units. Hip soundscape, eh? I also swallow a flying bug whilst saying goodbye!

Should you dig this I would appreciate you tweeting about it, commenting on mixcloud, playing snatches to your bewildered work colleagues etc. You can also listen via the embedded player below or subscribe and download these shows as podcasts from iTunes (and those apps that scrape listings from iTunes). Don’t forget to leave a five star rating – it’s only polite.

Episode 6 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 5! if only clockwork were as regular!

May 10, 2019 at 11:25 am | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | 2 Comments
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 5

Yes, episode five is upon us! Released at some random hour, from a secret location because my partner is using the Midwich Towers mainframe for, y’know, important real life stuff.

Features music from Clemency, Me, Claudius (meaning the act called ‘Me, Claudius’ not myself then some Roman bloke), Otto Willberg, Amy Cutler & Delphine Dora, Ashtray Navigations and, in a fit of excitement brought on by the announcement that he will be playing TUSK in October, an obscurity from the vaults by Johann Wlight. It’s end-to-end, super-max quality. AS EVER.

If you enjoy this please comment, tweet, stuff haiku into the pockets of unsuspecting fellow commuters and all that. You can also listen via an embedded player here (see below) and, after suffering the humiliation of submitting myself for Apple’s approval, you should now be able to subscribe and download the show as a podcast via iTunes and a bunch of other podcasting apps. Yes, I now have a podcast – oh, the indignity…

Episode 5 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 4! rush release!

May 4, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | Leave a comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode 4

I dunno, you wait for a no-audience underground radio show/podcast type thing from this blog for nearly ten years then four come along at once…

Looking to continue the trend of halving the number of listeners with each successive episode (according to maths, #8 will have less than one…) I’ve chosen a tricksy but sublime mix for this fourth instalment.  Keep all limbs inside the vehicle as we have hardcore punk, enveloping drone, electric disquiet and an indescribable duet for turntables and guttural snarling.  I do top it off with some cosmic groove to resettle your equilibrium though – don’t worry, I ain’t a monster.  Features tracks by crisis sigil, beth gripps, The Leaf Library, Tungsten Grasshopper, Mariam & Yol and Tuluum Shimmering.  All manner of brilliance, all over in 34 minutes.  Guaranteed synapse fuel.

Please pass it on if you like the show.  Comments on mixcloud very much appreciated.

Episode 4 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode three! it’s a thing now!

April 29, 2019 at 11:00 am | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | 2 Comments
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the radiofreemidwich show episode three

Yep, three episodes mean this is a real thing I’ve got going on now…

Today’s dispatch is a no-messin’, commute-friendly 34 minutes long and features music from The Doll, Hawthonn, Avellie, an EXCLUSIVE from Clive Henry, Seal Eggs and, err…, me. The interlude is a frantic moment of harsh noise recorded at my son’s recent school disco and I speak even… more… slowly… than before in a, largely successful, attempt to say ‘um’ fewer times.

Please keep commenting, tweeting etc. if you dig the show – it is all very much appreciated.

Episode 3 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode 2! yes, already!

April 21, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | 2 Comments
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the radiofreemiwich show episode two

rfm show ep2 pic

Wow, using the evangelical zeal typical of the early days of any no-audience underground/DIY project I’ve somehow completed the second episode within a week of posting the first.  This won’t last, of course, but the current mixture of praise and purpose I’m breathing in is heady and motivating so I can’t be blamed for taking a long ol’ sniff.

This episode, still taut at 40 minutes – no time wasting here, features music from swefn, Caleb R.K. Williams and Ivonne Van Cleef, Ashtray Navigations, marlo eggplant, Cucina Povera and a WORLD EXCLUSIVE, no less, from The Skull Mask, as well as torrential rain on the roof of Leeds Tropical World and musings and mispronunciations by your host recorded in the back yard.

As before, please spread the word and let me know if you are digging it.

Episode 2 on Mixcloud

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rob presents the radiofreemidwich show episode one!

