Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mrs. Merryman's Collection

More oddball post. This time a strange book of postal curiosities from a bygone age entitled "Mrs. Merryman's Collection". It's a perplexingly idiosyncratic book which gathers together postcards of the curious,the phantasmagorical and the decidedly odd. "Mrs. Merryman's Collection" beautifully presents an eclectic array of oddly surreal postcards which were inherited by the author, Anne Sophie Merryman when her grandmother died in 1980. Her grandmother, Anne Marie Merryman, must have been a rather unconventional lady indeed if this peculiar collection of picture postcards is anything to go by. Many of the postcards will leave viewers perplexed and astounded that even the most outlandish mail vendor could publish such strange and arcane images. There's an ear in a jar, a levitating chair, a smoke cloud, a curious mountain of coral and even a ventriloquist's dummy. Odd stuff indeed. The story behind these postcards is even odder, as it interweaves the lives of a grandmother and granddaughter who never met in life but became acquainted with each other through the chance discovery of a small wooden box of postcards.This book stands as a peculiarly odd testament of one woman's obsession to create a quixotic and dreamlike world of shifting shadows and haunted mirrors.It's all a little unnerving,slightly bonkers and will leave you with the feeling that you've just had a sideways glimpse into a netherworld of strangely hidden narratives and ambiguous shrouded communications.There are secret worlds between these pages.

Mrs. Merryman's Collection by Anne Sophie Merryman is published by MACK Books.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuscan Castle And Country Seat

Tuscan Castle And Country Seat is a perplexingly odd record. Very odd indeed. Originally recorded in 1974 by Marco Melchiori with the intention that the resultant music would be used by the Italian broadcasting company RAI as background music. It’s difficult to imagine what kind of weird, acid soaked radio or television production it would actually complement. Strangely housed in a sleeve which functionally depicts mundane photographs of Tuscan villas, it has all the hallmarks of an ill conceived estate agency marketing scam. Straddling the boundaries between progressive rock, noise, minimalism and avant-rock this recording is a dream zone, outsider punk improv masterpiece. The opening track, “White Gladiator” rides the wave of dark moog modulation and utilises a blunted guitar riff Sterling Morrison would be proud of writing. The sound is rhythmically repetitive with both drum and guitar forming an isochronous groove which is intermittently punctuated by fluctuating electronics and soaring freakout organ oscillations. I can’t remember the last time I heard such 'out there' guitar-amp-action. “Old Colours” is fleetingly impressionistic, comprising of a murmuring detuned piano which hovers somewhere between elegiac beauty and dark mournful disintegration, part Eric Satie, part hallucinatory Kosmische electronic meditation. Side two opens with “Green Water” which heralds the 'dumbest' guitar riff I’ve ever heard which combines the heavy proto punk of Detroit raw power with the cyclical phase and pattern of classical downtown New York minimalism. Weird gear indeed. Underneath this blunted riff fest, lo-fi drug haze electronic oscillations drift loose, oozing brain fuzz on the floor. It’s hard to believe this music was actually recorded in 1974 let alone intended to be used as stock music for Italian television programmes. Likewise, “Vision Of Shore” is an epic, zoned electronic/guitar improvisational space jam. Howling electronic pulses ebb and flow as dark nebulous sustained guitar chords resonate in cosmogonic sound pools. The effect is both immersive and curiously beautiful. More oddly, the last track, “City Sound Perspective” is strangely reminiscent of a mutated Swell Maps out take, with lopsided, clipped, art house guitar weaving around a simple drum loop which unexpectedly metamorphoses into a strange amalgam of Bo Diddley-esque syncopation, raucous garage and wigged out electronic modulation. Outsider freak rock never sounded so good. This is a stunningly unique and perplexing recording, don't sleep.

"Tuscan Castle And Country Seat" by Musica Di Teisco is out now on Roundtable in a limited run of 500.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Hat's off to the Ghost Box label for unearthing this wonderfully sinister animated title sequence for a 1970s children's television series. Does anyone know who the graphic designer was? Oddly, it reminds me of a creepy De Wolfe record sleeve come to life. Best thing I've seen on the web in ages! Well done unearthing it gents!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ian Helliwell

A Sound Awareness is delighted to invite you to a Glasgow weekend of curious electronic oscillations and retina poppin' filmwork by audio visual artist Ian Helliwell. Hope you can all stop by and say hello.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Outer Space

Refined Lard

Bless the postman, for he has delivered another rather peculiar collection of unreleased musical oddness curated by that fine fellow, Jonny Trunk ..... and rather wonderful it is too. It's got the all the usual ingredients, kooky strange jazz, beautiful otherworldly sounds, strange electronic scores, children singing, odd OSTs and of course the rather dulcet warbling of Rolf Harris. Lovely. I think he's only pressed a few, they're cheaper than chips, not for sale via his website for a month or so and once they're gone, they're gone. So if you'd like to nab a copy I'd maybe try to bend his ear here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Burry Man

This morning, I took the family to South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, to see an ancient tradition taking place called The Burry Man. Dating as far back as 1687, it has been performed on the second Friday in the month of August for nearly four centuries. A weird sight indeed, the Burry Man is dressed from head to ankle in burrs (the spikey seed case of the burdock plant) and then paraded through the streets of the town for nine hours. The purpose of The Burryman is unclear, the locals I spoke to suggested many origins; ranging from the warding off of evil spirits, to bringing good luck to the local herring fishing community or being symbolic of a flourishing and fruitful harvest. Whatever the roots are, it was an utterly odd and surreal experience following the him through a local housing estate this morning. Hopefully a little of the oddness is conveyed in the photographs which I took below.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Berberian Sound Studio Poster

Another graphic wonder by Julian House. Many thanks to Peter Strickland who was kind enough to send it our way.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Call Ampersand Response

Here's a little book project I've been meaning to mention for a while. Call Ampersand Response is a wonderfully odd collection of oblique images exchanged via email by Canadian artists Michael Dumontier and Micah Lexier over a period of several months. Like a visual game of Chinese whispers, each successive image suggested another. The book functions like a weirdly circular visual narrative loop, both beginning and ending with the same image. I've deliberately dislocated a few of my favourite images which will hopefully entice you to seek out a copy of the book to view their associated images. It's wonderfully engaging stuff. Oh and before I forget, Michael also curates the rather fine Stopping Off Place blog which can be viewed here and is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Get Set

As a little teaser for the upcoming film and performance happening in Glasgow this month, here's a short film by audio-visual artist Ian Helliwell. More details to follow soon.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Wednesday, August 01, 2012