This weekend passed, I headed down to London with my faithful hype man Lee Jones to perform at one of the infamous Gleeetch chipmusic nights. For a look into how things went, check out this short video:
The event itself was held in the middle of an industrial estate in Canning Town… way out East for those of you not intimately familiar with the geography of London. Nestled in amongst various stripped cars and piles of scrap metal was a dodgy looking pub, set on top of an old garage. When we first arrived, I was pretty sure we were going to end up stabbed.
As it turned out though, it was an awesome place for an underground gig. Pretty soon, the place began to fill up, and were spilling out into the street with booze, listening to the chipbeats seeping out from the building.
This is Olya, who made the whole thing happen, and who deserves a shit-load of credit for wrangling everything with such determination.
There were some awesome other artists performing, coming from as far away as France and Denmark. It was great to meet people in person that I’ve only ever heard of through the online chip community.
The lights and decorations were particularly awesome.
I love how friendly and ‘into it’ the crowd at chip shows are, and how those that come to these gigs and know nothing about the whole scene turn up looking dubious and bemused, and leave having had an awesome time, even if they aren’t quite sure what the hell was going on. Will definitely have to try and get some more things on the go north of the border.
To round things off, here’s a full live version of a new track: ‘fog of war’:
There’s also a medley of different tunes up on YouTube here.
Some pretty cool news to share… unexpected bowtie have just been confirmed to play one of the legendary Gleeetch chip shows in London on the 26th of May.
The gig itself is a fundraiser for the Chipwrecked festival to be held later this summer in Denmark, and is being hosted by Gleeetch, and Hyperwave Records, in collaboration with EV TV. There are a whole bunch of great artists on the bill, and it should be an awesome night. Myself and hype-man Radiomoths will be there to blast out some noisy Game Boy music… so if you are in the area, grab your tickets for under a fiver from the event Kickstarter page here, and come say hello.
More info over on the Facebook event page here:
Today I am releasing a new album; the second under the ‘Cup Fungus’ moniker.
Here is the blurb:
‘Vaguely Nefarious’ is the second release from cup fungus, and continues to be ‘bonkers and disturbing’, with powerful synth-soaked electronica. An exploration through dark dreams and sinister places.
The music itself was written mostly with a collection of different hardware synths and effects. There is almost no Game Boy on this one… but there is a bunch of C64 on there if you listen closely.
The album is available right now to stream on Spotify, or to buy as a digital download via Bandcamp. For those of you who like something physical, there is also a very limited edition run of 15 cassette tapes on Cow Tongue Taco Records. Anybody that pays cold hard cash for the release will also get an additional four tracks as a ‘b side’ release through Bandcamp.
I’ve been hard at work putting together a new album. The next release (entitled ‘Vaguely Nefarious’) is set to come out in the next couple of months under the ‘cup fungus’ moniker.
As part of that, here’s a taster video for one of the tracks – ‘Monkey with a Gun’:
Last week, my friend Al came round for a couple of beers, and brought with him some of his beautiful synths: a Korg Arp Odyssey, and a Dave Smith OB-6.
We played about with them for a while, and then hooked our setups together for a wee jam.
The result came out pretty well, and we ended up recording a couple of tracks. The first – Ikebukuro – is below, filled with big swirling synthy sounds right out of the 80s.
Here’s a direct link for posterity, incase Soundcloud goes bust like they are threatening to.
Today, Bandcamp are donating their share of any music sales to the ACLU, in protest at Trump’s plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico, and the ban on people entering the US from certain countries.
To add onto that, I’ll also be donating the proceeds of any sales from bowtie.bandcamp.com (minus postage if applicable).
I’ve gone from feeling fairly unproductive, to wrapping up a lot of different things all at once, which is nice.
The other night I decided to spend some time with the Monome grid controller, as I hadn’t quite gelled with it yet. It turned out pretty well, so I recorded a video:
I took the live recording and mastered it a bit, and have uploaded it to SoundCloud:
More to come.
January has been a bit less productive in terms of finished tracks than I had expected or would have liked, but I’ve still been doing a fair bit. I’ve re-organised and upgraded the studio so that I have far more simultaneous inputs for recording, and better access to my hardware effects, which is good. Just a matter of the final bit of cabling and it’ll be good to go.
Anyway, here’s a new track, that may or may not be on the next Cup Fungus album:
With the death of what seemed like a disproportionate amount of highly admired famous people, and a number of disappointing political outcomes, it’s probably fair to say that many people will be glad to see the back of this year, and the ‘curse of 2016’.
Without commenting much on any of that, I’m going to take a look back on the past 12 months from my own perspective. Musically, 2016 has been a great year; a year of re-awakening after a four to five year drought. I’ve built up my home studio, getting back into electronics and falling down the Eurorack hole; written, recorded, and released 3 solo studio albums, plus one EP; properly reformed my band Closet Organ and released our first ever full length album on vinyl; started up my DIY label Cow Tongue Taco Records; and played my first ever live gigs as unexpected bowtie – first in Osaka, and then in Glasgow.
It can be too easy to forget what you’ve managed to achieve over a 12 month period, so I think it’s good to look back and reflect a bit. Here’s some of the highlights:
- January 2016 – Started recording music again, and released the ‘really something‘ EP.
- March 2016 – Released my first full length album since 2012 – ‘drouth‘. Also set up noisepedals.com, which now has over 1,000 followers on Instagram.
- May 2016 – Set up my DIY cassette label, Cow Tongue Taco Records.
- July 2016 – Released the ‘bonkers and disturbing electro’ album ‘defame the dead‘ under the alternative moniker cup fungus.
- August 2016 – Released ‘drouth (reprise)‘, with guest vocals from some awesome fellow musicians.
- September 2016 – Closet Organ release ‘5318008’ on vinyl, cassette, and digital download.
- October 2016 – Closet Organ album launch party, and played my first ever live gig as unexpected bowtie, at the Space Station in Osaka, Japan.
- November 2016 – Released the fifth full length unexpected bowtie album – ‘Tokyo‘.
- December 2016 – Played my first ever Glasgow gig as unexpected bowtie, and finally signed up for an unexpected bowtie Instagram account.
Not to mention upping my video game with a new camera. Here’s a sample from the other night:
Of course, there’s not much use in simply looking back and neglecting what you want to aim for in the future. Aside from writing and recording as much music as I can, I have some specific things I want to make happen:
- Release an unexpected bowtie album composed entirely on a pocket calculator.
- Listen to more music than I did in 2016.
- Release a new Cup Fungus album.
- Play more gigs as unexpected bowtie, both at home and abroad – with the possibility of a mini tour.
- Look into a Closet Organ tour.
- Release a bunch of different artists on the Cow Tongue Taco label.
- Produce a lot more video content for YouTube.
Let’s see how 2017 goes. Happy New Year.
Last night I played as unexpected bowtie at Stereo in Glasgow, closing out the charity gig that I mentioned in the last post.
After years of recording in the studio, 2016 has been the year for getting out and playing live – first in Osaka, and now in my home city. This time around, I expanded my setup slightly from having just two Game Boys, to make things a bit more interesting.
I also roped in Lee aka radiomoths to come along and lend a hand by controlling visuals to spice things up. When the screen broke, he managed to grab some pictures as well. How multi-talented. All pictures from here out are thanks to him…
Thanks a lot to the Uncovered Artistry folks for having us!
Check out the video below for a look at a bit of the gig…