News

News from the Conning Tower: Whettman Chelmets single out today

As previously advertised on this very blog, Whettman Chelmets’ glorious new single is released today. It’s a lovely slab of retro shoegaze goodness. Here’s the story:

“Alas… The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive” finds Whettman Chelmets exploring more of the guitar sounds and textures that defined his teenage life, and that sound lends a nostalgic longing to each these three tracks. The first track hits right of the bat with the artist plunging into shoegaze, fuzz-echo noise pop structures reminiscent of the Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, and Phil Spector. Track two takes on acoustic treatments and blends them with 4/4 kick drums, reverberated guitars and chimes that weave to a grandiose apex with nods to the The Tornados’ “Telstar” and other larger-than-life sounds. Track three slows it all down to a glacial pace and unfolds guitar textures over the course of nine minutes, moving from a dreamy yearning to crushing waves of feedback and noise. At 18 minutes, Whettman Chelmets takes us on a journey through fuzz-tinted memories.

You can purchase the single on our Bandcamp store or iTunes, and listen on Spotify or Deezer.

Forthcoming Attractions: Hans Castrup

Here in the Conning Tower we’re entering another one of our fabled busy periods; this Friday sees the release of Whettman Chelmets fuzz-drenched shoegaze maxi-single Alas… the Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive (see previous blog post), followed on Monday by a new album by multi-media artist Hans Castrup.

Das 7. Siegel (The Seventh Seal) is a recreation of the soundscape from Hans Castrup’s audio-visual installation, exhibited at Museumsquartier Osnabrück in 2017 as part of its exhibition “Dürer und Ich – ein Künstlertreffen“.

The original work comprised a triptych of paintings, with audio exciters attached to the canvasses, transforming the paintings into giant loudspeakers. These speakers were then fed with two overlapping instrumental loops of different lengths from two CD players. Each day the CDs would be paused and restarted the following day so that each day’s performance would be unique.

While we’re not able to provide the triptych of paintings to act as loudspeakers, Hans has recreated a mix of the two audio loops interplaying against each other and captured this on CD. We are presenting the CD in a deluxe metal box, with one of Hans’ paintings on the front cover, and two further paintings on an accompanying leaflet, which supplies more details about the exhibition and Hans’ installation.

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Das 7. Siegel CD and presentation metal box.

But that’s not all…

Hans has made six original new pieces of art to celebrate the album’s launch. These pieces are designs painted in acrylic on CD bases. You can buy one of these stunning works exclusively from the SubCastCo merch store. They’re incredibly beautiful and absolutely unique. Four of the six designs are illustrated below:

 

News from the Conning Tower: t.r. hand and Glauber K. de Souza

Ah, autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitlessness. Our release for the tail end of September is ‘Suburban Solitude’ from our resident mystic t.r. hand in collaboration with Glauber K. de Souza of the Amao Quartet.

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The album contains the field recordings and sound collages you’ve come to expect from t.r hand, but taken in new directions with electro-acoustic instrumentation from Glauber K.S.

It’s a meditative and subtle work, one that demands to be listened to at length; a soundscape that needs to envelop you and move you.

We’re delighted that this work has already picked up a positive reception; most of the tracks are too long to be radio-friendly but this album will reward the listener that seeks it out.

As with the previous t.r. hand album, we’re delighted to offer this album in both digital and physical editions. Suburban Solitude is available from our merch store as a deluxe book/CD package, designed by the radical design collective Glove of Bones. As you can see, it’s a beautiful thing.

 


In other news, we have some groovy stuff still to come this year. A very special album by Hans Castrup, new work from Leaving Richmond and Whettman Chelmets and the sophomore album from GOATS. Come get some!

News from the Conning Tower: Awkward Geisha, t.r. hand & Glauber K.S.

One of the features of the Submarine Broadcasting Company is that in addition to our roster of lovely musicians we also have guest artists from time-to-time who will release work through us rather than their home label… Cousin Silas earlier this year, and just recently Ippu Mitsui graced us with a release or two. The latest act to stay in our musical guest room is the mighty Awkward Geisha. From their own Bandcamp page:

Awkward Geisha is a free improvisation ensemble with legs firmly lodged in the avant garde and dada movements. Members of the ensemble vary from song to song. The ensemble was put together by Ade Rowe in 2016 as a reaction to the mundane and tedious sounds that insult the eardrums on a daily basis.

