Aug 22, 2017

Fats at the Lowry: Off to the Edinburgh Fringe

I'm at the Edinburgh Fringe pouring culture down my face. I've decided to be poncy and give some kind of artistic reflection as I attend gubbins at this year's Fringe. Not reviews. Just (half) thoughts made of the mouldier bits of my brain.

I'm hoping to return from the Fringe with a vague mulch of inspiration for my #DevelopedWith commission for the Lowry. That means exiting shows and taking immediately to Twitter. What you're about to read over the next few days are those tweets mangled blog posts.

My first stop was John Luke Roberts's Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair! (All in Caps). Like many others, I returned to see Roberts following his previous show about a balloon-man monster. Yeah, I said it. A balloon-man monster.

This was one-man show with costumes and, er, non-costumes, and so well written. His Chaucer piece is perfection, every wayward syllable a joy as he acts out a kind of amphetamined Officer Crabtree. He's got super silly props (beard scroll) and very natural audience interaction: we easily come onside with him.

Boy, that lad can write. Not afraid of a corny punchline either: his confidence carries it. Lovely sense of the macabre too.

Next up was Graham Dixon Is The Narcissist, an exploration of a fictional Russian writer told through layers of personalities. It was silly but oddly heavy, which I put down not to the "Russian gulag" overtones of the subject matter but to the more theatrical set-up: raked seating, stark layout (a single chair) and unforgiving lighting. I wonder how that would feel in, say, The Stand.

Not a band thing but take out, say, half a dozen punchlines and it could be hard work. Thankfully, Dixon had some lovely monologues peppered with Pythonesque surreality, and a neat way of hurling an exercise book across the stage.

Turning my thoughts to my own show - which is what this Edinburgh trip is all about - the simplicity of his set confirmed in my mind that I'd want my show to have a lot to look at. Plenty of treats for the eyes. Throwaway visual gags everywhere.

Speaking of throwaway visual gags, I saw Sam Simmons too. Always a favourite. Far fewer props this time but plenty of delightful non-sequiturs. His badminton piece with an audience member is as good as anything he's done before. (No spoilers here, but it's so sharp and very Sam.)

Both him and Dixon played with voiceover: the extra voice as antagonist in Dixon's case or as reinforcement in Simmons' case as he takes against the audience. I liked that muchly, and is a device that is particularly useful for my show.

More to come - click here for my other Lowry prep tweeting.

Aug 19, 2017

Konx-om-Pax's new confection has me sulking about sweets

I knew this world was going to pot when I realised there were two kinds of Refreshers: the sugary discs in pastel colours and the chewy bars that take your teeth out.

You can't have two sweets with the same name. We don't have a Mars Bar that's made of sickly goo and a Mars Bar made from liquorice razor blades. There's only one type of Mars Bar, albeit in different shades. And there should only be one type of Refresher.

Not that I'm totally going to hold that against Konx-om-Pax, whose new EP Refresher is a welcome follow-up to last year's Caramel. The confectionery-consumed knob twiddler leads the EP with the cheery Cascada. Love that ploddy bass drum. Listen below.

Aug 12, 2017

Fats at the Lowry: Turning my brain clutter into spiders or something

Large pieces of paper. Back of a door. One big fat marker pen.

I've been doing spider diagrams or thought charts or brain bursts or whatever you call them. This particular mind splurge is about an imaginary record shop. And not a good one either, hence the dangerous trip hazard and tired merchandise.

This part of my planning for my 2018 show. There are other idea-splats like this, although all the words are less exciting. The central oval's not as good either. This 'record shop' one is definitely my favourite.

It's quite nice to get thoughts out like this because if I empty my brain, it doesn't rattle when I walk down the street. No-one wants a clatter-headed Fat Roland careening along a pavement, all the thoughts spilling out onto passers-by.

I'm taking a few days out to focus on show writing. Turn those thinky-maps into something more useful. Watch this back-of-a-door-sized space.

Aug 8, 2017

Listen to Bicep's Glue - it'll stick with you

I've been scribbling a bunch of reviews for Electronic Sound today, which means I've been pouring music down my ears even more than usual.

One earworm has stayed with me: Bicep's Glue. This track from their debut album Bicep is worth a listen if you like Moderat and Four Tet. It does the sad-but-happy thing really well.

I also realise I've just missed a metaphor about glue and memorable tracks sticking to you. Dammit. This happens when I write a bunch of reviews to deadline: my ability to write creatively goes completely hatstand banana.

Below Glue, listen to fellow album track Aura.

Aug 5, 2017

Brian Eno: music for infuriated garden tool instruments

Brian Eno's early solo work has been reissued on fancy vinyl. That's new 45rpm remasters of Another Green World, Here Come The Warm Jets, Before And After Science and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). I call them Anothaftermountjets for short.

These albums came out shortly after I was born, and although I've heard dribbles of them over the years, it's been interesting to dive into them properly for the first time. Listening to the whole lot, in order. It's definitely the sound of Eno transitioning from Roxy Music into something much wibbly woo. That's a technical music term, by the way.

Also, Another Green World is an anagram of 'angered trowel horn'.

It's a strange feeling to step into Bowie-era Eno. When everyone had hair like the standup comedian Paul Foot.

You can read my review of the reissues in Electronic Sound magazine. If you end up subscribing to the magazine because of this, tweet them at @ElectronicMagUK with the hashtag #angeredtrowelhorn.

Aug 1, 2017

Ten things that make life 3% better

In an effort to stop and smell the proverbial roses once in a while, here are ten things I have appreciated recently.

> The start of a new month - even just a week - and the potential that hovers impossibly in the air;

> Friendly and slightly drunk crowds appreciating my panda stories at Kendal Calling;

> Eric Morecambe pretending that the person behind has just goosed him, time after time;

> The sheen on Selected Ambient Works 85-92 that sticks to your brain long after the music has gone;

> Seeing Paul Foot on the back of a truck, realising he was arriving for a gig, going to see the gig, Paul Foot being brilliant;

> The hundreds of extra blog hits from Ukraine the other day, even though it was probably just a bot... hi, Ukraine!;

> Redrawing some of my performance stuff; including secret pockets to make on-stage handling easier;

> The spiky eccentricity of Die Antwoord: I want to be them but also definitely never want to be them, all at the same time;

> Staying off Facebook because it's a time and mood drain;

> Long conversations with friends. Wait. I can't end on this, it's too soppy. Er... The gas station scene in It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. That'll do.

Jul 29, 2017

I've finally broken my new year's resolution

I was doing so well at blogging every other day in 2017 - my only new year's resolution - and now it's all gone aubergine-shaped. I seem now to be blogging only once every three days.

