Inside No. 9, Episode #14: Well, I guess you’ve noticed something a little strange with Dad
February sees the dawn of my 40th year on this planet. I’d love to say I’m content with my lot so far, but like many, I feel I’m yet to achieve even a fraction of what I imagined as a daydreaming kid. Much of this is due to trauma-induced depression and anxiety, which is something I face on a daily basis and has only gotten worse over time. One thing that has been constant in my life is music, film, sound and visual art. I’ve selected 9 tracks for this mix that have expanded my mind and given me joy and inspiration over the last few months.
I recently had a bit of a Room40 splurge, so you’ll hear a few numbers from that incredible roster. The show opens with Robert Gerard Pietrusko and a blistering journey into shadows and frayed light. This is a glorious throb of noise and ethereal drone that awakens my mind and takes me out of my body. Following this is a blast from the prolific Pan Daijing. It comes from her Tate Modern performance which I’m so sad to have missed. It’s like Arvo Part had dinner with Mika Vainio to create something wholly original and awesome. She is one of the best composers of our current times, and this is proof of that.
Next up is Flora Yin-Wong and a piece from her ‘The Sacrifice’ EP. She is a stunning world builder using noise, field recordings, and, in this example, Welsh mythology as part of her creative process. It’s both devastating and beautiful in equal measure. Then we have Tujiko Noriko’s dreamlike opus, which has been on constant rotation since its release early this year. There are so many comparisons to make, but none fit the final work or do justice to its subtle magnificence. The nearest thing I can say is that it’s like Ai Aso teaming up with Riceboy Sleeps. The record is so out of its time yet feels totally at home in the fires of doom that litter the 2020s, like Constellation did in the post-911 era.
Changing pitch, we hear Alexandra Spence from her extraordinary ‘A Necessary Softness’ cassette. This echoes some of that tragic ground with a deeply modern footing. Vocals envelope sounds from many sources to create a Bjork-like breath of sensuality, tripping the listener into the present while removing terra firma with a deft hand. Then we have something very new from an artist based in Scotland. James Wyness’s Ubanu Tarasa is a wonder. He has created sounds that would sit happily on Black Truffle, yet he dishes out small editions of 10 handmade tapes – grab one while they’re still available! It’s incredibly profound in its conception and delivery, and he has become an artist I want to see thrive. It’s sound that bottles the landscape in a way akin to Crys Cole or Luc Ferrari.
Take a deep breath and inhale Paraadiso. This is ferocious insect music from an overactive mind. It’s the Northern Lights captured in a bottle and then smashed against the ragged coastline. This is a small taste, but the beat-driven record is fused with the restless minds of Autechre and early Arca. Then we have the master of drone. The genius mastering guru of many a drone classic. Rafael Anton Irisarri has laid down some of the best tones, drones, and zones of any artist out there, and this is another warm trip to the center of the earth.
Things come to a close with a track from Richard Dawson and Sally Pilkington. Since the COVID-19 lockdown, they have been making stunning music and releasing each session for just £1 each. They capture time and space perfectly. This is awesome, and I’m claiming it as a sound for my 40s. It’s playful, bold, inspiring, and beautiful – as much of their music is. I hope you all find as much hope and wonder in the music as I do. The last 6 minutes are a dream.
Here’s to another 40 years. Let’s hope they bring more hope and joy. 10 points if you can guess the movie from the quote in the title. It’s a formative film from my youth.
Robert Gerard Pietrusko
Elegiya cassette on Room40
A Raving Still
Tissues LP on Pan
Flora Yin Wong
The Sacrifice EP on First Light
Crepuscule I & II tape on Editions Mego
Bell, Fern III
A Necessary Softness tape on Room40
Cultic Dues Not Delivered
Measures Against Fungus in the Nabu Temple tape on Urban Tarasa
Unison LP on SVBKVLT
Rafael Anton Irisarri
Agitas Al Sol
67. Pictured Rage
Inside No. 9 is an attempt to share unique narratives through the mixing of 9 songs. Every episode will showcase a new theme, opening up new tributaries of discovery. Inside No. 9 is presented by Peter Taylor, a former features writer for Foxy Digitalis from back in the late 2000s. Peter is a visual artist and musician and has been creating music as MAbH since 2008.