Back On The Mechanical Bull

Hi All,

After a month of being computer-less, I’m finally fully reconnected and functional. The unexpected failure of the replacement computer I’d set up after my earlier unexpected computer failure created some serious obstacles for me… I was unable to post the July installment of ‘Vesicular Distributor’ (or anything else), I couldn’t get any work done, I couldn’t access any of my files, I couldn’t access this website, and I could only get meagre internet access from one of those awful smartphones everyone seems to love so much. This has taught me to keep a written password key somewhere in my studio: these days there are more passwords than I can possibly commit to memory, so if the device with my password manager fails, it shuts me out of a lot of important resources. An old-styley analog backup can be a useful thing.

A public service announcement: do not order a computer directly from Dell! I’ve never been particularly knowledgeable about hardware, so I thought this would be a good way to get some proper tech advice from a sales rep before I bought anything. The result was hardly shy of outright fraud. I didn’t have any internet access at the time, so I called the Dell help line and placed my order on the phone (never do this!); I was sold a brand new computer with a good processor, but sent an old, discontinued computer with a older, slower processor, and was charged more for it than had been quoted over the phone. Fortunately, I was able to return the dud machine and get a refund, but it took endless hours of being left on hold to get it sorted out. And by the time I got my refund I had been left stranded for a month without a computer — which meant being unable to work, which meant being unable to generate any income. Most of you probably already know this and are more tech-savvy than I am, but in case you aren’t: stay away from Dell direct sales! In the age of reckless Amazon indifference, it seems impossible to find honest & transparent dealings anywhere.

Vesicular Distributor 08a cvr
Vesicular Distributor 08b cvr

On to more positive news: I have the July and August installments of Vesicular Distributor ready to post in time for Bandcamp’s no-fee Friday tomorrow. I’ve also put together a few other things to try to compensate for the month of income I missed in August. Apologies for putting out another clump of stuff all at once: if you can grab it all on the no-fee day tomorrow it would of course be very much appreciated, but everything will still be around after that if your finances are slim.

A Darker Shade OF Fat cvr

One of the new things offered tomorrow at the irr. Bandcamp site will be ‘A Darker Shade Of Fat’, the third plundering of my Nurse With Wound live recording archive. The first instance was of course the NWW album ‘Dark Fat’, followed by the outtake & extras irr./NWW collection ‘Dark Drippings’. The original ‘Fat’ was created to be part of a box set of NWW live-derived material, but Steve liked it enough that he wanted to give it a solo release; at that time, the box set was still going to happen, so I started work on some new material to replace the missing ‘Fat’. That is the provenance of these ‘Shade’ tracks. The idea for the box set gently evaporated, so I never needed to completely finish the replacement tracks, and they have languished in their penultimate state for the past 3 years. While looking for something very-nearly-done that I could get ready in time for the 4th, this project immediately came to mind. Just as the cover of ‘Dark Drippings’ was a spin on Steve’s collage for the ‘Dark Fat’ CD cover, the cover for ‘Shade’ is a spin on his collage for the DF vinyl set.

Another item scheduled for tomorrow will be a brandeloquenly-newified album called ‘Nocturnal Emissaries: An Audio Inquiry In Seven Secretions’. This material is an exploration in taking studio improvisation, nudging it part-way into textural abstraction, and then basting the results in a viscous, atmospheric gravy. Intended for the nourishment all sentient beings everywhere, but probably to the taste of only a modest few.

A third item is in preparation, but, if I manage to finish it in time, I’ll post about that when I send out all the links tomorrow.

All the best to everyone,

–msw

New Monthly Digital Singles & A Few From The Archives

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

Glad That Year Is Over…

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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

First Future Reveries

Hello all,

A new irr. album has been listed on Bandcamp here. ‘Future Reveries Of The Eoarchaean Biomass, Volume One’ is the first in a series of releases that will focus more on subtle atmospheres & gradual changes: maybe something like a cross between a fictional environmental recording and a soundtrack to an uneasy dream. Volume two is already in preparation.

This series will be digital-only for the time being: it’s getting difficult to get physical releases made, and the prohibitively high overseas postage rates isn’t helping. The new physical-format album I mentioned earlier is still moving forward, however, and preview samples will be posted to my Soundcloud page (and linked here) before long.

Without a doubt, the finest Eoarchaean-themed recording ever made! The entire family never gets tired of hearing it: the kids use it for their puppet shows, and grandma puts it on while making her decoupage sponge holders. Even the dog loves it! I still listen to it every night as I’m going to sleep.” — Fred Astaire

Carnackopia, Bandcamplitude, Lean Fat

Hello all,

I’ve been especially busy since the last news post, and lots of things are fizzing and burbling the in eie kitchen this summer, but more will be said of that soon enough. Right now, there are three main things to mention: new Thomas Carnacki items in the shop, new listings on the irr. Bandcamp page, and the long-awaited release (and disappointing outcome) of the Dark Fat vinyl edition.