This is, of course, a disaster because - as we all know - blogging is still the number one communication platform. We all get up in the morning, grab our phones, and scroll through all the Blogpost blogs. Don't we? Hello? *taps mic* Hello?

I'm really enjoying blogging regularly again. It's helped add rhythm to my life since I quite the full-time job last year. And that rhythm is the sound of clattering plastic keys, the staccato giggles to myself as I think of funny words, and the bass-heavy sobs when I realise few people blogs anymore. Apart from Richard Herring fans.

Thanks for reading this, by the way.

On the plus side, I've just realised that when I get chores done, I do a little "pyow pyow" laser noise to myself as if I'm zapping my to-do list. Washes plate. Pyow pyow, Hoovers hallway. Pyow pyow. Pops zit. Pyow pyow.

It's nice having simple goals.

Jul 26, 2017

I've got a song in my head

I've got a song in my head. It's from the 80's. It sounds a bit like this:

"Doo de doo de dooo biii doooo, doo de doo de dooo biii doooo."

It's a proper 80s synth sound, but it's not the chorus, it's the bit inbetween things. Doo de doo. Like that.

And there's a bloke in rolled up jacket sleeves who looks at the camera, and there's some lighting and video FX and smoke. Oh and he's got a perm.

Although that might be from an entirely different video.

"Doo de doo de dooo biii doooo."

Also there's someone singing. I can hear the voice in my head but not the tune or the tone. It's a man or a woman or an alien or a horse or something.

Anyway, that's the song in my head. Good, isn't it?

Jul 23, 2017

Spotiphex: Aphex Twin goes all streamy on us

Aphex Twin just sneezed and splattered the internet with loads of new tunes.

That's literally what he does. He tickles his nose with a feather or looks at a lightbulb for too long, then he sneezes, and all the music comes out. He's like one of those flu adverts where all the nose drops are analogue frequencies.

I know the Twinlord has dumped tracks all over the internet before, but this seems particularly special. He now has a dedicated Aphex Twin streaming site.

Among the 30-or-so existing albums and singles on his brand new microsite, there's Korg sessions, new AFX tracks and never-before-heard bonus tracks from Windowlicker, Come To Daddy, Hangable Auto Bulb, Polygon Window and oh my, I'm fainting. Even The Tuss is on there. And there's more to come from his Rephlex archive.

It's a Warp Records site through a Stranger Things filter via a ZX Spectrum. Have a stream - and a download - right here.

Jul 21, 2017

Listen to Orbital's new single Copenhagen

The Orbital brothers have released a new single. Originally called 'Cooping Lisa' by someone who probably got the name wrong, 'Copenhagen' is a free download on Soundcloud.

The track sounds very Orbital, dontcha think? Vocals are by folk singer Lisa Knapp. Have a listen below. They played this at their recent BlueDot Festival appearance (thanks Aimée for jogging my memory). I've included their set-list below the Soundcloud embed, in small writing so you can ignore it if you want to be surprised when you see them live.

'Copenhagen' is the latest in a geographically-named series of tracks. Others include 'Belfast', 'New France' and, er, 'Planet of the Shapes' which apparently is just outside Chelmsford.

A little bird tells me Orbital are working on a new album, which should be ready in 2018. By "little bird" I mean "an interview with Orbital which was recorded after their soundcheck at the BlueDot festival then uploaded online which I then watched using the internet".

That BlueDot track list in full (I think): Lush > Impact > Copenhagen > Wonky > Forever > The Girl With The Sun In Her Head > Satan > Halcyon On And On > Belfast > Doctor?* > The Box > Chime > Where Is It Going?
*with The Radiophonic Workshop

Further Fats: Gorgeous Pauls (2010)

Further Fats: Orbital get a keyboard fixed (2017)

Jul 20, 2017

No-one wants songs about the moon these days


Today's the billionth anniversary of humankind setting foot on the moon.

Do we have colonies on the moon now? Are we whizzing around its craters in bubblecars? Can we speak into our wrists to order cocktails from little green alien butlers?

No. Total waste of time.

Here are all the UK number one singles with "moon" in the title. They're in order of success (number of weeks at number one then number of weeks in the chart) because I am too stubborn to throw off the notion that chart trivia stripped of its context is a useful thing.

I can only assume from this list that since the turn of the millennium, no-one wants songs about the moon.

Connie Francis - Carolina Moon. Number one in 1958. I don't know this one and because the title reminds me of 'Oh Carolina', I can only imagine her sounding like Shaggy.

Stargazers - I See The Moon. Number one in 1954. Is 1954 even a year?! The moon wasn't even invented then.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising. Number one in 1969. "Hope you are quite prepared to die." Thanks for that, Clarence or whatever your name was.

Showaddywaddy - Under The Moon Of Love. Number one in 1976. Reality TV stars before there was reality TV, with a band name to match.

Danny Williams - Moon River. Number one in 1961 / 62. You spelled 'rover' wrong, Danny, jeez.

Marcels - Blue Moon. Number one in 1961. Their in-your-face rendition of a staid classic probably rustled a few starched feathers. Apparently the song has been adopted as an anthem by some small-time Northern football team. Can't remember the city.

Leann Rimes - Can't Find The Moonlight. Number one in 2000. Clouds, Leann. It's probably clouds.

The Police - Walking On The Moon. Number one in 1979. Most notable for Sting's poetic development of the moon landing communications: "Giant steps are what you take... I hope my legs don't break."

Jul 18, 2017

Fats at the Lowry: a Curious trip to the North East

I recently performed to a marvellous Mother's Ruin crowd at the Curious Festival in Stockton-on-Tees. It went so well I actually punched the air after I walked off stage. This is very unlike me.

Sorry, the air. You didn't deserve to be punched.

When I say "well", I don't mean that the audience was throwing garlands. Going "well" is more about me hitting my intended 'marks' throughout the performance: script, tone, pacing. Making it look loose and uncontrolled, and yet ticking mental boxes throughout. Performing things that make me laugh, performing them properly - and hoping that the audience will come along with me.

I also sneaked in possible ideas for my Lowry show, which I have previously waffled on about on this site. My gigs have become more music-filled than before, giving me more freedom to lark about doing nonsense. This change in style is a huge signpost towards what I want to achieve for my 2018 show.

Partly because I want to be transparent, and partly for my own recollection, here is my set list from that 20-minute performance. If you weren't there, this is going to make little sense. Enjoy!

