Blog Archive

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fun and twisted Birmingham music

Swoomptheeng live at the Hare & Hounds in Kingsheath, Birmingham! Check out this awesome video. Look out at www.swoomptheeng.com for more gigs soon.

Also here's a cheeky Drum & Bass mix I did of Elmo Sexwhistle's "Go Down" who played the event after us.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Swoomptheeng DJs AV Party! Friday at VIVID

Vydo
This friday see's the first emergence of my new art collective/dance music band Swoomptheeng as guest DJs at VIVID's closing party. My new alterego Skuulleyes will be draped in seaweed and snarling to beats and treats alongside fellow Swoomper Vydo (better known as Papa November and label manager for Firstfold records).

Skuulleyes
It's a Bring Your Own Beamer event which means wall to wall projected visuals from Birmingham's finest: including Antonio Roberts, Mark Murph, Pete Ashton, Chromatouch and Catweasel.

Our mission is to party like it's 1990 and we'll be dropping great slabs of awesomeness from obscure electronica, internet detritus and world music to basslines, techno and party tunes! It's going to be massive..!!

The event is this friday - 29 November 2013. 7pm - late at VIVID, 16 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RS.

Here's how to get there and some footage from BYOB last year.
We promise to rock the place this year!!

 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Swamp beats, punking technology and rave craft

Well it's been a busy old time recently... here's a few things that's been going on...

I've been working hard on all things Swoomptheeng - my new band/arts collective - which has come together beautifully, we even have a lovely space at the Lombard Method studios (check out their art shows!) and gigs coming up!

We currently have music, video, VJs, photography, a website, phone apps, MIDI instruments, t-shirts - damn... we have everything..!! More on those soon...
Above is a taster of our sound and a video below to give you a flavour of what we're about!




I've also been busy modifying kids toys donated by the lovely Concrete Belly, tinkering with a Raspberry Pi and building techy MIDI controllers like this theramin-style filter using an Arduino! Check it out!




Plus working on these cute wooden robots for Juneau Projects! The show is on now in London, so go see it!




If you've enjoyed any of our dumb and noisy podcasts we are hopefully going to start having them broadcast on Birmingham's own Rhubarb Radio soon, so keep your eyes out on their site for news on that!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Bonkers Heavy Metal

Following on from the popularity of of our recent podcasts, we decided that we should have a special, and of course we chose the comical and terrifying genre of Heavy Metal. Jon donned his worn leather jacket with tassels down the arms and got all excited and chose a selection of amazing tracks from a lifetime of listening and they are all plonked together with our usual rambling and senseless chatter. We even intercut a few stupid ideas suggested by our dear listeners. The cover artwork comes courtesy of Craig Earp who's gore pillows have left a lasting impression on us.

The podcast is tagged is... "An hour dedicated to all things Metal - from Hair Metal, Cock Rock, Grind, Death and Black Metal to Funk, Thrash and Pirate. This special edition podcast is a dip into the otherwordly anthems and oddities from the genre and brutal cover songs."

But there is a warning : Your unlikely to like it unless your a goblin with lazer eyes, a motorcycle, tassels on your jacket, long hair and a beard. So beware!!

Listen using the player below (or click blue button to download) or listen online at Podomatic

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

MaggotHouse Podcast - 3 Armed Ninja-Drummers from Yorkshire

I never did get round to blogging our last Podcast, but let's just say it was the best yet, and I even managed to con Mr. Adam Buxton (of Adam & Joe fame) into listening to it. He tweeted "Enjoyable noises. Are you old weirdos or young weirdos?". We still dont know what he was getting at but didn't take offence... 'old weirdos'... I mean really...

Anyway we had some stunning artwork done of a Yorkshire Ninja Drummer by Mr.Moltonium (who has work on show right now at Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham) and the podcast contains delights such as "clattering, badass ninja-istic paradiddlism, raved-up Def Leppard, bone-crunching Jazz Metal, homemade acoustic trash, 3 armed spazzed-out Jungle Breaks and a Rap-Off" all in a Yorkshire style!

Download and listen from Facebook or Podomatic (or use the player below!)

We have a new Heavy Metal themed podcast out very soon, and to celebrate you can even get your hands on a free limited edition copy of Meatfeast's "Hands Like Claws" EP - just email your name & address to ben@maggothouse.co.uk before April 15th!

Check out the Facebook Page for more on the podcasts.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Into the darkness of Twitter


For a while I've been sending out tweets into the darkness of Twitter. I'm not a fan of Twitter and, as tweeted, find it "The conversational equivalent of going through everyones bins looking for tid bits". I use it as a way of collecting together streams of words to use as lyrics and other stuff.