We’re delighted to be offering this deluxe book/CD package ‘Snapshots’, which comprises a compilation of Awkward Geisha tracks on CD, mounted in a hand-finished hardback book designed by the Glove of Bones, featuring 20 pages of vintage geisha photographs.

This is a strictly limited run which will not be repeated. Books are made to order and all orders must be placed by 12th November 2018, when manufacturing will begin. We intend to ship these items before December, if you’re seeking Christmas gifts for that special free improvisation ensemble-loving someone in your life.

The package is only available from our merch page.


Coming soon, we hope to offer new work from the enigmatic t.r. hand, this time in league with Brazilian musician Glauber K. de Souza. This promises to be an intriguing and beautiful recording, building on t.r. hand’s trademark field recordings and sound collages and marking new territory for the wayward guru.

While you are waiting for the new t.r. offering, recap on the remarkable ‘The Checking’ EP with this:

News from the Conning Tower: Radio Radio

A quick round up on some of the radio appearances happening soon:

Stringmodulator on Grand Music for Tiny Souls (plus our Bearsuit friends Bunny & The Invalid Singers)

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Stringmodulator on the Comfy Show (plus our good friend Jaime Munarriz):

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t.r. hand on The Recognition Test (along with our friends Alwin van der Linde + {AN} EeL, Hans Castrup and Jaime Munarriz):

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And finally… Stringmodulator were on the mighty BCfm again today. Listen again here:

http://bcfmradio.com/intune

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News from the Conning Tower: forthcoming attractions

September 10th sees the release of three special albums, all quite different but with a common theme running through them. We have…

  • From Germany, Stringmodulator with their debut album ‘Manifesto’.
  • Reclusive krautrockers K-Elektronischer Automatisten’s new album ‘Verlorene Tonbänder Maschinengefühle’
  • English krautrock from Dynamo Snackbar with ‘A Myriad of Catalysts’

Three melodic instrumental albums that nod towards krautrock and prog, with a raft of other influences. We’ll go into detail on these albums over the next couple of weeks, but first up a quick round up of some of the coverage of Stringmodulator.

banner3_0We were delighted to get some pre-release airplay from the lovely Phil Vickery on his weekly In-Tune show on BCfm. Phil’s show is always essential listening and this was no exception. Listen again here:
https://bcfmradio.com/intune

The album also scored a fantastic review from the charming Michael Housel at his Bizarre Chats blog. Read it here:
https://bizarrechats.blogspot.com/2018/08/stringmodulators-manifesto-strikes.html

Manifesto cover

News from the Conning Tower: t.r. hand

Everyone here at the Conning Tower was winding down, lowering the periscope, ready for the traditional English August of drizzle and traffic jams, when a most remarkable thing happened… a new EP from the reclusive guru of mind-training, self help/abuse and prison tattoos, t.r. hand, landed on the desk.

There’s a super-size serving of concept in the EP ‘The Checking’, and in addition to t.r’s trademark washes, sound collages, chops/screws and deep atmospherics, there are spoken vocal readings/recitals from Bonnie J. Currie which give the tracks a whole new focus and impetus. Once again t.r has coerced the Glove of Bones into producing the cover/track art and it is glorious.

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After checking that the restraining order was still in place,  and that our A&R man’s tetanus jabs were up to date, we set out to get an interview with t.r. hand in a disused warehouse. This is what happened:

SBC: Can you give some explanation of the ideas behind this work and its points of reference?
TRH: Have you been watching One Punch Man on Netflix? It’s like that. If you get an idea, the last thing you should do is grab it and choke the air out of it. Tickle it, ask it questions. Listen, don’t talk.

SBC: There is a running theme in the work, a narrative. How did that come about?
TRH: From a broad suggestion. I didn’t choose it, other than signposting its huge source. I didn’t know the performer, nothing other than ‘some words’ was suggested.

