Sunday, 14 December 2014

SubVersion Stop 235: SubVersion Xmas Drip Feed 2 - Foci's Left - Everywhere (Ad Music) EP - Nightshift forum exclusive

SubVersion Xmas Drip-Feed 2 - Foci's Left - Everywhere (Ad Music) EP - Nightshift forum exclusive

*EP Exclusively available in this Nightshift thread*

'Everywhere (Ad Music)' is a collection of short tracks, or 'vignettes' for advertisements worldwide, marking 9 years of Foci's Left sound and music production.

For this project I'm joined by critically acclaimed top 20 album artist, the Italian Bruno Bavota, who lends his light touch to the piano keys on "Everywhere (Interlude)".

Opening the EP meanwhile is "Future Past", a fully realised part for "Grumpy Love" LP, my debut album.

Not previously included in the published project, this track is a personal Foci's Left favourite with synthetic guitar, strings and acoustic bass. Find Nightshift's review of "Grumpy Love" in 'Reviews' here: (Little Fish's Juju and Candy Says on the cover of this one).

"Ball Of Wool I" made part of the Nightshift acclaimed "Eternal Sands" "epic 15 minutes", in "Derelict Career" LP ( as a layer, whereas here it's a standalone eerie composition. Dave at likes it too. Check out his ambient mix blog.

"Holding Pattern" is a soporific tune dedicated to my linkworker Jo. Elsewhere two other dedication pieces, "Artemis Song" and "Statto's Song" for two very close friends introduce choral and overdubbed new age elements but without cheese.

Some tracks here are offered as .wav, so you can do stuff to them in highest quality, but if you'd like Mp3s let me know.

This EP has come about as a free download ultimately as thanks for the support. I genuinely appreciate it, as one of the few pushing ambient and drone into different places in the local Oxford establishment.

Recommended if you like or love: After The Thought / Lee Riley / Paddox / Reidenol / Indica Blues / Flights Of Helios / Manacles Of Acid.

Download and comment here

Monday, 8 December 2014

SubVersion Stop 234: SubVersion's Xmas Drip-Feed 1 - Gappy Tooth Industries (GTI) ticket offer

The SV Xmas Drip-feed is a new occasional series based on the content extravaganza model hyper-accelerated by the information age. 

First is a simple question to give you more incentive to check out the first-listed monthly independent promoters of Oxford in Nightshift Magazine ( /

Question: GTI (Gappy Tooth Industries), running for the best part of 13 years, has for the last 5 years focused on 3 act shows. This show on Friday 12.12.14 differs. How many acts then, are there this time?

Email your answer with the subject 'GTI' to (remember the underscore!) Competition closes 12PM Thursday 11.12.14. You must be an Oxfordshire resident.
First to answer correctly wins the ticket, and also a +1 (bring a friend for free!)

(Note: for ease of giving yourself a good chance, read the thread linked - it's that easy).
Only answers via email will be counted.

Hope to see you there!
Muttley (Foci's Left)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

SubVersion Stop 233: Little Red + Stuart Clark + Gus Hewlett @ Old Fire Station, Oxford, November 14th 2014

Little Red + Stuart Clark + Gus Hewlett @ Old Fire Station, 14.11.2014

"I know Friday night at a folk club is not a normal place to go" posits Little Red songwriter and night promoter Ian Mitchell in the headlining of this All Will Be Well label launch gig. The aching lack of affluence towards intimacy in a hyper-accelerated city creates a cause for discomfort and movement. It's one thing feeling safe in a packed club but another feeling like you really belong, which is a quality Mitchell and co elucidate on my gig of 2014.

Speaking to Ian before the event, Gus Hewlett, a folk guitarist equal parts Bill Frisell and James Blackshaw is said to have drum'n'bass chops, a contrast that couldn't be anything more sonically different tonight. Through a generous 45 minute length Hewlett hacks at his strings in sophisticated fashion, adapting a Bob Dylan piece for his second tune and elsewhere trailblazing an arpeggio wedge to gently impose his semi-auteur ear for a melody. Worthwhile, in short.

