Unknown Surroundings

It’s that time of the week again. Another show has been and gone (soon to be uploaded on mixcloud) and it’s time to share some more music from down the side of the sofa. This time we have decaying piano loops, low end rumble, unidentifiable noises and plenty of hiss and static. 11 tracks of beautifully weird escapism.

Unknown Surroundings 4 will be broadcast on Basic.Fm Tuesday 3rd June.

Here’s the track list:

Black Thread- Leaves Falling iv (Leaves Falling, Turmeric Magnitudes, 2014)

Smut – Nature of the Beast (Vulgar Tongue, Wealth of Abuse, 2013)

Dead End Street Band – III (Black Christmas, Self Released, 2013)

The Zero Map – Halley’s 8 Foot Iron Mural Quadrant (Psychic Glass Dome, Sheepscar Light Industrial, 2014)

Star Turbine – Gravity Delay (Altitude, Sonic Meditation, 2013)

Lost Trail – Montague Summers (Chapter 19, In Which Lost Trail Faces The Year’s End, Jeunesse Cosmique, 2014)

Felss – Small Marks (Lagom, Self Released, 2011)

Tom White – Moredon Cooling Towers (In Poor Visibility, Hibernate, 2010)

The Stranger – We Are Enemies But Not Here (Watching Dead Empires In Decay, Modern Love, 2013)

Andy Stott – Submission (We Stay Together, Modern Love, 2011)

Hoff – To Belong (Hibernate, Handwriting Records, 2012)


After a long hiatus, Dew Crux came back with two new tapes so obviously I was giddy with excitement. They’ve put out some great releases in the past (Skull Mansions and C.S.B tapes, among others) so I was eager to hear what new sounds they’d offer me. Culver I knew, but KNYF is a new one to me. Turns out they’re both fantastic.



Culver – Sugar Fall
Culver gives us two slabs of low end rumble and void exploration. Those who’ve encountered this legend of the UK noise/drone underground before will know what to expect. Those who haven’t, you’re in for a treat (maybe you’ll see it that way). One side is pure low end rumble. Barley recognisable as anything other than melted down grey landscape. Super minimal. On the flip side there’s a little more movement and a different feel altogether. Opening up with soft, gentle loops that slowly get overcome by a heavy wave of hiss and static. These sounds still appear as faint whispers hidden behind a wall of rich, murky sludge. Heavy as hell and wondrous on the ears.




The next tape is a debut release of KNYF which is Thomas O’Hopkin of Newcastle noise punks Foot Hair. Here’s another exploration of the dark recess of sounds and decay. Wrecked loops, burnt out guitars lines and massive waves of dark fuzz. Let the sharp noise pass through you and you are overcome by a calming sense of solitude. The slow repetition of hidden sounds feels like a true comfort, a real chance to cut of from everything. The tape is a mix between persistent static mess and the laid back rumblings of lost sounds. A fantastic debut release and a project of which I’m eager to hear more from.

Both tapes out now on Dew Crux. I suggested buying both tapes and as much of the back catalogue as possible as it’s all excellent.


Unknown Surroundings

Time flies etc. Seems like the weeks are rushing past as now I have another instalment of Unknown Surroundings for your ears. As always, there’s plenty of weird sounds and heavy drones to keep your brain juices flowing. I must point out, that Jazzfinger track is one of my all time favourite pieces of music. Every time I listen to it I get pulled into a world of decaying beauty. Simply fantastic. Enjoy.

Unknowing Surroundings #3 is being broadcast Tuesday 20th @ 2300 and Saturday 24th @ 1700. Repeated at the same times next week.


Black Thread – Stay (Stay/Vale, Turmeric Magnitudes, 2014)

Jazzfinger – Freedom of Pollen (King Murnam, JK Tapes, 2008)

Torn birch – Blood In (Effigy, VAALD, 2013)

Ben Fleury Steiner – White Embers (The Places That Find You, Low Point, 2011)

Sindre Bjerga – Carved In Glue (Sinking Slowly, Dissolving Quietly, Foxglove, 2005)

Wanda Group – We Do Not Care (Get Involved In My Throat, Umbro G, 2012)

Ryan Huber – Track 3 (Abiff’s Gaze, Self Released, 2014)

Hex – _____ (III, Self Released, 2013)

KNYF – Freeze (KNYF, Dew Crux, 2014)

Unknown Surroundings

Unknown Surroundings episode 2 airing on basic.fm tonight at 1700.

