position filled: three new writers join radiofreemidwich

January 16, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Posted in blog info | Leave a comment
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The review pile yesterday, time to get to work...

The review pile yesterday, time to get to work…

Comrades!  Further to the ‘situation vacant’ post immediately below, I am delighted to announce that not one, not two but three new writers have joined Radio Free Midwich today: Sophie Cooper, Chrissie Caulfield and Marlo Eggplant.

Given three immediate and appropriate expressions of interest I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get all these voices on board.  It also levels the gender balance here in one graceful movement and consigns all sexism and misogyny to the dustbin of history!  Wait, what?  It doesn’t?  Oh, for fucks sake… Well, it’s a step in the right direction I hope…

Our new contributors are compelling and original musicians themselves and between them have a (rather daunting, awe inspiring) wealth of hands-on experience in getting creative things done.  Just click on the links above or a spend a few minutes with Google.  Basically, I can’t believe my luck.

So, before anyone gets cold feet, let me officially announce that RFM is now Sof, Chrissie, Marlo, Luke, Joe and me.  There: carved into stone, no way out now.  Hopefully this will mean that the range of music covered here can be widened and deepened but without losing our focus on the unheralded edges of noise and experimental music.  I’m so stoked by this I’m going to buy a van and paint it with psychedelic patterns so we can drive around in the Summer months solving noise-mysteries.  Luke will have to dress as a dog, of course.

OK, no need for any more now.  We’ll see how this pans out over the next few months.

Exciting times!


an inch of time is an inch of gold…

July 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Posted in blog info, no audience underground | 3 Comments
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evidence of the golden age

Status report: despite the number of people interested in this stuff being statistically indistinguishable from zero, the micro-climate that this blog reports on could not be sunnier.  RFM’s lifetime hit count sits at 72,000, increasing at a rate of 2-3000 a month.  The ‘to review’ list is over fifty items deep and a shaming *ahem* ‘several’ months long.  It is very exciting, if a bit daunting.  Evidence that we are living in a golden age for experimental music is literally piling up around me.

I’m delighted to say that our own endeavours have been proving as welcome as a full English breakfast the morning after a day’s yomp too.

Joe Murray’s recent mid-life crisis tour was a blast and his numerous releases as Posset fizz exuberantly in the catalogues of discerning and forward-thinking microlabels everywhere.  Not only that but he is now broadcasting alongside Hasan Gaylani (of Jazzfinger and Popular Radiation) on the lovely Basic FM.  Check that out.

Scott ‘Gru’ McKeating has been quiet of late, true, but he is no doubt hatching an evil plan to harness obsessive Matthew Bower fandom for despicable purposes.  In the meantime, why not catch up with everything he has released on the dormant-but-smoking Bells Hill and its digital counterpart.  Then treat yourself to the unique doomphonics of Black Leather Cop, his duo collaboration with Joe.

My releases this year as midwich have attracted some humbling praise and a couple have sold out their small runs as physical objects.  An uncharacteristic modesty forbids me from saying more.  Anyway, a piece composed for Joe’s radio show is in its larval stage and a gig at the far end of the year beckons.  The Barrel Nut #10 has been compiled and copied and awaits folding and distributing.  Contributions to fill numbers #11 and #12 are in hand.

Enormous fun, eh?  Indeed.  However, seasoned readers are probably expecting a ‘but’.  How perceptive of them, here it is:

But… three aspects of ‘real’ life need to be accounted for and will lead to some tweaking of current procedure.

Firstly, home life and parenthood are both terrific but the boy is in a highly mobile developmental stage, needing hawk-like attention on a near-constant basis.  It is surprising just how many lethal objects and substances we keep at a knee high level in the house, is it not?  And why does bleach come in such brightly coloured and attractive bottles?

Secondly, work life has stepped up several gears.  I work in undergraduate university admissions and the exam results and visa application seasons are well under way.  This will last until the end of September.

Third and finally, sensing that I am vulnerable my illness has positioned itself on my back wheel and is glaring at me whenever I look over my shoulder.  ‘You hate yourself’, the part of my brain that wants to sabotage the rest repeatedly shouts, ‘you want to die’.  This tactic is a ridiculous blunt instrument and can usually be swatted aside with the counter-thought: ‘fuck off, I’m universally loved due to being awesome.’  However, sometimes the endless, grinding repetition of the same ugly thought is enough to provoke a weary moment of doubt, even assent.

In summary then: I have very little spare time and that which I do grab is usually spent hallucinating with tiredness and/or batting off the inner demons.