Stuart Clark is a commanding presence mid evening, an arpeggio-heavy storyteller in the vein of "Lady Grinning Soul" Bowie with just guitar for company. Disappearance's rhetoric echoes on one of his later tracks, where stop-start rhythms fuse with a folly towards lonely abstraction. It's not all reverbed abandon though, as he swoops and swoons about subjects as broad as nature creating stopgaps between time and place. There is a definite sense of human body spotlighted. Pristine playing, gently crystallising voice over instrumental backbeat. The audience are generally at ease by a paradoxically uneasy set. One to watch.

Opening with drum-free, acoustic "Cures", the vocal interplay of frontman Ian Mitchell, producer Ben Gosling and the elusive female vocalist parries inflections from Finn and more contemporarily Fink, but is sweet-natured enough in lyricism, "names carved in a tree"-esque as they sing to engrave itself onto this reviewer's memory. It's a tale about where two lovers first met, and the usual bushy beard, folk-centric influence in context of there being woods that can lead either lover astray. This leads into "The Garden", the triplet acoustic, vocal assemblages making things "wrong to right" - here the sound carries further than the "face melting" joke Mitchell coyly nods to later in the performance, about the material not being wall of sound enough for the Friday night gurner massive. "What Say You?" resonates stronger, the lead track on "Sticks And Stones", what Mitchell dubs to me as an EP on the night, even though the 9 CD tracks are filled out naturally for full length status.

Little Red definitely sound like a very new band, but instead of amateurish triptych on behalf of the singers and instrument players, they form a cohesive whole not dissimilar to Duotone or XL's Blue Roses. They close post-"Chapters" (a track from their forthcoming record) with "The Boxer", where Ian sings "I'll still be coming back for more" after metaphors for being a broken man. Given the right studio treatment of the exciting live incarnation, Little red could have a rosy future, and close this night so finely.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

SubVersion Stop 232: [2005 Retrospective Muttley Mix Series] Kidzania - MixCloud Only

[2005 Retrospective Muttley Mix Series] Kidzania - MixCloud Only

A retrospective series of mixes by Muttley ( /, recorded in 2005, before the first Muttley mix was uploaded online (Feb 06 Selection, on dnbshare). All about the tunes here.

I'm getting a few of these uploaded in one go and I'd actually be more interested in talking to you about the tunes personally than I would having you try and root around Discogs when there is so much great jungle/dnb being ignored now.

As such, "Kidzania" (the title is taken from a type of nursery exercise for children) is intended as study for teens getting into the sound - I recorded this series in 2005, when I was 17. No-one was playing sounds like this all in the same set in Kent back then where I was. So, I resorted to reclusive mixing until I reached a possible audience level.

The vinyl (the only format I could get most of this material on - pre-digital inclusivity proper) was recorded onto CD-Rs and mixed with a Gemini twin CD deck.

Tracklist for Pt. 1 (timestamped on MixCloud when each track comes in)

01. Kemal & Black Sun Empire - Stranded V1.0 (oBSEssions, 2005)
02. Resound - Circular Structure (Counter Intelligence, 2004)
03. Beta 2 & Zero Tolerance - Front Door (Soundtrax)
04. Breakage - Rise (Bassbin, 2005)
05. ASC - Serenity (Strictly Digital sold download, 2003)
06. High Contrast - Savoire Faire (Hospital, 2002)
07. ASC - Chrysalis [Edit] (Strictly Digital sold download, 2003)
08. Klute - Don't Wanna Be Alone (Commercial Suicide, 2005)
09. Silent Witness - Amazon (DNAudio, 2005)
10. Phace - Polymers (Subtitles, 2005)
11. Silver - Angry & Bitter (?, 2005)
12. Tactile - Spaced Out (Timeless, 2004)
13. Counterstrike - Phantasm (Moving Shadow, 2004)
14. Skitty - Fall Down (Renegade Hardware, 2004)
15. Klute - Rosemary (Commercial Suicide, 2005)
16/17. Ewun vs Counterstrike - Face The Zulu Warrior (Barcode / Moving Shadow, 2004)

Any feedback much appreciated.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

SV Stop 231: Vinyl sales to top 1 million per year for the first time since 1996

dionysus links an article on SC from the Financial Times, which you can read by registering on the site with an email address (money is demanded for the news archive or newspaper, naturally).

