Happy Birthday Howlround!

Ten years ago today Howlround officially came to life with the launch of debut album The Ghosts Of Bush, released to mark the day the BBC World Service finally left its home at Bush House in Aldwych after several decades. To celebrate the occasion I’ve commissioned Lucy Morrow better known as Captured by the Fuzz to recreate the project logo in her own inimitable style. Isn’t it wonderful?

Original cover photo by Lisa Hack

Recorded in a series of overnight sessions in a long-abandoned basement studio and created entirely by processing the sounds of the building through a pair of ailing reel to reel tape machines, it was the end of an era for the corporation, but the beginning of another, smaller, weirder, noisier one for me! The day began with a report on the Today Programme and finished with Gideon Coe ending his 6Music show – and the evening’s broadcasting – with a sizeable chunk of the first side. Then it just kept going from there: a **** review in Record Collector, Simon Reynolds calling it ‘The ultimate Hauntological artefact’, having to rush a third pressing due to unprecedented demand. Happy days indeed.

Photo by Hannah Brown

Thanks once again to Lucy for providing me with this fuzzy felt classic (find much more like it by perusing her Etsy and Instagram pages) and to Lisa Hack and Hannah Brown for providing the original artwork all those years ago (check out Hannah’s current printworks by visiting kvist.co.uk). My gratitude also goes out, somewhat belatedly, to Gideon Coe, Stuart Maconie, Simon Reynolds and all the many, many people who supported the record and showed such enthusiasm in those early days.

Photo by Hannah Brown

Ten years and ten official releases, plus innumerable compilation appearances, live shows at Coventry Cathedral, a cavern beneath the streets of Copenhagen, a slightly weird venue in Portland with a pentagram on the ceiling… the project has come a long way. It’s also got quite a bit louder, weirder and darker in the intervening decade, but the essential philosophy remains the same: music created by manipulating acoustic sounds on magnetic tape, with all additional plugins, effects and artificial reverb strictly forbidden. Here’s to the next ten years!

Photo by Hannah Brown

It can be an expensive hobby, but I’m certainly grateful I never got caught in the expensive world of the modular synth wormhole…

Photo by Hannah Brown

PS To clarify ‘****’ in Record Collector was ‘a four star review’, not some kind of expletive…

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