Howlround – ‘Secret Songs Of Savamala’ [The Fog Signals]

We’re big fans of Robin the Fog. As a producer / engineer / presenter of some of the finest radio for his own shows on Resonance FM and BBC, his activities from blogging to recording are a constant source of on-point amusement and often fascination that spirals in to an additional hour or so of personal research. Check his most recent post on the return of Public Information Films to see the sort of unexpected paths a conversation with him would usually send you spiralling down:

In fact, randomly bumping in to Robin The Fog around London at a variety of events and locations, and getting inspired by his variety of activities is one of the things I miss about living in the city.

About this time last year Robin arrived on wax as Howlround with The Ghosts Of Bush House LP. The much praised record composed from field recordings of the old BBC headquarters – Bush House – was not only a piece for the collection musically and culturally, but gained enough momentum for Howlround to become a live show, most recently performing a few weeks back with a secret performance at Southwark.

Four tape machines and two players, with Chris Weaver completing the group. You may have noticed from the above video the importance of the atmosphere and location in which they were performing to fully capture the vibe of the performance. As it happens, that’s a rather nice segue in the Secret Songs Of Savamala, the follow up to The Ghosts Of Bush House which, despite turning out very different, follows the same site specific ideals of the first offering.

The subject this time is a ruined customs house in Belgrade, Serbia. Not a recognisable site for the Londoners for whom Bush House held a special place for, but chosen for it’s integrity of the structure and the sonic capabilities. It’s all part of the project evolving in my opinion, as is the addition of vocals and percussion from Mirjana Utvić and Anita Knežić to bring out the acoustical spirit of the building.

Get on this one quick, as you may recall the first two pressings of their last record flew out, and this time we’re assured there’s no repress. Check out the two teasers below with a rather poetic press release just underneath that, then go here to get your hands on a copy:

‘The ruins of the Spanish House stand on the banks of the river Sava at the heart of the Savamala district of Belgrade. Originally a decadent customs house in the heart of a bustling port, this decaying structure bears the imprint of many generations. Now an empty echo chamber, its walls reverberate with the rumble of the passing freight trains like the sea inside a shell; songs and shouts return distorted from a trip around the flooded basement and exposed structural supports become an unholy set of chimes. All the sounds you hear on this album were recorded on site and nothing has been added that is not of the building itself. This echoic palimpsest is architectural portraiture in sound’.

Leila Peacock