Thursday, 5 November 2009


Some great images from friday and saturday night at FON by Jack Boulter. In descending order, Stuart Brackley from Black Carrot; Sam Owen from Pram; Richard Youngs; and Geraldine Swayne and Zappi Deirmaier from Faust. More images and comment from an extraordinary couple of nights will follow.

FON exhibition at Barrow Sixth Form College

Sound Objects ,an exhibition of design, presentation and dessimination methods is currently on show to students at Barrow Sixth Form College as part of the FON education programme. Featuring artwork and objects from a wide range of contemporary musicians including many FON festival artists , the exhibition and its accompanying workshop sessions from FON curators will tour local schools.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Mobile Radio in action with Haco. Susan Matthews also joined us for part of the show.
A big thanks to all Octopodes for making this piece possible. It will shortly be available for download under an Octopus licence.
Photo: Jack Boulter

Friday, 23 October 2009

Bill's 'Bencher straight key'

MORSONATA will be broadcast live on the 23rd October from 20:00 - 21:00 on in London on Resonance 104.4FM, also available on the internet at:

Coding the Ursonate

We were very happy to work with Morse code operators Bill Jenkins and Mike Cumming. They bravely got stuck into Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate for us. The text is extremely repetitive; we used it to create rhythms in code. This will form the backbone of the Mobile Radio work tonight titled 'MORSONATA'.

Hope nobody needs the loo...

Mobile radio recording our jingle in the ladies with Susan Matthews.
Photo: Haco

Playing "Jimmy"

Mobile Radio have been collect- ing stories and sounds for our live show tonight. On Wednesday a local actor, Damo, stepped in to help us dramatise a day in the life of a submariner, a prisoner of war.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Fragile Air

Images and sounds of Barrow...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Wavy Bench

Day one in Barrow for Mobile Radio.
We join a trip to the store rooms of the Dock Museum to seek out sounds and stories. Outside is a wavy bench, oh, that looks like a submarine shed in the background.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

In Residence at FON: Haco

Video clip of Haco from the 1990 Fred Frith documentary 'Step Across the Border'.
Octopus are hugely excited to have Haco working in and around Barrow Island this week to create a multi-channel sound installation as part of FON!
Haco's residency has been made possible with support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Japan Foundation.


The Octopus team have been busy this week transforming the Canteen in readiness for next week's FON festival.

John puts the finishing touches to a set of giant hand made banners (above). Additions to the main performance space to be made over the next week include a giant floor-mounted circuit diagram, the raising of the main stage ceiling to accommodate a cinema screen and a series of printed posters to decorate the wall space.

The empty street-facing room adjoining the main hall has been transformed into a temporary workspace for FON's visiting artists in residence. Thanks to Sue for the flowers and Alys for the musical alien.

Alex and Fern hard at work in the FON space earlier this week (above).

Join us on Wednesday 21st October, 7-10pm at the Canteen for a series of presentations from resident artists Haco, Susan Matthews, Knut Aufermann and Sarah Washington (Mobile Radio) plus education partners Owl Project.

This is a free event. Please RSVP to:

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


FON resident artist Susan Matthews informs us that the Milton Keynes radio show Garden Of Earthly Delights will be broadcasting an exclusive mix from Susan which you can download from the stations site. Over FON weekend the Head Gardener ( seen above) will be mixing music by several of our artists including Faust and Pram. The show goes out live on CRMK at 10PM every friday, but The Head Gardeners site is itself full of great music and unexpected detours ..among the heap of fine sessions (Malcolm Middleton.. 2 tracks from Cat power recorded on cassette in 1998!) and mixes you can check out the Blog for an illustrated tour of the HG'S local charity shops ( I would've bought those 50p folk ep's HG, hope you don't come to regret it) and read how he upset Sting in the 90's with a simple act of mistaken identity. This is what we want. FON is in good company.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Octopus at the Merzbarn

Octopi John Hall and Glenn Boulter made their way up the A590 last Saturday to discuss FON at the annual Kurt Schwitters Herbst-Schule. The art/architecture conference took place in and around Kurt Schwitter's 'Merzbarn' at the Cylinders Estate near Elterwater. The event included a seminar on artist led learning projects, performances and discussions on the future of the Merzbarn.
Glenn and John performed on Saturday evening at the Merzzzoom Cabaret, employing laptops, amplified mixing bowl, buddha machine and a mangled Patti Smith cassette. Other acts included the Lakeland Fiddlers and East Lancs. band Funnel whose set included rousing renditions of Ursonate and Anna Blume.