1. Intro music, massive eye dance, destruction of radio
2. Annoying voice-over, mentioning "elephurbs"
3. Musical cartoons: lad with his head in a box.
4. Fat Roland's daring feat: counting up from one
5. Deeply inspirational ornithological moment
6. Alan the Buffalo
7. Musical cartoons: strangers in the night, afraid, very sexy rose
8. Jumanji elephants
9. Massive Whitney moment to rapturous applause and possibly fear

PS: The gig was excellent: great performers, brilliant hosting, supportive venue. After the gig, we went to a pub. I realise Stockton is only *just* out of North Yorkshire, but this was the first time I had ever been to a pub in the North East of England. There was a guitarist in the pub. What was he playing? Crocodile Shoes. Of course.

Jul 16, 2017

Listen to Prayer's new Seeing EP and be converted too

My nostalgia bone is tingling. Sorry about that. I'll put it away.

There's something brilliantly retro about the new Seeing EP from Prayer, just out on Black Acre Records. With Alone, I'm thrown back to 4am chill-out rooms listening to Unkle or Moby or Genaside II. That heavenly break-down at the three minute mark. Tingles.

And what about those breakbeat vibes on the EP's title track Seeing? We've had plenty of 1990's comebacks, but no-one's quite nailed the post-club thing like this.

Calling this 'retro' is a bit reductive: explore Prayer and you'll hear proper modern bass music beefed up by a filmic sensibility. Listen to the trappy hi-hats and techno snares on Decline, for example. Prayer - who started 2017 with the epic Lost EP - is retro, modern, full of dark and light. I'm a convert.

Jul 14, 2017

Let Adam Curtis control your music taste

I'm catching up on the excellent Adam Buxton podcast, and I really enjoyed the episode with documentary mind-crusher and possible Illuminati-in-chief Adam Curtis.

Particularly when he was raving about Burial and his track Come Down To Us.

"He takes what is essentially industrial noise and songs," says Curtis, who is probably also the shopkeeper in Needful Things, "and fuses them together to create something which is epic and romantic."

"It's so emotional... it's just wonderful," wibbles Adam Curtis, who is definitely the love child of Sauron and the Child Catcher.

Adam and Adam both have a knack of making creativity intelligent, fun and sometimes truly profound. Nice work. Take it away, Burial.

Jul 12, 2017

Enjoy Aphex Twin's new track Korg Funk 5 - and the technology behind it

Here's the Korg Monologue in action, a nifty little music-making machine with a very specific boast: it contains presets made by Aphex Twin.

The synth also contains a pretty innovative microtuning function, which the Aphexed one had a hand in. This shifts the frequencies of the notes from their standard tones to make a more textured sound. The change isn't huge - just enough for you to think that something's pleasingly "off".

For example: we all know that the lit green person on a pelican crossing means "cross the road". It's a standard we all recognise. But what the green person was wearing a fedora? Or a cape? Or one big shoe? You'd still cross the road, but perhaps with a little frisson in your step.

Aphex Twin has given the Korg Monologue one big shoe. The results sound great.

Click here to read a geeky music technology interview between Aphex Twin and the guy he worked on the Monologue with, Tatsuya Takahashi, whose home is pictured above. Takahashi designed loads for Korg as an engineer.

And below, listen to a brand new track called Korg Funk 5 created by Aphex Twin on three Monologues and a whole bunch of other Korg gear.

Jul 10, 2017

'Scoping out the 2017 BlueDot festival

I went to BlueDot Festival. I missed loads because I was working, but here are some highlights...

Looking up to see the radio telescope everywhere I went. Monitoring. Watching. Judging.

Talking about key signatures with the Radiophonic Workshop.

Going to a brill science demo about the brain which was probably meant for kids but OMG BRAINZ!

Trying to escape the radio telescope, but no, it's still there. Always there.

Watching a robot turtle and frog having a stand-off in the woods.

Tumbling back to the 90s with a particularly retro Orbital set.

Wowing at Shobaleader One and the speed-bassing and flashy lights. Noodly but hugely entertaining.

Giving in to the radio telescope. It's the only way.

Making a zillion new friends. This was the friendliest festival I've been to. So many impromptu conversations.

Finding myself at the front of a Hawkwind gig surrounded by fans that have followed them since 1827.

Meeting the tremendously talented Hannah Peel from The Magnetic North... and the brass band she performed with. Parp.

Praising the radio telescope. All hail the radio telescope.

Hugging a big blue humming ball.

Witnessing the Radiophonic Workshop join Orbital, complete with headlamps, for a mega rendition of the Doctor Who theme tune.

What's that, radio telescope? I should press 'publish'? As you wish, radio telescope. All praise and glory to the ra--

Jul 7, 2017

Oramics in the mix

I'm still on the go, so no time to blog. At all. I've not even got time to write this sentence. See? Told you so.

Have some Oramics. This is the method that Daphne Oram developed of turning drawings into sound. It's giving me ideas...

The blokey in this video makes a really good point about constraints. Working with designated limits is a good idea with most creative projects, whether it be music making, story writing or building a Nutella sculpture of DJ Khaled.

Jul 5, 2017

For extra points, listen to Wilmslow Road on Wilmslow Road

Things are a bit hectic this week, so pouring words down this blog drain may be more difficult than usual.

In lieu of quality written content, enjoy this old track by Lionrock.

I'm posting this because I mentioned Justin Robertson's Lionrock to someone the other day and they had never heard of him. We were stood a stone's throw from Wilmslow Road, Manchester. As in the Wilmslow Road featured in the Lionrock track Wilmslow Road.

Tssch. Sometimes I doubt people's commitment to geographically-themed records.

So here is Wilmslow Road, from Lionrock's debut album An Instinct For Detection (1996).

Jul 3, 2017

Fats at the Lowry: checking out their bunkers

I recently enjoyed a tour of the Lowry theatre - stage spaces, back offices, helicopter pads, secret bunkers, biscuit drawers, shark pits, the whole works. I was there to chat about my 2018 Lowry show and how the heck I'm going to create it.

This was my first meeting for my Developed With commission. The result of my partnership with the Lowry will be a Fat Roland show held over two nights at Week 53 festival in spring next year.

I can't tell you much about the show yet because I haven't written it. Writing will be my focus over the next few months. I've bought an infinite number of monkeys, an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of Buckfast. It's going to be great.

At this stage it's also about poking themes with a stick and seeing if they squeak. And since those themes will be, on the surface, about music and seven-inch records, I'll track my progress on this site.

Alongside this show, I'm facing questions about how I best splatter my creative stupidity into people's faces. Do I use a trowel? Do I use a slingshot? Do I just throw things into a fan and hope? This is apparently called "artistic development".