April 16, 2019 at 8:09 am | Posted in no audience underground, the radiofreemidwich show | Leave a comment
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the radiofreemidwich show episode one

rfm show ep1 pic

About time, eh?  Inspired by the radio shows and podcasts created by Crow Versus Crow, We Need No Swords, Sophie Cooper, Neil Campbell and many other comrades I’ve decided to have a go myself.  TRFMS is resolutely lo-fi in presentation but full of furious beauty and, at 35 minutes, the ideal running time for busy influencers or damaged layabouts alike.  Featuring music from Void Vertex, Helicopter Quartet, Pumice, Penance Stare, Grey Frequency and The Master Musicians of Dyffryn Moor plus my office radiator gurgling!

Spread the word, let me know if you dig this and if there is any interest at all I’ll do some more.

Episode 1 on Mixcloud

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clicking down the delta: paul margree on mikroton recordings

September 10, 2017 at 6:05 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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MKM – Instants//Paris (Mikroton Recordings)

Burkhard Beins / Lucio Capece / Martin Küchen / Paul Vogel -Fracture Mechanics (Mikroton Recordings)

Ease – No No No, No (Mikroton Recordings)

Alfredo Costa Monteiro / Miguel A. Garcia – Aq’Ab’Al (Mikroton Recordings)

Kurt Liedwart / Andrey Popovskiy / Martin Taxt – Hjem (Mikroton Recordings)

The Holy Quintet – Borough (Mikroton Recordings)

 Kurt Liedwart’s Mikroton Recordings has been broadcasting dispatches from the outer realms of aural voyaging since 2008. Its discography takes in luminaries of abstract improvised sounds such as Keith Rowe, Jason Kahn and Burkhard Beins, as well as newer voices such as Lucio Capece or Miguel A. Garcia.

Mapping the label’s aesthetic would probably encompass the slow ruptures of Crypt-era AMM, the bruising subtleties of Berlin Echtzeitmusik and the glacial intensity of reductionism and its adherents. Electroacoustic improvisation is the phrase you’d reach for, I guess. But take a few steps into this Moscow label’s back catalogue and it becomes clear that this term is about as useful as mapping the ever-widening delta of these musicks as a paper cup is for boiling an egg.

Keeping up with Liedwart’s release schedule can be exhausting. But it’s rewarding, too. Time spent with a Mikroton release opens your brain and ears to the wonders of unconventional sound. Everyday objects are reconfigured into talismanic sonic generators and the orthodoxies of conventional instrumentation are subverted. Hurricanes in the bathtub. Prickles on the skin of a bubble. Scuffles in the grey dawn.

Most of the releases under review here came out earlier in the year. There have been several more since. But as entry points into Mikroton’s fascinating discography, they can’t be beat.

mkm

MKM – Instants//Paris (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

Back in 2012,the Swiss trio of Jason Kahn, Günter Müller and Norbert Möslang assembled in Paris for a lively session of hustle and grind. It wasn’t the first time they’d played together – their debut release was back in 2008 – but sufficient vitality remains here to counter any familiarity.

Kahn has since put his analogue synth and radio setup to one side in preference for longform vocal extemporizations, but this performance never feels like a museum piece. His contributions lock together with Müller and Möslang’s cracked consumer electronics to produce bursts of junkshop argy-bargy in which individual contributions are subsumed into the overarching grey drizzle.

Early sections are a bustling farrago, the collection of gritty burps and high, needling tones not dissimilar to ‘Valentine’, Kahn’s head-to-head with Phil Julian from a year or so back.

It’s chewy, tangible stuff, the irregular bursts of noise like some slo-mo Super 8 footage of a trio of dune buggies carving up the terminal beach. The crew swerve away from any kind of crescendo or manipulative sonic topography, instead allowing the vicissitudes of their kit and caboodle to create natural peaks and lulls. They can’t help building up a head of steam towards the end, though, with a full-spectrum chunter that would give a factory full of boiling kettles a run for its money, before cutting out for an appropriately deadpan finale.

