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VIDA DE-sign by Michael Buckingham, aka Mick Muttley

Dear friends (yeah really, one of those) I have become a women's wear designer for VIDA! http://shopvida.com/collections/voices/ ...

Monday, 12 May 2014

SubVersion Stop 226: What's been happening in the world of Foci's Left (May 2013 - May 2014)

Instead of spam with multiple postings, I'm collecting all of  the essential Foci's Left publicity from May 2013 to May 2014 into one post, upon release of my third album, "Derelict Career".

A lot can happen in a year...in reverse chronological order:

Foci's Left - Derelict Career LP (Foci's Left LP 002)

 01. Pathological Darkness
02. Anything Becomes Possible With Time
03. Eternal Sands [The Shapeshifter's Reprise feat. Eschaton] (Album Version)
04. Talking With Birds Lament
05. Liez
06. Wandering In A Bright Spot (For Advertisements)
07. The Light You Shine Prevents Me From Being Uptight
08. Seeing The Sights (For Film)
09. Spared Merit (Vocal Version)
10. A Rose In The Desert Wind (Simon Bean Re-model)

Released: 12 May 2014
Price: £5


The album is called "Derelict Career". Concept: the ambient music protagonist (me) sees that ambient-exclusive musicians are fit for a "derelict career", as besides Brian Eno, the style has no sustainable capital powering it; it must stay a hobby. Ambient is Eno''s invention and to have success, musicians must look outside their niche to move through different styles. Ambient has been going since the 1950s - it is often mixed with new age as a genre, music for Tai Chi, and healing/therapy medicine. So the point to make is to, jokingly so, try and avoid a "derelict career", in order to progress and have an audience - the most important faculty for me; money isn't important, people are.

The album artwork is an exclusive commission from William Rye, a young artist who curated the Unconscious Volume exhibition in Kent, UK in 2012, in memory of my uncle John Buckingham who died age 45 from Motor Neuron Disease. The image has a special clarity for our family, my father being a painter, as I once was, with the brush being melted into the book representative of my career choice to be a writer, whether of tracks, songs, lyrics or poetry. So far I have been successful at this, with my dream jobs becoming more reality than ever before. With each sale, a percentage is donated to William, and the remainder helps to cover any CD packaging / gear upgrading as I venture further into music production. Thank you immeasurably for your time and support.


"The long track is great, as well as those which concentrate on soundscaping. But (as you'd probably expect ) I don't like the vocal tracks at all. Anyway, just because I don't like the vocal tracks doesn't mean other people won't". ~ Jonathan Tait, Subvert Central Recordings owner and published letter writer in The Wire 2013 concerning Meredith Monk.

"Overall it seems you're still searching for a sound, but tracks 1-4, 8 and 10 are the way to go in my opinion. Of course you should not really adapt based on one person's opinion ~ better to collect a group of opinions and go from there!" ~ Richard Allen, www.acloserlisten.com editor and central writer.

"Listening to Pathological Darkness right now - really liking it.

Like how the brighter synth emerges (1:08) as the track progresses but still with the darker sounds infiltrating the mix. It does really make you feel like you're inside a gloomy, distracted mind. Given the title, that's mission accomplished." ~ Code, Subtle Audio label owner (Mary Anne Hobbs / Aphex Twin featured). 

"I like the sound design going on" ~ Nic TVG, Pinecone Moonshine owner (Equinox, Icarus, Macc et al).

"I listened. And this remind me even more of The Residents. But much much more spooky. Some scary atmospheres in this one. I notice something interesting in your tracks. You don't start slowly and build the tracks - like most of the ambient/drone artists - but instead from the start you insert the listener into your soundscapes. Eternal Sands (The Shapeshifters Reprise) I like the most so far." ~ Kristian (Fyhwds), Noise For Blues For Noise artist.


Mick Robert Buckingham - all synths, keyboard work, processing, mastering, except "A Rose In The Desert Wind" which is re-modelled by Simon Rametse.