Just how DOES a total panda-drawing idiot develop artistically? Inbetween my endless posting about the latest techno tracks, maybe we'll find out as I track my progress in the lead up to Lowry 2018.

Jul 1, 2017

Five great tracks from the Artificial Intelligence album

Hacienda-era ravers eventually had to take it easy - and that happened in 1992.

Warp Records' Artificial Intelligence was a series of post-rave albums designed for "long journeys, quiet nights and club drowsy dawns". The series began in 1992 and furthered the nascent work of Plaid, The Orb, Aphex Twin, The Black Dog and Richie Hawtin.

Perhaps most significantly. its seventh release was Incunabula, the debut album by Autechre.

The first Artificial Intelligence album, cleverly called Artificial Intelligence (released in the US the following year on Wax Trax!), is one of most influential compilation albums in any genre. Here are my five favourite tracks in no particular order. Enjoy.

Musicology - Telefone 529

Otherwise known as the massively important IDM duo B12. They later scooped up a whole bunch of their limited coloured-vinyl 12-inches for the Electro-Soma Artificial Intelligence album.

Autechre - Crystel

One of the Rochdale band's earliest tracks.

The Dice Man - Polygon Window

No doubt named after the Luke Rhinehart book, The Dice Man would later become Polygon Window, which is the name of this track. Confused? Polygon Window would release Surfing On Sine Waves as part of the Artificial Intelligence series. What became of this particular artist, I have no idea.

UP! - Spiritual High

An early appearance by Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman - someone who would go on to conquer the DJing world. A touch of Detroit via Canada.

Dr. Alex Paterson - Loving You Live

The Orb kingpin was already top of the ambient world and didn't really need the Artificial Intelligence exposure. Indeed, this live version of Loving You was just a segment of A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld, its original Millie Riperton sample long since exorcised. Still... flipping great track, right?

Jun 29, 2017

Listen to Shinichi Atobe's magical Regret

Here’s a track that doesn’t really do much, but ends up doing something a lot more. A kind of techno alchemy. It’s Regret by Shinichi Atobe.

This is from a recent album called From The Heart, It's A Start, A Work Of Art, which comes from further plundering of Atobe’s lost archive. Much of the album is from an acetate cut in Berlin 17 years ago – only five copies were made until now.

Until a few years ago, he had released one solitary 12-inch (Ship-Scope EP) before vanishing without a trace. Over a decade later, the Demdike Stare label tracked down the elusive producer and discovered a stack of unreleased tunes. A recent album almost made my top albums of the year list.

If the YouTube rip below disappears, have a listen here to Shinichi Atobe’s album on Boomkat.

Jun 27, 2017

Everyone loves a geeky A-Z list, right?

Down the side of this blog, you will see a long list of band names. This is an alphabetical list of every artist featured on this website.

I’m not really a completist. I’m too easily distrac--

Wait, let me just write a tweet.

Where was I? Oh yes. For a while, I tried to snaffle every bit of Warp Records vinyl I could find. And for some reason, I became obsessed with gathering every possible version of Adamski’s Killer. Although I drew the line at George Michael’s Killer, all imbued with an arena-sized strut.

That long list down the side of this site LOOKS thorough. But this site has never attempted to be comprehensive - or even in any way coherent. With only one or two entries on most links, it has no depth at all. It’s shallow. Surface-thin.

If you're reading this on a desktop, the big long list (currently called 'FOR COMPLETISTS') is down that there column at the other side of this page - you'll have to scroll down a bit. If you're reading this on a mobile phone, goodness knows how you find it. Still, have a browse. You may find somethi--

Ooo, someone's tweeted back!

Jun 25, 2017

Underworld's smashing video for Push Upstairs

Let's take a moment to appreciate the woozy monotones of the video to Underworld's 1999 top twenty single Push Upstairs.

The video and its disorienting effects, the result of a glitch in the equipment, were produced by Underworld's design arm Tomato. They shot it in the incessant rain of the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.

Below Push Upstairs itself, watch a much overlooked making-of video, which features the stuntman chap jumping through glass in real time. It took three takes.

In March 1999, the band was featured on Top Of The Pops alongside Whitney Houston and B*Witched. As far as I recall, no windows were jumped through.

Jun 23, 2017

1997: what the flip was going on?

Someone tweeted about 1997 being an incredible year for music. Can't remember who. (Cool story, Fats.)

And yeah, there was Daft Punk and Propellerheads and Prodigy and Chemical Brothers and Roni Size. You were right, tweety person, you were right. 1997 was a great year for music.

It's good to measure these things so let's get specific. I decided to look at the singles chart exactly 20 years ago. 23rd June 1997. Let's wallow in a memorable year of fantastic tunes, shall we?

1. Puff Daddy's mawkish I'll Be Missing You was number one. Okay. Not so great. But all the good songs get to number two, right?

2. Bitter Sweet Symphony. And there's the good number two. Never did make it to the top of the charts. THANKS, Puff.

3. Mmm Bop by Hanson.  Three flesh muppets talking nonsense. Oh dear.

4. Ocean Colour Scene? Bog off. I'd drain the oceans and watch all aqua life writhe and die before listening to this shambles again.

I'm not convinced this is really working. Let's speed things up. Time to skip some numbers and get to the real meat of this burger of musical joy.

9. Guiding Star by Cast. Possibly the most annoying band of the 90s, and the band I have heckled the loudest. Make them stop.

11. Celine Dion? Crumbs. I'd forgotten about the boat-mouthed siren that was Celine. Ouch.

18. Savage Garden?! Worst S-band name ever. Apart from Shed Seven. And Salad.

22. The Friends theme tune that was in the charts forever. I'd rather have the clap clap clap clap.

This is terrible. This week in 1997 was a travesty. Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Brightman, Brand New Heavies, Wet Wet Wet. All this chart proves is that 1997 was a verruca on the foot of the 1990s - and even then it's not a foot, it's just some weeping stump on the diseased leg of the 20th century.

No wait. I've found something.

87. The Saint by Orbital. Not their most remembered track, but with 11 weeks in the chart and a high point of number 3, it remains their best charting single. Kept off the top spot in April 1997 by I Believe I Can Fly and Song 2.

Yay! Told you 1997 was good.


Jun 21, 2017

Bag it up: the #mcrwithlove compilation is out now

Manchester With Love is a 226-track compilation of Manchester music to raise funds following the Manchester attack.

The album is a tenner and you can get it from Bandcamp and Boomkat. That's less than 5 pence per track - less than you'd pay for a carrier bag.

