Sunday 22 December 2019

Electropunk Karaoke - 20th Anniversary download!

Sunday 20 October 2019

Painted by Spirits

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Noise in Opposition - Joint Statement #04

Sunday 22 September 2019

21st Century Spirit Photography

Nature spirit photographs revealed through digital scanning and processing of acrylic painted 16mm cine film. The sequence represents a vortex effect,  a portal through which Faerieland can be reached. Strangely, turning the screen upside down reveals a similar image.

Friday 6 September 2019

The Pump

Monday 26 August 2019

Imber Village & The Delaware Road

So Ian and myself set off from Cornwall on  a Saturday morning to Salisbury Plain - bright and early as the A303 is likely to be gridlocked. Traffic was pretty slow, we took the turnoff past the horror that is the Stonehenge Experience,and then...after a while..
  along this single track road across the Plain, on roads that are built for tractors and moving troops around.

There’s a lot of vintage  red double decker London buses out, and lots of people out for the day. This is the one weekend of the year that the public are allowed into the Imber ghost village.

This village was evacuated in 1943 - and has been used for military training ever since. There’s lots of signs up telling you not to pick up anything that might be an unexploded bomb..well I go for a pee in the bushes behind the car park and find this little unusual metal kind of thing, that looks like it may be some sort of a detonator, er maybe the sort of a thing that a person might pick up and it blows their arm off…so maybe I won’t take that home with. me.

So there’s the village of Imber, presenting very post-Brexit image of rural England, families picnicking by the barbed wire that surrounds the 16th century  church, a windowless pubs and farmhouses..the militray industrial complex rooted in the chocolate box rural.

Somehow there’s a bit of  a Scarfolk vibe going on ---  time has become a loop – and we’re living through a time of power cuts and UFO sightings and cold war paranoia and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
So after while, we set off to the New Zealand farm, where this Delaware Road festival is happening in - just back down the track a bit. It's a military training site surrounded by barbed wire & surveillance towers . My bag gets  checked over by security --- no they aren’t suppositories, they’re earplugs----

The hidden history of the 20th century....

The camp site is good and has clean enough portaloos. There’s a couple of spent bullet cases where we pitch the tent.

 I’m guessing there’s an air of paranoia in the concept behind this festival, but I have to say, in the past I’ve been to some seriously bleak and fairly scary  pop festivals, this was in no way one of them.. This one is lovely, there’s a set of concrete buildings, called STONE TENTS, with some spaces as big as a sitting room, some as big as maybe a classroom, and a biggish Nissen hut for the main stage. And most of it is indoors, so there’s very little sound leakage form one venue to another. It’s ideal for left field electronic music and sound and video installations, and that’s what there are here.

A beautiful re-purposing of a space normally used to train people to kill other people. Well, if you don’t think too hard about that, it’s great.

The beer is good and there are number of trajectories I could have taken.. there’s a few faces I recognise: snookering synth superstar Steve Davis is here, the Well Weird West crew from Yeovil have a bunker to themselves, there's people we see on the weirdy music circuit - if there is such a thing..

Theres' something strange set up in the back of a van:

There’s 40 acts in 10 hours, and mostly there’s about three things I want to see on at once.

Best thing is to give up on planning and just wander around....

 Here’s some of things I did see:
Alison Cotton – melancholic viola
Cukoo –great  synth pop 

Penny Rimbaud doing a Q;A about the old days in Crass and then some of his beatnik poetry

A documentary film about Wally Hope (that voice on the phone sounds familiar)

Sarah Angliss gives  talk on a man who sold fall out shelters in the 80s and the ridiculous Protect and Survive monthly magazine.
Ian Helliwell – with some sort of tiny video projecting sound to light &;what looks like a battery powered interociter  on his desk.

Howlround –– in a room crammed with people and tripped out projections. –

Sequential – a  video installation , mesh screen and normal screen with soundtrack left running. Blurry mix of mayday, folk festivals, fires, and flashes of magical symbols and map references and computer code on mesh screen

Kemper Norton – the missing link between Cornish folk and techno youth on mushrooms
Ekoplekz –– I hope somebody recorded what he was doing
Cattle (heavy metal two drummers & very popular here)
Lone Taxidermist – very very loud and playing two human spines

..a siren goes off... a procession with green faced morris men ...