SBC: Did the narrative alter the project?
TRH: Yes.

SBC: Can you explain?
TRH: No. Well, almost no. The grip on the idea wasn’t ever so tight that it couldn’t transform. Everything is transformation. A stick of charcoal in your fingers and a piece of paper. Both ask for transformation. When I received the narrative recordings they changed the project. Pretty much completely. The original project is probably flipping and flapping around somewhere waiting for an oxygen intake. Is that the natural selection of ideas? No idea. The critical thing though is I’d imagined some scattergun / sound bite content. That’s what I was geared up to work with. Bonnie’s work though was so full of understanding of the subject and passionate in it’s presentation, the original idea seemed trivial and it would have been wrong to strip it from it’s context and use little bits from here and there for effect or imposed meaning. I ‘get’ the source but of all the many words in books, this set are the most inviting for the imposition of personal meaning.

SBC: For any readers out there, what is the source?
TRH: They are from the Red Book by Carl Jung. Look it up, it’s not easily summarised. Go with the flow. Pretty sure civilization will come back to it after the apocalypse.

SBC: That isn’t very positive for a self proclaimed Guru?
TRH: Truth hurts, which probably explains the current global collision.

SBC: In your somewhat small public scope, you do use the hashtag #guru. Do you have any reason or explanation of this?
TRH: There’s an underlying, no, overriding sarcasm in that question isn’t there? The ‘Self Help’ industry is on the ascent, most of it is lunacy. It’s all very tribal. So, I’m happy to hit up on a level playing field. I’m pretty much in the peace and love wing, anarchic, left leaning libertarian sect. It’s niche but I’m sure there’s an audience. Albeit briefly.

SBC: Thank you.
TRH: Can I go now?

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We are presenting The Checking as a digital download, or as a super-deluxe hardback book/CD package, including 24 pages of Glove of Bones’ designs. Both formats are available from the Bandcamp page.

August Releases: Cottura 8 Minuti and Manipulant

Two releases this month, both somewhat unusual.

First up is the various artists compilation, Cottura 8 Minuti (or C8M). This is compilation of music made in, or at least centered around, the kitchen. We’d love to take credit for C8M, but the truth is the curation and heavy-lifting was done by Lezet and Razrook, both of whom appear on the compilation.

Lezet (Igor Jovanovic) says:

“Cottura 8 minuti – that’s a suggested time for preparing a meal (often printed on pasta package, spaghetti for instance).

Cottura 8 minuti (C8M) was also a suggestion for musicians and sound artists to contribute in gathering a collection of sound recordings that all originate from any sort of a kitchen (indoor, outdoor, home, restaurant etc.)

C8M – gave freedom to explore all kinds of kitchenish soundscapes. The performances (“cooking” the sounds, or other recording engagement in the kitchen, using kitchenware to produce sound, music, or even playing real instruments while cooking them in a stew…) don’t all last for 8 minutes, but we gave the artists strict instructions not to overcook it!”

As you might expect, C8M is predominantly experimental, containing generous servings of field recordings, noise, no-wave and treated sounds. Artists featured include Zumaia, Mean Flow, { AN } Eel , Gekkering, Awkward Geisha, Yann Pillas, David Nadeau, David Fenech and many more.

C8M is available as a digital download from Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon, or on two CDs from Bandcamp.

All proceeds from C8M go to the Petar Radovanović Children’s Home, Užice, Serbia.

 


Our other release so far in August is a first for SBC, an album of remixes. We’ve taken Manipulant’s lovely single ‘What Good Are The Stars?’ and handed it out to a phalanx of musical luminaries and encouraged them to do unspeakable things with it.

Punningly entitled ‘The Stars Are Good… What?’, the album includes remixes from SBC ‘regulars’ Martin Neuhold, Alan Morse Davies, t.r. hand and Beltism, plus a plethora of guest artists new to the label:  A Multitude of ONE, Cheddr, Stoneygate, Alex Hilliard with IE Unnoticed, Incentive, and Once & Future NoOne. It’s a fantastically inventive collection of remixes, ranging from the sympathetic through to complete re-workings.