Here's a few examples to give you an idea of what's on there:

"Cruel like mint. Harsh like zest"

"Cut the faces from two best friends. Wear them as shoulder pads"

"We're running the show like flustered teenagers on exam day"

"Tongues like a brace of straws. Hands like claws, teeth like eggboxes. A soft mushroom textured grey skin. White-fat globules around mouths"

If this is the sort of thing you'd like to be updated with, you can follow me here:

http://twitter.com/phluxm

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Free Birmingham Techno Mix from Phluxm

A fantastic re-release this month from the MaggotHouse Bandcamp site of The Dark Half - a 2 part, full-length mix of Phluxm by Phluxm!

Originally put together way back in 2004, this is the definitive DJ mix of his sound. It's thick, jagged, hard and dark with quirky samples, heavy basslines, rattling and knife-sharp percussion, and pounding pounding techno beats.

Early lighter, quirkier tracks such as Shuffle, Squasmadropodrom and A Black Train to Zurich are intermixed in part 1 with the industrial clatter of Bread Machine (played on Radio 1 by Mary Anne Hobbs back in 2006) and the crackling, lumbering, cyberscapes of Harrison Ford.

Part 2 starts hard with the queasy, bass-laden and ominous Mothership and launches into hammering bass-end techno in the form of the strangely named Fruity, then on through Dragon to the bone-crunching Teeth on Concrete.

From here on it's a fistfight of noise with the sawblades of Mistress Rmx and gabba battery of Limp Biscuits. Night Rider is perhaps the best, most rounded, and complete of Phluxm's techno from this era, and the mix ends with the glitched and doomy obnoxious Maggot hammering at your face.

Enjoy!


Download more Phluxm and get more from the MaggotHouse Bandcamp site

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Best productivity freeware Bitch

Recently I've been in need of working fast and efficiently on my PC and have armed myself with a selection of the best productivity tools I could find, so in the interest of sharing, here they are! If your just starting out in programming or web design / development, here's a good quick introduction for a few useful tools for you.

Better copying with Teracopy
Windows Vista was the Devil and copying files was even an issue, so ditch Windows' native copier and use Teracopy to make sure your files are copied swiftly, completely and add extra functionality and info about the process.

Auto-rotate whole folders of photos with JPEG Autorotate
Why should you have to go through a whole folder of photos just to turn them round so they are the right way up? Auto-rotate whole folders and subfolders in a click with this.

Delete locked files with Unlocker
Ever have trouble with a file that wont delete? Unlocker unlocks any file, and allows you to delete it.


Being more effective in your work allows for more leisure time

Right-click Context Menu File Menu Tools
A whole bunch of really useful tools available from your context menu (right click menu). One I use all the time is 'Pack to Folder' which puts all the selected files into a folder without you needing to create new folders, then slow-click to name it etc. Other great features include a find and replace filename tool and an advanced file renamer - so no more folders of files called "1300558797639_r.jpg" - you can auto-rename the lot something more recognisable. The 'Size of Folders' feature also allows you to select a bunch of folders and it will display a pie chart of there relative file sizes, so you can see which of those many torrents you downloaded is really taking up all your hard disk space. You can even merge/syncronise the files in 2 differnt folders. There's lots more including differnt clipboard features, copy, move and duplicate functions and deleting.

Organise your messy desktop with groups of Fences
Fences is a desktop tidy that allows you to "fence" bundles of your desktop icons into groups and name them. Great if like me you have dumping grounds for bunches of related deaktop detritus. The groups are sizable, hidable and even scroll if needed.


Onto some stuff specifically for coders...

Get smart with code using Notepad++
For programmers Notepad++ is awesome. It replaces Notepad but has a world of new possibilities too many to mention here. One of the most useful features I've found includes Macros - where you record your actions and save them as hotkeys, so you could record your actions then stop and save the 'recording' as a hotkey. You could save typing in a string of text (frequently used tags maybe) or series of functions like a find and replace process. So - instead of typing in "" everytime, I've saved it to a keyboard shortcut, speeding up my typing (very useful if you never mastered touch typing like me) and instead of having to go through the find and replace menus I now just press a button to make a series of tags toggle between 0 or 1. There are loads of great plugins which go much much further, check them out.

Compare files side-by-side with Files Compare Tool
Notepad++ includes a code compare plugin (very useful) and there are many others but I prefer to use this simple code compare tool which easily and clearly shows the differences between 2 documents side-by-side and allows you to copy over chunks from one to the other with a key press.


Now your working smarter, you can take control and become the person you want to be

And now... create your own tools/processes... (and avoid RSI!)

