Tuesday 11 December 2018, 7.30pm
Langham Research Centre and Howlround present an evening of music inspired by tape and classic musique concrète processes.
Hot on the heels of performances in Japan with Jim O'Rourke and Kassel Jaeger, LRC return with new electronic works created using obsolete technology. Howlround's performances see natural acoustic sounds manipulated live on reel-to-reel tape, with effects strictly forbidden.
And, Langham Research Centre and Howlround join forces for a rare performance of John Cage's epic 1955 work, “Speech” for 5 radios and newsreader.
Langham Research Centre came together in 2003 with the purpose of using a studio as their instrument: a studio with microphones and also, crucially, several 1/4” tape machines. From the start they were interested in manipulating sound on tape and in focussing on one sound source, or a small number of sounds. Like an early music group’s use of historic instruments, LRC continue to work with obsolete equipment including tape recorders, gramophone cartridges and sine wave oscillators, to perform authentic versions of 20th century classic electronic repertoire by John Cage, Alvin Lucier and others. They also use this instrumentarium to compose new music, which is the focus of their recent release on Nonclassical, Tape Works Vol. 1. The album has a range of works from their early “musique concrète” miniatures to recent modular works of extended duration. It follows their 2014 release for Sub Rosa, John Cage – Early Electronic and Tape Music, featuring LRC's new releases of John Cage's music.
‘First coming to prominence with hugely-acclaimed 2012 LP The Ghosts Of Bush, Howlround have now expanded to a sextet (four machines, two people) and create recordings and performances entirely from manipulating natural acoustic sounds on vintage reel-to-reel tape machines, with additional reverb or electronic effects strictly forbidden – a process that has seen their work compared to William Basinski, Philip Jeck, Morton Feldman and even the sculptures of Rachel Whiteread’.
In an age where one can create all manner of electronic music with a simple swipe of a mouse, Howlround prove not only how much fun is to be had in making things complicated again, but conversely just how little effort is sometimes needed to create a genuinely uncanny and beguiling sound-world: the rough underbelly of our pristine, Pro-Tools universe. Since then, they have released four more LPs – 2013’s Secret Songs Of Savamala, recorded almost entirely in a flooded basement in wintry Serbia, 2014’s Torridon Gate, which was created using an ordinary suburban garden gate, 2015’s Tales From The Black Tangle and 2017’s A Creak In Time. They have also released tracks on numerous compilations and one side of a split album The Blow vol. 2.