Anthony Burgess Archive LP/CD

Conversations with the Anthony Burgess cassette archives (1964-1993)

Very pleased to have been included on this excellent compilation out now on the Belgian label Sub Rosa. The compilation consists of of archive material and remixes and is available as a double LP or CD set. The project was curated by Alan Dunn in collaboration with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Sub Rosa.

Disc 1 contains the very first and last known recordings of Burgess’s voice alongside domestic incidents, rehearsals and answering machine messages, while Disc 2 invites 23 artists and musicians to remix the rare material into a unique Burgess portrait far beyond ‘A Clockwork Orange’ including reinterpretations by Chris Watson, Dinah Bird, Scanner, Mark Vernon and many others.

Anthony Burgess’s second wife Liana carried a cassette recorder with her at all times to capture her life with the author and their son Andrew. This extraordinarily intimate audio archive of over 1,000 cassettes now sits with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and artist Alan Dunn has been granted access to select excerpts from it and curate sonic conversations from others.

Available now from Sub Rosa.

Bristol gigs – Qwak Club & Domestic Sound Cupboard

 

I will be in Bristol next week for a couple of gigs as well as guesting on a live radio show with Viridian Ensemble. First up is Qwak Club with Graham Lambkin on the 23rd November followed by the debut of a new AV collaboration at
Domestic Sound Cupboard on the 27th.

QWAK club #5

An evening of free improv, experimental sound art and performance hosted by the Cube Cinema and featuring live sets by Graham Lambkin, Mark Vernon, Joe Kelley / D-M Withers Duo and Grey Faced Sibling.

When: Saturday, 23rd November, 8pm – midnight.
Where: QWAK club, The Cube Cinema, Dove Street South [off top-left of King Square], Kingsdown, BS2 8JD
Tickets: £9 ADV – available here.

Live performances in the auditorium will begin at 8pm and finish around 10.30PM. DJs will continue in the bar afterwards until around midnight.
More details here.

Domestic Sound Cupboard

For this month’s Domestic Sound Cupboard, the focus is on images, sounds, music, poetry & BEEF! Featuring Kathy Hinde’s Twittering Machines and the first showcase of a new collaboration between Glasgow based artist Mark Vernon (Radiophrenia) & local artist Laura Phillips (BEEF / Viridian Ensemble). An experiment in sound and image exploring the structures of sanitation systems and public health guidelines to hand washing.

When: Wednesday, 27th November 2019. Music starts at 8.30 on the dot ends at 22.30
Where: The Crofters Rights, 117-119 Stokes Croft, BS1 3RW Bristol, United Kingdom.

Pay what you can, suggested donations £5
Excellent Pizzas in Rays Kitchen & Great Ales at the bar!
More details here.

New LP out now on Misanthropic Agenda

An Annotated Phonography of Chance

 

An Annotated Phonography of Chance expands upon the soundtrack to an uncompleted 16mm film made in collaboration with English filmmaker Martha Jurksaitis and the Portuguese artist duo Von Calhau! The film ‘Nossos Ossos’ (which also lends its name to one of the tracks on this record) was shot largely on location in the Alentejo region of Portugal in 2013.

Sites visited included Evora, Evoramonte, the bone chapel ‘Capela dos Ossos’, Almendres Cromlech and many other castles, churches and megalithic sites in the area. These locations were used to make experiments with natural reverbs, for the most part sounding out the spaces with voices. Along with location field recordings and found tapes this provided the raw material for much of the soundtrack.

Limited edition pressing of 100 copies. Available now direct from Misanthropic Agenda or for UK distribution from Penultimate Press.

Sonikas Festival, Madrid

XVII EDICIÓN DEL FESTIVAL DE MÚSICA EXPERIMENTAL EN VALLECAS, SONIKAS 2019
 

I am honoured to have been invited to perform a live quadraphonic set at the 17th edition of experimental music festival Sonikas in Madrid at the end of this month. The festival is free for anyone to attend and takes place across two days – the 26th and 27th October – other acts include Tube Tentacles & Garazi Gorostiaga (GABA), Jesper Pedersen and Andrew Chalk & Timo Van Lujik (Elodie). More details (in Spanish) below.