A’Bear  -lovely happy uplifting dancey stuff, this fixed my aching back.

it's all a blurr..but..

An amazing bit of organisation by
All in all a brilliant weekend!

Jill Smith: The Gypsy Switch.

Jill Smith
The Gypsy Switch.
Book review.

It’s the early 1980s. Jill had up till then been a partner and collaborator with the artist Bruce Lacey,

but finding the relationship dissatisfying, made a break from “ritual” performance art

and took to the road,  seeking something possibly more meaningful, personal and authentic.

Jill split from the  rest of the Lacey family to follow the route of the “Gypsy Switch”, a search for meaning on a route which is never properly explained. It’s some sort of a terrestrial zodiac, a forgotten route taken by travellers, centred on Arbor Low, that somebody has drawn on a piece of paper and given to her.

She hitch hikes alone, the length and breadth of the country, sleeping in the open air and taking very long walks to Neolithic sites which were at that time mostly forgotten.
Along the way, she gives birth in a tepee village in Wales, somehow blags sponsorship for a detour to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and then back in Norfolk joins an obscure theatre troupe that wanders the countryside in simple wagons covered in blue plastic tarpaulins towed along by ponies, her son Taliesin in a sling around her shoulders.

It’s a very personal and subjective story, it describes what it used to like to hitchhike and wander the land far more freely that you can nowadays. All along there is a very personal and sometimes rambling dialogue with what is happening in the here and now, the threat of global annihilation. A small part in the resistance to the military industrial complex at Greenham Common and the growth of a feminine goddess consciousness and deep connection and integration with the Earth mother, and animals as much as people.

It’s part of a lost history of possibilities and imaginings that existed for a brief moment in time, before these kinds of cheap experimental, lifestyles were so brutally suppressed by the forces of exploitative landlordism and the constant monitoring by the judgmental gaze of the ubiquitous mobile phone screen.

See also:

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Concrete Shelves Interview

Nigel Ayers – “You don’t have to learn anything to do art or music. You learn by doing them. They are the most natural things to do in the world”


Monday 22 July 2019

Original Artwork now Availaible

I have just set up an Etsy shop to make this set of Bodmin Zodiac mini collages available, they are all 6 x 4 inches including the card mounts:

Friday 21 June 2019

Omega Earth Electrode

Wednesday 12 June 2019

It's Just like Real Life

Music by Ubiquitous Meh!
Film by Nigel Ayers

I read in the bible where Cain killed Abel
it's just like real life
That bit in Friends where Ross says Pivot
it's just like real life
That bit in my dreams where I thought could speak to you
It's not like real life
That bit in my nightmare where I saw you with Barry
it's just like real life

Have you heard that song by Ubiquitous Meh
it's just like real life
Have you seen that advert With that perfect fucking family
it's just like real life
That bit in my dreams, I was sure I could speak to you
that's not like real life
That bit in my nightmare where I saw you with perfect fucking Barry
it's just like real life

Sunday 2 June 2019

Top 10 essential Nocturnal Emissions records you need to hear!

Luke Richards’ guide to 10 essential Nocturnal Emissions records.

You can read Luke’s full piece at his Medium page, here are his top 10 and here is some of what he wrote :

Drowning in a Sea of Bliss (1983)

Perhaps one of the more surprising facts about Nocturnal Emissions is that Ayers is adamant they are not, and never were, an industrial band.

‘Drowning in a Sea of Bliss is the one that tops the industrial charts, but it’s a record of far more emotional contrast than industrial music to date had offered,’ he tells me. ‘By halfway through we were very sick of industrial music. I’d always described our music as post-industrial up until then. It was music of the Information Age.’

