Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Industrial Shadows


As promised another track from the LP in progress - this time a toe tapping number. Picture if you will a back street in Bolton with smoke filtered sunlight playing on the dark waters of the canal or imagine if Hank Marvin had not got religion but had perhaps joined Storm Bugs in the 1970s - either way you might just get Industrial Shadows. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Aggregate Mix

I have been working on a new body of work which in contrast to Hollow Gravity which was largely instrumental is comprised of songs. This all happened in a roundabout way - firstly I began with a series of free form real time improvisations with a 8 step sequencer an analogue synth and a digital delay. At this point the idea was not to have any vocals but to try and produce some kind of live set. The results were lengthy evolving busy sequences, a little in the manner of Reprint but more melodious or less atonal in that one can normally pick out a key.

These longer excursions were then edited down into shorter more concise tracks and vocals and more instrumentation added. In terms of songwriting this process is possibly all a little back to front but for me at least is far preferable to sitting down with a guitar or keyboard and writing a chord progression and singing along. Given the absence of chord changes one doesn't quite get the usual verse/chorus structure though neither are the vocals randomly placed. Here are a couple of rough mixes. They are representative of a slower almost folksy sound that has emerged from the process. I will post a couple of more 'straight ahead' tracks soon.

   

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hollow Gravity Review


To end the year a nice review of Hollow Gravity LP on the Sound Projector website. Given the volume of releases coming through Mr. Pinsent's door, reviews in the Sound Projector can be a little after the fact though rather than being a cause for complaint in the internet world in which releases are hyped to death for about a week and then all but vanish the longer slower approach arguably has its merits. The LP of Hollow Gravity sold out some time ago though copies can be found online without too much trouble and/or you can of course get a digital version on the Bandcamp page here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Video Mix Tape



These last couple of years I have spent so much time on the purely audio that in contrast to the late noughties I have had a lot less time for the audio-visual.  Partly just to remind myself of all the blood, sweat and video making I put together a quick back to back edit of works all loosely connected by a certain objectification.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Osaka by Night



Continuing the foray into digital distribution started with the Storm Bugs back catalogue and the new Bugs single the link above takes you to a Sanderson release, Osaka by Night, three long drone pieces completed in the early 2000s. 

Osaka by Night has its roots in a project begun much earlier in 1981 using as source material small fragments of sound from the domestic interior such as the electrical hum of a fluorescent light or the static made by a pair of nylons. Back then I amplified the sounds and then looped them on a Revox tape recorder. The loops were then dubbed onto another machine from which more loops were made and on and over, until the small fragments turned into long lo-fi drones. These recordings have long since been lost with only a few snippets remaining on a cassette.

In 2001 I began to work again on the project using the same source material but this time employing software to stretch and loop the sounds. The result was a number of long drone works not identical to the original pieces but similar in intention and overall sound. Two of these pieces were included on a bonus CDR released with the limited edition Box set (25 copies) of the Seal Pool Sounds CD in 2006  but have not been released since. For Osaka by Night, these two tracks have been remastered (a little gentle balancing and  mains hum removal) and a previously un-released track Traffic Calming Measures has also been included. All the material was recorded digitally and the lossless FLAC files available from Bandcamp are pretty much identical to the masters (the free streaming MP3 preview files are not as good of course).     


Monday, September 16, 2013

No Nothingness/ Triangulation - the new Storm Bugs single


No Nothingness/ Triangulation - Storm Bugs single 

the first new tracks to be released in ten years

now available inclusively as download (in MP3, FLAC etc)




Watch the video



Friday, May 24, 2013

Storm Bugs go digital.


The Storm Bugs back catalogue is now available for your downloading pleasure in a variety of high quality digital formats (FLAC, 320 MP3 etc) on Bandcamp.