Esta es nuestra propuesta para este año:
SÁBADO 26
20:00h_ GABA
21:00h_JESPER PEDERSEN

DOMINGO 27
20:00h_MARK VERNON
21:00h_ ELODIE (Andrew Chalk & Timo Van Luijk)

Entrada gratuita

Una vez empezado el concierto, no se permitirá el acceso a la sala.

No está permitido comer, ni beber dentro del auditorio

Centro Cultural Lope de Vega

Calle Concejo de Teverga, 1, 28053 Madrid. La decimoséptima edición de Sonikas ya está aquí y todos estáis invitados. Este año nos acompañará Tube Tentacles & Garazi Gorostiaga (GABA), Jesper Pedersen, Mark Vernon y Andrew Chalk & Timo Van Lujik (Elodie). Con ellos reivindicaremos otra forma de escuchar y sentir el sonido.

Este año, a diferencia de años anteriores, volvemos a nuestros orígenes y hemos movido la fecha de Sonikas a los días 26 y 27 de octubre. Siempre hemos sido conscientes de que para el público y artistas resultaba complicado hacer un hueco en la última semana de año. Muchos sabéis que apenas contábamos con la posibilidad de anticipar fechas y no nos quedaba más remedio de hacerlo en diciembre.

Como es costumbre, la entrada es gratuita y se ruega puntualidad para no interferir en el desarrollo de las actuaciones.

Organiza:
CRC http://www.ccapitalia.net/crc/
VTC http://www.vallecastodocultura.org/

Como llegar:
RENFE: Asamblea de madrid-Entrevias
EMT: Autobus 102 (Desde Atocha)

The World Backwards

A new hour-long music mix created for Organismal available to listen to from 11th October. A trawl through some of the dustiest and darkest corners of my record collection featuring Pytchblend, Annea Lockwood, Chris Watson, Ramases, Toi-So, Timothy Shortell, Anna Peaker, Cyclobe and unreleased tracks by myself and Hassle Hound.
Full Tracklist:

Hugh Le Caine – Sounds to Forget (Compositions Demonstrations 1946-1974 CD)
Anna Peaker – Helicidae (Alert LP – Alter)
Andreas Oskar Hirsch – Row (Row LP – Makiphon)
Found Sound – Concerned Citizen (Found Sound vers 2 CD)
Pytchblend – Ephemeralgold (Ft. Yawha) (Soundcloud)
Timothy Shortell – Tropical Storm Irene (Windows CD – Überkatze Studio)
Found Sound – Dear Dad (Found Sound vers 2 CD)
Cyclobe – Strange Hotel (luminous Darkness – Phantom Code)
Open Corner – Suture Of Love (Empty Pool To No One CD – Recital)
Ian Middleton – Minimal (from Goldfish Music)
Hardworking Families – Hindered Soul
Toshiya Tsunoda – Cider Forest on a Windy Day (Pieces of Air – Lucky Kitchen)
Lee Patterson – Butane (first movement) (Seven Vignettes – Shadazz)
Hassle Hound – The Shapeliest Negations (unreleased)
Lee Patterson – Nine Lucifers (Seven Vignettes – Shadazz)
Toi-So – Baby (Soundcloud)
Nicolas Bernier – Les Chambres De L’atelier (Usure Paysage – Hrönir)
Locked Groove – 1,000 Lock Grooves LP (RRR Records)
Mark Vernon – The Object Invoked (Alert LP – Alter)
Annea Lockwood – Spinning Discs (Early Works 1967-82 – EM Records)
The Orchardist – Nocturnal Pollination by Sphinx (Mercury Vineyard Surgeries Cassette – Nonlocal Research)
Found Sound – Trailer Couple (Found Sound vers 2 CD)
Hugh Le Caine – Invocation (1957) (Compositions Demonstrations 1946-1974 CD)
Jacob Smigel – You Know, Who, What, Where (Eavesdrop Found Sound CD)
John Carpenter – from Dark Star soundtrack
Lucas & Friends – track 24 (Found Sound)
Lee Patterson – Butane (first movement) (Seven Vignettes – Shadazz)
Ramases – Journey to the Inside (Space Hymns LP – Vertigo)
Chris Watson – Cassarina (Star Switch On CD– Touch)
Mark Vernon – Jamais Vu (unreleased)

