The online home of writer, editor and musician Mark Brend.

Words | Music | Home
Twitter | Bandcamp

Barry Gray
26th April 2014
BarryGraypromoshotComposer and electronic music pioneer Barry Gray died 30 years ago today, and to mark the anniversary Len Davies and Ralph Titterton have released a short film compiled from Gray’s home movies. It features Gray at the controls of two of his early electronic instruments, an Ondes Martenot and a Miller Spinetta. Both feature in my books Strange Sounds and The Sound of Tomorrow – indeed Gray’s own Martenot was photographed for Strange Sounds. The Miller Spinetta – the twin keyboard instrument in the film – was made in very limited numbers and none are thought to survive. I’ve got a Miller demonstration recording that I’ll post here some time.

 

Mabel Joy – Wish I Was
28th November 2013

Mabel-Joy-Wish-I-Was1-150x150The sole Mabel Joy album, Wish I Was, has been reissued. Featuring me along with Tom Anthony, Matt Gale and Geoff Smith, it was originally released in 1993. Here it is. 

Electronic Music and Musique Concrète
13th November 2013

JuddbookFred Judd’s pioneering 1961 book Electronic Music and Musique Concrète is republished by Foruli very soon indeed. Order it here. 

James Gardner
16th October 2013

For a well-informed and engaging six hour journey through the history of electronic music, try British-born but now New Zealand-based musician and broadcaster James Gardner’s series These Hopeful Machines, first aired earlier this year. Recommended.

 

Geoffrey Household
23rd September 2013

Another entry in the occasional Minute Book series ofDownloadedFile mid-20th century English writers …

October 4th marks the 25th anniversary of the passing of Geoffrey Household. Best known for the classic chase thriller Rogue Male, Household wrote dozens of other books over a fifty year period. Particularly good is an early 1980s effort, The Sending, which adds a supernatural undertow to the familiar pursuit plot device. Orion are reissuing much of Household’s catalogue, but it seems that so far this one is Kindle only.

 

John Cowper Powys
17th June 2013

DownloadedFileThe author John Cowper Powys died 50 years ago today, just under 10 years after his younger brother TF Powys. Both are Minute Book favourites, with TFP’s “Mr Weston’s Good Wine” and JCP’s “Glastonbury Romance” particularly recommended. JCP is eulogized on the Ghostwriter album, The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association. In the 1970s a publisher called Village Press reissued lots of Powys titles. It couldn’t have been much of a success as Village Press didn’t last long, and in the 80s the second hand bookshops along Charing Cross Road were awash with their brightly coloured paperbacks, usually at 50p a go.

Continuing adventures
13th June 2013

Ghostwriter’s debutartworks-000039132303-bpn9ac-t200x200, the 2010 album The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association, is now available for the first time as a download.  And, there are a couple of previously unreleased tracks from the sessions available for free over at Soundcloud.

The past
17th May 2013

filing-cabinetI’ve been working my way through the Minute Book archives. Take a look at the new words and music pages. I’ll be adding more over the coming months.

 

I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier
25th March 2013

Ghostwriter has collaborated with singer-songwriter Michael Weston King on a new song, a re-imagining of Alfred Bryan’s anti-war lyric, I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier. You can hear it on The Golden Demon, a compilation of country-ish protest songs released on April 30 by Swedish label Hemifrån. 

In other news, yesterday Mark was interviewed on Chloe Frieda’s NTS radio show, Alien Jams, talking about The Sound of Tomorrow, Ghostwriter and early electronic music. And there’s a nice review of the Dimensions EP at DOA. 

Dimensions by Ghostwriter
4th March 2013

Ghostwriter’s Dimensions EP on Chaffinch Records is released March 4. You can find it at Chaffinch, Avalanche in Edinburgh, Love Music in Glasgow, Monorail in Glasgow and Norman Records in Leeds. Available on 7″ vinyl and limited to 200 copies, you also get a digital download which features an exclusive track. Collaborators include Jim Jupp (Ghost Box) and Suzy Mangion.

Those nice people at Norman Records have made Dimensions their single of the week, and there’s a review at Record Collector too, with Spencer Grady writing:

‘These quasi-supernatural concerns, dedicated in part to Christian mystic author Charles Williams, operate along similar lines to Susan Hiller’s art installations, raising questions located at the peripheries of the temporal and otherworldly.’