Da-Dark Outside ptII

In March I wrote about my piece DaDaist Take created for the then proposed DaDark Outside radio transmission as part of the Aerial Festival, which was due to be relayed from Cumbria, UK. Obviously, this didn’t happen due to the pandemic but the piece was aired via a 24 hour livestream on further_in

The Dark Outside is a cross between a pirate radio gone rural, a silent disco and a pop-up radio station. It’s 24 hours of music that has never been broadcast before. Under normal circumstances, listeners are invited to bring their FM radio and tune into the frequency wherever it pops up. Previous locations have included the depths of Galloway Forest and Epping Forest. Submissions come from professional musicians working under pseudonyms to first time music makers.”

Aerial Festival rescheduled for September with hopes this would all be over, the pandemic that is. Sadly, no, but everything went online and so did DaDark Outside part II. Originally due for broadcast from The Merz Barn in the heart of the Langdale Valley, the site of the unfinished dada-inspired work of German-born artist Kurt Schwitters, there was instead, an online 24 hour broadcast from 12 noon on 26 September 2020. A call for submissions went out for music / sounds / noise from anyone, anywhere, with a preference given to the more obscure, left-of-field, weird or off the wall in the spirit of Schwitters. I created another DaDa inspired sound piece – It’s amazing what you can create with an out of tune guitar and a contact mic. My piece ‘Uhren’ is genuinely off the wall and you might have caught it but since there’s no playlist, you’d have to guess when it was broadcast. It was such an enjoyable experience putting this track together and a relief from the last few months. It has sparked off an idea that may see the light of day next year. Let’s just say, I’m already working on the next track.

Finally, I wish to thank The Dark Outside for again including my track and all respect to them for their dedication and resolve under such unforeseen circumstances. It was another brilliant listen.

Here is a sample soundfile (best listened through headphones to experience all it’s wonky dadaism) and the original submission explanation of my track –


March 2020 –

Since this year, the Dark Outside is broadcasting from the Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn, I decided to create a dada themed piece. I have already created a sound piece based on the instructions for dada sound poetry – Dadaist Take – which was aired on the Da-Dark Outside Inside in April, due to the pandemic. So I thought I would have another go.

Here I have taken the general principles of the Dada movement – spontaneity, negation and absurdity and also in producing this piece have again used the techniques of creating Dada poetry – collage and cut up, as in the instructions for creating a Dadaist poem by Tristan Tzara (1920).

In Dada art, there is the use of “ready – mades” as epitomised by the work of Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) and my ready made was an old battered guitar I found in the loft when on a giant clearout during lockdown.

I recorded it as it was – out of tune, only four strings. I also recorded sounds from inside the guitar. There was no re – recording. If there were mistakes, strange rumblings, sounds, then so be it. These were the basis of the track, where I applied cut up and collage to the sound files.

The result is Uhren – Clocks, since it ended up sounding like time dragging and clocks in a cave. And in the end, as Tzara stated in his “Dada Manifesto 1918”Everything is absurd. Everything is paradoxical; everything opposes harmony.