Twilight of the Rock Gods

photo: Thomas Leyland-Collins

Its invidious for us to pick out Radiophrenia highlights because everything we broadcast is unique and deserving of attention. The time constraints involved in running a radio station force us to pick only a few selections to feature on our blog.

At 7pm tonight and repeated on Sunday at 2pm we’re delighted to present ‘Twilight of the Rock Gods’ by Luke Fowler and Richard McMaster. Luke is an artist and filmmaker and musician. His work explores the limits and conventions of biographical and documentary filmmaking, his filmic montages create portraits of intriguing, counter cultural figures, including Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing and English composer Cornelius Cardew. Richard will be familiar from his many projects in the Glasgow music scene such as Golden Teacher and General Ludd.

The piece focuses on the London Rock Music scene of the late1970/early 80’s and is accompanied by biographical reflections from a young East-Ender who has worked in the industry all his life and now finds himself unemployed . The source material originates from two different reel to reel collections, which had been sold or discarded. The first is a collection of demo tapes dating from 1974-78 produced by a London major label presumably to tout new releases to radio DJ’s. The music contained within the tapes highlights the spectrum of rock music being produced during the period; ranging from soft to prog rock, eventually giving way to disco and more electronic influences.  This material is radically re-shaped by means of editing, looping and then feeding the loops through vintage hardware effects boxes. Fowler and McMaster wanted to use effects that were common in the studios at that time but were often used very conservatively by producers. In their methodology the effects are manipulated and ‘played’ as instruments in their own right.

The second archive of tapes were from a research Lab found within a major London University. Drawing mostly from one interview tape- the narrative that unfolds are biographical reflections of a young East-End professional, who started out as a music writer and then in various other roles from A&R to management liaison.  Over the course of the interview he demystifies the often glamourised image the music industry. His comments frame and create associative meanings with the accompanying treated rock tapes.

At one point in the interview our narrator draws our attention to his stammer -alluding to the raison d’être for the interview.  In fact the tape was selected from a larger collection of interviews with people who suffer from speech defects. During the course of the collage we also hear fragments of other research material cut in; including a woman reading elocution exercises and early speech synthesis experiments.

Howlround – East Tower

Nick Ballon - East Tower
photo: Nick Ballon

At 4.30pm today we will air a special extended Radiophrenia mix of Howlround’s ‘East Tower’. Originally produced in association with Resonance FM as part of White Noise’s programme of artist residencies inside an abandoned London towerblock in the weeks leading up to its demolition. Part of the original BBC Television Centre complex in White City and currently being cleared for re-development, the piece was created entirely from the naturally-occurring sounds found within East Tower, particularly the resonant frequencies of the empty rooms, gutted offices, stairwells and various odds and ends left by its original occupants. These recordings were then manipulated on a trio of ex-BBC reel-to-reel tape machines with all additional effects or artificial reverb strictly forbidden.

Roughly half of the material featured here was originally broadcast live from the tower on 13th July 2016 as part of Resonance FM’s gala ‘Live to Air’ event. For the remainder this marks the first time it has been broadcast publicly or seen the light of day and almost certainly the very last set of recordings to be made inside this small corner of broadcasting history. Thanks to Resonance FM, White Noise and Something More Near.

Radiophrenia re-design


Radiophr - A3-poster smallerThank you to Oliver Pitt for designing our striking new logo, flyers and posters. The flyers and posters will be distributed on the streets of Glasgow over the coming weeks.

Thank you also to David Fulford who has designed & built our fantastic new website.

We have had quite a few enquiries about the broadcast schedule. The schedule will be added to the site in the next week to ten days when we have fully completed the programming so please bear with us in the meantime.

Open call now closed

public address - text

It seems appropriate that our first post on the new website is a thank you – we are grateful to everyone who has taken the time to send in work to our open call. We’ve had a tremendous response and some wonderful and surprising pieces submitted from all over the world. There is far too much work for us to broadcast so we’ll be making some difficult decisions in the next few weeks about which pieces to select. The schedule and details of our live-to-air performances will appear here soon. Please keep checking back.

We are pleased to confirm that OFCOM has now granted our licence and we have been able to retain our allocated frequency on 87.9FM.