Friday, March 16, 2018

Documenting the No-Audience Underground

I've frequently referred to the "no-audience underground" term which has been coined by Rob Hayler of Midwich and of Radio Free Midwich blog to describe the North England experimental/noise scene which consists of a core of musicians having eschewed the idea of being "accepted" or "understood" by a wider audience and play for themselves and for a group of people which includes also other musicians. In this blog I have covered many of the musicians involved in this scene like Culver, Smut, Witchblood, Posset, etc, that play some of the best music ever recorded in the experimental/drone/noise milieu. Now that the Radio Free Midwich blog has ceased operations, the task of making this scene visible has been upheld by other media, one of which is the TQ Zine I covered last week. Another very interesting project is the No-Audience Underground Tapes initiated by David Howcroft. He documents live gigs of various artists playing in the hotbeds of this scene, Newcastle and Gateshead, which he then puts to tape and sends for free to anyone asking, not even asking for shipping costs. I have myself got a number of tapes. This is undeground sharing par excellence. So far he has produced more than 40 tapes, including live gigs by Culver, Vampyres, Depletion, Smut, Witchblood, Posset, The New Blockaders, Xazzaz, Noize Choir, Fells, gigs in the Tusk Festival and many many others. Also I hear he's doing an interesting Nurse With Wound project which sounds fun.

I think that this is a project that really encapsulates the meaning of the underground. Having stated here that downloading is not enough and that we all ought to support great artists by giving something in return and that physical tapes, cds or vinyl cannot be replaced by mp3 files, I highly urge that all readers send an email to David to get copies of those gigs and to encourage him to keep the N-Aut project going. His email is