Artwork commissioned exclusively from William Rye, from the "Unconscious Volume" 2012 exhibition, dedicated to my uncle John Buckingham, who died of Motor Neuron Disease in 2002.


ambient foci's left label omni music simon bean dark drone electroacoustic emotional pianism second self-released lp third album vocal harmonies yin & yang Oxford

Foci's Left - 15 Minutes Of Fame Pt.1 - I Want To Touch The Sky - Derelict Career Promo Mix (May 2014)

01. 00:00 The Inventors Of Aircraft – Early Morning Trauma (Earthtones Vol.1, Tessellate Recordings, Bandcamp, 2013)
02. 01:40 The Angling Loser – Night (Author Of The Twilight, Time Released Sound, 2013
03. 07:45 Abdul Mogard – Studded Procession (Futuresequence, Sequence 7, Bandcamp, 2013)
04. 07:50 Metatag – One Dream Lost One Dream Found (Transmisson LP, Bandcamp, 2014)
05. 09:20 Eeem – Shores Of Midgard (Futuresequence, Sequence 7, Bandcamp, 2013)
06. 15:40 Foci's Left – Pathological Darkness (Derelict Career LP, Foci's Left, Bandcamp, 2014)
07. 17:00 Boards Of Canada – Reach For The Dead (Tomorrow's Harvest LP, Warp, 2013)
08. 21:20 Grouper – No Other (A.I.A: Dream Loss LP, Yellowelectric, 2011)
09. 23:50 Duncan O'Calleiagh – Low Across Dawn Waters (Distant Voices, Still Lives, Parvo Art, 2009)
10. 23:50 Foci's Left – Anything Becomes Possible With Time (Derelict Career LP / Tara EP, Foci's Left, Bandcamp, 2014)
31:34 end


Enjoy people.



Goldfrapp - Stranger (Foci's Left Instrumental Remix)

          Free Mp3 download on the SubVersion SoundCloud:

Published on 3 May 2014

Bonus audio from the soon-arriving "Derelict Career" LP by Foci's Left, the solo project of Mick Robert Buckingham from Oxford, UK. Due to respect of copyright this original version is online as a stream and not on the paid download of my third album.

The LP will be available at: www.focisleft.bandcamp.com for an inexpensive £5.

Please buy Goldfrapp's records. "Tales Of Us" is a fantastic record closely followed by their debut "Lovely Head" and then "Seventh Tree". You can find Goldfrapp's music available on Amazon, iTunes, and more reputable stores.

Don't forget to check www.goldfrapp.com

Thanks for listening.

Foci's Left - Life In A Less Southern Town (Omni Music Ohm Series 02)


#6 in the drum 'n' bass bestsellers one week in March 2014, #32 for the month from hundreds (it's not even d'n'b, it's at best electronica).

#Supported by Niels Roosen (www.jungletrain.net owner), Jonathan Tait (Subvert Central Recordings owner), Simon Rametse (Simon Bean, Omni Music), amongst others.

#Critically acclaimed by seasoned www.nightshift.oxfordmusic.net writer David Murphy in print. 

#Collaborative effort with a Brian Eno collaborator - Simon Scott of Slowdive - and Mike Twelve (Seconds Before Awakening / The Giraffe And The Tree).

 The LP is based on emotions I experience writing music in the town of Carterton, Oxfordshire; additionally Oxford, as a means to express myself - as opposed to Rochester, Kent, where I could express very little. "Life In A Less Southern Town" runs the gamut of the ambient, drone, synthesizer and modern classical worlds to offer something unique.

"Erratic Pathway" is remixed on the disc by Simon Scott of Slowdive. Scott worked with Brian Eno on the group's "Souvlaki" LP in the early 1990s.

The disc comes with 4 bonus tracks. CDs ship immediately (please put your address in the Paypal notes and I'll send your copy).

Many thanks for your support - an audience means the world to me.

Mick Buckingham (Foci's Left)



"There are two sorts of ambient music. One gets you relaxed, and one makes you uneasy; one's a warm duvet and one's a chill breeze; one's a forgiving hug and one's a suspicious glance.

Although the second album by Oxford musician Mick Buckingham covers both ambient strains, it's definitely better when leaning towards the latter. The most satisfying element of this record is its density - where many ambient composers are happy to let things run, Buckingham has created a CD of real sonic depth, with a lush textural variety, from the pitched-up honks at the opening (that remind us of "Galleons Of Stone" by The Art Of Noise) to "In Our Lives, There Have Been Many Terrors", in which distant metallic clanks are borne on zephyrs through crumbling ruins.

Occasionally the sounds are just too well worn, and the ear can't help but associate echoey piano with lachrymose US soaps, and sawtooth synth hums with encroaching Silurians, but in general this is a well-constructed thoughtful slice of musical atmospherica.

Perhaps "Transistory Stringency" - yes, the titles are best ignored, frankly - is thin and meandering, but in general this record marries the amicable bubbling of early Global Communication with the elegant austerity of Tim Hecker or Leyland Kirby.