From out of the arid wilderness of the California East Bay has recently arrived a shipment (transported by donkey caravan, as always) of two new offerings from the infamous Thomas Carnacki cabal. The first of these is a vinyl 7″ elaborately titled ‘Where’s My Love, My Eyes Are Gone, The Rains Are Coming (Second Begemot)‘. In order to maximize it’s damage to the human condition, this insidious document has manifested itself in three different ways: as black vinyl (limited to 400 copies), as blue vinyl (limited to 100 copies) and as blue vinyl swathed in a special edition, custom-made cloth sleeve (limited to 50 copies). The cloth sleeves come in a cheerful variety of colours, which include, but are not limited to, those hues which have been known to occur in nature.


The special numbered edition also contains the additional bonus of an original pen & ink drawing by the High Carnackiphant himself, Gregory “Don’t Call Me Barbara” Scharpen. All three options are available in the shop, but in limited quantities.


The second TC item is the very limited 3″ CDR ‘The Infant’s Trajectory‘, a few copies of which managed to survive the shenanigans at the 15th Annual Outsound New Music Summit (a shameless bacchanal that, with every passing year, drags more of our innocent youth into the quagmire of self-indulgence and depravity). Each copy (which have been scrupulously cleansed of any residual traces of moral turpitude, in case you were concerned) is numbered and features festive hand-drawn pen & ink artwork on the disc, once again rendered by the aforementioned Scharpen. Full details can be found on the item pages.


In order to help lubricate the effectiveness of your shopping experience, a variety of combined-postage bundles have been prepared for both new items. Buttons for the 3″ and 7″ (each version) combined together can be found underneath the individual-purchase buttons on each page, as well as larger bundles that include the 3″ and the 7″ plus the other 3 Thomas Carnacki CDs in the shop, and a deluxe bundle that includes all of these items as well as the legendary Thomas Carnacki / Vulcanus 68 split LP. Just scroll down to see all of the options.

“Listening to the music of Thomas Carnacki is probably the most profoundly sexual sensory experience I’ve ever had — and I grew up on a chinchilla farm.” — William Hope Hodgson


 


Three new listings have been added to the irr. app. (ext.) Bandcamp page, all three of which were previously only available on cassette: Flux/Crayfish (2011), The 11-Year Backwards Sleepwalk (also 2011), and Yma Dhym Mûr Varthegyon (the irr. side from the 2013 ‘Arpt Verjennepp Tonxtie’ split cassette). ‘Yma Dhym…’ has been extended from the original 23-minute version on the cassette to a robust 33 minutes — and each individual one of those extra ten minutes its worth 10 minutes in itself. The download version of ‘Sleepwalk’ is rumoured to contain a hidden bonus track, but this rumour is so scurrilous and despicable that I refuse to even make mention of it.


On a less exultant note, the triple-LP boxed edition of Dark Fat has finally materialised. My disappointed response is not due to the box itself, which is a thing of beauty for the entire world to enjoy for thousands of years far into the distant future; the trouble stems solely from the unfortunate fact that, due to administrative miscalculation (for lack of a better phrase), I’ve received a piddling 3 copies to sell. This has created a serious hiccup in my accounting, as I expected quite a few more than that to help carry me through the completion of the new irr. album (which is coming along very nicely, by the way). To try to remedy this shortfall, I’ve come up with 2 strategies.

One is to make each of these 3 copies a special edition of my own, including a CDR copy of ‘Dark Drippings’, a 2xCDR copy of the Dark Fat vinyl audio master, and at least one piece of specially-made original artwork sized 12″ x 12″ to fit in the box. Full details will follow as soon as I figure them out. If you haven’t bought your copy of the box yet, you may want to hold off and save your pennies for this extra-ultra-snazzy version. The regular box is going for 45 euro (about $54), so this 3-copy special edition is going to be somewhat more expensive than that.

The second strategy is to create another ‘Dark Drippings’-type collection from some of the raw material that wasn’t used on other projects. Work on this new collection, titled ‘A Darker Shade Of Fat’, is already underway. I’m sure this might come across as milking the same tired cow one time more than is prudent, but the truth is there is a lot of material left to explore, and I’m making use of it in a far more unorthodox way: layering and manipulating the sources even beyond what was done on Dark Fat to create something distinctly different. So, less of an “extras and outtakes” collection, and more of a self-contained work. This new album will only be released digitally to begin with, as I don’t have the resources to make something physical right now; but I hope to make a small physical edition available in the not-too-distant future.

Also: some credits were accidentally left out of the album’s liner notes, so perhaps I can remedy that here. I assembled and mastered the original Dark Fat CD album myself, and the re-editing and remastering of the album for vinyl was also done by me. Dig that: the little man is blowing his own horn. “Toot toot toot,” says the little man.

All the best to all of you for the foreseeable future,

—msw