Isolation Projects

Keeping two metres social distance at all times, Kris Needs continues his adventures in audio. This month: Isolation Projects

Electronic music is proving characteristically resourceful during a pandemic that’s transformed our lives. Regardless of how COVID-19 will be gripping the UK when this column appears, isolation has already inspired some spectacular musical endeavours. 

Of course, up until going into lockdown to protect my 93-year-old mum, my life had revolved around writing ‘Babble On An’ Ting: Alex Paterson’s Incredible Journey Beyond The Ultraworld With The Orb’. The good news is the book’s finished, complete with definitive discography from Justin Gimblett at The Orb Music & Remixes. The sting in the tail is it won’t be published until 2021. Regardless, it’s good to have such a huge torpedo throbbing in your firing pods ready to be unleashed. 

That’s nothing compared to The Orb having to deal with the cancellation of promotional activities around the much-acclaimed ‘Abolition Of The Royal Familia’ album. Undeterred, Alex taken to broadcasting marathon DJ sets on his beloved WNBC.London, with a couple lasting 24 hours. Along with Orb rarities, these landmark stoned soul picnics become panoramic voyages through electronic music’s history, from arcane avant classical to electro and acid house. Responding to Alex’s ES comment about the lack of remixes from his album, an exciting lockdown project could be afoot too.

Meanwhile, in deepest Wales, Sendelica’s Pete Bingham and Colin Consterdine have followed the fabulous Lost Stoned Pandas album by releasing ‘Sounds From The Isolation Zone’ under The Isolated Psychedelicists banner, which is now up to three volumes, all available on Bandcamp. Their spontaneously created soundscapes beautifully mirror the current situation’s emotional gamut. Also on Bandcamp, the ever-intriguing Alison Cotton has released ‘Zener_08’, capturing her evocative drone-driven magic at a Todmorden show last December. 

In response to the continuing coming to terms with the loss of Andrew Weatherall, Woodleigh Research Facility recording partner Nina Walsh briefly released ‘Torschlusspanik’ on Bandcamp – an album’s-worth of top-notch cosmic techno-funk and space invader electro drawn from hours of unreleased recordings the pair made at their Facility 4 studio. Andrew’s ‘A Love From Outer Space’ comrade-in-arms Sean Johnston has also taken to broadcasting epic online DJ sets in the spirit of the Guv. Until next time, stay alert!

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