Magneto Mori: Kilfinane

Canti Magnetici / CANTO 18 Cassette (2019)

Magneto Mori is an exploration of tape recording as a form of memory storage. In this iteration the location is the Irish mountain town of Kilfinane. Using a portable reel to reel tape recorder sounds from around the town were recorded onto the first side of the tape over a two day period – dripping rain, creaky gates, car mechanics, drainpipes, shops, church bells, refrigerator cabinets, wind blowing through the trees, passing traffic, etc. were just some of the sounds encountered.

On the second side were compiled voices of Kilfinane – extracts from the personal radio archives of Diarmuid McIntyre and Grey Heron Media that date back as far as twenty years or more. The recordings selected consisted mostly of local history, coverage of community events, news stories of local interest and interviews with a variety of Kilfinane residents.

Using tape as an analogy for the frailty of human memory this tape was then cut into pieces of random length, freeing the sounds from their linear, chronological sequence. The tape cuttings were then intermingled with a collection of magnets that de-magnetise (thus erasing) portions of the tape. The tape (along with the magnets) was then buried in a hole in the grounds of the local school. After several days steeped in the earth of Kilfinane the remaining audio fragments were exhumed. Dirty, mangled and partially erased the tape was washed, dried and spliced back together in a random order ready for playback.

This process of recording, emancipation from chronology, burial, erasure over time, unearthing and the reassembly of jumbled fragments for playback parallels the operation of memory and recall. Experience, retention, buried memories, forgetting, distortions, recall and chronological inaccuracies are all aspects of the human memory process. The main difference being that our memory is selective and plays an active role in what it chooses to remember or forget rather than the arbitrary procedures that are in operation here.

Once the tape was cut into pieces there was no way of telling which fragments were which and in the process of splicing the tape back together the voice recordings gathered over a twenty year period became interspersed with the sounds of those two days spent making field recordings in the area.

Further digital recordings were also made around the same location during the period of the tape’s interment. The contrast between these higher fidelity field recordings and the degraded analogue sounds added a further substrata of time to the process.

The final listening event consisted of two parts: A straight uninterrupted playback of side one (aside from occasional tape jams).

Followed by: Playback of the second side combined with a live collage of pre-prepared field recordings made in the intervening days.

Side A and Side B of this cassette tape correspond to these two distinct versions of the piece.

Limited edition of 100 copies. Released 15th February, 2019.

Magneto Mori was first presented at the Kilfinane Convent Chapel as part of the Hearsay Festival on October 1st, 2017.


Reviews:

“…transmits you into a world that feels alien and alive at the same time.”
Aydarbek Kurbansho, Louder.me

“…this tape exudes life and passion, the voices of the people and their town still shining forth with a resilience that belies all these attempts to efface them.”
Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector


Reviews in Full

“Mark Vernon’s recording titled “Magneto Mori: Kilfinane” captures a brief glimpse into the town’s atmosphere in a fairly unconventional way. Using musique concrète techniques of tape manipulation, Vernon concentrates on not only transmitting the town’s breath to the listener but also includes a collection of recordings from the local radio station archives. He proceeds to cut these up, demagnetize the tape, bury the tape for a couple of days, dig it back up, clean and paste together random sections of the tape.

The final effect of the recording is something out of Pierre Schaeffer’s playbook. It transmits you into a world that feels alien and alive at the same time. The interlacing sounds of nature, people talking and the magnetic damage feel like an active scene in Kilifnane’s life. The damaged sections of the tape, representing the selective compiling of memories and memory’s deterioration, add that extra vitality to the entire experience. The second side of the tape meshes digital pre-recorded sounds with the analog dementia of the first side, further pushing on the perception of time passing. The final effect — just as surreal.