Make your PC do exactly what you want it to with AutoHotkey
Wow, this guy is the daddy. First, a bit of background : I started getting a Repetetive Strain Injury in my wrist and wondered about working more smartly with regards to using the mouse. I bought a gel pad mouse mat which worked pretty good for a while. Then I bought this ergonomic mouse which I would totally recommend. Finally I decided that I was doing too much with my clicky right hand and decided to create a keyboard key for my left hand that could click instead. Then I thought, why not double click too? and why do I double click at all with a middle mouse button I hardly use... So I used AutoHotkey to create a small program that did all that. And more.

I now have it start up with my computer and use it all the time as standard. I don't have time to explain AutoHotkey in detail but it's actually very easy to use and get going with.

I now use it to close Skype with a key press (instead of going through the 'do you?', 'do you really want to?', 'are you certain you want to quit?' routine with it), open a series of programs together, and even process selected text in memory then paste it back in place. It also allows me to save a document in Notepad++, save it in a second location (with a different name) then refresh my browser to reload it - all with a single, simple Ctrl+S key press. Brilliant.

So there you go - that's how I made my PC working much smarter, faster, simpler and avoid Repetetive Strain Injury.


Look after your health and stay fit. Don't get RSI!

If your insterested in using the AutoHotkey scripts here are a couple of them, just for quick reference :

;CLICK/DOUBLE-CLICK KEYS
`::Click ;use this key top left of your keyboard as a mouse click & save your right hand for something else...
#`::Click 2 ;hold the windows key while doing it for a double click

;DOUBLE CLICK on MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON
MButton::Click 2


;OPEN/QUIT SKYPE
; Change the paths below if your Skype program is held elsewhere!
#s::Run C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe
#^s::Run C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe /shutdown

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Testosterone-fuelled Vikings!

We have another MaggotHouse podcast - it's noisy, lewd and full of MORE obscure music, talk and thought... but we must warn you : your unlikely to like it unless "your a testosterone-fuelled Viking (with a beard)" ...


It's another hour of moronic music and pointless blather, featuring sexy latino ballads, hyperspeed Drum n Bass, Bros Breakcore remixes, and more Heavy Metal madness you need to hear!
In the unlikely event you enjoy this kind of nonsense, there's plenty more on the MaggotHouse Facbook page.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

One for all the drunk crackers with beards out there... the new MaggotHouse podcast

We have a new MaggotHouse podcast - it's noisy, lewd and full of obscure music, talk and thought... but we must warn you : your unlikely to like it unless "your a drunk cracker with a beard" (poor spelling noted)... or like Pandas.


In the unlikely event you enjoy this kind of nonsense, there's plenty more on the MaggotHouse Facbook page.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

VJ Adam Buxton and the lost leather glitch


I started experimenting with glitch art after going to Antonio Roberts' Dirty New Media event at Birmingham's Barber Institute where I was on hand to help out. Mixed amongst the galleries much older works was an Aztec-Quipu-like datanecklace of Twitter feeds by Stef Lewandowski. He's an interesting and prolific fella making all manner of media from electronica, hacking and design and the necklace was an interpretation of online behaviour as a piece of jewellery.

I have to say I have a sour-taste in my mouth every time I hear the word Twitter and find it completely self-indulgent, ugly and totally one-way social medium, but visualising data is an interesting twist on a dull old topic. I own this book on it and it's really very good at illustrating stats in a lively and informative way that looks great. Like this for example...

There were some interesting talks and performances at the event and here's a quick video of Minuek performing both the audio and video live there. He was by far the most adept and slick of the performers and I had to jog down to the front and shake his hand after his set to thank him for a little inspiration. Many moons ago I developed PHLUMX a piece of video scratching software (now very dated) and actually booted the thing up and enjoyed using it for the first time in a while once I'd got home.


So anyway I started looking into glitching images and opened up a BMP file in a text editor and adapted the incomprehensible code a little - cutting a bit here, pasting a bit there. It's a little haphazard creating images, but you get some basic glitch results with little effort. You can even just open an image in wordpad, save and there you go - see here.


I also found out a bit about databending - which can be done by opening an image file in Audacity (audio software)  and editing the waveform, and resaving. You can even apply audio delay effects and so on... to get visual effects - which is awesome! See Antonio's blog for more on how to do it...

Moving on... I managed to catch another Adam Buxton BUG gig last night in Birmingham full of awesome music videos, stupid songs and lots of inspiration. I've been to a handful of BUG events now and they are always worth it - the highlights of this one were perhaps seeing Brad Pitt's new moody Chanel advert modified so that his nose was a penis, and this amazing eternal loop...

While on the topic of ridiculous music I should plug the latest MaggotHouse release - a free 6 track EP titled "Lost Leather Apron" featuring "breaks that sound like they've fallen down the stairs from Phluxm, hot doggerty-dog scream-til-yer-bluegrass from Jazz Thrash Assassin and well... what the fuck can we say?... it's Bazooka Chicken" with amazing cover art from Mr. Molontium!

