Beyond the border postponed

Like so many other events Beyond the Border has been postponed. It’s a shame. The last time I went was at St Donat’s, which is a beautiful venue for a festival like this. The next time the festival runs it will be somewhere else, and I’m not sure that’ll work for me. Sometimes it is a good idea to know when you just want the memories of a thing to be left as something beautiful to look back on.

It might be now for me. It might be a good time to leave it anyway. Given that it’s postponed for now I don’t really have to decide. I hope that it does get going again next year. It would be a shame for it to end completely.

Record Store Day 2019

I do realise that this was quite a long time ago now, back in April in fact. But it is an event that I like to celebrate and, when I can, be a part of. This year I was again. However, in terms of how many things I got from my list, I wasn’t very successful at all. In fact, it was a bit of a bust to be honest.

Whilst that was a shame, I did manage to get a few bits and pieces, and I was pleased with that. I plan to go again in 2020, but I won’t be sure until I can see what’s on the list, and that won’t be for a few months yet.

Back in 2018 I decided that the simplest way to do Record Store day was to stay in a hotel around the corner, and I think that might be my best bet in 2020 if there’s enough on the list to actually tempt me.

Robyn’s Rocket at Cafe Oto

On Wednesday I had the rare privilege of playing live at Cafe Oto with the amazingly talented Robyn. She is a gifted trumpet player and had a whole night of acts at Cafe Oto. I’ve been there many times and seen some amazing artists, so to play there myself was incredible.

It was a really great night too. Robyn was, of course, amazing. My small part was to bring some improvised electronics in the form of a couple of Bastl Instruments Kastle synths. To be precise a 1.0 and a new 1.5 Kastle. These little synths are amazing and incredibly versatile. There’s so much you can do with them.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of the footage and sound from the gig. When I do, I’ll be sharing that.

Soundhouses: The Radiophonic Workshop at 60

I’ve been a fan of the Radiophonic workshop even before I knew who they were. Since I started watching Doctor Who. I could probably say that their music was a contributory factor to me being interested in electronic music. So whenever I can get to see them, be that a talk or a performance, I make the effort.

The best part of this evening was the talk. In fact it was the best part by far. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the performance, I did. I was just a lot more interested in their stories and hearing about how they did some of the amazing things back at the height of the workshop’s era.

The best part of the talk by far was the description of how the original Doctor Who theme was made. They had a multitrack version that showed all of the individual parts of the track and how they work together. Of course, Delia didn’t have anything like this when she made it. She had to splice individual notes for each and every track.

They had great stories too. Stuff about how they made things. How they solved problems and made incredible music in a totally analogue environment. It was awesome.

GBBF @ 40

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Well it was a must really. I try to go every year anyway, but this year, as it was the 40th anniversary. I had to go. No choices at all.

It was a good beer festival too. I tend to go now on the opening night. It’s not as busy as the Friday, there’s more and if not all beers then almost all are available. I especially liked the glass this year, which I managed to get home in one piece, which was excellent.

Resonance FM live to air at the East Tower of BBC Television centre

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a completely unique event at the building site that was BBC Television Centre. Resonance FM were running an evening of live broadcast from the east tower, which is due to be demolished in a month or so.

I found it to intriguing to not grab a ticket and go along. But I didn’t exactly know what to expect. At best I’d say that I’m an occasional listener to Resonance. I enjoy it when I do listen, but I couldn’t give you a clear idea of what their schedules look like. So it was a real adventure from every perspective.

Getting there was quite easy although the entrance wasn’t entirely obvious even though Resonance had given excellent directions. Once in we had to walk through the site and up in a very slow lift to the 9th floor.

The broadcast began at 6:30 with “The World in London”, which was extremely enjoyable and I learnt a lot about the Notting Hill Carnival. It featured live music by veteran Calypsonian Alexander D Great and steel pan virtuoso Debra Romain. Following that was a live performances by Howlround: a new musique concrète commission of Robin The Fog, using sounds recorded exclusively in TV Centre. Then Encounter with John Escolme, exploring the modernist design of TV Centre with contributions from architect Arthur Hayes and tv producer Emma Cashmore. Then the Resonance Radio Orchestra with Dudley Sutton, presenting a site-specific radiophonic extravaganza featuring the cult TV actor, and that was completely amazing.

I hadn’t really appreciated just how much of an emotional resonance the site would have for me before I got there, but the experience was actually very profound, very moving for a lot of reasons that I haven’t entirely thought through as yet, but I will.

Anyway, I wanted to share the pictures and a few thoughts too. It was a special evening.