In retrospect, the hallmarks of early 80s industrial are there on Drowning —  shards of metallic noise, abundant sound collage, plunderphonics, and themes of inhumanity. But as the record develops over its two sides we hear a hint of the beat-laden electronics and synths that would be in store for the group as they start to forge their own path. In many ways, it is Ayers just setting out on his journey, but ironically it is this LP that is most frequently cited as the NE album to own.

Chaos (1984)

As Margaret Thatcher cruised to her second general election victory on June 9th 1983, Nocturnal Emissions brought their electro noise clash to The Ritzy theatre in London. This LP documents their set in full (and with surprising clarity) and even includes a snippet of live election coverage from the night as the noise dies down. Ayers’ hollering ‘bad evening…BAD EVENING’ and ‘SMASH WITH LOVE’ is all the more poignant given the context.

As I wrote in Echoes and Dust a few years back: “In 1983 Nocturnal Emissions were embarking on an era of fevered invention, experimentation and de/reconstruction…[Chaos] is a sort of London Calling for industrial people, and a fascinating glimpse of these fevered experimenters on the verge of the absolute unknown.”

Songs of Love and Revolution (1985)

Recently reissued in a deluxe vinyl package on Mannequin, Nocturnal Emissions flirt perilously close with synthpop here. The result is a a wonky melange of singalong ditties and earthmoving John Carpenter-esque ambience.

‘Caroline could play piano properly. Like, she knew chords and things,’ Ayers says. ‘Whereas I’m a lot more of a naïve musician I suppose. I do things by how they feel. So she was doing more of the synth work and I was doing the beats and vocals.’

Spiritflesh (1988)

From 1987 onwards, the sound of Nocturnal Emissions changes significantly. The project is no longer a band in the conventional sense, and with Spiritflesh Ayers finds himself relocated away from the squats and noise of London to the wilds of Derbyshire — the landscape of his youth.

The LP is a landmark of British psychogeographical ambience. Salvaged harmonium drones, looping nature noises and analog-sounding beats present something of a journey record from which the “active listener” can trace a route around the Dales. The sounds contained within touch on dark ambient, neo-folk, post-rock and minimal electronica. But the whole is much more than the sum of its parts, a country record as if hewn by the geology of Derbyshire itself. It has also recently received the reissue treatment thanks to Mannequin.

Invocation of The Beast Gods (1989)

Invocation… is the first proper Nocturnal Emissions CD release (and in desperate need of a vinyl issue, in my opinion). Following on from the ambient experiments on Spiritflesh, loops and layers of animal noise and field recordings are assembled into rising and swelling post-rock nuggets.

Out of all the records in this list, it is perhaps the most listenable — calling to mind Brian Eno’s 80s work and latter Talk Talk. Ayers is careful to ensure these tracks are cohesive conceptually and musically, while managing to create fairly concise — almost modern-classical — movements seemingly without any conventional instruments at all.

Mouth of Babes (1990)

The first significant Nocturnal Emissions release of the 90s marks a move into multimedia art. Mouth of Babes sees Ayers turn his curiosity for new sounds back to human source material — but all performers on this LP are under the age of 18 months.

The record — delivered wrapped in a towel nappy (and now something of a collector’s item) — is eerie, haunting, and ritualistic in a kind of Lynchian sense. Somehow recognizable. Somehow hyperreal. The babbling and gurgling is stretched, slowed and re-pitched into occasionally melodic, and occasionally discordant little sound pieces. Perhaps one of Ayers’ most conceptual pieces of work, and undoubtedly one of his most fascinating.

Music for Butoh (1993)

In a continuation of Ayers putting his sound experiments to use in a multimedia context, 1992 saw Nocturnal Emissions commissioned to score a number of performances by Butoh dance troupe Poppo and the Go Go Boys in New York.
Poppo Shiraishi

The content of Music for Butoh draws heavily on the source material for Spiritflesh, Invocation… and other earlier recordings but sees this audio disassembled and remixed with additional instrumentation into something wholly new.

Autonomia (1996)

Inspired by his time in the US with Poppo, Autonomia is Ayers’ foray into American car culture. Beats and synths shine as if reflecting off chrome, while recordings of everyday conversations from random US citizens permeate the noise.