If you think each track is worth more than a carrier bag, say a bag-for-life with flowers on, or one of those hessian totes that look really scratchy, you have the option to pay more.

It's worth it - all funds go to the 'I Love Manchester' fund by the Red Cross.

Here are some names on the album: 808 State, A Certain Ratio, The Buzzcocks, Caro C, Denis Jones, Fingathing, From The Kites Of San Quentin, Honeyfeet, Illum Sphere, Matthew Whitaker, Mind On Fire, Nabb Gang, Neko Neko, Swing Ting, The Whip.

That's 14 carrier bags right there. That's a proper big shop. Have a listen to some highlights here - and give money too.

Jun 19, 2017

Brian Cant's guest appearance with techno legends Orbital

I'm sure many older readers of those blog will be saddened by the death of Brian Cant. His presence on children's television was once as ubiquitous as Roland Rat, Mr Tumble and that weird vacuum cleaner thing in the Teletubbies.

What you might not know is that Cant once appeared in an Orbital video. In the promo for the 2001 track Waving Not Drowning, he directs a disastrous version of his own Play School programme.

This was not Orbital's best period, and the DVD containing the cut - The Altogether - felt more like a series of curious offcuts than a full package. Hence the second clip below with Cant skitting like a silly sausage, which I seem to remember being a hidden extra.

It's nice to know everyone's favourite children's telly star had a connection to the techno legends. After all, it's kid's TV references that helped kickstart the careers of the Prodigy (Charly) and Mark Pritchard (Roobarb and Custard).

Jun 17, 2017

'Tis the (Off) Season for Joy Orbison

Joy Orbison's Off Season takes me back to sweaty jungle clubs, the bass shuddering the walls, the air thick with smoke, everyone with an octopus hanging from their pocket.

What? The clubs you went to didn't have free octopuses for every attendee? No, YOU'RE weird.

Along with the disturbingly-titled Toss Portal, Joy Orbison is spending 2017 releasing his first solo material for some years. Below, listen to his recent cut Off Season. Feel the tension, the paranoia. It's a proper roller, this one.

I suppose if I think about it, it WAS a bit odd. You'd have to nip to the toilets every hour to sluice them with water. Made your pocket all wet.

If anything, this website is all about creating conversation based around universal experiences. Do leave a comment if you miss the days when bouncers wouldn't turn you away from discotheques if you had aquatic creatures dripping out of your trench coat.

Further Fats: Fat Roland goes to Crosby beach (2014)

Jun 15, 2017

Top 10 bestest Orbital tracks

You know about comfort eating, right? The baggy jumpers of the food world? Ice cream, pasta, pizza, nettles, that kind of thing?

This is like that, but with my favourite Orbital studio tracks. Here is a very imperfect top ten Orbital tracks.

I've generally stuck to main album content, so no Naked And The Dead, US remixes or soundtrack stuff. And you'll notice I've missed off Chime, Halcyon and Impact because they're probably best saved for a 'best live tracks' post. That said, the final track in this listing is a roof-raiser.

I also tried to lay off 1993's brown album - mostly - because if I was really following my heart, that would be the entire top ten.

This is in alphabetical order because this is like choosing my favourite child, and I don't want to tell little Timmy that he's the one sleeping in the coal shed tonight.

Here goes...

Belfast (1991)

The Box (1996)

Funny Break (One Is Enough) (2001)

The Girl With The Sun In Her Head (1996)

I Wish I Had Duck Feet (1994)

New France (2012)

One Perfect Sunrise (2004)

Remind (1993)

Style (1999)

Where Is It Going? (2012)

Jun 13, 2017

Chew on Talaboman's addictive Loser's Hymn

Posting just one track from The Night Land, the latest album from Talaboman, isn't too helpful. The album has a cumulative effect, a slow morphing into something quite addictive.

A bit like Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles. One pastille is satisfying enough, even if it's a blackcurrant one. But the true joy is the cumulative effect. A blackcurrant one followed by a lemon one followed by one with an uncertain flavour but you like the colour.

Suddenly, you've filled a dessert bowl with Fruit Pastilles. A salad bowl. A wheelie bin. There you are, face buried in a stinking wheelie bin of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles as you declare, all muffled from sugared gelatin, "the cumulative effect, the cumulative effect."

So yeah, it's a bit like that. Talaboman are Barcelona’s John Talabot and Stockholm’s Axel Boman and their album came out in March. It's sublime. Go listen.

Jun 11, 2017

Joanne Pollock's breaking down pop music, Snares-style

Pop music in seven different time signatures. This seems to be the manifesto of Canadian singer Joanne Pollock. Also, she tweeted it.

Pollock first collaborated with twisted king of broken beats Venetian Snares back in 2013 under the name of Poemss. She has now released her debut solo album Stranger on Snares' label Timesig.

Have a listen to Carnival below. In this song, I can hear the experimentalism of Lamb, the sublimity of Grimes and the clanking awkwardness of found-sound Fluke. But mostly, I can hear Pollock setting out a pretty fascinating vision for electronic pop music.

Looking forward to this. Below Carnival, listen to the nicely simplistic Love Song from a few years ago.

Further Fats: They say you can't keep a good tune down. This is a lie. Tip a lorry-load of bricks onto it, that should do it (2006)

Further Fats: 5 pop music predictions for 2014 (2014)

Jun 9, 2017

Jesus be praised: Orbital's brand new 7" is a Kraftwerk cover

Orbital have a new single out, and blow me down with an electronic sausage, it's a Kraftwerk cover.

The Greetings From Düsseldorf seven-inch single is a special limited edition available from Electronic Sound, the magazine tyrants who shake me by my ankles every month until a column drops out.

One side is Orbital's version of Kraftwerk’s Numbers, which is like crossing the streams in a good way because the ectoplasm smells of techno. And the other side is Wie Die Wind Weht by Der Plan, an electronic trio reuniting after 25 years.

Grab the single along with the latest magazine by jumping on the Electronic Sound website now.

Incidentally, on page 30 of issue 30, you will find my latest column. I like to think of it as extended sleeve notes for the Orbital single. I mean, it's actually not. In the column, I rewrite the Bible. It's kind of epic in a quite disturbing way.

It's also worth getting the magazine because it looks and feels amazing. It really does. I'm going to have to stop writing this blog post so I can touch it.

Mmmmm. Techno.

Jun 7, 2017

A party political post on behalf of the Fat Roland party

I'm writing this on the eve of a UK general election that will probably return an increased Tory majority.

That's despite Theresa May promising to pour spiders into the nostrils of orphans and feeding ground puppy dogs to millionaires. Or something. I haven't been paying attention.

