Editor's Rating

An immersive experience, into the cosmos, moving between the galaxies.

9

A brand new deep space travelogue from the collective minds of DJ Food and Howlround from an Improvised live session at the Museum Of London in 2016.

This album began life four years ago when the trio of Strictly Kev, Robin The Fog and Chris Weaver were tasked by Jonny Trunk with providing an all-night immersive soundtrack for the mammoth ‘Museum Of Last Parties’ extravaganza in the Museum of London’s Torch Room. Setting up their vintage reel to reel tape machines, turntables and various FX units in the very shadow of the torch that became the icon of the 2012 Olympics, the trio set about creating a soundtrack worthy of champions.

Strange new worlds conjured from obsolete media, a vision of the future constructed live using nothing but vintage analogue technology and a sense of adventure.

The trio amassed almost four hours of improvised oddities that night at the museum and it wasn’t until the spring of 2020 when they each suddenly found themselves at home with all plans cancelled and time on their hands, that the tapes were resurrected and the album started to take shape.

Verdict: An immersive experience, into the cosmos, moving between the galaxies. The sublime beauty of observing new worlds underpinned by the ominous dread of venturing further into the unknown. As a fan of ambient soundscapes, this is up there with the best, evoking moments of euphoria and moments of unsettling dysphoria. It has that special quality of taking you through the evolving dimensions of the journey effortlessly. It can’t have been easy taking elements from a four hour improvisation and structuring them together into a work that is so cohesive, but they did, and the result is fantastic.

About the Vinyl Release:

The album is presented in an extraordinary sleeve, hand assembled by Strictly Kev, who explains, “Since discovering the Philips 21st Century Prospective series of French musique concrete LPs on tour in European the 90s I’ve been fantasising about one day making a record with a Héliophore patterned silver foil cover. The patterns etched in the covers are achieved by minute differences in the angles of the foil coating which then reflects the light and appears to animate when moved. These legendary and increasingly expensive LPs contained critical works from an international array of leading artists in the tape and electro acoustic field, spearheaded by Pierre Henry who also released many of his own works on the label.

Tracking down the company who made the original Philips covers in France led to a dead end as they had long ceased to exist so I gave up hope. Unknown to me a British company had managed to replicate the process under the name Dufex in the UK. Sadly they’d also wound up business in 2019 but via a chance encounter on a separate project I managed to find the final stocks of card from the business at a lighting company.

Once The New Obsolescents’ album was in the bag we started to think about artwork and I knew that this collision of tape loops and turntablism was the perfect record to sleeve in foil as a homage to the Philips series. Those familiar with the originals would immediately make the visual connection and it would set the tone for the sounds contained inside as the group name would be unfamiliar to most.

300 sheets in five different designs were handed over to Jonas Ranson at paperHAUS who carefully and expertly screen printed each panel with the cover design. Each sheet was then cut to a 12″x12″ size and painstakingly glued to each sleeve, pressed while drying and sleeved in PVC outers, making sure not to scratch the foil which is extremely delicate.

Taking inspiration from that night in the Museum of London’s Torch Room, surrounded by moon rock bean bags while they crafted this wonderful space travel theme, they decided on a silver and black hybrid moon surface effect for the vinyl. “The whole process of making the sleeves probably took longer than the whole album but I couldn’t be happier with the results, it was worth it”.

Kev has tagged the five variants of the foil board sleeves as “Spiral’, “Starburst’, “Cross’, “Swirls’ and “Hyperspace”!

Album is available to pre-order directly from Castles in Space from 12th February for a full release on 29th February.

Order Here: Artists | Castles In Space (bandcamp.com)

Format: 12” Coloured Vinyl LP in Screen Printed Foil Board Sleeve. Hand Assembled by DJ Food