The downloads have been grouped as far as possible to reflect the original releases or by recording session. There are of course various extras to tempt you such as live recordings and even a few previously unreleased tracks  as well as high quality scans of the artwork, recording details and so on. Alternatively if you just want to listen then full-length previews are included. So empty your folder of all those dodgy poorly encoded 128 MP3 files and get to sparkly new ones to tickle your ear lobes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Upstairs Backwards




















Myself and VDO have been working on a couple of collaborative tracks. The first fruits of our labour is Drums in the Sanctuary (the office abandoned, she descends into the underworld) the title being a willful misreading of this. Another track is already recorded and who knows if a willing body can be found there will be some kind of release this year. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Snatch Tapes Head Cleaner


If like many of us you have spent the last few days listening to Bowie's latest offering and you now find your heads are completely clogged then you need the patented Snatch Tapes Head Cleaner. Just click here and play though your system once or twice to dislodge any unwanted residues. Guaranteed clean heads or your rabbit back.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Gift of Vision and Sound


This Saturday at the Furtherfield gallery One minute (Volume One) curated by Kerry Baldry  will be screening. Included, as part of the programme is a video called Jiggery Pokery I made back in 2005. Jiggery Pokery was part of a sequence of pieces, which attempted to very directly link sound and image.

During the 1990s I created a number of installations in which a key element was the interplay of sound and vision and once I got my first Mac in late 97 I began experimenting with various programmes that allowed you do this on screen. The Mac in question had a blistering 200 MHZ processor and it wasn’t until 2002 when I upgraded to an iMac G3 (600 MHZ) that really anything of interest began to happen. In 2001 I also came across an application called Vidoedelic that provided real scope for linking image manipulation to either sound or midi signals.

Using sound files or live sound in Videodelic was rather imprecise working as it did rather like a colour organ by filtering the sound into frequency bands (bass, mid or high) and then allowing you to apply one or other band to a parameter. Anything other than a very straightforward bass beat was hard to track. What worked much better was using midi data.

The midi value of notes could be precisely matched to parameter changes. So for example as you ascended up a scale an image could rotate in steps precisely equivalent to each interval. Using this approach I worked up a number of pieces. As with the installations the idea was to use sound to animate the image in some way, articulating a tangentially related aspect or property. So for example in A Rocco Din the idea was to take a picture of an accordion and then have a piece of accordion music perform a digital dissection of the image.
A Rocco Din was the first piece to be completed and took a couple of months to finish this was largely down to technical problems as though Videodelic can record QuickTime movies of its output it can’t do this when being controlled by midi only when using sound files. The solution ended up being using an on screen recorder with the midi track running at ¼ speed then speeding it all back up… all in all far more than any iMac can handle. Arriving at a perfect sync which was in a way the whole idea proved to be very difficult.
The next completed piece was Jiggery Pokery. Again working from a single image this time of two highland dancers and using an adapted midi file of a highland jig as an animation source the image was coerced into ‘dancing’. By this time I had acquired a box that meant one could play the piece live on the Mac and output the VGA of the computer to a DV camera. Not entirely without loss of quality but a lot easier than the first method.
I completed two more pieces using a similar approach Quadrangle and Row Row, working from an image of a white square and of two men in a boat respectively. Quadrangle uses a quasi-random midi sequence generator producing a possible more inventive series of sequences than those used in A Rocco Din or Jiggery Pokery. Quadrangle also uses the midi data to change the colour of the image. Row Row in contrast is the most straightforward of the four works with the image of the two men in the boat being stretched to create the illusion of the image rowing.
Looking back of the four pieces Quadrangle and Jiggery Pokery still seem to ‘work’ the other two seem a little too restrained possibly hidebound by the technical difficulties it took to simply finish them. 

After making the four pieces, which took best part of two years I largely stopped using Videodelic as it was never upgraded from os9 to Mac OS X and the problems with capturing the output was never resolved. Instead I began to use MAX/MSP/Jitter to make pieces such as Fleshtones.

It might be interesting one day to revisit the pieces in a more performative fashion.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ashes & Diamonds – Collaborations between Philip Sanderson & David Jackman.