My favorite moments on this tape involved the brief appearances of orchestral music, church bell or what sounded like a choir in the world of external noises and cut up voices of the past. They shifted the lens focus on the tape in a very effective manner. As a whole, the multiple points of view on the subject of the city gave the recording an almost Cubist perspective on the small city’s life. Just try to listen to this magic record.”

Aydarbek Kurbansho, Louder.me

Magnetic Field Therapy

“Latest release from TSP fave Mark Vernon is a cassette called Magneto Mori: Kilfinane (CANTI MAGNETICI CANTO 18), and it’s a real gem. Vernon has worked in the past with his own field recordings and his own found tapes to create his compelling audio assemblages; found tapes in particular seem to be one of his specialities, and he accumulates them with a personal fascination bordering on mania.

For this particular work, he created something totally specific to the mountain town Kilfinane in Ireland, for a work which ended up being presented at the convent chapel in that town as part of a Festival in 2017. His press notes reveal an incredibly labour-intensive process involved in creating this work. Collecting sounds from around the town, which he did with his own reel-to-reel tape recorder, seems to have been the easy part of the job. The next step involved collating found tapes which contained the collective “voice” of this community, and these were extracted from a radio archive at Grey Heron Media, put together by Diarmud McIntyre. It so happens that McIntyre’s collection goes back 20 years; I’d like to think that Vernon was in his seventh Heaven at finding this rich trove, this earthy resource of content.

Vernon’s next step was to subject his collected pieces of audio (copies of same, I hope) to a degradation process which sounds positively violent in its disruption; deliberately using magnets to wipe out parts of the tapes; burying the damaged fragments in the earth; then splicing what was left back into a random order. These highly-processed results are what we hear over two sides of the cassette presented today. He has done all of this explicitly as a metaphor for the process of memory itself. If we can accept audio tape as a “container” of memory, Vernon’s work shows us how memory can degrade, fail, put things in the wrong order, scramble the truth, forget some parts and distort others, and so forth. The intervention of the magnets is particularly poignant, somehow; it’s like some brutal uncaring fact of life, causing eradication of our cherished memories and leaving these strange, unexpected gaps.

It takes some considerable imaginative powers and artistic skills to create something like this; given that memory is a fleeting, evanescent thing, something personal to all of us, not well understood as an aspect of the human psyche. But Vernon’s work is a triumph, and expresses precisely what he means to express. I say this as one who cherishes a stock of strange and very personal memories (some of which are completely inexplicable), and this tape resonates very strongly with me.

Reading this back, the listener might be tempted to think that Magneto Mori: Kilfinane is simply the result of a mechanical exercise in tape-degradation and random re-assembly; a cynic might reach for a Burroughs / Gysin reference at some point, and dismiss it as just another post-modern attempt to scramble reality. Or one might suppose that Vernon has no interest at all in people and places, such as this small market town in Limerick, and he’s merely using all of that as a vehicle for his cut-up actions. All of these assumptions would be wholly mistaken; this tape exudes life and passion, the voices of the people and their town still shining forth with a resilience that belies all these attempts to efface them. It’s an impressionistic collage, for sure; you can’t make out the detail of a single spoken word; yet the cadences of human speech are ineradicable. I think all of this proves something about the sheer endurance of our shared humanity, which survives in spite of its supposed fragility. We need more artistic statements in the world which demonstrate this, and there are precious few that do it with the compassion and subtlety of Mark Vernon. “

Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector

“Mark Vernon is a Glasgow-based artist whose work is inspired by the experience of radiophonic listening as an acoustic experience. “Magneto Mori” is based on a vision of tape as a storage for memory so “Kilfinane” is the name of an Irish mountain town and the sounds where recorded there. The constructivist aspect of this composition is highlighted by the fact that the recordings were cut and spliced into the piece in random order so the listening experience is free from a narrative aspect. To further add an element of fragmentation the tape was buried to obtain a degraded sound which have a dialectic with the clean digital recordings which are the other element of this opus.
The first side of tape, called “unadorned” is made out of field recordings of the town and the result of the editing and the process is a sort of dialogue between the clean voices, presumably digitally recorded, and the dirty recordings of the everyday sounds so a sort of nostalgia for a place which emerges as a memory appears to the listener. The other side, called “embellished”, is based upon radio archives so it covers, according to the liner notes, almost twenty years of the town history; while it could have been predicted as more verbose than the first side, it’s instead sonically more elaborated than the first side as it almost features no dialogues and the field recordings from the community events creates the impressing than it was a more lively place than it is now.

A rather impressive work which requires a certain imagination from the listener to figure the criterion of the choice of the fragment and these days is important that an artist remind to the audience that we record thing as an aid to memory not to exhibit them on a social. Recommended.”

Chain D.L.K.

Ribbons of Rust

 
Audio Archaeology Series Vol​.​2: Laem Thian
Flaming Pines / FLP081 Cassette (2019)

Ribbons of Rust continues a series of works exploring concepts around audio archaeology and found sound that began with the ‘Lend an ear, leave a word’ LP – Volume 1 in the Audio Archaeology series – released on Kye records in 2016. It is an irreverent, non-purist approach to field recording that puts found sound recordings of voices and music from the past on an equal footing with contemporary field recordings of a particular location.

This album focuses on a derelict and abandoned holiday resort at Laem Thian bay on the east coast of the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. The resort is situated in a small cove that is only accessible on foot via an overgrown path and a walk of several miles – a journey very few tourists bother to make. It is clear at first sight that the fading white building has been vacated for some time. The concrete structure opens out onto a small sandy beach that would have provided an idyllic holiday setting at one time. A number of palm-thatched holiday cottages with dilapidated roofs slide down the hillside. There are signs of vandalism; graffiti decorates the walls, the remains of campfires, broken glass and other detritus litter the floors – but traces of the previous occupants also remain. Children’s toys, kitchenware, hand written notes, menus, mattresses, a plastic telephone and four cassette tapes – rusty, caked in sand, weather damaged and corroded by the humid salty sea air.

Back at home these tapes were prised apart and transplanted into new cassette shells to salvage the audio from them unearthing an array of typically sentimental Thai easy listening and pop tunes and, perhaps more unusually, Christian sermons and hymns in Thai. This piece is composed from excerpts of the recordings found on the tapes along with field recordings taken on site, the journeys there and back and audio rips from video clips uploaded by other travellers who came across this same location.

The haunting quality of this place left a deep impression on me. The sense of isolation and abandonment it engendered was in stark contrast to the rest of the island, and indeed the rest of Thailand as I experienced it. This feeling remained with me and in some way it permeated the rest of my stay in the country. It is that feeling that I wanted to convey through this work. The impetus behind this project has been less objective documentation and more a form of sonic time travel. A document of a place that no longer exists.

After transferring the content the tapes were recorded over with the sounds captured on location, forever erasing what was once there. This way the environment has indelibly made its mark upon the cassettes both as physical objects (through damage and corrosion) and sonically, as carriers of sound (through replacement of the audio content).

All recordings made or found in Thailand between February and March 2016.

Developed during the Hospitalfield Summer Residency 2017. Made with support from the PRS Foundation’s Open Fund and Sound and Music’s Francis Chagrin Award.

Special thanks to Tian Miller, Barry Burns, Ian Middleton and Kate Carr.

Location photographs by Tian Miller. Cassette documentation by David Fulford.


