Sunday, March 27, 2011
Midwich - Months, Years
Midwich - Raised Ironworks
3” CDR. 50 copies each. No label.
The first time I met Rob Hayler was on the door of a Death Squad gig about ten years or more since. It was a Termite Club gig so there were only about ten people there, most of them Americans, but Rob was doing his bit for the cause by taking peoples money and flogging some of his newly pressed Fencing Flatworm Recordings releases. Rob was one of those people you find incredibly easy to get along with; softly spoken, infectious laugh, a ready grin, intelligent and for the next few years I saw a lot of him and his label. Then, as so often happens, he disappeared.
A few years passed and then out of the blue Rob reappeared, this time via a blog. He’d had problems with his head, or with the world or a mixture of the two [I’m not telling you anything you shouldn’t know here - he writes about it fluently and matter-of-factly himself] he’d got married, lost his job, found another, his wife lost her job, things were happening in his life. I discovered he supported Farsley Celtic and my heart burst with pride because I always kind of knew that if Rob supported a football team it would be a lower leagues three men and a dog set up. But most importantly he was back and being creative once more.
Rob likes his drone which was reflected in FFR and his solo work under the Midwich moniker. Besides his own material he released work by Andy Jarvis, Neil Campbell and Klunk along with a few others. His diffuse cassette label OTO ran to fifty releases and gave all manner of oddballs there day out in the sun; The Bongoleeros, Killy Dog Box, The Ceramic Hobs, even old Unky Thurst chipped in. Then there was the FFR night at the Brudenell. My first encounter with laptops in a live environment. I was sat there chatting away only to be told ten minutes into the sounds appearing from the PA that this was it. But theres nobody on the stage said I. Thats because he’s playing a laptop from the side of the mixing desk came the reply [this probably because there was less chance of it being knicked].
So Rob came back and started his blog and told us all how his head was getting better and how he was meeting people once more and going for a pint now and again and enjoying his married life and heres some old stuff I thought would never see the light of day but the urge is upon me to put stuff out once more. And why not.
Midwich produce very dainty drones by holding down various keyboard keys [I’m guessing] and little else. To my best recollection Midwich drones were slightly flecked in their purity. Throbbing, aching, pulsing things with little motifs flitting in and out like the fish that used to adorn the early FFR covers. Some were short lasting less than a minute whilst other set themselves adrift up into the 20 minute mark. I quite liked the shorter stuff which is why I like the last track on ‘raised ironworks’ a perfect piece of two phase drone with the one playing off the other, each coming back to reinforce its beginnings like some clever piece of work by Steve Reich, it could go on much, much longer and I doubt I would tire of it. As for the rest, well, its drone. Simply done, effortlessly put together, maybe slight but who cares? ‘ months, years’ is one 21 minute piece [also its title] and theres three others on ‘raised’ but it would take a far more brazen heart than mine to criticise either of these releases. If they were the biggest turds fished out of the beck this year I may drop a hint but theres no need. They may be slight but its what they signal that is far more important.