So, what to do?  I’d hate for anything as magical and life-affirming as the work I put into music and this blog to become a chore, or something to stress about, so some reining in has to be done.  Nothing yells ‘time management’ like an alpha list bullet points:

a) Firstly some apologies: I applaud the patience of those who have submitted material for review and I am afraid that I have to ask for more.  Likewise, my email correspondents will have to put up with tardy and short replies for at least a couple of months.  Soz.

b) There may have to be a discrete cull of the material that has piled up.  I’ve sounded out my comrades about taking some of this stuff on themselves but they have their own commitments and I don’t really want to staunch Joe’s flow as he is doing a bang-up job covering the kinetic poetry/vocal improv beat that mainly leaves your editor befuddled.

c) I will no longer be mentioning zines or the printed word (at least until the backlog is cleared) focussing on recorded music (almost) exclusively.  Thus my apologies to Dr. Adolf Steg of Spon, the final issues of which arrived at Midwich Mansions this week.  May I call your attention to Uncle Mark’s write-up here instead?  Likewise Noness: for thinking people beyond the pale which is a fascinating read and was kind enough to mention The Barrel Nut in passing.  Fans of Ceramic Hobs, Lobster magazine and the like will find much of interest, I’m sure, and it is notable for being one of very few fanzines I’ve seen to feature extensive footnotes.  It’s mother blog, Nobody’s Business is worth regular visits.

d) Some changes in submission guidelines shall be made to streamline matters.  If your release is download only, feel free to send the download link (with a code to dodge payment if applicable).  If your release is download and a physical object, again download link (and code if needed) is fine.  If your release is physical object only then best to send the physical object.  If for reasons of efficiency or poverty you would prefer to sneak me a download then please include a scan of the cover I can use.  I’d prefer you not to send wav files as my walkman is fussy about playing them.  Likewise, I will only use dropbox under duress because, for technical reasons, I fucking hate it.  Preferred methods of getting files to me are via Bandcamp or good quality mp3 files sent via WeTransfer.

e) Adopting a time-management strategy I’ve used before, I may publish more short and group reviews and some more ‘first impressions’ type stuff.  Don’t worry – it will be properly thought out and based on the same close listening as ever, just not as meandering.  I suspect a bit of discipline might be good for me anyway.  I may even crack out some no-audience haiku again, especially for those blog-faves who have been heavily reviewed already.  Here’s the first:

Dan, Kev, Lee, Miguel:

these seventeen syllables

may be all you get…

Snigger.  OK, onwards!  Slowly!  Next up: The Barrel Nut #10, soon: The Piss Superstition on fencing flatworm recordings, after: loads of reviews of heart-stoppingly beautiful, rapture-inducing noise wonders.

Love to you all,

Rob H

some housekeeping at midwich mansions

August 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Posted in blog info | Leave a comment
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This blog, I am very pleased to say, is bubbling along at a level of interest, dare I say ‘success’, that I am perfectly happy with.  I know it is taboo to discuss numbers of ‘hits’ openly – like comparing salaries at work – because it reveals the uncomfortable truth about how thinly the internet is spread.  Luckily for you, I don’t give a shit about protocol.

At the time of writing RFM has had 23,646 hits, has garnered over 1000 in each of the last nine months and over 1500 in four of those.  Given that the subject matter of this blog is only of interest to a statistically insignificant number of people, these figures are solid.  There is also evidence that my mutterings sometimes lead to interest (including a couple of terrific collaborations), downloads, even sales.  Not many – a handful – but more than, say, a mediocre review by an ill-informed drone in The Wire magazine would generate.  It is all very gratifying and I consider the hours I put in to be time well spent.

However, I find myself in the enviably bittersweet position of being a victim of this modest success.  In an average week I receive one or two parcels in the post, a couple of emails pointing me at downloads and, if I go to a gig or a Thursday meet-up, a handful of objects pressed directly into my sweaty palms.  On returning to Midwich Mansions from the Striate Cortex/Sheepscar Light Industrial gig I was so laden with gifts that my beautiful Turkish boy had to help me empty my bulging sack all over the Persian rug.  A lovely happy ending to a perfect night…

Now, don’t get me wrong: I ain’t complaining and long may this state of affairs continue.  A heartfelt thank you to all who have shared their work with me.  Unfortunately, even taking into account the fact that I don’t review everything I am given, I am still falling behind.  I’d happily spend all day every day puttering about in this small land but, as my lottery numbers stubbornly refuse to be drawn, aspects of ‘real life’ continue to make justified claims on my time.

So what am I saying?  Well, I’m asking for patience, mainly, and understanding.  I’m intending on shortening my average article length and on having more ‘bunch’ or ‘themed’ reviews instead of pieces on individual releases.  Hope y’all don’t mind – it’s a way of keeping it flowing.  And don’t worry – you can bet your bubble-blowing-dinosaur-robot that there’ll still be ridiculous whimsy alongside the hard-bitten analysis…

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