‘The Stars Are Good… What?’ is available as a digital download or CD from Bandcamp. All proceeds go to the Make The World Better (MTWB) Foundation (Philadelphia). www.mtwb.org

News from the Conning Tower: June releases

After the madness that was May, it has been a blessed relief to release a mere two albums in June, but blimey Charlie, what a pair of albums they are!

First out of the traps was the second installment of Martin Neuhold & Friends ‘Dialogue’ series, cunningly entitled ‘Dialogue 2’. Like the first Dialogue album, these pieces were initially solo improvisations recorded by Martin as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM); these were then added to, remixed and repurposed by a veritable phalanx of leading ambient and experimental musicians. Artists on this album include Cousin Silas, Jaime Munarriz, Wilfried Hanrath, Volker Lankow and many more.

As with the first volume, Dialogue 2 is available as download or CD and all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

 


Our other new release in June was ‘Irresistible Forces’, our debut release for the renowned sound designer and electronic musician, Andrulian. As with several of our roster, Andrulian’s music has a healthy disrespect for genres, but if we had to call it we’d say ‘Irresistible Forces’ straddles the ambient/dark ambient/experimental categories.

Andrulian’s work is big on atmospheres, textures and details, and this album uses these to great effect on a collection of pieces, some of which are unsettling to the point of scariness. Perhaps listen with an adult initially.

The album has been picking up great reviews and some significant plays on influential web radio shows, so do lend it your ears.

‘Irresistible Forces’ is available to purchase from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

News from the Conning Tower: New Release Round-Up

It’s been super busy here at SBC for the past month or so, and we have snuck out a few releases with relatively little fanfare nor ballyhoo. So, let’s rectify that straight away.

Back at the beginning of May, we released the debut EP from the immensely talented singer/songwriter Sil Fiore, who performs under the name Sibilla. Here at SBC we pride ourselves on the variety on offer on our smorgasbord of delights, and Sibilla’s debut EP serves up some first-class songwriting, powerful blues-tinged emotive vocals and top musicianship, all with a slight lo-fi alt-pop sensibility. There’s also a blistering, ground-up reworking of the Bessie Smith classic ‘Long Old Road’.

 


At the opposite end of the conventional music spectrum is the new EP from We Do Not Exist. We Do Not Exist comprise Alan Morse Davies, of Truck Stop Rent Boy and GOATS fame, and Petridisch (also a one time TSRB collaborator, Bearsuit Records alumni and Vocaloid practitioner). Alan describes the EP as “a journey through challenges”. It’s experimental (as you might expect), but also accessible; it’s meditative, but also unsettling. All proceeds from sales go to Médecins Sans Frontières, so if you don’t buy it you are A Bad Person.

 


Mid-May saw the release of the first of Martin Neuhold & Friends’ Dialogue series. The origin of these pieces were solo improvisations recorded by Martin as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM) that were then collaborated on by an army of like-minded ambient and experimental musicians.

Martin is the loveliest of people and an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist and we’re so delighted that he’s chosen SBC as the netlabel for this work. There will be another two Dialogue albums released over the next couple of months.

Dialogue 1 is available as download or CD; again, all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

 


The last releases in May were two space-themed albums.

The first of these was  ‘Citadels in Space’ by Dynamo Snackbar.

One of the pleasures of the Klang release was the number of positive comments about the two Dynamo Snackbar tracks (and yes, there are still a few Klang CDs left, but don’t hang around) and this new album is equally brilliant.

Dynamo Snackbar’s music is generally somewhat genre-defying. Comprising two long-form tracks, this album is part krautrock, part space-rock, part prog… if you like Ozric Tentacles, Quark/Levitation-era Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream,  Berlin school synths or Bill Nelson this is going to resonate with you. 


The second of the space-themed releases was ‘Distress Call from Life Raft 13’ by Tim Kays.

This unique album is part ambient meditation and part historical document. Everyone has heard the famous line ‘Houston, we have a problem’; Tim’s album traces the events of the hours that followed Jack Swigert’s fateful words.

Using genuine NASA recordings, juxtaposed against a hypnotic ambient soundscape, Tim’s album works for both active or background listening. Tim’s album is available as a free download.