A night they host at The Cube, Young Echo, which is legendary for hammering at boundaries of electronic music, so this Sunin and Robert Stewart, they work under the moniker SRS, and this is a track from their latest release, Data Fossil.”
All those words and phrases are just what I except to hear when I listen to Radio 3’s Late Junction, though the only expectation in terms of the playlist is that I will always be taken by surprise by something. However much I think I know what to expect – whether cacophony or ambient spacescape, something will infiltrate my predictions and subvert it.
I have eulogised Late Junction before and it continues to offer an eclectic home invasion of disconcerting voices and the sort of music that would normally accompany a movie about cockroaches that have mutated to a point of extreme savagery due to a radiation leak near an unkempt processed meat manufacturer.
Well, that is what it sounds like to me anyway. The music is usually an atmospheric Rorschach test. You’ll create your own landscape, Utopia or dystopian vision to accompany it. There is usually some very free jazz too. If you listen to it via BBC Sounds it is also easy to get straight to the link where you can listen to more of these idiosyncratic musicians and purchase their work via Bandcamp or a similar site. They deserve your support as many of them will not make the playlist of Steve Wright in the Afternoon. A while ago, I found this statement: “The more imagination your work requires, the smaller the audience you’ll find,” which seemed very depressing. On the plus side, the intensity of the love and admiration is usually great if you have had to put a little work in.
Your ears prick up throughout Late Junction and a pad and pencil remain close for frequent notes of new music to explore. In memory of jazz pianist and composer Keith Tippett (main image), who recently died, presenter Verity Sharp played his All Time, All Time, an incredibly powerful piece of piano hammering, as if Lemmy wrote the score for a Hitchcock thriller. Drummer Ben Clark commented on Tippett’s live performances being an act of towering shamanism. Sharp also relayed Clark’s story of Tippett ending a show by placing a wind-up toy on the stage so that the audience couldn’t applaud immediately and, while they were distracted, he sneaked out to the back of the hall and disguised himself with a hat and coat, and as the applause began, he shouted abuse about what a load of rubbish it had been.
I am even more glad of Late Junction’s existence this summer as it is these months where I usually yomp through farmers’ fields that have thrown the cows out for a few days so they can be replaced by The Levellers and Sleaford Mods. In the dark corners of these meadows, near the possessed oak tree, is where I find new music, there will be none of that this year. The Glastonbury weekend was catered for by Radio 6 Music, who offered a variety of replacement patches for those suffering withdrawal symptoms, including a great selection on Tom Robinson’s Virtual Glastonbury. I was looking forward to surprising myself by ending up waving my arms about and singing along to Hey Jude in a Somerset field, to replace it I heated up some cider, took too many Imodium and pretended I was Nick Cave singing Jubilee Street while my left hand daubed luminous paint on my face and my right hand tried to stop it. It was a very usual festival weekend, just with a closer proximity than usual to the tomato plant in my garden.