Illustrated with short MP3 samples
In spring 1980 I was sitting in my dank basement in Westbourne Terrace Paddington when the doorbell rang. Outside was a bloke clutching a crash helmet and manhandling a bright orange moped. “Hi – my name is David Jackman, saw your Snatch Tapes listing in the NME and thought I would pop round”. This sort of thing was not unusual at the time so I asked him in and over several coffees David talked about the music he was making, his time in the Scratch Orchestra and so on. I no doubt waxed lyrical about this and that and by the end of the conversation he had bought a copy of the newly pressed Storm Bugs EP and I had asked him to contribute to the forthcoming Snatch 2 compilation. 
Over the next few months David popped round fairly often and not only contributed to Snatch 2 but helped to compile it and design the sleeve. Snatch 1 had been a fairly straightforward compilation with six distinct tracks on it but for Snatch 2 there was more material and we put together a few linking sections and ‘dub” parts – the Scratch Dub for example involving a slightly unholy alliance of VCS3 rhythms and snatches of the Scratch Orchestra, John Cage and the Beach Surgeons (an early Graham Massey project).

Snatch 2 compiled we began work on some collaborative tracks recording them in the Paddington basement using almost exclusively acoustic sources - pretty much whatever was to hand: grill pans, bird whistles, bongos etc. This was not improvised acoustic music however rather the sounds were recorded and then manipulated and edited on ¼ inch tape – sped up, slowed down, played backwards and often as not made into tape loops.

The resultant music was a curious hybrid of our respective practices; Storm Bugs recordings were at the time often willfully excessive whilst David’s recordings were stripped-back almost minimal. David’s music was often as not from acoustic sources whereas my own work was electric/electronic. Somewhere between these almost opposites we put together three completed tracks, two long pieces with the working titles of Terrain 1 & 2 and a third unnamed piece.

Though it was common in this heyday of DIY to record something one week and put it out on tape the following week for whatever reason the two Terrains were not released on Snatch Tapes, one would appear on David’s Aeroplane label a couple of years later, and one would not be released for another 22 years. 

Once the Terrain sessions were over we carried on collaborating now and then over the next couple of years. In the summer of 1980 David joined myself, Steven Ball and Sarah Pomeroy for a somewhat ill fated live Storm Bugs gig in Maidstone, Kent. David played ezraj, Steven ‘flumper” (an instrument made out of a long piece of wood with a metal ribbon attached and pick-up), Sarah played guitar (or possibly cello?) and I sang or tried to. We had a backing tape of VCS3 rhythms which half way through the gig the soundman at the mixing desk started fast-forwarding. No doubt we were less than note perfect but the sound of a fast-forwarding tape brought an abrupt end to the performance. More successful was some live gigs in 1980/81 in London with myself David, Nigel Jacklin from Alien Brains and other assorted improvisers and experimentalists. A short excerpt from one or more of these live gigs would later surface on the Nigel Jacklin Verdenskang cassette release. As I had better equipment at home than David (i.e. a Revox rather than domestic tape recorders) and access to the Goldsmiths studio I also helped David out with engineering on a couple of his tracks.

Sometime In 1980 The A & R man at Cherry Red had seen the Snatch Tapes display in Rough Trade and taken a liking to some of the material and consequently we were both included on the 1981 Perspectives and Distortion compilation LP released in the late summer of 1981. Indeed we bookeneded the album; David with the last track Untitled and myself under my Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey hat (with vocals by Nancy Slessinger) at the start with Bright Waves.

In early 1981 I had moved back to Deptford and David, myself and Clip from a band called Orior began to play every Wednesday afternoon in the basement of the electro acoustic music studio in Morley College (now part of the Siobhan Davis dance studio complex). It was a rather unlikely teaming, I had a bank of VCS3s, Clip had a guitar and a Wasp synthesizer and David had largely acoustic instruments or sound sources such as bowed cymbals and the like.