Not a single party has promised to pipe continuous Boards of Canada into every NHS hospital, and none of the manifestos have declared Ed Sheeran illegal.

A while back, I decided not to be political on social media. Twitter is the sound of a billion loose bolts rattling around an ageing tractor engine: I don't need to add to the noise.

Although I did have two separate Tories have a go at me on Twitter, unprompted, because I said something positive about my neighbour's mosque. Make of that what you will.

My first decree if I was prime minister? Compulsory acid house parties for everyone. All day. Every day. It would be relentless and awful, but in a good way.

Anyhoo, it's election day coming up, and soon none of the echo chambers and poll bubbles will matter. It's going to be spiders and nostrils all the way, I think. I hope I'm wrong.

Just remember this as you place your X in the box: at that precise moment, you're not only deciding the fate of the country, you're writing the name of Ed Sheeran's second album (artwork pictured above).

You monster.

Jun 5, 2017

Delia Derbyshire Day - even more original than the Atari

Get yourself to Band On The Wall this Saturday for an evening dedicated to the great knob-twiddler Delia Derbyshire.

Derbyshire would have been 80 years old this year. That means she pre-dates the Black Eyed Peas, Dappy and other modern musical legends. Ahem.

John Rylands Library has a whole bunch of Delia stuff in its archive, so for Delia Derbyshire Day there'll be new presentations of material offering glimpses into her working methods, She lived in a time before synthesisers were a thing. It's hard to believe, but she didn't even have Garageband. Not even Cubase for the Atari.

Delia used frequency generators and household objects like bottles, clocks and - most famously for the Tardis sound - piano strings. Which is why you should never climb inside a piano because you could end up in medieval times.

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop will be in attendance on Saturday, alongside artists responding to the archive. There's gubbins happening during the day, and tickets for the evening are only a tenner.

Picture: BBC

Jun 3, 2017

Listenable new video gunk from Warp Records

No explanation needed, really. These are all from the past couple of months, and each chosen because they'll ooze melody right down your lug-tunnels.

Jun 1, 2017

Fat Roland teams up with The Lowry - an announcement

I'm de-flipping-lighted to announce that I applied for a Week 53 #DevelopedWith commission at The Lowry - and won.

"But what the heck does that mean, Fats?" I hear you weep through snotted face.

Good question, reader. It means I get to work with The Lowry theatre in Salford to put on a show.

"What kind of show?" you sob-laugh amid shuddering wet bawls of resigned sadness.

Thanks for asking. The show will be a development - and then some - of the kind of music-related hot guff forced onto audiences at my first two Edinburgh free Fringe shows with Laughing Horse. So expect plenty of all-new Fat Roland weirdness, an actual real story narrative, and a whole world of cartoons when the show opens in May next year.

"What kind of cartoons?" you whisper weakly from the chasm of your own despair.

Stop asking questions now, it's getting annoying. Apparently there were 154 applicants, so I'm dead chuffed to get this. It was a lot of fun pitching to The Lowry. Check out previous #DevelopedWith people here.

Any questions?

May 30, 2017

Was John Noakes techno?

Here's John Noakes wrestling with a load of reel-to-reel tape recorders and a VCS 3, a synthy bit of kit beloved of prog rock bands.

What was the legendary Blue Peter presenter doing? Was he pumping out sick techno? Was he having it large with block rocking beats?

Was he, as I strongly suspect, putting a donk on it?

I think we should be told. I would google it, but I'm busy making a pair of y-fronts from sixteen Fairy liquid bottles, a tub of battery acid and two hundred yards of sticky backed plastic.

Spotted via @mulhollandrew on Twitter. 

May 28, 2017

Insert clever Bola pun here

Oh my pants, Bola's back.

Bola's debut album Soup came out around the same time as Boards Of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children, and I would spin from one to the other like some kind of techno mother trying to choose her favourite child.

Darrell 'Bola' Fitton also had a hand in Autechre's Incunabula and the Gescom project. About a decade ago, after releasing a properly decent fourth album called Kroungrine, Bola disappeared. Piff paff poof, in a burst of smoke, he vanished.

By the way, it took me about two years to realise his debut album was a pun. And it's taken me until now to realise his follow-up albums were also puns. Look:

> Soup (1998) - as in, Bola Soup = bowl o' soup;
> Fyuti (2001) - as in Fyuti Bola = footballer;
> Gnayse (2004) - as in Bola Gnayse = bolognaise - well done, you're catching on now;
> Kroungrine (2007) - as in Kroungrine Bola = crown green bowler;
> D.E.G. (2017) - as in Bola D.E.G. = boiled egg.

Yeah, it got a bit tenuous there.

On first hearing, there's plenty of chunky techno warmth on new album D.E.G.., with all the signature digital growls and spun-out ambience. The slow motion electro loops of Avantual are already nestled under my skin. Have a listen yourself on Boomkat. Or just hit play below to hear the first part of a triptych dominating the second half of the album.

I'm going to enjoy this one. A great Manchester musician making a welcome return. Eee, Bola.

Further Fats: My greatest idea once more crumbles to dust like a great big crumbly bit of dust (2010)

Further Fats: There goes the hear: Manchester has enough gigs (2011)

May 26, 2017

The 5 best electronic music tracks of the decade so far

Someone had posted on Facebook asking about the best tracks of this decade so far. I always find these things impossible to answer, like choosing my favourite chocolate bar or torture instrument.

However, I plumped for five tracks. I'll probably change my mind next week, so take this with a pinch of salt. (Any brand of salt - I haven't got a favourite.) In fact, for all of these you could choose numerous other tracks. Although Brazil really is quite something.

What you're about to hear or see is:

> Luke Abbott's glorious Brazil from his 2010 album Holkham Drones. Every part of this track oozes warmth and melancholy and a kind of purple glue for which I don't know the name.

> Moderat's Bad Kingdom, a desperately melancholic 2013 single with a video that's likely to cause all kinds of seizures in parts of your body that haven't even been discovered by science.

> Clark's Winter Linn, a robust slab of techno that feels like shoving your head up a synthesiser's bum then not being able to pull it out again, despite a blind text to Uncle Kenneth who not only has experience in this kind of thing but also has an extra large plunger.

> Jon Hopkins' Collider. That breath sound. Oh my. I've seen this live a couple of times and I did everything the woman does in the video. Gyrating, snogging, being possessed by a demon, the works.

> Scud, from the Hudson Mohawke album Lantern from a couple of year back. This one feels like a little pop song, all lo-fi yet pompous. Which is good because the names of my first two children are going to be Lo-Fi and Pompous.

