I am a recording musician and I live in Harrogate. I am a member of Guerrilla Dub System. We had two number one hits in the charts in 2017.
I also run my own record label, Focused Silence. Focused Silence is a right wheeze and it has got me a lot of contacts. I also present my own radio show, The Parish News.
Musically, I started with the Tidswell Noise Collective – a retro-futuristic, Avante-Garde, improv outfit. We played a good few shows and it went sort of well. Things moved down a gear for a bit when the band split and I have been putting my energy into my own music production.
I am a fan of the software Logic and Ableton Live (former for stepper // latter for dubbing). I make roots inspired dub music and I am also a field recordist. I own a guitar but I admit I will never get anywhere with that.
But why would I write a blog post telling you about Åke Hodell? Well, because his work shook me out of a coma.
I had been in political apathy for a while – I had not ‘put my name’ next to any cause for a while – even if ‘putting your name’ is the sterilised, sanctioned version of protest that we have open to us.
I listened to a piece called “Mr Smith In Rhodesia” and I was amazed at the man’s genius. Mr Smith In Rhodesia is a protest poem about British brutality in Zimbabwe and it was eye-opening.
Åke Hodell (1919 – 2000) was a Swedish experimental text-sound composer and writer who used his compositions to voice political dissent. His work, though congruent with electroacoustic and avant-garde movements, is most closely associated with the ethics and aesthetics of the Fluxus movement.
Hodell was trained as a fighter pilot, but after a crash in 1941 spent several years in the hospital, which catalyzed an antimilitarist ethos and shaped his artistic direction. In his first text, Flyende Pilot (1953) and subsequent books, Hodell explored what he termed “elektronismer”, or “textsound composition”, which collages field recordings and the narrative human voice in a similar way to the way of a radio drama or of musique concrète. Many of his text-sound compositions, produced in collaboration with the Swedish Broadcasting Commission, had strong political content.
“Mr Smith in Rhodesia” from 1969 protested the racist government led by Prime Minister Ian Smith, and “Where Is Eldridge Cleaver?” questioned the disappearance of the Black Panther and leading ideologist of the black freedom movement believed to have been assassinated under Reagan.
“Mr Smith in Rhodesia” was for a long time banned from being broadcast on the radio in Sweden after vigorous protest from the British tabloids.
My radio show, The Parish News, is going from strength to strength – I may be getting played on a digital network down south sometime soon, but I will try and not count my chickens before the eggs hatch.
The show always follows the same format – it is quite a regular show. As in – the format of the radio show is not experimental but the music is experimental. I wish I had the inspiration to really fly by the seat of my pants and go hell for leather with a couple of dog barks before launching in to a Scat Poem.
Instead, I present The Parish News in a friendly style that shares with listeners the music I have been ear-looking at over the week.
The artwork for the radio is getting there too – I have a series of png files that I have collected over the years of flowers. Yunno, arty shots. Here is a brief highlight.
It really is a good laugh – if you want to find out more about the show then head over to www.theparishnews.com – it is a WordPress build that I made. The Parent Theme is Divi and I have customised it to the point it is functional for a radio show. None of the shows are hosted on the site – that is all done on Mixcloud.
Currently, The Parish News is broadcast on Soundart Radio in Devon, UK. It is also broadcast on a couple of community stations in America (KBOG & K-PIP in Oregon and Missouri respectfully).
It sometimes charts. On Mixcloud that is. I think the highest it has reached is No.4 in the Noise Chart – but that was back at the beginning of 2018.
There may be a brief change tot he organised playlist as I hammer “Mr Smith In Rhodesia” every week until the year is out – it is my new shiny thing. It is a protest Text-Composition about British brutality in Zimbabwe. The piece shook me. It is a brilliant work that I have only just switched on to. Åke Hodell is the composer – I will try and write a bit about him in the coming days.
So, here is to another year of broadcast – I really am lucky in that people consent to broadcast my show – I doubt anybody listens, but it is nice to be broadcast.
Man, I woke up at 00:45 the other night – I had hoped to fill it with Funs but I just ended up pottering around the house. I’ll tell you what I did do though – I recorded a special Gaffa Tapes take-over of The Parish News. Below, you can listen to it. I wanted to record a new show up in the studio, CreaoStudio, but got a bit bogged down in stuff. So, as opposed to the regulare format of the show, I made a two-hour DJ Mix. It is quite something.
I used the regular equipment that I have – A Traktor S4, Marantz Cassette Decks and a bag of C60 Cassettes. I was fun.
Another thing that has occurred over the weekend is that I am now using the Beta Gutenberg Editor for this Blog. First impressions are a ‘Yes.’ I like it.
There seems to be a lot more white space. It seems a lot cleaner and the controls are lot simpler, but just take a bit to find – if you are used to the ‘kitchen-sink’ editor of old.
I have signed up to a new scheme – new to me at least. I sometimes have the vague notion that people will like to listen to my field recordings. The best place to do this is to listen to the CD on good headphones. Failing that, if you want a bit more of a public impression of what I get up to then listening in an Art Gallery would do.
Thing is, the latter has been next to nothing.
So, I signed up for Yorkshire Art. I will keep you abreast of developments on my Artist Blog HERE.
They say they will be able to get more Gallery appointments and, hopefully, I will be able to chalk “Artist” on to my CV.
I am wary that this blog, Ijo Pona, is turning in to a ‘look what I had for tea’ blog – but, I need to talk about Potatoes. London-shaped Potatoes. Me and Mrs Backhouse paid a visit to the capital and spent a long w/e down there. It was fun. The excuse for the visit was that an artist on my label, Chris P. was putting on a gig at S. Augustine’s Church, Kilburn and I was not going to miss it for all the bass-bins in Nottinghill.
It was a bit more ‘Speedcore’ than ‘Spandau” on the way there as we missed our train after getting stuck in traffic. But, the Lovelies at Leeds sorted us and we were only an hour late arriving at Kings Cross. We checked in to our Russel Square located room and set about exploring.
Lambs Conduit Lane is an amazing place to spy Men’s Clothing. We stocked up on Espresso and Swedish Cake and made off to the theatre to bask in its Neon Wholesomeness – it was reet mint! I at the best Italian Food I have ever had – Spaghetti Carbonara and a lemonade to wash it down with. Homeward bound for a night of great sleep.
Can’t fault the accommodation – very central, but with that comes central noise. Thankfully we both had earphones and had a good nights sleep. We went to the V&A the next day. Caught the tube to South Kensington and walked past the Natural History Museum. We had missed the show for the Wildlife Photographer of the year as it started Monday and we were coming home that day.
The Frida Kahlo exhibit at the V&A had sold out – I was not sure people would be booking museum tickets at such a rate but the Photography room was working and we visited that in the first month of being open. That was amazing. There was a massive cross-section of photo history; everything from old daguerrotypes to modern digital art. It was reet mint!
Kathryn had a ball at the V&A – she loved seeing the Porcelain section. To me, it was just old crockery, but Kathryn quite likes the history behind the Staffordshire miniatures and seeing Ming-era Vases was a real eye-opener. Ming Dynasty China was hundreds of years ahead of us when it came to … well … china. We walked miles and saw the Norfolk Music Room – a room that was the interior of a Bloomsbury manor hose but said manor house had been gutted – the interior of the gutted mansion had been placed in the V&A to put on gigs – an amazing, windowless space that had excellent acoustics.
Then it was the night of the label’s gig.
The gig was by Chris Parmenidis at Saint Augustine’s Church in Kilburn, London – Chris met me at the gates of the church and we took our seat. I was shocked to see a good mate, Paul, turn up – we muttered away and then the gig started – it was how 8B5C3B++ should have sounded – an eight-speaker sound immersion. Whether it fell on deaf ears I do not know but I invited a member of The Wire to come and review it.
It was awesome and Chris received a standing ovation.
I hope he got as much from it as his audience did.
Me, Paul & Mrs Backhouse went out for a few beers afterwards – I was surprised to see most people I saw in London still smoked and did not use Vaporisers. The bar staff knew the policy on Smoking – and adhered to it – but they had to ask their boss if I could vape. Seemed a bit weird – but the weather was amazing that day and night so I did not mind standing around being given permission.
It really was balmy. I was walking around Kilburn and Kings cross in Jeans and T-Shirt at midnight in the middle of October. Storm Callum was battering Yorkshire and we had escaped the worst of it. I was perspiring!
Sunday was spent getting lost on the tube. It delayed us by an hour but the Tate Modern was open until 6 pm so we had time to make up for it. This is the plaque for my personal favourite installation in the gallery that day –
We heartily munched on Chinese food for the evening – my fortune cookie said “Family is a bit like Fudge – very sweet but sometimes with a few nuts”
We ate the fortune cookies on the train back up north.
The thing I got from London was that you did not have to go to exotic destinations to experience culture – sometimes it is only 3 hours away. I hope to go back down to the Smoke for a few more days next year. We are already looking at destinations elsewhere for our next break. We do not have an excuse. And, for once, my health permitted me to do what I love; spending time with Mrs Backhouse.
Here are the photos I took of the Gig & Tate Modern –
I managed to record another edition of The Parish News. No biggy – it is something I do every week. This week, I recorded it in my flat with new gear. I have had a Sound Devices MixPre 6 for a number of months now but never really used it for the show – still, makes a change. I used it on the One-Hundred and Ninth Edition of The Parish News.
There is something else that is new. Brand new. I have a new mic. An Audio Technica BP4025 – it is specifically designed for Field Recording so I look forward to using it in the field. It seemed to be good for the show.
If you listen to the enclosed audio on Headphones, it sounds like my voice is just behind the centre point of your hearing. This is because it is a stereo mic (X/Y) therefore giving a lot more width to my voice. It’s reet mint!
Other than that, I have been doing a lot of work – I was interviewed by S. Watson-Power as part of her school project on music. It really was a good, wholesome feeling I got from it. If you want to read the interview, I have transcribed the interview on my Arty Site HERE. I wish her every luck in getting a good grade with her presentation – I was sent a copy of her presentation, but, I figure it is a bit too personal to give away on Sophie’s behalf. So, if she ever wants to make it public I will let you know. But it was sweet.
I will try and write ‘home’ a bit more regularly from now on. That is how I take this Blog – it is a bit like Writing Home. There is a familiarity to it, coupled with a duty – ‘I have a duty to maintain this blog’ is one way of seeing it – the whole stubborn “I’ve started so I will finish” but then there is the tenderness associated with such memories that my blog throws out there every now and then. Ijo Pona is my online Home. And it has had a fresh lick of paint.
Backhouse & Brownswood – “Brownswood Love.” Not a set of Accountants or Solicitors and their trendy start-up enterprise but a DJ Mix. My weekend was a write-off. Pretty much wasted the whole of it working. Still, there were a few good points.
I managed to argue with Gravity Forms into allowing me to install their plugin on a client’s build – looking very nice, now – more on that in the future.
The highlight of the weekend occurred today. A good friend, Matt, has a Giggle of daughters and the eldest one, S. asked me to answer some questions. It is for her school project in Music. The emphasis is on Emotions and Music – how they tie in together.
The questions were smartly orientated and emailed to me from Dubai. S. should be able to read the answers over her breakfast in the morning. On the whole, it is a wholesome feeling that I got from this. She is a lovely young lady and I hope she smashes the project.
I hope to post the interview over on my arty site, www.andybackhouse.com. But I need to seek S’s permission first.
Other than that, I have been listening to a few DJ mixes on my headphones and it inspired me to have a crack at something different. What do you make to this:
When I first became aware of Mixcloud I was really into my Wonky Hip-Hop (music by the likes of Suff Daddy, early J-Zen and Wonky Logic). It was reflected in the earlier mixes I posted on the site – I had good feedback from them and I hope you don’t mind my trip down memory lane.
The music in this mix is exclusively from Brownswood Records and a what I listened to years ago. The tracks have aged very well.
It was nice to listen to music for the pleasure of listening to music again. That is what the interview with S. let me think – she is just finding her feet, musically, and has the whole adventure ahead of her.
Hell, she can already DJ better than I can.
It was great to stick on some music that I was not looking for inspiration from (dub) or listening to with a view of putting it on my radio show. I was listening with fresh ears. Thanks, S. Here is the playlist –
Artist / Track
Quasimoto / Come On Feet
Matthew Herbert / The Audience
Sa-Ra / Rosebuds
Carrie Cleveland / Make Love to Me
Darkstar / Aidy’s Girl Is a Computer
Tall Black Guy / Water No Enemy
Electric Wire Hustle / They Don’t Want
Ron Basejam / Into My Life
Grooveman Spot / Happy (feat. Kissy Asplund)
Nick Rosen / Ancestral Echoes
YU / Fine
Oumou Sangaré / Iyo Djeli
Keaver & Brause / Awake
It has been a while since I tried to make music – any music. Even my Field Recording has ebbed off. I just seem to be working non-stop. Still, when I get paid for it I will be a happier bunny. But I have been trying to make a bit of music over the past days. There is a resulting track –