Sessions would start quietly and then gradually Clip and I would tend to increase the volume on our respective instruments producing a wall of sound in which it became hard to identify individual sources, especially David’s contribution. We nevertheless carried on playing for a number of weeks recording what was in essence live improvisation and completed at least one long 20-minute track. None of these recordings were ever released and indeed to my knowledge no copies exist though possibly there may be a cassette in Clip’s loft. A live and more restrained appearance was also made by the three of us at the 1981 summer concert at Morley College.  
In late 1981 Snatch 3 was released. Whereas Snatch 1 and 2 had been compiled quickly Snatch 3 took much longer possibly as we were trying to be more ‘professional’. The sleeve (designed by David) for example was printed rather than photocopied and I painstakingly screen printed the cassette labels in Pink and Turquoise. There was even an accompanying poster made not with David but with Michael Denton.
Also in 1981 Snatch Tapes released Ritual, a cassette single by David Jackman which, featured Ritual a Jackman solo composition on the A side and Offshore a Jackamn/Sanderson composition on the B side. My memory is that Offshore is the third track we worked on in 1980 though when I discussed this with David a few years ago he thought Offshore was not from the 1980 Paddington sessions but was recorded separately. The cassette sleeve advertised Offshore as being from a “forthcoming duo cassette album”.
Offshore never appeared on the duo cassette album but the following year In 1982 the 0° North Sanderson/Jackman cassette was released not on Snatch Tapes but on David’s Aeroplane label it featured 5 tracks: Ashes & Diamonds, Fade of Light, Terrain, Under Press of Sail and Zero Degrees North. It was a curious compilation as not only did it not feature Offshore but three of the tracks had appeared the year previously on the Snatch 3 compilation. It did however include one of the previously unreleased Terrain tracks.

Ashes & Diamonds is a Jackman/ Sanderson collaborative and features flute loops recorded in 1980. The flute loops were together with some abstract vocals by Nancy Slessinger (who had provided the drifting vowels on the Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey Bright Waves track) and some percussive sounds fed through a 2 Revox tape delay system to create the track. For a while there was talk of it being included on Cherry Red Pillows & Prayers but this never came to anything.

Fade of Light is a Jackman solo track recorded by him in Barnes and quite characteristic of his sound at the time.

Terrain is a Jackman/ Sanderson track one of the two Terrain tracks we recorded in 1980 in Paddington. The longest piece on the tape it is a slowly shifting mix of percussive loops.

Under Press of Sail is a Sanderson seqeuncer/VCS3 track recorded in early 1979 and originally released on Snatch 1 under the Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey pseudonym.

Zero Degrees North is a Jackman/ Sanderson mix featuring the drum loop I had made for the Storm Bugs track Tin overdubbed with ezraj by David. Zero Degrees North had also appeared on Snatch 3 but credited to Ice Yacht.

The next release to feature any combined Sanderson/Jackman input was the 1985 Nigel Jacklin Verdenskang tapemade in co-operation with: Philip Sanderson, Meat Means Bloody Murder, David Jackman and introducing: Zena” to quote the sleeve. The exact contribution of the various parties is not listed further but listening to it a couple of years ago I could identify a number of sections, which were taken from live gigs, which took place between 1980 and 1982.

Also in 1985 I began compiling an LP featuring various collaborative tracks from the previous 5 years in particular a number of tracks made with Michael Denton. As part of this process David (who at the time had a room in my New Cross flat) came into the IPS studio and added home made flute to two tracks. Ups and Downs and Apostrophe S. Ups and Downs was a Sanderson/Denton track recorded a couple of years previously for a video Michael was working on whilst Apostrophe S had been recorded by myself and Steven Ball for another short video project. The homemade flutes made by David have a particular sonic quality, which can be heard on his Organum recordings from the same period.  Here combined with more rhythmical backings the effect was rather different as heard on Ups and Downs and Apostrophe S. The LP never saw the light of day but a cassette version entitled Telephone Music was made in an edition of 5-10 copies. A tape delay version of the flute part from Ups and Downs was made for potential use in a film project and this exists as a cassette copy (unreleased).

