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.
The latest issue of The Wire (#409) contains my article on ‘psyphonics’ – the idealistic practice of attempting to embed idea, emotion and ‘thought’ within sound. A blogpost over at the Miraculous Agitations blog gives a little background to the idea. The Wire article charts how this romantic concept survives and even flourishes within modernity’s rigours.
A newly formed Psyphonics Facebook group now exists for anyone wishing to explore the idea further and share related music/recordings.
Two separate labels have just released limited edition LPs of Meadow House ‘tapedropping’ material (that is, music designed to be left on cassette – later CDR – in public places for people to pick up). They showcase the volatile, fun, idiosyncratic, daring, irritating, despairing and inscrutable styles that this mode of soundmaking has gravitated towards over the years.
Misadventures on the Scorn Cycle is on Public House Records, and This Should Not Be Happening is on Feeding Tube Records.
Background fluff pertinent to these releases is readable on the Miraculous Agitations main blog.