New cassette tape out now on Flaming Pines. Limited edition of 100 pro printed and dubbed J-card tapes in rust orange. Buy now from Bandcamp
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. 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. 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 stayed 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.
Made with support from the PRS Foundation’s Open Fund and Sound and Music’s Francis Chagrin Award. Developed during the Hospitalfield Summer Residency 2017.
I’m excited to have been asked to produce an exclusive ‘soundtrack’ for Ears Have Ears on FBI radio in Sydney. The show will air from 9-11pm AEST (12-2pm GMT) on Thursday 27th June on FBI radio 94.5FM in the Sydney area or you can listen live online here.
‘Elsewhere is a Negative Mirror’
is based around a found voice recording from a Dictaphone micro-cassette bought at a car boot sale in the east end of Glasgow. It continues a series of works that marry found recordings from the past with contemporary field recordings of the same location to accrue sedimentary layers of time and blur chronologies.
On one side, the tape documents the dissolution of a relationship and the aftermath of the separation in a series of text message exchanges read aloud into the Dictaphone for some purpose unknown. Equally puzzling, on the reverse side, the same voice lists a mundane catalogue of company vans and their contact details observed whilst driving down the motorway.
I will be performing a new live piece at the Old Hairdressers on the 29th May as part of a special event featuring AWOTT, Conspirators of Pleasure and Pavel V.
The Old Hairdressers, Renfield Lane, Glasgow
8pm, Wednesday 29th May
Tickets £8 Advance or £10 on the door
Tickets and further details here.
Awott are an experimental postindustrial synth group form Moscow, “Awott – the Liberator, protects those who recognize it. AWOTT is ether, air, fire, water and earth. All the physical desires are satisfied through it. Knows 64 Rithms, AWOTT gifts joy to the Creator. It is pure transcendental Note and timeless. Universal for any age, shapes, size and heights. Everybody loves and respects.”
Conspirators of Pleasure were formed in 2012 by Poulomi Desai (ex Dead Jalebies) and Simon Underwood (founder member of post punk band The Pop Group). They are an improvising duo that seek to bend all the rules, question the sacred, create extraordinary soundscape performances and self-regulating sonic systems, using modified and prepared instruments. Part of their unusual musical armoury includes a prepared sitar, sonically twisted stylophones, prepared bass, modified toys, resurrected radios and visually scarred slide projections. Their compositions explore experimental terrains, twisting technology to transform organic sounds into eerie calls that flow from intense waves of abrasive, noisy, chaos invoking industrial nostalgia, to structured pulsating rhythms, to melancholic, microtonal drones.
Mark Vernon is a Glasgow-based artist whose work exists on the fringes of sound art, music and broadcasting. At the core of his practice lies a fascination with the intimacy of the radio voice, environmental sound, obsolete media and the re-appropriation of found recordings. He incorporates these diverse elements into radiophonic compositions for broadcast, fixed media and live performances.
Pavel V is plays guitar through enough FX to sink a battleship.
Disrupted loops and fuzz make his guitar sound like throbbing gristle.
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.
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.