Cryptic Residency at Cove Park

I’m looking forward to spending a week at Cove Park developing a new sound performance work in association with Cryptic based around the Glasgow Underground system. It will feature field recordings made on the Glasgow subway and voice interviews with SPT transport workers, engineers and train drivers. The piece focusses on the two concentric circles of the inner and outer circle lines that travel in opposite directions around the city – a ‘loop within a loop’. It will draw parallels with compositional processes in electronic music such as open reel tape loops, tape delays, audio cassette and digital loops and at its heart will be two concentric open reel tape loops that echo this looped system.

Delaware Road Festival – tickets now on sale

THE DELAWARE ROAD : RITUAL & RESISTANCE

Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 Aug

I’m honoured to have been invited to play at The Delaware Road festival in August this year. The event is a unique mix of theatre, film, sound & light inside a secret military base near Stonehenge. The full lineup has been announced and tickets are on sale now here.

Based on the graphic novel + screenplay The Delaware Road featuring an incredible line up of experimental artists, film + video producers, sound designers, guest speakers, writers & illustrators.

Gathered inside the austere military complex of New Zealand Farm Camp near West Lavington, artists will perform work inspired by The Delaware Road screenplay, landscape, myth, broadcast propaganda & the transformative nature of sound.

With overnight camping, food & merchandise stalls plus a licensed bar. Performances start at 5pm Saturday.(campers can arrive from 3pm) & ends 3am Sunday morning. The site must be vacated by 1pm Sunday.

Visit www.thedelawareroad.com for further information

RADIOKUNST – KUNSTRADIO – new radio commission for Ö1, Austria

Magneto Mori: Vienna
Produced by Mark Vernon.

Kunstradio, ORF Ö1, 92.0 FM, Sunday, 10th February 2018, 23:00 – 0:00 CET.

The debut of a new radio production commissioned by Kunstradio will be aired on Sunday 10th February at 11pm European time, 10pm GMT.

Magneto Mori: Vienna is a fragmented sound portrait of the city constructed from found sounds, buried tapes and field recordings. In this de-composition sounds from Vienna’s past and present are conjoined in a stew of semi-degraded audiotape.

Using a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder sounds from around the city were recorded direct to tape over a two-day period. This tape was then cut into fragments and buried in a hole in the ground with a number of tacky souvenir ‘Vienna’ fridge magnets that erase the portions of the tape that they come into contact with. After several days steeped in the muddy earth of a Viennese garden the remaining audio fragments were exhumed, washed, dried and spliced back together in random order. The deliberate distressing and erosion of these present-day recordings results in artificially degraded sounds that fast-forward the effects of time, disrupting the perceived chronology of this audio matter. During the tapes interment old cassette, Dictaphone and reel-to-reel tapes were gathered from local flea markets and additional field recordings were made around the city. The addition of these found sounds stretches the timescale from just the short period spent making location recordings to as far back as fifty years into the past. All of these elements provided the raw materials for a radiophonic composition that represents a portrait of Vienna in both place and time; an archaeological excavation of found sounds, lost fragments, buried memories and magnetic traces. Presented here are the sounds that endured…

This project has been supported through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Funding Programme.

EMS studios residency

 

Hybelkanin
 
I am currently exploring the amazing facilities at EMS Electronic Music Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. During the 2-week residency I’ll be working on a new 8-channel surround sound work titled ‘Hybelkanin’ (dust bunnies). Named after the Norwegian phrase for conglomerations of hair, fluff and dust that appear out of nowhere in homes, the piece will be composed from field recordings and found tapes gathered from across Scandinavia over the past decade.
This project has been supported through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Funding Programme.

New tape release on Canti Magnetici

 
Mark Vernon – Magneto Mori: Kilfinane
Release date:
15th February, 2019

New tape available for pre-order from Italian label Canti Magnetici. Limited edition of 100 copies. Cover artwork by asenseofsomeplace.

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.

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

Noche de Los Muertos / Un-Tape Me – at Echoraum, Vienna

NOCHE DE LOS MUERTOS / UN-TAPE ME – a night of music and installations involving magnetic tape

01 / 11 /2018 – 19:00 @ echoraum / Vienna

Like every year on November 1st, Institut 5haus, Echoraum and for the second time Wien Modern will host the annual Electro-Improv-Night “Noche de los Muertos”, this time, with the title “un-tape me”. The night has been curated by Mexican-born, Vienna-based artist Angélica Castelló and it promises to be a magnetic evening with all kinds of tapes and cassettes, obsolete machines and illustrious guests from Vienna, Glasgow, Marseille, Berlin, and more.