The record ends with some unexpected drum 'n' bass action, and if the breakbeat tweaking is a little ham-fisted, the mournful Aphex horns underneath embody the record's true, dark heart. Good stuff, in short, but more misery next time, please, Mick; perhaps we should have written a bad review, to get the ball rolling." ~ David Murphy, Nightshift reviewer, April 2014. (www.nightshift.oxfordmusic.net)

"It reminded me of Vangelis. It's better than your first album. :)" ~ Jonathan Tait, Subvert Central Recordings and published The Wire Letters contributor concerning Meredith Monk. (www.subvertcentral.com)

"That's pretty out there man. I didn't dislike it, that's for sure, but the main thing I took from it is it was very adventurous in what it tries to do." ~ ASC on "Love Never Fails", producer mentioned by Joe Muggs in The Wire 2012 Rewind as breaking new ground. (www.auxiliarymusic.com)

"First impression: your music is very strong compositionally and sonically, very well made and beautifully executed. :)" ~ Pascal Savy, Fluid Radio.

"Yes I liked it. You've got a real talent there. I think you're an innovator." ~ Geoff Brooks PhD, clinical psychologist, hypnotherapist and Reiki healer.

"I like the mood of the release, which I would classify as darkly contemplative. It's always good to play to your strengths, so my recommendation would be to continue further down this path." ~ www.acloserlisten.com

"I like it :) Suddenly starts to get moody when the organ comes in." ~ Shiva, Bitrate Music on "With Aid Of The Assertive" [CD-R Bonus Track] (www.bitratemusic.com), attendant of Technicality raves in the ongoing jungle / drum 'n' bass revival.

"I thought is was nicely meandering without losing its focus." ~ Bob Macc on "Love Conquers All", jungle track in 4/4 and 5/4 time signature. (Outsider, Paradox Music, Subvert Central, Breakin, www.subvertmastering.com)

"Sounds like a good lead into a d'n'b track. The arrangement is very pleasant to me." ~ Nic TVG on "In Our Lives, There Have Been Many Terrors" percussion section. (www.pineconemoonshine.com)

"I like the part where the drums start to fall apart the best." ~ Nic TVG, Pinecone Moonshine label owner (Macc, Icarus et al) on "Love Conquers All".

"Nice ECM style album cover as well!" ~ James Sargeant, Moshka promoter, Oxford.



released 02 March 2014
Mick Robert Buckingham - all synths, instruments and processing, except on "In Our Lives, There Have Been Many Terrors" where Mike Twelve contributes the middle part. All mastering by Foci's Left, except "Love Conquers All" which has additional mastering by Bob Macc (www.subvertmastering.com)





all rights reserved
Foci's Left - Tara EP (Foci's Left EP 003)

Tara "Moose" Buckingham, our 16 year old Colly / Alsatian cross, died on January 9th 2014 of kidney failure. There was nothing more we could do, it was her time. Me and my close family enjoyed 8 years with her. She was a rescue dog from the RSPCA.

As a way to mark this loss cathartically, and as a tribute, I present "Tara EP", a four track chronological excursion of Tara into the afterlife ("Anything Becomes Possible With Time"), emotions in lament ("Non-Corrosive String Solution"), the memorandum ("For Tara"), and finally, my belief she may come back as a woman one day ("To The Woman With No Name"). This is an EP of very personal emotions, from the one who was ironically least close to her because of my own illness.

The EP is an inexpensive £3, being sold as a whole, as it is meant to be heard. 50% of proceeds will go to our local Animal Sanctuary shop, where "Moose" as she was infamously called every day (due to her appearance) was took for walks regularly.

I hope you enjoy the music. Here's to you Tara, hopefully we'll speak again someday.


Order "Life In A Less Southern Town LP" on CD-R and "Tara EP" for £10. Email mbucki07 at hotmail dot co dot uk or send your Paypal payment to this address clearly labelled "Special offer" and I'll send both releases to you digitally. :)


"It reminds me of early(ish) Pink Floyd :)" ~ Jonathan Tait, Subvert Central Recordings on "Anything Becomes Possible With Time".

"My favourite artist at the moment...classic releases!" Simon Rametse, March 2014.

"i like it. i wonder what it would sound like if it gets a bit more complex. nice one anyway. " ~ logburner, Subvert Central forum on "Non-Corrosive String Solution".

"it's rhythmic very odd – it sounds as though everything is always slightly behind the beat – disturbing :)" ~ Jonathan Tait on "Non-Corrosive String Solution".

"I like it, very interesting, I'm going to show the rest of the gang and I let you know what everyone thinks." ~ Shiva, www.bitratemusic.com on "Non-Corrosive String Solution".

