Friday, 18 April 2014

Discovery - Unearthing Forgotten Horrors

Hosted by Darren Charles this is my new favourite show. Superb - if you love your Giallo soundtracks, strange lost movie soundtracks and up to date weirdness then check this out. Visit the site here and check out some fabulous mixes below.

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 16-4-2014 by Darren Charles on Mixcloud

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 5-3-2014 by Darren Charles on Mixcloud

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors Radio Show 26-3-2014 by Darren Charles on Mixcloud

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A strange sound from the Black Meadow - "Our Fair Kids"

Made this with my children today. It is inspired by the tune "Our Fair Land" taken from "Tales from the Black Meadow" (composed by Kev Oyston). Am doing some work around this tune for a new project called "Songs from the Black Meadow". The use of loops is nicely spooky and for some reasons reminds me of something by Goblin. I wonder if anyone knows of the tune of which I am thinking?

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"A waking dream on the margin between two universes" - A review of "Marshland" by Gareth Rees



A waking dream on the margin between two universes


“Cocker spaniel by his side, Rees wanders the marshes of Hackney, Leyton and Walthamstow, avoiding his family and the pressures of life. He discovers a lost world of Victorian filter plants, ancient grazing lands, dead toy factories and tidal rivers on the edgelands of a rapidly changing city. Ghosts are his friends. As strange tales of bears, crocodiles, magic narrowboats and apocalyptic tribes begin to manifest themselves, Rees embarks on a psychedelic journey across time and into the dark heart of London. It soon becomes clear that the very existence of this unique landscape is at threat. For on all sides of the marshland, the developers are closing in… Marshland is a deep map of the East London marshes, a blend of local history, folklore and weird fiction, where nothing is quite as it seems.” (Taken from the blurb.)

It is hard to write a considered review of a book that has affected one emotionally. This book is inspiring, emotive and eye-opening.

I have never been to Hackney. I fear London. There is a side of me that despises it. This is the seat of our utterly disappointing government, the home of evil bankers, vacuous celebrities and relentless musical theatre. London decides what to watch, what to visit, what is best and fashionable to wear, what to listen to, to read, to eat. It is faceless and monstrous, the twisted soul of our country.

I initially approached this book with some trepidation, did I want to spend days trawling through a text that explored an area of this city?  After exploring the blurb and the fantastic quote pulled from its recesses:

“I had become a bit part in the dengue-fevered fantasy of a sick city.”

I figured that the writer could be singing from the same hymn-sheet. In many ways his book reveals an attitude far more complex than that. Whilst he despairs at the encroaching development of London into the edges of the Marshland in Hackney it is also clear that were it not for earlier developments such as the railway it would not exist. Significantly it is the meeting of these two worlds – this island of nature and the bizarre mix of architecture and industry - that creates a synergy. A little universe in which the strange will occur. A world in which the mundane and the surreal collide. This little world sticks its middle finger up at the city with such defiance that it crackles with an other-worldly energy.

 “Wherever you’ve got a margin between two types of culture and two types of landscape you often get a deeper awareness of the supernatural and the spiritual.” - Revd. Tony Redman – (taken from M.R.James: Ghost Writer - BBC)

It is this margin that Gareth Rees explores. Like a 21st Century Kay Harker, he explores a world in which the lines between imagination and reality are continually blurred. In Masefield’s “The Midnight Folk” we constantly question whether Kay is dreaming or awake and the sensation is similar here. By placing the real; the architecture, news reports and stringent historical research, alongside the unreal, we are plunged into a vortex of monsters, bears, time-slips, shamen and hallucination.

The book explores the geographic reality of the Hackney Marshes, but overlaying this in soft swirls of mystical graffiti are utterly compelling tales inspired by or pulled from Mr Rees’ study of the area. It appears that his study is a mix of hard graft and rambling through the Marshes with his dog Hendrix.

Rees introduces us to a man who transforms into a bear, two unfortunate time-travellers and an unhappy couple who find themselves possessed and changing into the occupants of a demolished factory. We meet the occupants of a barge from London’s netherworld, explore the legacy of the Olympic Village whilst visiting a mystical peddler in contraband antique books. This scratches the surface and I would urge you to seek out this book to discover more.

What strikes me about this book is how it has opened my eyes to my own town. I live in Reading which like many urban sprawls contains a weird mix of old and new. It was on finishing the final chapter that I took my children out for a walk. We have been to the nature reserve in Reading but on our way there we decided to try a different route and found ourselves on an old railway line. This ran high above the water meadows. On one side the beauty of the floods were framed by pink-grey tower blocks, while on the other streams and rivers snaked through swathes of green before the drab majesty of the town dump in the distance. We discovered:

dumped mattresses, ceiling fans and wheelbarrows vomited out of the backs of broken garden fences

the remnants of an old fire on the old railway bridge, made from its tumbling bricks

                                a lake of glass (my son’s words)

two rusted metal fences that framed the path creating “a gate to Narnia” (my daughter’s words)

It was into this margin that a deer ran across our path.

We were in the town yet not in the town.

We were in the country yet not in the country.

I had discovered the margin between worlds.


I hadn't looked for it before.

Friday, 27 December 2013

EXILED: "One of the best releases we had this year" - Revi...

Our brother Soulless Party has a lovely write-up on Musicblob that Exiled Publications shares below. This album contains some MFZ magic so do check it out!


EXILED: "One of the best releases we had this year" - Revi...: Lovely article from Musicblob about the alt-folk renaissance features many great artists including... The Soulless Party "Even...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

MFZ Christmas Picks - 2013

Ahhhhh, Christmas Eve. A time for sitting and listening to music that transports you. This is what I have been wrapping presents to this year, sipping mulled wine and eating mince pies.

First up is the incredible Golau Glau with their Silver Tear EP.

The first track "Nowell" is a fantastic mix of instrumental and soundscape capturing how Christmas music mingles with the everyday at this time of year, puncturing the mundane with the magical.

The title track recreates the Christmas tale in a new piece of star-based folklore. Lovely to hear the unique Golau Glau vocal again. First fell in love with this voice on the superb Close Encounters track "Seeing this Shape". Suits Christmas perfectly.

We end with the ethereal Night of the Star. Three great tracks. Watch out for more from Golau Glau in 2014.

Next a spooky mix of music and spoken word from the godlike Melmoth the Wanderer. This mingles extracts from "Box of Delights" and other nostalgic treats with a beautiful selection of ethereal wonder.



Finally settle down for a warm and toasty mix from "Evening of Light".




All very calming this Christmas.

Here's to a successful and fun 2014

EXILED: Black Meadow Talk at Todmorden Library - Saturday ...

EXILED: Black Meadow Talk at Todmorden Library - Saturday ...: If you can get yourself across, down or up to Todmorden Library and have a gander at "Tales from the Black Meadow" and the wond...

Saturday, 21 December 2013

MFZ - "Do You Hear the Sound" on 6ft Plus - Episode 87




I created this song a year or two ago.

Stretching some instrumental Christmas tune to the nth degree and then improvising (initially) some ethereal vocal over the top. It felt like a successful stab at creating a mysterious Christmas song.

See what you think - American Radio Station "6ft plus" contacted me to ask to play it on their Christmas show. I am honoured. It is the little track that did...

Have a listen here - it's a great show with loads of exciting Christmas tracks to get you into the mood!