Concert
– Jerôme Noetinger / revox, tapes, electronics
– Mark Vernon / found dictaphone and reel to reel tapes
– Marta Zapparoli / tape recorders & reel to reel tape machine
– Wien Diesel feat. burlin mud (r.f. culbertson iii) / tapes

Installation
– Angélica Castelló / magnetic altar

Curated by Angélica Castelló /
Production i5haus
Coproduktion Wien Modern and Echoraum

On tour in Chile

Live performances in Chile for October 2018:


 
Sábado 20-10-2018, Soundtiago, primer festival cuerpo, sonido y espacio

Martes 23-10-2018, Ciclo Relincha, Espacio En Construcción, Valdivia

Viernes 26-10-2018, Radio Valentín Letelier, Valparaíso

Sábado 27-10-2018, Espacio Kulczewski, Santiago

Orphaned Works

Research Laboratories / RL020 Cassette (2018)

New tape ‘Orphaned Works’ released on Research Laboratories, 2018. Limited edition of 30 copies. Twelve tracks.

>>> Monaural verbal stimuli of forgotten provenance <<<

 


Reviews:

“Another great collection from the current god of tape archaeology. Using similar found-sound materials as his Lend An Ear and Remnant Kings releases, Vernon here again evokes incredible emotion and atmosphere in what amounts to a diverse collection of relatively short pieces. We get of course detailed clanks and clunks amidst the sound of all manner of interior spaces along with fragments of instructional tapes, dictations, and anonymous thrift-store home recordings (somebody turned 16 on Friday, October 13th 1989, if you’re the superstitious type) among much more. Overall has an ethereal, haunted character as complimented by the 4AD-like cover art/layout. More composed than collaged, they differ from Lend An Ear while retaining a similar intimate feel. The emphasis on structure at times veers toward his work in the duo Vernon & Burns. One of the better details is the use of hyper-processed voice wizardry, not unlike Valerio Triccoli or “The Floor Above” by Mercury Hall. Vernon’s added acoustic work is of course also absolutely gorgeous and spectral. Has a distinct (by chance only, mind you!) HNAS/Heemann/Ultra vibe at times. Criminally-small edition which I understand is nearly sold-out, so visit Mark’s YouTube channel to stream it:”

Josh Peterson.

“…Side one brings us glitched rhythms, distant drums, creaking doors, static walls and half-heard words from a tea room conversation. I imagine a lot of the sounds here are ‘found’. Cassettes / tapes lost in time and rediscovered lurking in the back of dusty charity shops, boot sales and the radio airwaves. Orphaned Sounds? Both sides play as one piece. On side one “Sentinent Dust (Go Thou Must)” stands alone though. A pagan banishment ritual discovered after taking the wrong turn on Summerisle.”What was the interest of Dr. Pepper”?

Side two begins carrying an air of menace. All seance and atmosphere. Concentrated mouthplay, detuned radios and clutterphonics. The approaching air of menace soon turns to whimsy with toy guitar and cat-a-waling. It all starts straying in to Nurse With Wound territory before returning to the shadows with “A Pale Pink Voice”. I am not complaining. This is my first hearing of the sound of Mark Vernon and I am intrigued and wanting to hear more.”

Steve Cammack, Remuhmuration.

…as has been reported numerous times in these pages, Vernon is an undisputed king of tape treatments, doing it in a very English and understated way, and operating in an endearing environment of found objects, cheap machines, discarded fragments, and a DIY approach that embodies all that is best about the garden-shed ham-radio amateur, a can-do make-do-and-mend attitude. If I make it sound like Vernon belongs to an earlier period in UK history, maybe he does – but I mean it in a positive way, a time when there were better manners, a bobby on every corner, and a man could smoke his pipe in peace in a railway compartment…

The tape before us today is called Orphaned Works (RESEARCH LABORATORIES RL020). Only 30 copies were pressed, a quantity which seems incommensurate with its cultural value, and there isn’t even a Bandcamp page where one could spin its delights on the PC. All the familiar Mark Vernon trademarks are here: lost, dissociated, found recordings assembled in a slightly absurd, vaguely scrambled framework that makes a mockery of linear thought, corresponding instead to the artist’s own spontaneous lines of thought and creating a dream-like interior logic that is a pure delight. Music, voices, and sound effects – pretty much the three fundamental elements in his box of groceries, but the techniques of assembly, editing, varispeeding and collage are also present, just done in his usual unobtrusive way. Vernon has never been one for calling attention to the technique, unlike the academic composers who developed musique concrète and its numerous followers, who often can’t wait to demonstrate – very loudly, if possible – their flashy skills on the mixing desk, editor, or computer suite. Mark Vernon is too close to the content and meaning of his work for that, and I suspect he would prefer to gently release hidden voices and unexpected treasures from their respective oxide traps, and inviting us to follow the butterflies as he sets them free. This is something we can only love and respect.

I will add, finally, that this particular radio-play (almost every release of his deserves to be understood and heard in that context – they are like a magical realist version of Radio 4 from a lost between-the-wars period that never existed) is not only redolent of mystery and sadness, but also hinting at the mortality of all human life, the fragile existence of the soul in a bleak and uncaring world. It does all of this by the power of suggestion, juxtaposition, and careful light-touch treatments. Vernon remains so respectful that he almost effaces himself from the compositional picture; and yet everything he does is unique, could only have emerged from his fingerprints. A delight! From 18th July 2018.

Ed Pinsent, Sound Projector.