My supreme confusion as to how all of April managed to pass by so quickly would appear to be a broad consensus – and when I say broad I mean it appears to know no borders whatsoever. With that said, I’ve hardly got little to show for my time spent this month. In fact I’m not sure ‘leaving some things out in case there’s little to talk about next month’ is a viable option for me moving forward – it would appear this month along with the next few are going to be typified by the realisation of a number of artistic projects that would have usually sat on the shelf forever and ever.
Firstly, I’ve founded a new platform entitled Small Worm. Small Worm has an incredibly broad criteria when it comes to sound – if you make music, anti-music or some kind of sound-based art that is somewhat experimental there is a strong chance I’d like to have it on the platform. The narrowness comes in full effect when it comes to the visual side – all artwork is high contrast, black and white doodling of my own – often I intend to make the artwork as a response to the sounds. As with my previous netlabels – SSN Technologies and Terrarium (which I am trying to continue slowly ambling onward too) – a key facet and impetus for making the platform has been to take on new aliases myself, either publicly or anonymously, and in doing so explore new territory artistically.
Small Worm uses the Bandcamp ‘shell’ of a previous project I began in 2014, and had long abandoned, called The Imaginary Archive. The six releases that make up it’s canon remain but are essentially a ‘living corpse’ at the bottom of the pile. All releases are intentionally enforced ‘free download’. Although, I will of course suggest to visiting artists that they plug other avenues of support if they would like to. So far I have had the pleasure of receiving four such ‘outside hands’ to participate but I am eagerly tying to net a few more. In it’s fetal stage I was not shy to refer to the platform as a netlabel but I have been strongly considering creating some physical gunk for it in the near future (read: next two months). I was especially pleased to welcome Territorial Gobbing of Leeds and Daniel J. Gregory of Aylsebury as they make up a small portion of the kind of audio/visual identity that I would like Small Worm to inhabit. Below is the (main) artwork I created for the former’s Ear Lydre Amex It release.
Secondly, the [SSN] Technologian trilogy I mentioned in my last post was finally birthed on the 14th. You can listen to 𝙸𝙽𝚃𝙴𝚁, 𝙳𝙸𝚂𝙸𝙽𝚃𝙴𝚁, and 𝙳𝙸𝚂𝙸𝙽𝚃𝙴𝙶𝚁𝙰𝚃𝙸𝙾𝙽 at the respective links. I cannot thank Creamy Deluxe enough – it was a nice change of pace to have three ready-made visual aids to the creative process and it was nice to finally step back into the [SSN] seat. Below is the artwork they created for the last in the three-part series.
Thirdly, the Roadside Dead revival continued on the 6th with a blackened noise wall re-imagining of Thou’s Changeling – a track which recently had the stems offered up by the band themselves as part of the ISOLATE/CREATE initiative. It is my intention to use the resources provided therein to make a series of other reworks as well, as it’s just too good an opportunity to turn down. I am particularly eager to work with the sounds from Xiu Xiu, Youth Code, Oathbreaker, Hirs, Deafheaven and Daughters. Besides an ‘under wraps’ and ongoing collaborative effort, the project is also set to release a new release entitled ‘Bottomless Depths’, offering more bleak noise wall and shrieking into the void. Below is the somewhat meagre cover artwork I made for it.
Fourthly, the HNW netlabel put out two three-release batches on the 9th and 26th of the month. The first batch contained releases from Ashtabula, Clive Henry and ソーラー菊 (Solar Chrysanthemum). The second batch had releases from Milky Cloud, a split between Körperlich and Godzilla and finally Wormb. I was incredibly pleased to notice that all six are label debuts for the artists involved – with only Clive having appeared on the netlabel before, but only ever on compilations until now. While it may feel like welcoming new faces, I’m coming to realise many artists who submit have been an audience to the netlabel for some time before doing so. I also recently discovered there are 312 people following the Bandcamp, surely my highest count for any of the hoard that I run. I cannot thank everyone who shows support enough nor Luke for founding the platform and choosing myself to act as ‘successor’. The next batch is already two-thirds complete!
Fifthly, I began my experiments with livestreaming noise/performance – I trialled Instagram Live briefly but put a pin in it as I was interested in the high audio quality only possible with direct input which is not a possibility for that medium. Soon after that trial I made a trial of Twitch, the foot-finding for which I also archived here. I settled on Twitch – the first audio archive of recordings from past streams exists here while the videos themselves have been archived on my personal Youtube channel, which also features some very old live performances from a number of my old shows taken by the divine being Elyssa Iona (I seriously cannot thank her enough for all of her time and energy).
I am still very much in the ‘teething’ of realising what it is exactly I want to do with livestreaming as a ‘vessel’ for what I’m already doing. My unending thanks go out to Paolo (PGR) of CyberSOTU for inviting me to take part in that international programme and to Theo of Heinous Whining (every Sat’ 19:00 BST – next has an event here) for inviting me to take part in the fifth edition of his hugely successful livestream series showcasing some of the best and weirdest in the UK and beyond right now. Besides the above the TOPH Housebound series and the Experimental Sound Studio ‘Quarantine Concerts’ have been hugely inspirational in this time and have introduced me to so many amazing artists – there is also a real sense of community in the chatrooms and it has made me feel fairly vindicated in settling with Twitch over Youtube and Instagram (Facebook was OBVIOUSLY never an option).
I have also recently been invited by Giblet Gusset to take part in Isolated Mass #6 – which will be taking place on the seemingly unlikely platform of the Telegram app. As yet this is my only upcoming thing and I intend to slow down considerably as we approach May to take some time to step back, reflect and continue unearthing things on my hard drive and working on things that are impossible ‘live’.
Sixthly (yes, sixthly), a brief note should go to some other April activity – said hard drive unearthing resulted in the publishing of a large body of sounds that serve much more as an archive than they do as an intended listening experience, Perpetual – Unearthed Archival Audio, which digs up audio from 2017 and actually collates it chronologically, taking in sixty-six tracks and likely hours and hours of listening – it’s not something I would recommend attempting in one sitting but it was an interesting and enlightening exercise nonetheless. In that same token, I also produced something supremely unlistenable – Playing Some Tapes On A Broken PYE Vintage Cassette Recorder Model 9103 And Then Trying To Sleep To A Buddhist Lecture And Failing. Perhaps as a direct result of finally diving into more of the catalogue from Bristol label Every Contact Leaves A Trace – albeit a half-baked and overly-ridiculous tribute. I was particularly happy with my photograph for the album’s artwork, though.
Lastly, seventhly, but by no means leastly – on the 3rd of the month I completed a small and nostalgic release entitled ‘The Next Station Is Holborn‘ which focuses on a single train journey I took in February on the London Underground’s Central Line which began around Holborn station and ended around Leyton and Leytonstone. The original recording is levelled and presented as is and is then reworked and reconstituted in the following tracks.