Fracture-Mechanics

Burkhard Beins / Lucio Capece / Martin Küchen / Paul Vogel – Fracture Mechanics (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

An allusive take on multidimensional improvisation from this collection of veterans, most of whom exist as points on the Echtzeitmusik/reductionist/electroacoustic axis.

Where ‘Instants//Paris’ was rough-edged and impolite, ‘Fracture Mechanics’ is enigmatic and considered. Long, breathy saxophone hoots waft across a jittery bed of interference. Glottal clicks rattle between glassy tones like a spittle flecked metronome in a temple. In ‘Pebble Snatch’, two saxophones – Capece on soprano and Küchen on tenor – moan in prehistoric lament. ‘Pendentive’ sets a cavern of ritualistic percussion against lattices of frowning gurgles and hand-bell tinkles.

There’s a lot going on under these unruffled surfaces. A wide-ranging array of equipment – the usual speakers, iPod, radios and objects you’d expect from this milieu, plus saxophones, hand oscillators, e-bowed zithers, monotron, snare drum and, best of all, ‘air from another planet contained in terrestrial glassware’ – yields a rich matrix of effects, but the space is never crowded. Restraint is as important as variety, the cumulative experience of the four players giving them an intuitive sense of when to hold back and when to push out.

Recorded in Ljubljana in 2014, ‘Fracture Mechanics’ is a prime example of the Mikroton aesthetic, with the slow-burn epic of ‘Transmogrification’ a highlight. An ear-rinsing squeal is a low-decibel, high-frequency endurance test, its groan as insistent as a fridge left open in the middle of the night. Godzilla rumbles drag themselves across a vast plain. Its 30-minute runtime resembles an aerial flythrough of a sleeping hive mind, occasional neuron flashes lighting up the dreaming nerve-centre. When it ends, you awake, refreshed.

Ease

Ease – No No No, No (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

I have a soft spot for handmade or custom-built instruments. They force innovation through defamiliarisation. Lacking history, tradition, convention, players have to bend their usual techniques into new shapes, or adopt new ones.

In electronic music, where easy-to-use interfaces combined with infinite variety results in comfort zone-produced cliché, self-made or hand-coded systems are an essential part of keeping things fresh.

And so it goes with ‘Ease’, a Viennese duo of Klaus Filip and Arnold Haberl, aka Noid. The pair uses ppooll, an open-source software tool, to create eerie and minimal computer soundscapes. Both musicians are programmers and are deeply involved in ppooll’s development community (indeed, Filip was one of the founders of the system) and so both are adept in manipulating their system to achieve astounding results – the compositions here are elegant, dense and compelling, moving with the unpredictable implacability of a weather system across a mountain range. There’s an occasional resemblance to fellow countrymen Farmer’s Manual’s live-coded suppleness in the constant, gradual shifts of these two long tracks. There’s also a gritty edge, recalling Kevin Sanders’ briefcase synth cosmologies.

In fact, of all Mikoton’s recent releases, ‘No No No, No’ is the one that fits best into the No-Audience Underground or Extraction Music taxonomies. It’s thanks mainly to the way in which Filip and Haberls’ individual contributions come together – the former moulding sine waves and high tones into beautiful forms, like a glassblower creating a set of skeletal, numinous sculptures, while the latter processes field recordings and natural sounds into rough, low-end rumbles and soft beachy huffs. An addictive, immersive recording.

aq-ab-al

Alfredo Costa Monteiro / Miguel A. Garcia – Aq’Ab’Al (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

If that all sounds a tad refined, Aq’Ab’Al might just be aggressive enough to whet your whistles.

These four chunks of intense cyborg aggression from this Iberian duo balance driller-killer vibrations with a seismically-potent low-end, all rendered in terrifying hi-definition clarity. Skynet tone-clouds meet earthmover grumbles in abrupt, dystopic visions of posthumanity. It’s thrilling, visceral stuff, brutal enough to shatter the gallery politesse of much art-music, yet retaining sufficient detail and ideas to keep you interested through repeated exposure to its tungsten surfaces.

The title comes from Mayan astrology and refers to opposites, change and renewal. While it is strange that something so unnervingly futuristic should take an ancient religion as its touchstone, Monteiro and Garcia are only the latest in a line of experimental artists reaching back through the past for inspiration. Think of Eliane Radigue’s ‘Song of Milarepa’, (inspired by the teachings of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist scholar), Morton Subotnik’s ‘The Wild Bull’(the title comes from the Epic of Gilgamesh) or Milton Babbit’s ‘Philomel’ (based on a myth from Ovid’s). In any case, listeners familiar with Mayan ideas about the end of the world – remember 2012? And Mel Gibson? – won’t have to try too hard to find the duo’s high-velocity screeches and catastrophic thunderclaps appropriately apocalyptic. These guys have seen the future. And it is murder.

Hjem

Kurt Liedwart / Andrey Popovskiy / Martin Taxt – Hjem (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

The ppooll system makes another appearance here, this time in the hands of label boss Kurt Liedwart, in a trio with Norwegian tuba player Martin Taxt and St Petersburg violinist Andrey Popovskiy.

This is quiet noise of a superior kind, Taxt and Liedwart ganging up to create laminal extended horizons through which Popovskiy scratches rough and ready paths. Taxt’s tuba is great, its long brassy parps calling out like the mating calls of mysterious sea monsters, the affectless playing unable to banish the final traces of the instrument’s characteristic pathos. Liedwart’s electronics fizzle and splutter in parallel, muddy splatters morphing into frothy sploshes before emptying into micromanaged arpeggios.

If this were a duo, this would all be rather too symmetrical for me. Fortunately, Popovskiyis a wild card, his viola, electronics and objects adding welcome wayward notes to the meditative jam. At one point, a sound like a rusty gate cuts through the cool drones, soon followed by a load of bashing and banging, as if the janitor of the Dom Cultural Centre in Moscow (where this was recorded) has chosen the worst possible time to repair the central heating system. It’s a cue for things to get scrappier, with various rustles and clonks prodding Taxt into exhausted, erratic honks, while by nervy gusts of electronics chatter their support.

borough

The Holy Quintet – Borough (Mikroton Recordings) CD and digital album

 Recorded in the Welsh Congregational Chapel in Borough, southeast London, this quintet of Johnny Chang (Viola), Jamie Drouin (suitcase modular and radio), Dominic Lash (double bass), Lazaridou-Chatzigoga (zither) and David Ryan (bass clarinet) takes on an appropriately spectral quality as their manifold creaks, strikes and crunches fade in and out of hearing.

Like a lot of Mikroton releases, the link between the players, their instruments and the sounds that we hear on the record are mysterious. Here the disconnect is even more pronounced. Sure, those stringy bumps could be Dominic Lash’s bow bouncing across his cello strings and that hollow, silvery tone could David Ryan’s bass clarinet. But, on the whole, sounds float free from their moorings, sonic manifestations divorced from their physical aspects. As a result, these two sets exist somewhere between possession and haunting, the personnel mimicking a Victorian spiritualist meeting, the attendees channeling the ghostly music of the aether even as they’re taunted by cheeky, restless spirits.

The uncredited sixth player in this quintet is silence. There’s a talk a lot about silence in the experimental music world – how much of it to allow in a performance or a recording, whether we can ever achieve true silence, how to banish it, even.  Yet we rarely acknowledge that silence is not a fixed, immutable entity. It can be blissful, mysterious, meditative, depending on the context. Here it is oppressive, claustrophobic, bearing down on these ghostly voices like a force field. Absence becomes presence, and sound becomes a last barrier against oblivion.

 Mikroton Recordings (news etc)

Mikroton Recordings (stuff to buy)

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