Friday, 1 January 2016

Take a trip down The Delaware Road

And we begin...
Reading Town Centre - A dark damp Saturday in November 

The fireworks are exploding around me in time with the mundane tunes of the now. 
I push past the gawping hordes looking out at the Oracle, illuminated by exploding gunpowder expense in this empty ritual to vacuity and excess.
South Street Arts Centre calls. 
Warm red brick.
The old Labour Exchange playing host to ghosts of an imagined past.
The launch of The Delaware Road.
These are not your eyes.

He sits at a table.
Face furrowed in concentration.
This is how it happened.
The lights dim. 
Words weave. 
Tongue and teeth. 
Spit and fury.
Magic and drama. 
Poetry and song. 
Tape and video. 
Valve, magnet, beep, button, loop, moog. 
Sine waves. Liminal waves. Waves of half remembered nostalgia.
We are dragged under the waves into the deep, into and down the Delaware Road.

This unique event was a mesmerizing mix of film, music and poetry. A piece of ritual that at times captured the essence of the UFO gigs with the psychedelic oil projections, dry ice and beautifully weird music.

Surrounded by Smarties they flew their ship onward.

The album that this ritual launched has been in constant use in my house since the gig. Calling up the electric spirits of the 70's, moving me from synthesised ecstasy to mystic knowing to utter joy with each track.The Delaware Road is the brainchild of Alan Gubby, the curator of Buried Treasure, a relatively new but achingly successful record label based in Berkshire.

Hold, hold bare up thy rapture.

The album straddles various genres but is held together by a sense of displaced nostalgia. The title itself is unsettlingly familiar. The Delaware Road, I have been there, I know it.

After several attempts Loose Capacitor make the line go wiggly.

At various stops on the Delaware Road we visit the world of synthesisers, loops and electronica - from the beauty of The Twelve Hour Foundation with Hundreds Twelves and Units; the aural poetry of Ian Helliwell's Water Gardens (his manipulation of ancient sound boxes was a joy to watch); the unsettling joy of Trouble and Strife's The Shag (an instrumental paean to the glories of the thump of glam rock); the electric 80's film noir of Robin LeeAsterion's Que; the freakish mix of sweet loops and demonic possessions in Monoslapper's Twit to the toe-tapping brilliance of  Loose Capacitor with their superb "Theme to Robins Nest".

A watcher in the darkness.
 The road was navigated by Dolly Dolly, his account of this lost aural ritual punctuating the acts. An extract of this poem is on the album. This little snatch of brilliance makes me long for a full length version.

Some people are able to pronounce Revbjelde. I am not one of them.
 The album also plays host to the incredible Revbjelde. This mix of occult chants, didgeridoo, voodoo beats, scratches, mandolin and strings at times seemed like the lovechild of Beats Antique  and the instrumental adventures of the Beastie Boys on Ill Communication  (Tidworth Drum) but it was something far more unique. If I were to sum up the experience of listening to Revbjelde in one word, that word would be: lovelushsmokylicious.

Joining the haunting sounds of Revbjelde is the sublime Howlround's  Cradle Cheat (with their tape hanging all over the shop).  We are also joined by the wonderful Dandelion Set who deliver music that matches their clothes (see above).

The man with long hair escaped the screen four minutes and thirty seven seconds after this picture was taken.

The other houses on the Delware Road are populated by Folk Horror - the Rowan Amber Mill's Buzzard and the Nightingale is a haunting piece of music with harp and vocal used to conjure a dream of mist and heather, whilst the brass of Tongues of Fire is the sort of thing that wouldn't be out of place on the narrow streets of Summerisle.

I will never forget this gig.
It was eye and ear opening.
The album is a joy.
Delaware Road is a place I will be visiting again and again.

Buy it!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Eastgreen - Working the Night Shift - Review

Allow me to introdce you to Eastgreen.

If you haven't discovered the sound of 2015 yet, then "Working the Night Shift" is the right place to start.

His follow up to his first promising album "Take Two" is an exemplary piece of urban hip-hop.