May 24, 2017

The cowardly Arena attack won't stop Manchester buzzing

The Manchester Arena attack was a cowardly act in a brave city. A city forged from hard work and human rights and something to do with bees.

There's nothing meaningful I can say in the wake of this awful event. Except this: it's not just an assault on young pop fans - as with the Bataclan, it's an assault on all of us.

Dammit. That sounded so cheesy.

I can't help thinking of the 1996 bomb, and the defiant party that followed. Have a look at the flyer (from the Manchester District Music Archive). 808 State's Castlefield Arena gig six days after that bomb was reported by Mixmag here: "Dilated pupils abounded - the kids wanted quite simply to 'ave it!"

My pupils weren't dilated, but I "had it" so hard I woke up drunk in London with some record company person offering me cocaine. I refused. Long story. I'll tell you over a J2O sometime.

Anyhoo, back to the present day. My heart go out to those who lost loved ones this week, and the stories of help and heroics have been amazing to read. The vigil in Manchester last night was absolutely packed, and a rather beautiful moment of connection. Tony Walsh read a cracking poem and everyone just hung out together. Apart from a couple of grumpy Twitter people, I've come across nothing other than love and respect. And a whole lot of sadness, of course.

Point is, when Manchester is knocked down, it knows how to pick itself up and throw a big stonking gathering.

That seems trite: some of this will never heal. But this city is really good at community, whether that's ravers or vegans or goths or Muslims or hipsters or poets. Whatever label you want to wear, Manchester's just about the right size for you to find your niche. Everywhere I look, many of those communities are getting stronger.

Dammit. Cheesy again. I should have pushed the bee analogy. If I wedge a crappy bee pun into the title of this blog post, will that redeem these half-thought words? Hope so.

I flipping love you, Manchester.

May 22, 2017

Night Grows Pale: Flying Lotus has a new killer Queen track

Take a sweeping musical score, drain it of all its blood, throw in some weedy guitars and what have you got?

Queen. That's what you've got.

I've never had much time for the prancing operatic rockers Queen. Yeah, I had moments of liking them when Wayne's World and Shaun Of The Dead came out. I'm also quite taken with the Freddie Mercury doll action shots by Toyko tweeter @suekichiii.

And okay, yes, the new Flying Lotus track Night Grows Pale features a killer Queen sample from the 1974 single White Queen (As It Began). Despite my protestations in my previous blog post about Burial rejigging an old dance track, this rework is great. Nicely done, FlyLo (pictured above).

But those are the only Queen things I like. The bit in Wayne's World where they rock out in the car, the snooker cue assault in Shaun Of The Dead, that Twitter account, and the new Flying Lotus release.

And the sample in Utah Saints' What Can You Do For Me.

And the Under Pressure riff.

But that's it. That's all the Queen I like. Honest. Have a listen to the new short but sweet FlyLo below, and beneath that get a load of his Twin Peaks theme.

Further Fats: Tim & Daisy make Jay & Bob look like ****ing Bert & Ernie (2008)

Further Fats: Chosen Words: Q is for Queen (2010)

May 20, 2017

What's Burial's Subtemple EP all about, then?

If you weren't convinced we were living in bleak times, have a listen to the sinister new sound of Burial's new Subtemple EP (below).

Throw away all that is good. Bin your belongings, tear your clothing to shreds and sell your children, Down in the Subtemple, with two tracks of extended dark ambience, there is no hope.

Subtemple itself is seven minutes of vocal shards scattered across a beatless wasteland, micro mechanics clicking at us amid the static. Meanwhile the breathy synths of the ten-minute Beachfires slow things down even further as we succumb to a kind of slow-motion armageddon.

Burial's recent work could be seen as a bit patchy: his breakbeat remix of Goldie's Inner City Life for Record Store Day saved all the best stuff to the last couple of minutes, while his ravey white label Temple Sleeper was a direct lift of Solar Quest's 1994 acid gabba track Into The Machine.

When he removes the drums, he sounds much better. The distant rhythms of November's Young Death / Nightmarket EP were gloriously sparse, and were a brilliant precursor to Subtemple - no apparent audio relation to Temple Sleeper - which really does cast us out into the neverending vacuum of space.

A beatless Burial shouldn't work. The joy of Will Bevan's work is the glitchiness of his loops because of his refusal to quantize his drums (i.e. he won't use the audio equivalent of spellcheck). But this is a sound of an artist developing something new. No drums? No problem.

It's approaching a decade since Burial's last studio album. Can you imagine if he dropped a long-player of static-scrubbed minimalist ambience; a devastated Eno for a new generation?

We would all instantly die as everything good crumbled around us, but at least we'd die happy.

Further Fats: Elbow nudge ahead for Mercury Music Prize win - my cat is disappointed (2008)

Further Fats: Listen: Zomby and Burial's Sweetz (2016)

May 18, 2017

Story: Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table

Later today I'm hosting a Manchester After Hours event with Bad Language at Elizabeth Gaskell's house.

This is a venue dedicated to the Manchester writer Gaskell, the author of Cranford, and her minister husband William.

If I get time, I'm going to read a story. As a sneak preview, and because I haven't got time to blog about anything else today, here is that story.

Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table

Elizabeth Gaskell sits at a table. On the table is a piece of paper. Elizabeth Gaskell writes a word on the paper.

“William Gaskell,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “William Gaskell, look what I done.”

William Gaskell walks across the room including across the rug that is on the floor of the room and he looks at the word that Elizabeth Gaskell wrote on the paper.


“You did done gone write a word,” says William Gaskell.

“I did done gone write a word,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, “And a good word what I done gone and writ good too.”

They both look at the word. They both look at the word for long time. Elizabeth Gaskell and William Gaskell stand next to the word and look at the word on the piece of paper on the table.

William Gaskell shakes Elizabeth Gaskell's hand and says “well done”.

“Thanks,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “Thanks very much.”

“Will you write another one again now?” says William Gaskell.

“Another what?” says Elizabeth Gaskell.

“Another word,” says William Gaskell, pointing at the THE on the paper as if to demonstrate his point.

“Yes,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, “yes, I think I will but first I will go to sleep for a bit.”

“Good idea,” says William Gaskell, who also nods his head.

“I think the stairs in our home are that way,” says Elizabeth Gaskell, pointing out of the room.

“Yes, I think the stairs in our home are that way too,” says William Gaskell, “so you had better go that way to get to the stairs in our home to get some sleep for a bit.”