Some thoughts on vinyl from Muttley

Since 2011, with talk speculating around digital media services like selling more and more wax, the vinyl format has seen a paradoxically eternal increase in interest, not guessable since its renaissance began.

Audio streaming, and media streaming for that matter, has always been the antithesis of ownership in the 21st Century. Is it any wonder, just as it takes effort to turn over a record played for a limited time, there is an unlimited service that transcends it? As ever, for every unlimited service, those who are possessive by character need the ownership over streaming a media, it feeds them.

As such, with the increase of services like Spotify re-administrating the boundary between 'sharing' and 'streaming', it's not surprising that many have fallen back on their laurels of traditional formats. It's easier for one: why flick through Spotify or YouTube ads, or indeed get stuck with an ad playing between a release, when you can put on a record or CD, a copy you can call your own?

The fetishisation of ownership has always been there in culture - just read some of Adorno's 20th century tirades on fetishism. Or you could not, as it's a bygone era that started with vinyl in the early 1900s. Plus most of his writing is more drawn out than mine, and that's a major achievement!

Personally I don't (literally and figuratively) buy in to the vinyl fetish resurgence. I'm not fashionable and I never will or want to be. If I really liked the format I would transcend fashion to keep playing it when I want, but as it is over-sized sleeves and disinterested artwork seems the choice of hipster dogmatism instead of a heartfelt inside-industry (meaning punters, producers, art directors etc) choice to re-energise the LP format with big, expansive covers. Covers as with benchmarks like Pink Floyd's LPs that told a story and were quintessential to the listening experience.

It becomes vitalising to say that without the interest in physicality, vinyl wouldn't be resurfacing as much. Usual story there: most copy or media goes digital, more people crave physical. It would still always be here - like tapes and jungle, vinyl has never gone away. The difference remains how great a market share it now has - as reported, over 1 million record sales this year so far. But so what? As given most of these sales are for fragmentary releases, the potency of the figure, without reading the FT article, doesn't indicate a major achievement. This is because a lot of the sales are for singles/EPs, as opposed to the 60s & 70s precursory musical hallmark, the long-player.

Still, it's a plus one for the music industry, and maybe an ushering-in of less disposable marketing methods. Picture vinyl in 5 years: it'll probably go through another dip, falling out of favour through tension/release, accept/reject schizoid-ness of the mass public opinion. We may see even more lame promo videos of fetishisation personified: it's all about the bling, about the bling, drug trippin'. It's no coincedence vinyl is referred to by some as "the black crack"; let's just hope its marketers don't disappear up their own arses just yet.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

SubVersion Stop 230: In this thread we post tips to decrease apathy

In this thread we post tips to decrease apathy

This has been on my mind recently, because I have direct experience with lots of it: apathy towards doing anything at all.

I'm not talking "I'm pissed off, so I'm just gonna go smoke a blunt" type apathy. I'm talking everything that centres around general depression.

I don't wish to get involved in much chat about my own problems anymore as I believe it does more harm than good, but I will say this has been happening daily ever since I was deemed unable to work and got signed off. In figures, since May 2008.

I've had good times and bad times all the same, like anyone who lives life. But I'd like to know: how do you help remedy apathy towards doing stuff?

I'll start ...I have become taut to the tendency of taking a nap in the middle of the day. I find this helps give me purpose and focus when planning things to do.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

SubVersion Stop 229: Mick Buckingham (Foci's Left) - "Tender Thoughts" poem / lyrics

Tender Thoughts ~ Mick Buckingham

Tenderness feels like a lion's grip
Time ticks like a roar muted sharpish
Rickety realism in the face of smashed ribs
An underbelly, carriage for the evermore.

But when it's up
We're cushioned like a rug
Yes when it's up for you and me
I can waver it off like herbal tea
An incense with little potency.

Tender thoughts trip us up
They rest on lifeless momentum
The chaining of conservatism
A force sometimes too much to mention.
Until it's time to smash the horse's cart
Tender thoughts break us apart
A wino's marriage with his bottle
Mottled until the very last drop.

Care too little, tender thoughts are brittle
Care too great - time's shiny like nickel
Counterbalance the truth of soul with the social
And you're usually safe while the milkmen go docile

So tender thoughts may be cherished
But they also cause a lot of grief
The time's when we voice, act, or cling to addiction
An indication of what lies beneath.