"Working the Night Shift" is an enlightening and intelligent look into the head of a fiercely clever 16 year old poet. From the rain-soaked title track we are drawn into the dream and waking world of Oli "Eastgreen" Cox; his overactive synapses firing us between the heartache of the beautiful "Missing You", to the frustration of "Gangsta", via the snarky joy of youthful inebriation in "I don't know my name", before smashing us into the nightmare of "Dark Mirrors". It is by turns joyously parochial "Welcome to Reading", deliciously mundane "Cravings" and mischeviously saucy and gloriously juvenile "My Clock". Eastgreen also reveals a beautifully British sense of self-deprecation (most notably in "50 Shades of Green" and "I Don't know my Name") that bursts the posturing and groin thrusting bubble that we associate with the world of rap. There is a wonderful use of soundscape and sound effects throughout the album that make this more than just a series of songs, this is an immersive and exciting journey that goes beyond all expectation.

Eastgreen is also happy to collaborate with some other exciting artists who he clearly respects and gives equal voice to. The duets with fellow spoken word artists Esa Kwame ("Welcome to Reading" and "Charlie"), Shock ("Gangsta") and Finker ("Instead I'll Sing") are beautifully realised and they fit perfectly into his vibrant and fractured world. A litte bird has told me that there are some huge collaborations coming this year and it appears that this album is rattling all of the right doors.

So check it out.

Join Eastgreen on his nightshift and let's see where this journey takes us.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Selection of Halloween Mixes by superb mixers and artists - Part 1

This is my favourite time of year.

Here are a few fantastic mixes for you to enjoy that have been created for Halloween 2014.

The first is this brilliant mix by The Ephemeral Man.

Then we have this new discovery by Songs of Silver. Love this. A fantastic mix that will definitely be accompanying my pumpkin carving on Friday.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Black Meadow: Black Meadow in Shindig! (Issue 43)

Black Meadow: Black Meadow in Shindig! (Issue 43): This month in groovetastic magazine Shindig you will find an interview with Black Meadow curator Chris Lambert about the ongoing Black ...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Shadows Between the Shelves - Coming in December

Very excited about this.

Reading Libraries have invited me to create an interactive show in the run up to Christmas.

As well as spooky writings brought to life by talented actors this will also contain some MFZ magic.

As a taster check out this promotional trailer.

Can you tell what is being sung backwards (it is revealed after about 40 seconds...)

Shadows Between the Shelves

Wednesday, December 10 at 8:00pm

A Haunting Christmas Experience in Battle Library
By Chris Lambert

This December ghosts, spirits and supernatural phenomena will break through the skin of our reality, pouring from the pages of old tomes, from within the brick and plaster of Battle Library to carouse, entertain and frighten in the first few nights of Yule. Celebrating the history of this incredible building in the heart of the Oxford Road community and revelling in the stories and tales hidden within its shelves, this will be a night to chill the bone while the mince pies and mulled wine warm the flesh.

Written and directed by local author Chris Lambert, creator of “Tales from the Black Meadow” a book that Starburst Magazine described as a “paranoia-inducing sucker punch…”. He has written over 20 plays including “The Simple Process of Alchemy”, “Ship of Fools” and “Loving Chopin”.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Mix from the Black Meadow - Part 1 - 4th July - Garden of Earthly Delights

Coming next Friday (4th July) on Garden of Earthly Delights on CRMK) The Mix from the Black Meadow (Part 1).

A mix of spoken word extracts and tunes influenced by Black Meadow - including tunes from Ron Grainier, Bob Dylan, Storm Corrosion and many more... this will be followed by a mix created from tracks by the contributing artists to "Songs from the Black Meadow" later in the year... listen in!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Black Meadow: Songs from the Black Meadow - Artist of the Week

Exciting things going on in Black Meadow...

Black Meadow: Songs from the Black Meadow - Artist of the Week: To build up to the launch of "Songs from the Black Meadow" we will be celebrating the work of all of the contributors to this albu...