Folk Horror Revival: Harvest Hymns

I’ve written a piece on the use of Radiophonic and electronic music generally in horror for the anthology “Harvest Hymns” put together by the Folk Horror Revival team. The anthology is so big its been split across two volumes, I’m in Volume one alongside Maddy Prior, Jonny Trunk, Sharron Kraus, John Cameron and Candia McKormack and many more. It’s in aid of The Wildlife Trust and you can get it here

Summer Lovin’

The July Was Ist Das? radio show for CAMP, the online radio station based out of France, was a special DJ mix from a Mexican beach. With only the bare minimum of chatter (and the bare minimum of mixing), the tracklist is here rather in the show.
Ennio Morricone – Man With A Harmonica
Orfanado – Giordania
David Holmes – Gone (K&D Session TM)
Augustus Pablo – King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown
Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda
Joe Meek and the Blue Men – Magnetic Field
Bernd Witthuser – Ich Bin Dahin
Lal & Mike Waterson – Shady Lady
Lullaby Movement – Ru-Ru (Sleep Little Baby)
Fila Brazillia – A Zed And Two L’s
The Double Six of Paris – Naima
Andrew Liles – A Dead Introduction To A Formal Relative
Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me
Nurse With Wound – Rock n Roll Session
Baba Commandant and the Mandingo Band – Ntijiguimorola
Shawn Lee feat. Nino Moschella – Kiss The Sky
Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
Kaoma – Lambada
Laibach – The Whistleblowers
The Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane
One Eleven Heavy – Old Hope Chest
Acanthus – Samba Des Vampires
Embryo – Radio Marrakesch/Orient Express
Nancy Sinatra – Day Tripper
Ulver – Bring Out Your Dead
Titanik – Null21
Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence (Ewan Pearson Extended Remix)
Trabajo – Lahar
Arthur Russell – Let’s Go Swimming (Gulf Stream Dub)
Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song

Energy: A Documentary About Damo Suzuki

Very excited to announce I am an Associate Producer on the forthcoming documentary about Damo Suzuki’s battle with cancer and his return to the stage. Made by Michelle Heighway, who made the excellent “Mr Somebody” about Huddersfield eccentric Jake Manglewurzel.

I was present for the first couple of batches of filming so I might even appear in front of the camera. I certainly saw my arm in the trailer:

ENERGY – A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT DAMO SUZUKI from Michelle Heighway on Vimeo.

So, while it’s all been filmed, post-production and marketing ain’t cheap so there’s a crowdfunding campaign set up to try and raise some funds for that. Lots of great rewards involved including mugs, t-shirts, artwork and, of course, the film itself. Get involved here

UPDATE: signed vinyl & digital downloads added to rewards!
UPDATE#2: crowd-funding now over. £13,566 GBP raised by 178 backers. Thanks to everyone who got involved, this is going to be a great film. I’ll make sure to buy a big bunch of copies of the finished project for the Was Ist Das? shop so watch this space.

Goodbye Mick West

We have lost an important member of the Was Ist Das? family, Mick West (or Michael Linden West as he liked to be known on the credits). I first met Mick when I was setting up my first gig in Hebden Bridge, Damo Suzuki at the Trades club in the Summer of 2010. Mick would go on to be one of Damo’s sound carriers for every show Damo played at Hebden Bridge but his support ran far deeper than that.

L-R: me, Mick, Clive

Nearly every Was Ist Das? gig I put on around Hebden featured at least one of Mick’s amps. I can’t drive so I had some intense experiences lugging that monster around town but the results were always worth it. From Kawabata Makoto to Natural Snow Buildings, many greats from around the world had a go on that mighty, vintage, heavy amp.

It didn’t stop there, though, Mick also did the sound for lots of Was Ist Das? gigs including the final Hebden show with Skullflower. However,even when he was just showing up as a punter, Mick made a huge difference thanks to his recording gear. He made many excellent show recordings and given access to other people’s recordings of the same show, he would skillfully mix them together.

There was no need to ask him, within a couple of days of one of my shows happening, a CDR would land on my doormatt. It was hearing the mix he’d made of two audience recordings of the Cosmic Dead’s show at the Trades Club that inspired me to start the Was Ist Das? record label. The whole ‘Noise In The Wood’ compilation of shows owed so much to him it could have been called ‘Best of the West’.

Beyond the music, Mick was always good company. His humour dry and dour with a healthy dose of knowingly grumpiness. He was also one for suddenly dropping surprise anecdotes such as the fact he once worked at RER Records and as a crossword compiler for a major British broadsheet newspaper. He was also incredibly generous. One visit to his house lead to him handing me an original copy of Can’s “Soundtracks” and 14 LPs of library music, casually adding “one of them is really valuable, can’t remember which one”. He wasn’t kidding, either. That house too, the walls were covered in instruments, the floor was covered in debris with a path from the ill-fitting front door to the kitchen and the desktop computer.