Trans/Human – Whistle (The(UN)Expected, The Audacious Art Experiment, 2014)

Wölfbait – Streets of Fire (A Veil Of Phosphorous Rot, Self Released, 2013)
Synek – Fathom (Paradiba EP, Rano, 2012)
Secret Pyramid – Closer (Movements of Night, Students of Decay, 2013)
Maëror Tri- Part 4 (Hypnotikum II, Poeta Negra/absurd, 1998)
Yellow Swans With John Wiese – Evicted CDR (Portable Dunes, Helicopter, 2009)
Bridget Hayden – Breaking (A Siren Blares In An Indifferent Ocean, (K-RAA-K)³, 2011)
Dhow – Act of Grace (Dhow, Inam Records, 2013)



Dhow – S/T

January 17, 2014


No idea where this came from. Can’t remember how I stumbled across it, but it sounds incredible. Rich, dense drones covering gentle guitars and heavy, industrial drums. A placid wave of noise flows over the entire record, bringing itself to the forefront whilst still letting other elements seep through. Behind the hiss, there’s some beautifully delicate and repetitive guitar lines mangled in with slow, pulsating drum beats. Sometimes you can hear them surfacing, trying to squeeze through the overwhelming drones, then they disappear again, sunken below the surface. A serene, ambient exterior starts off but then begins to develop and disintegrate into a harsher, more tense feeling as the songs progress. Stark, black and white images spring to mind. Brutalist buildings of the sixties feel somewhat similar as they’re beautiful in their own right but still manage to have a hardened exterior that people tend to feel uncomfortable around. There’s something I find so reassuring and relaxing about it all. Let the noise seep into your brain, let it play out loud while you romanticise straight lined buildings and harsh, concrete exteriors.

Out now on Inam Records.


This arrived in front of me the other day and I’ve not stopped listening to it. It’s been a treat having it pumping through my headphones on a night time, enveloping my thoughts in a dense wave of sound. Sounds are stretched out of proportion, becoming an abstraction of their original form. Beneath the mass, you can hear slight nuances of the melodies that created the noise, but they disappear as quickly as they appear, back into the dream like haze from which they surfaced.

It’s a perfect soundtrack to a dream state, whether it be during the day or night. Recalling artists such as Tim Hecker and William Basinski, it’s just got that intensely heavy yet soft sound which I find so soothing to. Movements of Night is a very apt title for the record. There’s just a barely real, hazy feel to the sound that links in so well with dreams. The cover too seems like a strange abstraction of some bigger picture, almost space like in texture.

Stand out track for me is “Closer” which moved me in such a way that without knowing it, I’d listening to it 5 times in a row before breaking concentration. There’s just something I find so satisfying about listening to a melody that has almost decayed and fallen into itself, barely ever reaching fruition but still managing to be prominent. Highly recommended if you like your music beat free, loud and heady.

Movements of Night is out October 29th on Students of Decay. Apparently the first vinyl release for Secret Pyramid, which is always a good thing.



Here’s the new offering from Liverpool based ensemble Ex Easter Island Head and the third instalment in their Mallet Guitars series. If you think of combining mallets and guitars, you have an idea of how it will sound. No, it’s not ultra violent and out of control, like you’d imagine it could be, but a more refined experiment in an alternative way of playing guitar. If it was me, the temptation would be too much and it would become maximalist, nonsensical string bashing, rather than thought out song structure. Guess that’s why I’m not in the band.

The four tracks here continue on from what came before, further exploring the dynamics of this simple sounding set up. Rather than just guitars and mallets, we have a diverse range of accompanying sound to envelop and hold together the centrepieces of the tracks. Highly rhythmical passages act as a strong contrast to the slow, dense drone that hangs in the backdrop. There’s an almost Reich-esque feel to some of the rhythms and I found it hard not to pretend I had my own mallet and guitar (hand and table) in front of me. The heady repetition of the rhythms seems to allow time to slow down, letting you sit in a daze as the music passes by. I like anything that makes me switch off from the world. I like Mallet Guitars Three.

A thoroughly different and enjoyable way to consume this traditional instrument. I’d suggest listening to Mallet Guitars 1 & 2 before the release of this, just to gain some perspective and see where the sound has developed from.

Mallet Guitars Three is out via Low Point Records on 21st October 2013

You can stream the album on the Low Point band camp ahead of the release.

383 dwellings

I have a new composition airing this week on basic.fm

Using field recordings taken during and after the demolition of the Derwent Tower (Known informally as The Dunston Rocket), 383 Dwellings, 13 Shops, One Supermarket pays homage to the concrete behemoth that once graced the Gateshead skyline.

The composition uses solely recorded sounds, which have been digitally manipulated to create a harsh, industrial, concrete collage mirroring the brutalist façade of the Tower. The piece acts as a sonic portrait of an often hated, yet historically significant housing development that, like many others of its time, has met its eventual demise.

Tune in, Tuesdays at 16.45 on basic.fm


Joseph Curwen

August 14, 2013

Self penned as ‘HP Lovecraft inspired Drone’, Jospeh Curwen is exactly that.  Take a one second snippet of horror film soundtrack, stretch, rinse and repeat. I guess this probably isn’t the way it’s done, but I’d like it to be. Zone in on that melancholic, evil feel you get in any classic horror film moment and you’re sort of on the right lines. It’s all about texture. A one second moment of suspense is stretched out into infinite proportions to make you feel uneasy for a long as possible. It can be the soundtrack to your dreams/nightmares/waking life. When everyone is too busy rushing around living their tedious lives, stick this on your headphones and bask in the slow, dark atmosphere it provides. I’m certain it’s not just me that finds these eerie sounds comforting.