Set to make an appearance on Record Store Day and already courting a fair degree of interest among the curio collecting community, a limited 10 inch pressing featuring a Drew Mulholland reinterpretation of Delia Derbyshire’s ‘Three Antennas In A Quarry’. Limited to just 250 copies through the highly admired Buried Treasure imprint, this rare outing comes housed in sleeve artwork by Nick Taylor and features a rare Delia snap from the 70’s. In brief, the background as to how this came to be read thus ‘….. Mulholland (Mount Vernon Arts Lab) became friends with Delia Derbyshire in the late 1990’s. They spoke often about electronic sound, the arts, her time at the BBC & beyond. Delia sent him a copy of a graphic score written in the late 1960s & gave her blessings to a new interpretation’.
Featured within are twelve suites, mostly incidentals where the tracks barely break into the one minute passage, those familiar with the John Baker scores released through both Buried Treasure and earlier by Trunk will get the drift as to how this flows. That said the most important element here is Mulholland himself. Those who’ve followed his career as Mount Vernon Arts Lab will be all to aware, that his sonic radar was like, fellow sound alchemist Sonic Boom (wearing his Experimental Audio Research hat), very much tuned into the more obscuring elements of electronica, notably those pioneered by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. By applying a strict, almost scientific, near mathematical logic to their creative process, both (Mulholland / Boom) clearly identified and forged a strange shared mindset with those early boffins hidden away in the bowels of Maida Vale. Mount Vernon Arts Lab’s ‘the Séance at Hobs Lane’ from a few years back, may in someway serve as a pre-listening starter as to what to expect on ‘Three Antennas in a Quarry’. Fed on a diet of Nigel Kneale literary thoughts, Radiophonic dystopia and a forgotten and lost subterranean London haunted by ritual, custom and abandoned train stations, Mulholland created a sonic palette daubed in shadows, mystery and broken memory something that has since been extracted and diluted to a creative next step by, just to name one that springs immediately to mind, the Assembled Minds’ haunted playground tripped rusted spectral techno. In truth its something that perfectly time stamps and soundtracks the atmosphere and eerie nostalgia of Buried Treasure’s current (and ongoing) ‘Delaware Road’ serial. Delia Derbyshire of course, should need no introduction here, a maverick who by all accounts was prone to obsession and a determination to succeed whose creative spark burnt briefly bright with alarming intensity before sadly dimming in the fog of self confidence. A sonic sculpturor, more so an artist whose paint palette where the frequencies and modulations of sounds (not so strange) found in everyday life. In the days before preset portable synthesizers, her’s was the laboured long way round of painfully slow tape cutting processes and the navigating of hulking banks of levers, nobs and wires.
It’s immediately apparent from the minute ‘little white boxes’ appears that Mulholland is tuned and honed deep into the Derbyshire hive mind, a connection both eerie and remote, this track particularly shimmered with an isolationist chill whose subdued dronal hiss not unlike the sounds crafted by EAR, casts a deeply resonating outsiderism ghosted in spectral abstraction. Longest track of the set, ‘Brian Jones projection’ is awash in hypnotic bowed shimmers, its porcelain fragile turned on a finite curvature and optimized with a precise balance of sound, a glacial harmony of the spheres as were, graced and seasoned in mysticism not too mention aglowed with a meditative mesmeric as though some hitherto Tibetan ancient. The first of several incidentals, the droning ‘calder woodward’ a Quatermass-ian spiritual echo which like atmospherically charged ‘Delian Stone’ sonically subscribes to the Kneale-esque obsession of sonic residues or ghosts in the machine i. e. traumatic occurrences locked in material substances causing vibrations under certain conditions (see Quatermass and the Pit or more obviously ‘the Stone Tape’ to which this track mirrors and mimics with its spectral rumbles emanating from the ether). Something of a sore thumb and with that something deeply disquieting, the dislocated ‘highbankgate 7am’ provides for an atonal ice cold listening, freeze dried in a disorientating oddness, it tunes in and out with a disturbing eerie with the occasional visitation of disembodied voices communicating through the static frost, one for appreciation in the daylight with the lights on. ‘do ghosts dream’ does little to settle the tension or sense of disquiet with its eerie nothingness an experience only magnified and outdone by the stilled ice cold pulse of the ominously remote deathly stare of ‘return to the desolate shore’. Elsewhere, ‘maiac’ finds a destination reached point at the heart of the Delian psyche, an alien netherworld unsettled in Radiophonic creeps and Whoism echoes which just leaves the beyond the veil utterings of ‘she remembers’ and the AI terrorphonia of the parting ‘worklode’ to bring closure on this strangely unearthly box of delights. https://buriedtreasure.bandcamp.com/album/three-antennas-in-a-quarry