It is another success as a more listenable Nocturnal Emissions record, despite it coming from a deeply experimental place — especially for fans of This Heat-esque beats and CB radio plunderphonics. This time in the US also introduced Ayers to the bourgeoning American noise scene.

‘There was lots of university radio stations, and there was always one guy playing weird shit,’ he says. ‘He’d be the guy in a town putting on little shows in a café or art space. And there seemed to be this loyal following. Merzbow really tapped into it in the 90s. It was very different to what I knew from the narcissistic industrial cliquey scene of the 80s back here…it was much more of a community.’

Ophiuchus (2006)

Along with Nightscapes, some of Ayers’ best ambient work arrived in the new millenium.

Ophiuchus only had a relatively understated CDr release of 100 copies back in 2006, but is thankfully available as digital download at the Nocturnal Emissions official Bandcamp page.

Crystalline synthesized sounds and subtle field atmospherics give a kind of digital new age feel to the tracks. Album opener ‘Ras Alhague’ is a particular standout of repetitive drone, spacey pulses and metallic shimmers — but the rest of the record is essential too.

Spinal Correction Shred (2012)

Ayers has always been keen to document his own live performances, as well as those by some of his contemporaries such as SPK and Lustmord whom he released through Nocturnal Emissions’ own label Sterile Records.

Consequently, there have been a good number of fascinating and exhilarating live albums from the project over the years and Ayers continues to put out live tapes. Spinal Correction Shred was recorded in Berlin in 2012. The performance veers from Radiophonic workshop style sound effects through to a stomping extended mix of ‘Never Give Up’ — and taking in all the corners of the NE oeuvre along the way.

Monday 29 April 2019

Nocturnal Emissions live show coming up in Plymouth

KARST Plymouth


Friday 31st May / 8-11pm
Tickets £5 Advance / £4 with Student Card / £7 On the Door
Book in advance via:


KARST and Electric Knife presents GAMMA, the third in our series of experimental sound performances.

We want to showcase artists who think about music and performance differently - across industrial, electronic, DIY and beyond.


The legendary Nocturnal Emissions, one of the best kept secrets of the industrial genre since the 1970s, set the bar long ago for industrial, dark ambient soundscapes. Founder Nigel Ayers presents a live audio visual show of dazzling organic and chemical animation with a unique sound world of wildlife and machine sounds that feels earthly & mysterious; mechanical yet human.


Alice Kemp lives and works in the south west of England, continually developing a practice of experimental music, audio composition, public and private performance, doll-making, drawing and painting. Subtle trance states, dreams, and disturbances inform her personal and cryptic yet coherent body of work, and her live [in]actions suggest a private mythology evolving through stillness, boundaries and aural stimuli. She has delivered these live obfuscations in England, Scotland, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria and Switzerland, and released sonic contemplations through the labels Fragment Factory (DE), Harbinger Sound (UK), and Erratum Musical (FR).


Founded in 1987 by Stephen Meixner and Jonathan Grieve, with Stephen J. Pomeroy joining in 1992, Contrastate boasts one of the richest experience pools among the groups of the post-industrial movement. Initially embedded firmly in the tradition of industrial music and physical confrontation through sound Contrastate did not cease to evolve and slowly moved away from extremes and towards more balanced, subtle compositions. Their current style on the recent releases: A Breeding Ground for Flies (2012 Dirter Promotions) and the live album No Eden Without Annihilation (2016 Tesco Organisation) are situated somewhere in the realm of the avant-garde variety of dark, ritual ambient music combined with elements of experimental noise. Their diverse musical heritage exhibits unique electronic manipulations combined with stentorian vocals embedded in a heavy, surreal industrial background. They have long abandoned any attempt to reproduce studio work live, new material is specifically written for their performances, combining live electronics, acoustic instruments, sound manipulation and performance art. Contrastate is indeed a prime example of experimentation in music. Its artists constantly feel the need to try out different ideas, different ways of recording and different ways to use instruments.