There were no musical collaborations between David and myself in the 1990s; I was working on various light and sound installations and he was busy with his Organum releases though as ever we kept in touch as we both shared a passion for bicycle building so much time was spent discussing the merits of 531 tubing, 26 13/8ths rims and Sturmey-Archer hub gears.
In the 2000s as various back catalogues began to be re-issued on CD and LP we began to discuss re-issuing some of our old collaborative recordings. The first of these to be released was Terrain, not the one that had appeared on the 1982 Zero Degrees North cassette but the other Terrain from the 1980s sessions. This was released by Dir Stadt as a ten inch single in 2002 backed by Adrift from the David Jackman Snatch Tapes cassette single of the same name.
In 2003 Offshore (the B-side to the Ritual single) was included on David’s Up From Zero CD released by Robot Records. Then in 2004, Fusetron in New York released Up the Middle, Down the Sides a Storm Bugs compilation of mostly previously unreleased tracks. Nestled towards the end of side 2 is a one-minute track called In the Naked Girl’s Majesty.  This was recorded in 1980 and is constructed from one of the percussion loops David and I made for the Terrain tracks with an improvised vocal track.
In 2006 Vinyl On Demand released Snatch Paste - featuring an assortment of tracks from the first three Snatch Tape compilations. Amongst these were solo tracks by David and myself but also Diamonds and Ashes and alternative (and arguably far superior) mix of Ashes and Diamonds from Snatch 3/Zero Degrees North.
And that for the moment is that. David and I did play live together one more time about 4 years ago when he suggested at short notice that we attend one of Eddie Prevost's Friday Workshops which take place in the basement of a chapel on Southwark Bridge Road. We were the only two participants not to have recognizable musical instruments and it made for an interesting evening as David crashed about banging brooms against fire extinguishers and I made feedback squeaks with a small amplifier and cassette recorder. It was all good fun and there was talk of us both attending the workshop regularly but we never did.

To my knowledge all of the re-issued material from the 0s is still available for purchase from various outlets (see discogs). The original cassettes are much harder to come by however digitized versions do appear regularly on line on blogs, youtube etc (a quick Google showed three sites with Zero Degrees North). The sound quality is often very poor and sometimes the track listing is wrong but it is the only way to hear the tracks in their original context. 

Jackman/Sanderson collaborative tracks by date of release.
1981 -  Offshore. B- side to the Ritual cassette single by David Jackman (tch211).
1981 – Zero Degrees North. Appears on the Snatch 3 compilation tape (tch 300) credited to Ice Yacht.
1981 – Ashes & Diamonds. Appears on the Snatch 3 compilation tape (tch 300) credited to Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey.
1982 – Terrain. Appears on the Zero Degrees North Jackman/Sanderson tape release (AR4)
1982 – Zero Degrees North. Appears on the Zero Degrees North Jackman/Sanderson tape release (AR4)
1982 – Ashes & Diamonds. Appears on the Zero Degrees North Jackman/Sanderson tape release (AR4)
1985 – Various contributions to the Verdenskang - and it’s there tape (compiled by Nigel Jacklin) (AND 20). See text above for description.
1986 – Ups and Downs. With Michael Denton appears on the Telephone Music Tape.
1986 – Apostrophe S. With Steven Ball appears on the Telephone Music Tape.
2002 – Terrain. The previously unreleased Terrain was the A-side of a 10 inch single on Die Stadt records.  
2003 - Offshore. Included on the David Jackman Up From Zero CD released by Robot Records.
2004 - In the Naked Girl’s Majesty. Track on the Storm Bugs, Up the Middle Down the Sides LP on Fusetron.
2006 – Diamonds & Ashes. Alternate mix of Ashes and Diamonds appears on the Snatch Paste compilation LP on Vinyl on Demand records.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Index

Still-Moving

Hearing Things