Elizabeth Gaskell crosses the room including the rug that is on the floor of the room, and goes to the bottom of the stairs.

Elizabeth Gaskell uses her feet to step up onto the first stair.

“William Gaskell,” says Elizabeth Gaskell. “William Gaskell, look what I done.”

“Coming, Elizabeth Gaskell,” says William Gaskell, who is looking at the THE in the room where the stairs aren’t.

May 16, 2017

Will you put a cross in Jeremy's, er, circle for #Grime4Corbyn?

Jeremy Corbyn is now a grime artist.

The #Grime4Corbyn campaign is a website offering tickets to a London gig if you register to vote. It's got plenty of glitch going on and even has Corbyn phat beats auto-streaming like it's back in the old days of web 1.0.

Of course what will actually happen is that the Tories will win a landslide and, with mandibles waving all over the place, eat all the country's orphans. Corbyn will quit politics and next be seen appearing as Tom in Channel 5's remake of the 1970s sitcom The Good Life.

But still, it's a nicely done initiative, so more please, Mr and Mrs Internets.

As I write this, an election van is loud-hailing it past my window. It sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher. Or it might just be the scrap metal man. I'm not going to vote for a piece of metal: I'm not stupid.

To misquote Wiley, Jeremy Corbyn is a ninja turtle, you can't step into his circle, and in a soundclash, he will hurt you. So, y'know, whatever colour of turtle you prefer, put an X in the box on polling day.

Boy Better Know photo by Ashley Verse.

May 14, 2017

Jlin's Black Origami: drums and drums and more drums

Have you ever crawled inside a drum? Actually stripped down to your undercrunkies, split the skin of a snare and climbed inside?

I have. It's flipping amazing.

Oh no wait, I'm not inside a drum. I'm just listening to Jlin's second album Black Origami. SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I thank you.

She takes the basis of footwork, that stuttering dancing music so in fashion a few years ago, and maps that into something quite new. Her percussive world is so overwhelming that it's easy to go a long time before you realise you've not heard a chord for twenty minutes. Or a synth line. Just drums and drums and vocal snippets and more drums.

Have a listen to Nandi, three and a half minutes of machine-drilled opera,

Further Fats: Chosen Words - B Is For Boss Drum (2010)

May 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049, Jóhann Jóhannsson and an origami cow

Considering they decided to go easy on the set-build CGI, Blade Runner 2049 looks pretty smart. But what about the soundtrack?

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is the guy who has the trouser-soiling task of living up to Vangelis's epic score for the original film. Rather him than me. Have a listen to it in the trailer below.

I never like people who worry sacred cows, and indeed there's a skeleton yard of failed sequels throughout movie history. This project has sacred cow molestation written all over it. Yeesh. I just got shivers from Matrix Revomited, or whatever it was called.

But a good soundtrack can make a serious difference, and if we end up with a shaky film but an amazing soundtrack - like Tron Legacy - I'd be happy enough

Another potential downside? I'm an Older Harrison Ford sceptic. I even cheered a little when that thing happened in a certain big film not so long ago.

Overall, I think this particular origami cow should lead a happy and untroubled life. Jóhannsson worked with director Denis Villeneuve on Sicario and Arrival. That's some CV.

See what I did there? I referenced origami. I'm dead clever, me.

Stop reading this and instead read Electronic Sound's interview with Jóhann Jóhannsson where he maps out some of his musical influences.

May 10, 2017

Ikonika shows her chops with Manual Decapitation

It's nice to have Ikonika back. Listen to Manual Decapitation below, the first cut from forthcoming album Distractions. Wubby synth lines, chiming bells, proper moody.

Speaking of manual decapitations, I had to kill off the new design of this blog. Shame. The template had more bugs than an NSA storage locker. It also killed my clicks, making this website more unpopular than a Robson and Jerome and Crazy Frog comeback tour.

So now it's back to looking like a crappy Blogger blog, all mouldy and dripping with melted cheese. Wait. I think that might just be my computer screen,


Yeah, it's my computer screen. Sorry about that

Further Fats: 68 million light years into inky space: Hyperdub is five (2009)

May 8, 2017

Delia Derbyshire: put a donk on it

It's official. You can use Delia Derbyshire to put a donk on it.

The Deliaphonica Game is a little web gizmo where you can manipulate loops using the restrictions Delia would have had back in her day. Y'know. Back when this was all sine waves. And yes, depending on which one-shot sample it picks, there's a donk button. You can also submit your own sounds (see the video below) using pots, pans, draining boards, spleens and whatnot.

I farted a load of waffle about Delia Derbyshire a couple of days ago, and I'm really getting the Delia fever. There's a Delia Derbyshire Day on June 10th at Band On The Wall, with workshops and talks and bleepy performances. Delia's old work colleagues will be there, and there's some interesting sound collage stuff going on.

They're also bringing some Derbyshire magic to Cheshire's Bluedot Festival, which is proper good because Orbital are headlining and those chaps know a thing or two about sampling real-world noise like Delia.

Check the events here, Come hang out on DD Day in June and we can put a donk on it together.

May 6, 2017

Which one of these Delia Derbyshire facts is a lie?

Delia Derbyshire would have been 80 yesterday. Here are half a dozen facts about Delia. Which one isn't true?

1. Like the Beatles, Delia Derbyshire was turned down by Decca Records. It seems back in those days, they didn't employ women in their recording studios.

2. Delia Derbyshire had a phenomenal analytical ear. There's a rumour that she could listen to a record and tell you exactly where any instrument was located during the recording.

3. Delia Derbyshire composed music and sounds for over 200 shows, often building "real" world sounds from sine waves because samplers weren't really a thing.

4. Delia Derbyshire once took part in an electronic music concert which also featured electronic works by a certain Paul McCartney, whoever the heck he is.

5. Delia Derbyshire never got credits for her creations because the BBC had a policy of veiling the Radiophonic Workshop workers in anonymity.

6. Delia Derbyshire invented space aliens, and even now there is a race of amphibious robot mannequins who have stored her brain in a jar in the hope that one day Mecha Delia Derbyshire will rise up against humankind and, with laser eyes shooting and bazooka knees firing, rampage across a devastated earth to explode the innards of every single person who has ever (a) used, (b) heard or (c) thought about the musical production technique commonly known as "autotune". As Delia noted in her book from the distant future How I Destroyed The Universe (she also invented time travel), gilled android dummies really hate autotune. In an ironic twist, Delia Derbyshire teamed up with Davros to co-create the Daleks. These trundling pedal bins became famous for their war cry "exterminate, exterminate" using voices which were, of course, electronically autotuned. Oh Delia.