Kurt Schwitters and David Medalla preside over the closing buffet at Cylinders Estate.

We'd like to thank Ian and Celia of Littoral for inviting us along to KS09 and look forward to collaborating in the future!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

More from the FON Launch Night

More pictures, courtesy of Will Miners, from the FON launch night at the Storey: Zun Zun Egui (above) and Fuck Buttons (below).

Look out for an imminent report on Octopus' field trip to the Merzbarn at Elterwater...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

FON tickets on sale at Jumbo, Leeds

Jumbo Records, Leeds' finest independant record shop, has FON tickets for sale from this weekend. You can call in at the shop in the St Johns centre ( quite near Leeds Met and opposite the Merrion Centre) or book online at Tickets - Jumbo Records. Buy some records while you're at it.

Leeds has been good to us over the last couple of days. FON apparatchiks John and Glenn have been active in the EXPO festival, appearing at Late Expo and working with Young Expo at Leeds City Museum. EXPO was good as ever. As well as seeing two fine nights at Left Bank (particularly enjoyed Family Underground) I went to see Paul Rooney's piece "Thin Air" concerning the various histories conained within Leeds Poly Art departments H Block, and met a lot of nice people, forcing FON print on most of them.

FON launched in Lancaster, courtesy 44, Fuck Buttons and Zun Zun Egui

This amateurish blur is my sole record of the FON launch night at Lancaster's Story Institute on friday. It was a great night, with a big turn out for excellent sets from Fuck Buttons and Zun Zun Egui . Congratulations to FON partners 44 Promotions and to the venue management. Cracking place, good sound , a communal washing area and its five mins from the station

Friday, 18 September 2009

Owl Project to play Barrow Sixth Form College for FON

If youve been reading Wire lately, (and if youre reading this then you probably have) youll know of Owl Project and thier work..if not, have a look at Owl Project, iLog, Sound Lathe, Log1k..

Owl Project is a collaborative group of Manchester based artists who share interests in human interaction with technology and process led art.
The group currently consists of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. Over the last few years (they )have become known for a distinctive range of wooden musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces.

Owl Project will present thier work to students at Barrow Sixth Form College on Oct 21 of FONweek as part of our education programme. Thanks to Colin Aldred at B6FC for setting this one up. Tony Hall met the FON team recently while working at Ormsgill school in Barrow lately, wowing the kids with home made space rockets and his portable slime-lab. There were nowt like that at Tupton Juniors. Here's Tony launching one of the kid's rockets . Try it at home kids, go on, try it.

Susan Matthews meets FON

Susan Matthews is one of FONs Resident artists during the week of the festival. She was up here with her family on a recce the other week, and is seen here re-creating the Smiths Salford Lads Club photo, possibly, outside our front door.
Susan is based in Kidwelly, Wales. She's an experimental composer, known for her intense, ambitious, hypnotic harmonies and industrial noise creations. our very own
In 2005 she founded the independent record label Siren Wire Recordings through which she has released nine commercial albums and seven eps. She has also recorded music for highly regarded local net label Earth Monkey Productions. last time we saw Susan she was thinking of involving south lakeland tunes , local musicians and the Canteen's battered piano in her FON piece.

You can hear Susan's work on www.
Her son Fenn has a myspace page too with some great stuff on it, well worth a listen.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Outstanding among the list of requirements from Faust at FON is "A large Couch for Drummer." "Big Man" they add. If you've seen Faust you'll appreciate the understatement. Zappi Diermaier is the equivalent of several Big Men. After combing the furniture shops of Barrow I found nothing . Everything looked like Dolls House Furniture. How about a big bed we thought? OK, but have you seen the cost of a decent King Sized bed lately? It'd mean cutting back on the tech I got up today with half a plan about scrounging something from a local shop in a hastily cobbled sponsorship deal... I left my flat to find my yard and most of the street awash with mattresses, bedboxes, bedframes... dozens of them... seems my landlords are using the spaces benaeth my place as a storeroom. When I bought the Faust Tapes 30 summat years ago I never thought I'd be lugging the drummers bed around the cellars under Barrow Shipyard. Zappi will rest easy, thaks to Jimmy and his gang.