Reviews:

“Glasgow-based sound artist Mark Vernon’s newest work could be described as many things: an intervention, an examination, a document, even a dissection. But there really isn’t a single label that I can confidently apply to Ribbons of Rust, which draws its inspiration and source material from a remote, abandoned vacation resort in Thailand; Vernon doesn’t base his music around a specific technique or set of restrictions, instead utilizing a variety of methods to approach a comprehensive representation of this place that so notably resonated with him. Arguably central to the album’s construction are the worn, damaged tape fragments extracted from cassettes found on location, essentially the literal “ribbons of rust” that ground everything in a manner that’s both tangible (the distortion, crackles, and stutters that mar the tape playback) and abstract (the sampled music itself). Though there are a great deal of spacial field recordings and physical elements that evoke a strong sense of there-ness, Ribbons of Rust does much more than just reconstruct this mysterious environment. It presents a singular perception of a place, resulting in a work that is deeply personal and completely unique.”

Jack Davidson, Noise Not Music, June 26th, 2019

Deep Listening

Mark Vernon & Daniel Padden: Deep Listening

6:30pm – 7:30pm, Sunday 29th September, 2019
Tramway
Albert Drive,
Glasgow,
G41 2PE

Tickets are free and are available to book here.

This event is part of Altered States and Human Threads, a season from the inclusive arts organisation Artlink, devised in response to ‘Until’, the current exhibition by Nick Cave at Tramway, and aimed at breaking down barriers of difference through shared experience. It will take place in the studio space.

A meditative deep listening audio event in the form of an augmented surround sound soundscape and gong bath. Participants will lie in the centre of a circle of gongs and speakers in a fully immersive, passive listening experience blending natural sounds, ambient textures and the resonating harmonics of gongs. Mats, cushions and eye masks will be provided.

This event is informed by the rich sensory interests and insights of individuals with profound developmental and multiple learning disabilities. Devised by Mark Vernon and Daniel Padden.

No latecomers admitted.

Suitable for ages 16+
If you require additional info on access to this event please contact Artlink directly.

More details here.

The other events in the series include:

23rd September – ‘Sense Field’ with Steve Hollingsworth & Jim Colquhoun

23rd September – ‘Comfort Zones? Whose Comfort Zones?’with Robert Softley Gale

29th September – ‘Sensational Brass’ with Wendy Jacob & Brass Aye

7th October – ‘Listening With Our Bodies’ with Jessica Gogan and Dasha Lavrennikov

14th October – ‘Spin’ by Red Note Ensemble

——————————————

Part of Altered States and Human Threads (23 September – 14 October) curated by Artlink (Edinburgh) which aims to unite diverse audiences through immersive experiences. Funded by Creative Scotland.

Radio Sygma Guest Mix

Undeformed Stratigraphic Sequences

For my guest slot on Russian station Radio Sygma I’ve put together a mix composed of recent tracks, forthcoming releases, found tapes, unreleased material and field recordings made in outdoor markets around the world including Bangkok, Colombo, Evora, Lisbon, Sant-Jean-de-Luz, Santiago, Valdivia and Vienna.

Mark Vernon’s work exists on the fringes of sound art, experimental music and radio broadcasting, with a particular and unsettling flair for re-appropriating environmental sound and obsolete media. A rich collection of domestic tape recordings; audio letters, dictated notes, home sing-alongs, answer-phone messages and other lost voices all find their way into his bewitching soundworlds.

Each Morning of the World

South Asia PhoNographic Mornings

 
Pleased to present the latest track from a digital album in progress – South Asia PhoNographic Mornings from the Each Morning of the World project produced by Stéphane Marin. A new track is broadcast every Sunday until December when the final album will be released. You can listen to the current album so far or the previous six complete seasons here.

’Serendib Stirs’ is composed from recordings I made across Sri Lanka in 2013. The piece imagines different scenes in a variety of locations across the country as both the natural and manmade world slowly spring into life: from birds and insects to factories, markets, transport and the sounds of worship.

Recording locations include Udawalawe National Park, the rail crossing at Wewalgoda Road and the bus station in Hikkaduwa, the Handunugoda tea estate, The Pettah Market and Sri Subramaniam Kovil in Colombo, the Kandyan Arts Association in Kandy and train journeys from Mirissa to Hikkaduwa and Hikkaduwa to Colombo.

Download here.

All proceeds will be donated to the WFAE (World Forum for Acoustic Ecology).