Download it for FREE at the MaggotHouse Bandcamp site!


Of special note is the 2 Jazz Thrash Assassin tracks rever heard before which I spoke about during the recording in the studio.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Defeat Minions. Slay Boss. Save Girl


Well it's been a long time waiting but we finally released Octopod's 2nd EP today on  MaggotHouse's Bandcamp site.

Jon Garbett (of Meatfeast / Jazz Thrash Assassin) is more usually linked with his great guitar playing skills but he does occasionally apply his hand to other things - Octopod being one of them. Octopod is Jon's electronica sideproject in which he writes what sound like computer game soundtracks using out of the box samples and instruments. These demos are then tweaked, rearranged and produced by myself (aka phluxm) and released as electronica.

"Defeat Minions. Slay Boss. Save Girl" is Octopod's 2nd release after our the debut "Impossipuzzle". One track from that EP "Precious Things" was included on the 2006 Capsule Sampler CD taken to Sonar Festival in Barcelona. The other MaggotHouse track included was phluxm's "Bread Machine" which even got Radio1 airplay on the BBC thanks Mary Anne Hobbs Experimental show. It was played just after Squarepusher! See here.

We must say thanks to Antonio Roberts (who also helped us with this glitched up video) again for supplying a quick glitch graphic used on the cover and again to Ross Abatis for extra mastering work done.

Anyway go grab your joystick and go and download yourself a copy of "Defeat Minions. Slay Boss. Save Girl" here!!



Saturday, 16 February 2013

homemade coleslaw, jawing about lesbians

Check out the phenomenal collage talents of Ed Wakefield here on his Tumblr site... love it!


Here's more on his collage work which is part of the FRAME_ exhibition (ends tomorrow!)

Sounds like Bank

I'm pleased to say I've managed to hook back up with the Birmingham arts scene a little since returning home, and last week I spent a day inside the atmospheric Municipal Bank at the end of Broad Street (behind the bus stops over the road from Centenary Square).

I'm working with artist Elly Clarke who is the mastermind behind the current FRAME_ exhibition across Birmingham (ends tomorrow - Feb17th) which is billed as "Splendid art in places you already go to".

Dan Auluk in the FRAME_ Exhibition
'Why mention money when we're looking at art?'
Installed at The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre.

Earlier in the day I met musician and recording buddy for the project Ross Abatis, and we later met the Berlin/Birmingham based artist in Carluccio's for a quick chat and some tasty pasta (most of mine - I'm not sure if it's my aging state, the cold, or just a general ineptitude for eating - went all over the place).

Anyway... after a quick chat we went to meet some previous employees of the bank and set up our recording kit. The bank is cold inside, it's been empty for 10 years and we were freezing. The main chamber has a wonderful echo to it though, and downstairs are a series of rooms and passages leading to the vault.


Inside the vault is row upon row of safety boxes. It's quite striking, and we managed to record some interesting stories from the employees about guns, death, dancing and how the safety boxes were used to store not just cash, but other oddities... like glass eyes.

The recordings will eventually become a series of stories that visitors can listen to as they move about the bank in an art show in march called "Thrift Radiates Happiness". The title of the show comes from an inscription cut into the ornate roof of the building.


Banking idealism? Financial slogans? Weirdness? Check out some of these...

"Lion power" - Harris Bank
"Get more. That’s the point" - Key Point Credit Union
"Be bullish" - Merrill Lynch
"The power of yes" - First Hawaiian Bank
"Unbank yourself" - SkyOne FCU

If your wondering where I'm getting all this from go here.

To finish, I thought this might be appropriate - here's Ross Abatis playing "Abundance"

 

"Thrift Radiates Happiness"
Opens Thursday March 14th and runs until Sunday March 17th
www.thriftradiateshappiness.com

Artists include Elly Clarke, Spartacus Chetwynd, Tom Crawford, Ellie Harrison, Sparrow+Castice, Julie Tsang, Nicole Wilson, Mary Yacoob and Caitlin Griffiths (with whom I helped create this voice-swap video a while ago).

Thursday, 31 January 2013

MaggotHouse Music is back!

It's been a while but I have finally revamped the MaggotHouse music store and it's now located as part of the pretty nifty Bandcamp community.

Today we release the newly remastered Polly Daniel Son's Justice Forge EP and were also giving away a little heard recording by Jazz Thrash Assassin - Pork Rind Grind.

Please help us, Like the page on Facebook & Share with your friends! 

You can visit the Maggothouse Bandcamp for more music and info.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Recent Drawings