Poulpe & Christmas Rewind at Storey Gallery, Lancaster


7.30pm Friday 18 November 2011

On Friday 18 November, Storey Gallery hosts an evening of live audio and installation. Barrow’s Sound Art and Music organisation, The Octopus Collective (with special guest Mark Vernon), will perform Poulpe, a live audio performance, drawing on found texts sourced from local charity shops.

In addition Mark Vernon will present the latest version of A Christmas Rewind. Originally commissioned by Octopus for Barrow Park Bandstand, this multi-channel audio installation piece draws on the archives of the Derby Tape Recording club and includes taped letters, party recordings, seasonal music and Mark’s own compositions.

The Octopus Collective comprises artists Glenn Boulter, Andrew Deakin. John Hall and Fern Oxley. Based in Barrow Park, Octopus delivers the acclaimed FON Festival of Sound Arts and Contemporary Music, along with a regular programme of residencies, commissions, performances and education projects involving artists from the UK, Europe and Japan.


Test Signal


A new sound work by Mark Vernon commissioned by Pixel Palace for BASIC.fm – a radio station hosting Broadcast Art, Sound & Independent Culture as a series of monthly audio streams. This piece kicks off the launch of a series of monthly commissions that will be hosted for a month on continuous play. Each piece responds to the brief of work that acts in a similar way to hold music or radio and television test signals. Test Signal  consists of microphone tests collated from Mark’s personal archive of found recordings and interviews and can be heard throughout the month of November.

Radiophonic Creation Day

June 4th is Radiophonic Creation Day! – from midnight to midnight the 24-hour programme of radio art will be aired in an international broadcast on 24 radio stations around the world. It will also be streamed live on the festival website.

‘Histoires Contaminées’ – a radio piece originally produced for CKUT during a residency at PRIM in Montreal has been selected for broadcast and will be aired between 6am and 7pm GMT.

See the link below for the webstream and more details:


New LP ‘Lost Lake’ on Shadazz Records

Lost Lake sees the return of the collaborative project between radio art duo Vernon & Burns (Mark Vernon and Barry Burns) and Lied Music (Luke Fowler and John W Fail). It is a sequel to the long-sold out LP Lied Music vs.Boy-Band Tax Returns (released on Ultra Eczema, 2006). This LP merges musique concrète compositional approaches with absurdist improvisational strategies. The album showcases their tendencies towards primitive melodies with dissonant underbellies, carefully sculpted into liminal narratives. A series of sporadic improvised sessions using a diverse array of sound-making instruments (amplified toys and objects, guitar, analogue synths, percussion, squeeze box, field recordings and found tapes) were subsequently manipulated, tortured and caressed, both individually and collectively, into a series of highly idiosyncratic song-forms and sound collages.


Perpendicular to love by Mark Vernon

A Small Party of Pressure

Soft Zoo is the debut album by A Small Party Of Pressure (Justin Wiggan, Mark Vernon, Anders Gjerde, Hild Sofie Tafjord and Lois Laplace) out now on Birmingham’s First Fold Records in a limited edition of only 100 copies. They have been exchanging samples, sounds and partially completed compositions by mail and online over a period of four years defining and refining the unconscious thoughts that have resulted in the phonic map now called Soft Zoo. They still have never met in person.

Music by the zone for the zone…

“… Soft Zoo consists of 14 tracks that combine live instrumentation and field recordings to produce something resembling musique concrete or a soundtrack to a non-existent film. Pianos, xylophones, electronics, guitars, horns, bells and all manner of bric-a-brac mingle with the sounds of scratching, scraping, rustling, hair cutting, clock winding, growling and the air being let out of tires resulting in an aural mosaic that is provocative, moderately unsettling and, thankfully, never boring. There might be an intended narrative here but for maximum effect it would be best to rely on the trippy film being projected on the inside of your eyelids. ASPOP are not the first outfit to dabble in musical brain-movies and listening to Soft Zoo I’m occasionally reminded of long forgotten Godspeed side project Set Fire to Flames. A more apt comparison might be the constructivist collages of Joseph Cornell for each piece on Soft Zoo is like a box filled with ornaments, curiosities, memories and seemingly irrational juxtapositions from which emanate some enchanting spells”.

Karim Vickery, Halcyon.


Christmas Rewind

Listen to a nostalgic journey through Christmas’s past as we trawl through the archives of found recordings, Christmas messages, carol concerts and audio Christmas cards from distant relatives. << Christmas Rewind << was a six-channel sound installation created for the band stand in Barrow Park, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in December 2010 and was commisioned by the Octopus Collective. This is a stereo version of the installation audio.


Listen on the player below or download from here:




The Silver Smokescreen

The Silver Smokescreen:
A Silent Film for the Radio

By Vernon & Burns

“When the devil pulls the strings, all the world must dance…”

Constructing an episodic narrative from silent movie intertitles, Vernon and Burns translate grand melodramatic gestures and deadpan pratfall pantomime into the audio realm. Hand-tinted frames of sound, under-cranked audio slapstick and sepia-soaked expressionism for the ear are projected onto the cinema screen of the mind‘s eye.

Produced by Vernon & Burns during a residency at WORM studios, Rotterdam. First performed live as part of ‘Popular Noise for the Masses’, March 2010. First broadcast on Cafe Sonore, VPRO Radio 6, June 12th 2010. Narrated by Giles Bailey.

Vernon & Burns are a duo of sound makers who create radio plays, records and performances through an innovative mix of samples, field recordings, voice and music. Performed across Europe, their eclectic live act encompasses everything from ventriloquism and magic to music hall and comedy. They have produced work for radio stations including the BBC, VPRO, Resonance FM, WFMU and The Audible Picture Show. Recent releases include an LP on Gagarin Records and a CD in Staalplaat’s Mort Aux Vaches series.


To Listen or download: