‘A Transfigured System’ & Some Special Blanks

•23 September 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello All:

It’s been a tumultuous time here, with lots of different projects being juggled and lots of unexpected developments trying to prevent me from finishing them. I keep inching them forward regardless, and hope to have more news to report on that before long.

A couple things that have been finished:

The new irr. album ‘A Transfigured System‘ has been posted to Bandcamp. The album was actually started in 2015 based on some unused material originally generated for ‘I Made This For Someone Else’, and then occasionally tinkered with between other projects before almost (but not quite) being completed in mid-2017. After that, I got distracted by others things and forgot it was there. I stumbled across it again earlier this month, was happy with the shape it was taking, and decided to finish it up and make it public without any further delay. I’ll sort out a physical-format release later, but there’s already a long queue of physical-format releases and I didn’t want drop this one back in limbo at the end of that slowly-moving list.

Also, the Monthly Digital Single for August was posted to Bandcamp at the end of (wait for it…) August, and is available here. The single for September is just about ready to go and will be posted on schedule at the end of (you guessed it) September.


I’ve recently learned that my housing situation — the main ingredient that has allowed me to pursue my music full-time for the past several years — might be coming to an end very soon. If this happens, it throws a big, sinister question mark over how (but hopefully not if) I can continue pursing my creative work. Sinking back into the time-devouring day job quagmire seems inevitable, but first I’m going to attempt to find part-time work and see if I can keep a music career and a day job going at the same time. There is the added question of who will be willing to hire an approaching-50 experimental musician without a car, a mobile phone or a college degree, and who’s official resume is underwhelming at best. I might need to brush up on my dish-washing skills. On the other hand, the whole situation might turn out for the best: some degree of stable income might allow me to be more productive, and free me to concentrate better on specific projects rather than having to scramble every month to pay the bills and then start over again at zero the following month.

I’ll take a moment here once again to say a big thank you to all of you who have been so supportive over the years! You have allowed me to spend the last 12 years pursuing what I love to do, and that is a rare & beautiful thing that a lot of people never get to experience.

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I’m working to put together a few sale items to raise some funds to prepare for whatever situation might await at the end of the year. The first of these has become possible thanks to the generosity of Mr. Bill Bailey at Equation Records, who kindly send me his three archive copies of the limited single-sided LP + single-sided 7″ irr. release ‘The Other Side Is Blank’, which has been out of print since 2013. To try to make the copies more appealing, I’ve added 2 things:

First, a CDR with all the original audio for the LP & 7” before it was edited to fit on vinyl (a couple of the LP tracks had to be slightly trimmed down), housed in a handmade gatefold sleeve. The sleeve includes an 8-page booklet, and between the gatefold and the booklet reproduces all of the artwork used for the LP sleeve & inserts from the vinyl release. The booklet also includes a surplus collage that was not used. Each copy will be signed, numbered & personalised to the recipient. These handmade gatefold sleeves were designed especially for this, and are something I plan to develop further for future projects to avoid any more drab jewel-case packaging.

Second, one of the collage inserts from each of the LPs has been hand-tinted, using scintillatingly handsome hand tints derived from genuine tinted hands (but applied by foot). Examples are below. The coloured inserts will also be signed and numbered. The full set of original, non-tinted inserts is still included in the package (in the event you are unmoved by my tinting skills).

I’m asking $120 per copy for the ss-LP + ss-7″ + gatefold sleeve CDR + hand-coloured insert set. It’s a hefty amount, to be sure, but I think the full package is worth it — and, also, the whole point is to raise a useful sum of money before the apocalypse arrives. I have 3 copies from Mr. Bailey to sell: #22 of 100, #66 of 100 and a xxx numbered promotional copy. On the off-chance there are 4 interested buyers, I have an extra copy from my own archive that I can sell  (#4 of 100). Only 3 of the hand-coloured inserts have been made, so there will be a delay before shipping if someone buys the fourth copy (I didn’t want to take to time to colour another insert when I’m not yet sure anyone will be interested in any of these sets). The package weighs 32 ounces, so in the U.S. Media Mail shipping is $4 and Priority Mail is $13. For overseas destinations, First Class International shipping is the predictably horrendous $23.50 (with Priority International an absurd $46).

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The other item I’m offering for sale is the original charcoal drawing used for the 2005 ‘Perekluchenie’ album cover. The drawing was made in 2003, and marked a significant development in my drawing style at the time. The piece has been very nicely framed (as pictured above) using high-end, archival materials: acid-free double matting with a textured mat on the top and a fully acid-free, archival backing. I’ll keep the glass in place, and will add multiple layers of padding and protection to insure as much as possible that is stays intact during shipping. If you’d like to buy it but would prefer the glass be removed, just let me know. The back is sealed with black paper which is signed, titled & dated, and this will have to be sliced open if I remove the glass.

I’m asking $800 for this piece… the total is inflated a bit by the expensive framing materials used. I know it’s a long shot that anyone will be able to afford to hand over such a sum for something like this, but I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve held back this piece for a long time due to the personal significance it has for me, and if I let it go I want it to be worthwhile. The package looks like it will weigh around 70 ounces; for U.S. destinations, this is too heavy for First Class and original artwork doesn’t classify for Media Mail, so I’ll have to send it either Retail Ground ($23) or Priority (which ranges up to $47 depending on location; I’ll figure the exact amount from your zip code). Unfortunately, due to size & weight I also have to use Priority International for overseas shipping, and that will be a dreadful $57.

 

Questions about any of these things are welcome, and can be directed at irrappext@gmail.com.

 

thanks for your time, and best wishes to all

-msw

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New Monthly Digital Singles & A Few From The Archives

•2 August 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello All:

 

Firstly, the personalised, hardback-format edition of 4 Orphans has sold out, and all copies have shipped. If you bought one, hopefully you have it already. Sincere thanks again to everyone who supported this project! It involved a very steep (and time-consuming) learning curve in regards to materials & assembly, but I think the results were worthwhile. Particular thanks need to be lavished upon the heroic Colin Potter, who made the overseas bundle shipping possible, thereby allowing me to cut the postage charges nearly or exactly in half, and asked for nothing in return. So, if you bought a copy and you’re overseas, please send him your appreciation — or just buy a load of stuff from the ICR shop (https://icrdistribution.com/).

 

Several things have recently been added to the irr. Bandcamp page. Apologies to those of you who don’t like digital releases: I’ll be getting around to more physical-format releases soon. Bandcamp is starting to become reasonably useful in helping me to keep the bills paid, and it allows me to release or reissue material much more frequently than I could otherwise. This will ultimately help me get more physical releases going, although the physical versions will sometimes lag behind the digital ones.

 


 

The Monthly Digital Single for July was posted on the 31st, and can be obtained here. This month’s entry includes both bread and pudding, so it’s practically a full meal between the two tracks.

 

The single for June has yet to be announced on this page, so here’s the announcement and here’s the single. There’s no shame in crying from the overwhelming excitement of it all.

 


 

A trio of archival releases have also been recently posted to irr. Bandcamp wonderland. All three have been painstakingly sonically optimised, and some have been extended and/or elaborated a bit.

 

The first is the irr. entry (being #3) in Enterruption’s ‘Hermetic Archival Cassette Series‘, originally released as scarce, small-edition c15 in 2008. Both tracks have been given a thorough digital cleaning and remastered from stem to bubble, as the original tracks were definitely a bit wobbly in places. Also, a few sources that had to be left out of the mix at the time due to technical limitations have now been reintegrated so the tracks are bit longer. New graphics have been assembled, but the original cassette cover is included as well.

 

The second is #10 in Twenty Herz’s ‘Drone Works‘ series (the final entry in the series, I believe), released in 2005 and out of print for over 10 years. The 21-minute track (nearly 22, actually) has finally been given a title (‘Anticyclogenesis‘) and has also received not only a deep-down cleaning, but a bit of revision and embellishment to give it the droney-workable oomph it was always supposed to have.

 

The third is ‘Night Wearing Feathers‘, the first collaboration between irr. and At Jennie Richie. This digital version includes both sides of the LP released by Black Horizons in 2013, ‘NWF’ and ‘Sunshine Bus Rider’. These tracks have also been remastered — primarily to repair some of the murky quality & missing high end in sections of ‘NWF’ — but are in overall content identical to the LP versions.

 


 

A few other archival items are being prepared for digital release: the ‘…Motile Vesicular Cluster…’ side of the irr./Panicsville split LP and the ‘Josephine & Elsewhere’ live album are probably next. New physical releases are being formulated. Remember the ’10 Stations’ release which was forthcoming back in November? No? Well, it’s still forthcoming. But it is a bit more forth in it’s comingness than it was before.

 

More soon…

 

–msw

Orphan Update

•7 June 2018 • Leave a Comment

Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who bought an Orphan: it’s been an enormous help during a difficult time! Your support, as always, is sincerely appreciated. Now I have a proper bit of breathing room to continue work on the next project, which I promise will be a doozy.

The first 48 copies (plus a couple later ones that needed to go in the UK bundle) have all shipped. For those of you in the States or who paid for direct overseas postage: if you haven’t received it yet, it should arrive soon. For those of you who had copies going in the UK bundle: Colin Potter has received the bundle and mailed out all of the individual packages today, so you also should be receiving your copy soon. Huge thanks to Colin for helping out in such a significant way!

There are still 25 copies available. If anyone else is interested in purchasing one, please read the previous news posting to get a full explanation about the release, how to get it, and to see some images of what you’ll be getting.

I’ve been working hard to finish the last 35 copies, but there have been a lot of interruptions. I’m still hoping to get all of the remaining copies assembled by the end of next week and mailed out soon after that. There are 9 pending overseas orders towards another UK bundle (again, take a look at the previous news post if you need the details), so I just need another 6 UK or EU orders to make that work. Colin has graciously agreed to play intermediary a second time.

 


 

Secondly, I’d like to thank everyone who has been supporting the Monthly Digital Single series (and any of the other Bandcamp releases): this also has been a considerable help, particularly since ‘4 Orphans’ took about 3 months longer for me to complete than I had planned. The single for May was posted a week ago, and can be found here.

 

more soon(-ish)

–msw

 

 

4 Orphans Expanded

•15 May 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello all:

I’ve been working feverishly on the ‘4 Orphans’ handmade project, and although the edition is not 100% finished I’m just going to spill the beans about it now to see what kind of response I get. It’s only 8 weeks behind schedule, so I’m doing better than usual! But it was a particularly rough 8 weeks. I usually avoid doing pre-orders, but it’s so close to completion that it’ll barely be a pre-order for most people: about a week for the first 40 or so orders, and between 2-3 weeks for the rest.

The details:

This is a handmade, hardbound-packaged CDR version of the irr. app. (ext.)/Nurse With Wound ‘4 Orphans’ collaboration.

The disc includes all 4 original tracks, plus 3 additional tracks: ‘Formless’, a drastic reworking of the original sources which was created in 2015, and ‘Burren Amateur Zoological Survey 2006’ and ‘A Walk In A Strange Field’, two new tracks built almost entirely from recordings made at Cooloorta and in the Burren. This is almost 30 minutes of extra material, bringing the total duration to slightly over an hour.

The packaging is a hardbound book-style cover containing a 7-page booklet with the full text about the origins of the project (as is included with the download version). The last page of each booklet features an original ink drawing of ‘Bufo gillespianus’, the scarce & elusive Bearded Burren Toad, rendered on a photograph of it’s natural habitat around Mullach Mór (examples below). Also included is a comforting slab of black foam with the edition number & owner’s name hand-inscribed in silver (see photos). The edition number & owner’s name will also be written on the toad drawing page.

More details:

The labour & materials for this project far (far) exceeded what I had anticipated, so I’m asking $40 per copy. This is more than I had intended to charge, but the main point of the project was to raise some funds while I recovered from my medical misfortunes, so I hope you’ll forgive the large-ish price tag this time around. I’m planning to do more handmade editions, but am experimenting with other methods & materials to try to keep the costs lower in the future. This first attempt was slightly rushed, and involved a steep learning curve and several missteps before I got everything figured out properly.

The edition size is 85 copies. I have 45 of those just about ready to stroll out the door. Part of the reason for doing this as a pre-order is that I’m not sure of how much interest there will be (especially with the higher price). If only get 20 orders, then I can adjust the edition size down to 50; if I get 50 orders, I have the assembly procedures streamlined well enough now that I can get the remaining edition of 85 ready within a couple of weeks.

Even more details:

The packaging is not factory-made: it is very much a hand-assembled item. I mention this again because there are the inevitable rough edges and irregularities unavoidable with a hand-made project, and I want everyone to be fully aware of what they’ll be getting. But I’ll also add that I put considerable effort & attention to detail into every aspect of this, and I think that results are very nice. After seeing the completed package, Steve, Colin and Andrew each gave me an unreservedly enthusiastic response.

A few other details I feel I should mention. I added the foam piece because the the spine turned out a bit wider than was really necessary, and I wanted to add some support so the packaging didn’t get damaged during shipping. To make it more relevant than just padding, I added the hand-written name & number. THE FOAM IS NOT EDIBLE.

I also added an obi strip (see photos above & below) so the title would be visible from the spine when placed on a shelf; this did not turn out in an entirely satisfactory way, since the printed paper I used does not crease as cleanly as I would have liked. I’ll investigate some better option next time, but I felt it’s a minor enough point to let pass on this one.

The final detail is that I couldn’t find a resealable sleeve the right size that didn’t have the adhesive on the flap. My experience with sleeves having adhesive on the flap is that they inevitably (& annoyingly) stick to the packaging when you’re removing or replacing the item, and this can sometimes cause damage. To avoid this, I’ve trimmed off the adhesive strip and added my own adhesive tabs to the body of the sleeve, where sticking & damage are far less likely.

The bottom line:

If you want a copy, you can send $40 + postage via Paypal to irrappext@gmail.com. I’m not going to make a shop entry for this yet: I’m hoping it won’t be necessary and this announcement will be enough. For addresses in the US, the total with Media Mail postage is $44 ($4 for a 7 oz. package). If you want it sent Priority Mail instead, the total is $49.

For overseas addresses, the postage is more complicated. The USPS has raised its international rates yet again, so a mere 7 oz. package now costs $14 to send to the UK or Europe. To lower this amount, I’m trying to work something out with a friend in the UK where I send him a Priority Mail bundle of 15 discs together and he’ll send along the individual packets. This would lower the per-disc cost for the bundle down to $5 each. The Royal Mail 2nd Class rates for a 7 oz. (198g) parcel appears to be £2.95 ($4), so that would bring the total UK postage down to $9 ($5 USPS + $4 Royal Mail), and I can knock a couple of dollars off to make a $47 total for the UK. Royal Mail International Standard rates to most European countries is £4.45 ($6), and again dropping off a couple dollars makes it $49 total for Europe. Delivery time will obviously be somewhat longer doing it this way.

Of course, this only works if I get at least 15 overseas orders and my friend agrees to do it. So if you’re in the UK or Europe you can send $40 to reserve a copy of the disc, and I’ll contact you with postage details once I have 15 orders. If the bundle plan works, that will be an additional $7 (UK) or $9 (EU). If it doesn’t, both will be $14, and if anyone (understandably) finds that too expensive, I will refund their $40. Sorry this is so complicated! I hope to get a more straightforward strategy worked out before next time.

Feel free to contact me with questions at irrappext@gmail.com.

thanks for your time
–msw

A Quick One Before The Orphans Arrive

•24 April 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello all:

I’m still working to get the copies of ‘4 Orphans’ assembled, but there are a few brief bits of news to mention in the meantime.

I will have little or no computer access between April 25th and May 3rd, so any messages or orders will have to be dealt with after the 3rd.

 

 

To keep on schedule with the monthly digital single series, I posted April’s entry a little bit early. You can find it here.

 


 

 

Also newly posted to Bandcamp: a freshly-scrubbed and slightly augmented version of the third irr. app. (ext.) album ‘Their Little Bones…‘, originally released way back in 1999. This was my first handmade project, packaged in a frame box with a unique little bone arrangement and hand-modified photograph. You can view a sample of both in the graphics files that have been included with the download. I made 108 of these villains before running out of materials and retiring the box version for good.

Added to this digital version of the album is the rare track ‘Whittling Little Crosses For A Half-Sleeping Heresiarch‘, recorded around the same time as ‘Bones’ and released by Plate Lunch in 2000 as half of a super-scarce split 7″ with the Australian project Rats With Wings. This 7″ was so scarce that for years I didn’t possess a single copy of my own (the record label never sent me any) until Christoph Heemann found one at a record swap in Bern and kindly passed it along to me. The quality of the original track was pretty dreadful, so this version has been fully reconstructed from all of the constituent sources for optimal audio fidelity (at least as much fidelity as old cassette sources will allow).


 

Full details about ‘4 Orphans’ in the next post, probably around May 10th.

 

–m

Digital Single Series Continues…

•5 April 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello all:

I’d intended to post an update last month, but my medical issues are still being sorted out and so I lost track and forgot. Not much different from my usual pattern, really…

Fortunately, I have been keeping on schedule with the digital single series on Bandcamp. Since the last update, two new entries have been added, so March, February and January are available to thrill and astonish you:

 

 

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to all of the people who have been buying the digital singles, and the many of you who added additional funds to help me out. Far beyond the financial side of it, your encouragement & support have made my life immeasurably better over these difficult months. Thank you so much.


As I mentioned last time, the tracks for the next irr. physical release, ’10 Stations’, has been completed. I had intended to release the album in January, but at the end of December the embolism nonsense occurred and all my plans were thrown into disarray. It’s already April now, of course, and so most likely the album will materialise in June.

I haven’t been idle in the meantime, though: in addition to the monthly single series, I’ve been preparing a handmade edition of the irr./NWW collaboration ‘4 Orphans’. This physical version will be housed in a mini hardbound cover and will include 3 previously unreleased tracks. I’d hoped to have it ready by the end of March, but the packaging turned out to be more labour-intensive than I’d expected, so it will probably be another week or two before it’s ready. It’ll be a small edition, and a bit pricey: partly because of all the work involved in assembling it, but also because the purpose behind it is to raise some funds so I can get through the rest of my recovery without having to further impose on my family for help. Full details on this release will follow very soon.

Another very special handmade project has also been in the works, about which I am so excited and amazed that I can hardly express it. And I am not going to express it at the moment. When it is 100% sorted and ready to roll, you’ll be the first to know.

much love to you all

–msw

Glad That Year Is Over…

•2 February 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Hello All:

As usual, I’m late in getting this page updated. The reasons for the delay this time are a little bit different than usual.

On December 21st, I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism. This was entirely unexpected. I’d been experiencing what I believed was a muscle cramp in my right leg for a couple of weeks before that, but the source of the discomfort actually turned out to be a secret congregation of blood clots; the clots then decided that a leg is a dull place to be and moved their party into my lungs, and this nearly killed me. Fortunately, I live very close to a hospital in an area with a world-class medical system, so I was able to get into surgery very quickly with doctors who were specialists in my condition. It’s the only reason I was able to survive.

I’m incredibly lucky to have come through the situation more-or-less intact. The quantity of clots in both lungs was so extensive that the doctors were surprised I lived long enough to make it to surgery. Clearly, my heart has more sheer bloody-minded determination than I do, and it refused to quit during the trips between different hospitals despite the severe obstacles it was facing. Medical science has made some remarkable developments: instead of having to saw open my rib cage to reach my lungs — as would have been necessary not all that long ago — the doctors sneaked in through an artery in my leg, sent up a minature plumbing-rooter gizmo to clean out my lungs, installed a little targeted clot-busting dispenser overnight to clear up what was left, placed a filter at the top of the leg artery to catch any more wandering clots, and then sent me on my merry (but wobbly) way home two days later.

I’ve been making steady progress, but getting my ass kicked by my own circulatory system has taken a heavy toll, and it will be a while before I make a full recovery. Last week I had the IVC filter in my leg removed; it had to be extracted through the carotid artery in my neck, as it’s designed to only move in one direction (interestingly (to me anyway), this extraction took place at the site of my last brush with mortality, right next to the scar I gave myself at the age of 12 when I ran through a sliding glass door and nicked my jugular vein with a shard of broken glass). The procedure went flawlessly, although it put me out of action once again for a several days. But I got to keep the filter! It’s a LOT bigger than I’d expected: about two inches tall and an inch wide at the bottom. Out of context, I think it’s quite a lovely piece of futurist sculpture. In fact, it looks exactly like this:

The important part of this story for all of you out there is: don’t spend all day sitting in front of your computer! Get up and stretch at least once an hour. Take a break every couple of hours. This is even more important on long flights, as the altitude creates an even more dangerous situation. It may not seem that sitting too much can have lethal consequences, but it certainly can. Different genetics & lifestyles factor into it as well, but most people are not aware of these issues until it’s too late. Most of the stories I’ve heard since my own embolism (and there have been a lot of them) don’t have a happy ending like mine did: usually it suddenly hits someone who’s completely unaware there’s even a problem, and it simply kills them. I’ve always been a particularly healthy & active person and I don’t have any bad-substance-intake habits: none of that prevented this from happening. Don’t take the risk. Be good to your legs.

 


 

There have been a number of developments before and after my medical adventures, but to keep this already long update from getting completely unmanageable I’ll list a couple of things and save the rest for the next one (when more complete details should be available anyways).

 

Thing 1:


I’ve just posted the first installment of what will be a monthly series of ‘digital singles’: two tracks with a front & back cover and a credits insert, just like a real single. Only digital. I know many of you would prefer a real, physical single, but given the prohibitive cost of pressing vinyl this is the best I can do right now, so I hope you will set your digital misgivings aside and consider supporting this series. I’ll be posting a new single at the end of every month in 2018. I hope to collect them all onto a physical format (probably a CD) once the series is finished, but I’ll cross that bridge once I’ve burned it. You can find the first single at my Bandcamp site here.

 

Thing 2:


Over the past few months I’ve been posting a series of teaser tracks on Soundcloud under the heading ‘Preamble to 10 Stations’ as a lead-up to the next full irr. app. (ext.) album (which will be called, coincidentally enough, ’10 Stations’), but have consistently forgotten to mention any on this site except for the first one. They’re all still there, though, so if you’re interested you haven’t missed anything. Most of the tracks are outtakes or alternate mixes, but one of the actual tracks from the album has been posted so far, and one more album track, as well as at least one more outtake, will be posted during the next couple of weeks. Since I’m on the topic of the new album, I can mention that all of the tracks for it are now finished. Next up will be the task of creating the packaging, which will be entirely hand-made and include some elements of original art with every copy. The prototype has been successfully completed and all the raw materials have been gathered: now it’s just down to putting all of the little buggers together. I’ll be working to complete them as fast as I can — which right now is at about half my usual speed, so I’ll admit it is going to be a while before they’re ready. Below are all the tracks so far. Full descriptions can be found with each post on Soundcloud.
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More soon…

–m