"It's nice. It sounds like an improvisation :)" ~ Jonathan Tait on "To The Woman With No Name".



released 02 March 2014
Mick Robert Buckingham - all synths, piano, strings, processing and mastering, except "To The Woman With No Name" which is mastered by Bob Macc (www.subvertmastering.com)



Foci's Left & Geoff Brooks - Hypnosis Session 1 - Dreams (November 2013)
I, Mick Robert Buckingham first met hypnotherapist and alternative medicines/therapies specialist Geoff Brooks in 2010, when I was going through a transition in diagnosis from bipolar and psychotic depression to schizo-affective disorder. Within 1 session I felt really at ease and liberated by Geoff's emotive techniques with positive affirmations and anxiety disorders. He trains in imaginal realities, psychotherapy, dream work, EFT (emotional freedom technique), hypnotherapy and Reiki healing.

With 3 degrees with distinctions to his name, I was motivated by my deteriorating 2013 health to seek guidance from Geoff once again. After this particularly resonant opening session to the series - on the subject of dreams and activating their merits - Geoff commented since I was recording these sessions for my personal use if we could make them publically available to be bought on the internet. This not only increases Geoff's audience just by having audio online, but benefits both of us as we split any profits from downloads equally.

The price for the first 51 minute, carefully mastered (by myself) hypnosis session is £15, since Geoff's sessions, lasting roughly 90 minutes each, are £40 each. I hope this gives you a taster into the curated content discussed by me, Foci's Left and Geoff in the session, gives you an insight into what I want to create, a showcase of Geoff's remarkable skills in his respective fields, and maybe motivates you, if you are within reach of Swindon, UK, to look up the Shaftesbury Centre where he works to arrange a session of your own.



released 05 November 2013
Mick Robert Buckingham (Foci's Left) provides base subject matter, Geoff Brooks (hypnotherapist) weaves a dialogue to New Age background music. Carefully mastered by Mick Robert Buckingham.

Image is a free online take by Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan of the coastline while she was on a US tour with her band. www.facebook.com/batforlashes

Foci's Left - Dumping The Rock EP (Foci's Left EP 002)
"Dumping The Rock" is a varied showcase of the Foci's Left sound, but aims specifically to disperse any aggression of past releases toward something more mellow and beautiful. You can map different tracks together in a Foci's Left playlist with this release.

Artwork: "Cyclist" by Antonymes (Ian Hazeldine), who took this picture especially for me upon the release of his album "The License To Interpret Dreams".

Purchasers will receive a bonus Modern Classical piece called "The Calamities Of Confusion [21.12.12] (For Lata S.) in their download.

Total EP running time 13:52. 

"This is breathtaking man" ~ 247, Futurepast Fanzine ed. on "Overdriven Terrain".

"Love it :)" ~ DJ Trax (Moving Shadow) on "Overdriven Terrain".

"Ah, 'The Calamities Of Confusion' - I like this one". ~ Jonathan Tait, Subvert Central Recordings.



released 19 August 2013
All tracks written, produced and engineered by Mick Robert Buckingham (Foci's Left).




Foci's Left - Grumpy Love (Foci's Left LP 001)
Dedicated to my sister, the beautiful Joanne Buckingham. Modicum: to raise a smile. This is a soundtrack of my llife so far.

Artwork is "Leopards" by Niomi Jackson.
"Introducing ‘Not Seeing Reality’ – the wayward, often mysterious journey that defines the pathway of what we call life. For many, reality is totally dependent on individual perception. The notes begin their life in innocent infancy, but by their teens they have snaked their way into the more unruly, dissonant territory, interacting with one another until a harmonious chain reaction ensues; one that started off with a primary note – a single heartbeat, the survivor in the battle of selection – but one that quickly brings in a thousand more.

Reality is then able to shape-shift into a sporadic, sparse piano line, accompanied by a gorgeous wave of crimson synth. Only, a line doesn’t quite work; it is bloated enough to feel pregnant with the baby bump of melody, oozing out of the thicker line and then submerging the original, vulnerable piano with new life.

Foci’s Left is the alias of Fluid Radio’s own Mick Buckingham, a name that regular Fluid readers will know very well. Told as a chronological tale, Grumpy Love isn’t nearly as dishevelled or as depressed with the state of things past and present as its grumpy name would seem to suggest. It is, in fact, shrouded by heart-felt sensitivity and deep personality. It is very much the opposite of grumpy. After all, there are two words up there; the oh-so-thin space that divides the first word from the second, ‘love’, is close enough to be considered intimate.

Love never fails. Love conquers all.