He was a Hebden Bridge legend, one of those people you were always guaranteed to run into when you left the house. Although he was maybe best known for playing with The Ukranians, he played with so many different bands and collaborations that no one act could truly claim him as their own. He belonged only to himself and the music.

 

We had been swapping messages about a possible release for another of his beautifully mixed presentations of a Hebden gig. He’d been his usual supportive self and completely unprompted had gone off and made a new master of it for me and sent me the link via Dropbox. I thanked him and set the files off downloading then went off to life. When I checked my computer two days later, I found the files had not finished downloading. I tried his Dropbox link again but he’d already taken them off, no doubt to send even more files for even more projects to even more people. I dropped him a line asking him to re-upload them but never got a reply back. I found out later that the message went too late and would never be seen by him. Now I’m haunted by these two unfinished files in my download folder

Living out here in Arizona, its hard to believe that there is a still such a thing as Hebden Bridge without Mick. It feels to me like he’s still sat outside Marco’s café every morning before going off to jam with someone else at the mill. All the great things I did while in Hebden Bridge, Mick made so much of it possible, I could never thank him enough. I wish I could get those last files he sent me, I’d love to have heard his latest master. The original was already amazing, just like Mick. He’d probably laugh at all the sentimentality going on in his name. Oh well. I’d raise a beer to him but he wasn’t really much of a drinker. I’d raise a guitar to him but I’m not much of a musician. All I can do is salute the man, the memories and the legend. You will be missed, Mick.

The Was Ist Das? Interesting Movies test

The world is full of list these days and movie list tests. Inspired by a particularly insipid list of supposedly cult movies, we decided it was time to make a more interesting list. We are not claiming it is better or bigger or more cult or more obscure or anything like that. It is just hundred movies beloved by Was Ist Das?

Here is the list and don’t be downhearted if you score low, it just means you have a lot to look forward to.

Update

I don’t know if anyone is still here amidst all the blowing tumbleweed but seemed like as good a place as any to post. The website is now 12 years old. When I moved to Hebden Bridge from Huddersfield I gave the site a drastic overhaul. As I’m now in Phoenix, Arizona, a good refurbishment seems in order but this time just doing a bit at a time. So far, just changed most of the buttons. The new theme is taking a picture of the UK and having the words cut out of a picture of the US. Seemed apt. Hopefully slightly easier to read to.

I’d hoped to be as radical in my overhauling as I was when I moved to Hebden but I didn’t have kids then so, steady away.

Love & Burritos

Ned

Safe As Milk Festival

The people behind Newcaste’s well-loved Tusk Festival are branching out with a full-on holiday camp festival called “Safe As Milk” at Prestatyn Pontins 21-23rd April 2017 in North Wales and it has one hell of a line-up:

Shirley Collins, The Residents, Nurse With Wound, Omar Souleyman, This Is Not This Heat, Ulver, OOIOO, Grouper, Acrtress, Michael Rother, Gaika, Anna Meredith, Chrome, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, Hieroglyphic Being, Dopplereffekt, Islam Chipsy & Eek, Princess Nokia, Brainbombs, Ata Kak, Circle, Carla Dal Forno, Moot Mother & Horse Lords.

More are to be confirmed and all the holiday camp facilities will be available. More info at safeasmilkfestival.com/

The Cosmic Dead’s debut US tour begins today!

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Recent statistics reveal that 80% of the population of Europe have had an insane, psychedelic rock n roll experience from seeing The Cosmic Dead. However, until now, Americans have not had the pleasure (unless they were in Europe). Well, that’s kind of ending right now because they are doing a quick eight date jaunt all over the place.

18.08 – (USA) Reggies – Chicago, IL
19.08 – (USA) Globe Hall – Denver, CO
20.08 – (USA) Barracuda Austin, TX
22.08 – (USA) Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ
23.08 – (USA) Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
24.08 – (USA) The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
25.08 – (USA) Vinyl Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
27.08 – (USA) Psycho Las Vegas Festival, NV

New Calexico side-project explores landscape of the SW

In one of those nice, well-timed coincidences, a press release arrived promising “the perfect soundtrack to a drive through the desert Southwest”. It’s an album called “The Western Suite and Siesta Songs” and is the first release by newly formed duo Naim Amor and John Convertino (Calexico). Its coming out October 26th on Living Music Duplication and here is a taste of what to expect