As a freelancer, many pitches and proposals become little more than yelps into an abyss. At the end of 2019 I’ve decided to relinquish a continually rejected article by posting it in full at the main Miraculous Agitations blog for people to read. Ironically, it’s about noise and the ways anti-noise campaigners promote their cause. In fact, like a nest of rejected Russian Matryoshka dolls, the blogpost also contains the essence of my BBC radio documentary pitch on anti-noise campaigning which has been rejected in various forms over the years. In all, the text implicitly questions how we process noise – in all senses of the word – and the paradoxical ways that noise might be countered (with passing reference to the instrumentality of celebrity and popular culture), all presented via deep archive archaeology. The core of the piece concerns The Darlington Quiet Town Experiment, one of the ‘noisiest’ anti-noise campaigns ever seen in Britain, and something I’ve been collecting material on for many years.
The odd synchronicities that often arise whilst engaged in long-running archival research is also in evidence – subtle links between disparate sources; ethereal silver cords amidst the noise. One unusual discovery was of the earliest published story by stage and television’s Mark Gatiss – ‘The Anti-Noise Machine’ – an extraordinarily rich science-fiction nugget penned by the writer/actor aged eleven.
Read more at miraculousagitations.blogspot.com : “Noise, anti-noise, drama, Jeremy Beadle’s private noise research, the Darlington Quiet Town Experiment, and the earliest published story by Mark Gatiss (set in the year 2023)”
Filmmaker William English (of ResonanceFM‘s radio show Wavelength) has just released an artist’s book loosely themed around Leicester, or rather, Leicester-as-a-state-of-mind. I worked on its graphic design, and even supplied a rather discursive foreword. It’s titled ‘Perfect Binding: Made in Leicester‘ and to encapsulate the essence of it is tricky, but a new blogpost over at the main Miraculous Agitations blog offers some perspectives on it. Anybody interested in the psychologies behind mid-20th century counterculture will find much to chew upon.
Last week I gave a presentation titled ‘Thwarted Histories of Electronic Music’ at a special sound archaeology salon organised by the Institute for Danish Sound Archaeology as part of the Gong Tomorrow festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. There’s a long and digressive blogpost covering it on the main Miraculous Agitations blog.
My talk was about the pre-history of electronic music, but also acknowledged the ongoing dynamics that bring about thwarted histories in the historical continuum. Thwarted histories are discovered whilst scrounging across auctionhouses, second-hand bookshops, bins, and other venues at culture’s tail end – the histories I presented were excavated in this way… They included Johann Baptist Schalkenbach’s electrical music, Alfred Graham’s Victorian feedback device, the first electronic sequencer of 1925, and Delawarr Laboratories thought-to-frequency Multi-Oscillator. It has been an enduring source of surprise to me that these unknown episodes I’ve excavated have not found wider interest among publishers (I did self-publish a comb-bound edition of ‘The Magnetic Music of the Spiritual World‘ in 2015) and in the light of this I’ve come to theorise that ‘thwarted histories’ have an almost occult aspect wherein their essence of neglect can somehow persist into the present-day. The question is: how can this thwarting force be grappled with? Possible answers were touched upon during other talks at the salon…
Read an extended summary of the salon over at the Miraculous Agitations blog.
In contrast to The Wire‘s Minimalism special last year, this month’s issue is themed around ‘excess’. I contribute a short history of the use of explosives in music. Some additional coruscations on this topic can be found on the main Miraculous Agitations blog.
A new blogpost over at the main Miraculous Agitations blog examines a few 1860s publications of the Brighton printer and publisher J. F. Eyles, and reveals a very curious ‘pre-postmodern’ text (described as a “wild bit of writing”) appearing in an 1860 issue of Eyles’ newspaper, The Brighton Examiner (one of the many interesting newspapers not yet available online as a digitised resource, currently existing only as restricted/fragile volumes held at The British Library).
The Buried Treasure label’s monumental project ‘The Delaware Road‘ returns this August, 2019. The multimedia extravaganza previously unleashed its haunted wonders within a time-capsule-like decommissioned nuclear bunker in 2017, combining folklore, science, theatre and magic (under the auspices of the shadowy ‘Corporation’) and of course there were plentiful sonic emissions! (Radionics Radio was among the Corporation’s worshipful, diffusing tones in the medical bay).
This year, the psychoacoustical-psychogeographical jamboree returns to a secret military base located just a dowsing-rod-wobble away from Stonehenge. ‘The Delaware Road: Ritual & Resistance’ will be jam-packed with thrills – tickets are now available here. There will be an extraordinary collection of artists involved.
Buried Treasure released a teaser trailer which happens to be soundtracked by a Radionics Radio piece ‘Frequency Cluster’ (live at the Delaware Road) available on the label’s Creeping Cinquefoil compilation.
A line-up of the acts is viewable on the tickets page – surprise additions are expected! In a rare live outing, the as-was Sound and Music-sponsored Radionics Radio joins the happening with a special one-off electroacoustic microtonal diffusion (more details soon), once again bringing the Delawarr Laboratories radionic frequency-diffusion techniques to The Delaware Road…
The headphone audio guide at the Tate Modern’s new exhibition, Picasso 1932: Love, Fame & Tragedy plays host to a medley of new original musical pieces I composed (on instruments both post-electronic and more conventional sorts) with the complex dynamics of Picasso’s inner life at this period firmly in mind. The audio guide was produced by the talented Samuel Shelton Robinson.
Picasso 1932 runs from the 8th March to the 9th September.