Another track that I’ve been working on over the past few days, to wave goodbye to the year that was. A glitchy festival of AY3, SID, and other pish.
It’s been a while.
I feel like I’ve been a bit quiet online lately – partly because my last release was back in August of 2017. Before that, I had been on a bit of a consistent streak, so 7 months feels like an age in comparison. I have been plugging away since the gig in January though, and thought I’d note down some things I’ve been plugging away at.
- Cow Tongue Taco: I’ve deliberately slowed down the pace of releases on my DIY cassette tape label this year, to focus on promoting the existing artists. That said, we have one upcoming from donotrunwithpixels, and recently put out the digital only ‘The Radio-Friendly Noises of Sandbite‘ for free.
- Live Shows: Working to confirm another live appearance in Glasgow for June. Watch this space.
- Studio: I’ve spent a lot of time sorting out the chaos that was my cupboard studio, to get it to a place where I can easily sit down and make music, rather than fighting to find the right cables. Organisation can be helpful at times.
- DJ Sets: I’ve dipped my toe into the world of DJing – to add another feather to my bow. Or something. I inflicted my music taste in a debut set at the Cathouse a couple of weeks ago. You can find the playlist here. It’s an interesting contrast to playing live, or producing music.
- Music: I’ve been writing new music every week. Rather than concentrating on getting albums together for release, I am taking the approach of writing as much as possible, and seeing what tracks naturally float to the top. A slower process, but hopefully a bit more rewarding in the long run.
The bowtie is hosting a wee gig tomorrow (today technically) in Glasgow. Might be the last time the Game Boys come out live for a while. If you’re about, come down and check it out. We have a bunch of cool chip folk coming up from south of the border to play. Things’ll kick off about 7.30pm onwards.
Today I’m releasing my sixth full-length album as unexpected bowtie, a ten track LP named ‘liberal exodus’.
Composed entirely using a single DMG, I deliberately stuck closer to the LSDJ heart of the tracks than in previous releases – only adding extra instrumentation to complement the core sound. As a result, liberal exodus feels like a more straight-forward and mature electronic album than 2016’s TOKYO.
You can listen to/download the album over on Bandcamp. If you prefer to stream via Spotify, it should be appearing there within the next week or so.
There is also a very limited set of just five hand painted cassette tapes available via my Cow Tongue Taco Records label. At £2.50 more than the digital download, I think they’re a pretty decent deal, so head over there if you want to grab one before they are gone forever.
Artwork by the wonderful Sanditio Bayu.
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:
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…