Grumpy Love is a beautiful, personalized painting, left to hang at a slight angle on the uneven canvas of life, with both enjoyable and difficult moments that come to claim every man. When linked together, they reach a teenage crescendo. ‘Piano Paint’ introduces some beautiful synths that jut into the piano, coating it with an intoxicating harbour of nostalgia – the nostalgic element traces a radiated line of melody, as if the early memory on which it was based has physically escaped, deceiving what we all thought of as reality and instead containing itself within the music as a precautionary measure. It cocoons itself against the decline that age brings and the mood swing of swift change that can affect our recollections as one decade passes into another.

Saturated in the vintage, ambient warmth of pure tone, when the genre itself was in its infancy, the synths are a mesmerising serenade. It shares the same angelic timbre that made the early Brian Eno classic, Music For Airports, such a lovable listen. You can tell instantly that Grumpy Love is a deeply personal recording just from this synth alone. The later drums seem to propel the passages of life forward, with no pause for reminiscing. That comes later on, because Grumpy Love has some beautiful, open spaces ideal for reflection. Life may, at times, feel like ‘An Upwards Slope’, but listening to the music here is to know that the inner serenity of peaceful ease is always there. Always. Here, a thinner drone is disguised as Cupid himself, but the darker echoes of possible distress lie just beyond the doorway. It is the tense, anxious sound of the unknown; a place where dusty road-signs are always blank with unmarked destinations.

‘For Fluid’ is a loving piece of music that is as much a generous tribute as it is a personal reflection. Grumpy Love narrates the passage of life with painstaking thought. The older hand outlines the black tail of a nurtured note like the embrace between a newborn and a parent. In this picture, the thin brush gives life to the paint. It holds itself in the palmed trust of the future, while taking one last look back at the past – this is the final dedication." ~ James Catchpole, Fluid Radio


"After the disconcerting dissonance of his last demo (FTAL Attraction), Foci's Left - the solo work of occasional Nightshift contributor Mick Buckingham - casts forth a full album set on a far less turbulent plane.

Nine tracks of stretched-out electro-acoustic ambient pianism and electronic minimalism drift and shift with soporific intent, microtonal drones morphing and gradually mutating with precision-restrained variation. Best of the pieces here is the drone-drift of "Decompress The Magnet", while it's marginally more imposing twin "An Upwards Slope" dovetails into it seamlessly. "Regurgitated Impulses" adds a necessary glitchy interlude, while "Piano Paint" is both light in tone and texture but random enough to be distracting.

Where the album occasionally falls down is a lack of brevity on a few of the tracks - "Piano Paint" for example has run its course long before it concludes - while "For Fluid" is anything but and simply sounds like Mick's plonking random keys on his piano, but beyond such lapses, "Grumpy Love" is a neat enough addition to the ambient drone cannon." ~ Ronan Munro, Nightshift Magazine ed.

(www.nightshift.oxfordmusic.net, October 2013)

"I find you on Bandcamp and I'm listening right now "Grumpy Love". This is strange music so far :) Dark soundscapes and atmospheres but lighten up with childish imagination coming from the piano playing (currently I'm at the ending of the second track). Interesting. " ~ Kristian, Noise For Blues For Noise.

"It is very...interesting :)
Well at times I really like the aesthetic and the goofiness of the sounds. Sometimes it is a tad too much for me I have to admit. Maybe it is something I have to listen to more carefully. But it is very inspiring at times." ~ Nils Frahm, Erased Tapes Records.

"It's pretty amazing. I really like 'Decompress The Magnet' and 'An Upwards Slope', they are my favourites. I'm going to have to burn it to CD for the car." ~ 247, Futurepast Fanzine ed.

"Well done Mick. Congrats!" ~ ASC

"I really like 'Decompress The Magnet' :D" ~ GlassBox

"'Decompress The Magnet' really is outstanding." ~ Roo Stercogburn, Omni Music.


"It has a nice flow to it" ~ Roy Buckingham, my grandfather on "For Fluid".

"I am very impressed, the Grumpy Love LP, it really has a lot to offer. 'Decompress the Magnet' has a depth of creativity, emotion and inspiration resonating from it. 'An Upwards Slope' has a feeling of a eternal dose of mystery and passionate adventure of abstract life just breathing in and out through the song... I wish the LP had a fixed price on it because it is of good value. Brillliant work love it!" ~ Simon Bean, Omni Music via Facebook.



released 19 May 2013
All tracks composed and recorded by Michael Robert Buckingham (Foci's Left), with additional production on "Decompress The Magnet" by Mike Twelve (Seconds Before Awakening / The Giraffe And The Tree).





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