Twenty Paces

Aye, I know, I know. It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here (primary blame is current lack of internet) but I figured I should just say thanks for all the support this year and point you towards a little recent release from me as part of Low Sun Misgivings, a series of EPs by myself and my fellow Broken20 brethren Production Unit and TVO available for free/name your price from the Broken20 bandcamp (TVOs and a surprise compilation will be along soon).

[bandcamp album=3232486250 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

‘A meditative series of constructs, set into motion and given freedom to run. Vast pendulums arcing across a map of the universe, spiralling out, intersecting lines creating points, connected nodes plotting new abstracts.

A mandala rendered in granular modulations.’

There are a couple of new albums worth of material sitting in the archive awaiting dissemination and a few potentially interesting projects lined up but perhaps I’ll elaborate on that once 2014 has gained a little momentum, we shall see.

All the best,


The Hermit/Inside Stone

It’s been far too long, I know, I know. I’ve been insanely busy lately putting together my MFA degree show and it’s pretty much all over bar the crying.

Here are some rough stats for you – A cairn 109m above sea level in Lewis, 12 tension cables, 400 pieces of laser cut acrylic, over 1km of fishing line, seating based on the occult centre of the space, several buckets of black paint, over 20 hours breathing in toxic plastic lasercutter fumes, 4 speakers, a 16 minute long quadrophonic mix, an arduino controlled stepper motor and a whole pile of blood sweat and tears.

Inside Stone 11

You can read about the piece in detail here including a detailed pdf of the motivations/process/etc. and view images of the installation on flickr.

To coincide with the exhibition, I’ve put together a release of a stereo mix of the piece (down from 4 channels in the installation) and a couple of other related works. Stream it below but if you do like it, please consider paying for it as I’m really very poor at the moment (as ever).

[bandcamp width=350 height=560 album=932924232 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

A very limited number of CDRs of the release will be available at the show which opens next Friday (16th August) at DJCAD, Dundee. My work is showing in Room 239 in the Textiles Corridor of the Crawford Building. Hope to see you there.


Bunker Vibes

Just a short one to say that I’ll be performing a brand new set at DCA on July 1st when, alongside the ever awesome Torsten Lauschmann, I’ll be supporting Lucky Dragons. Tickets are available from Box Office, doors are at 7.30pm, and it’s downstairs in the VRC for all your bunker like music listening enjoyment.

Oh yeah, seeing as my MFA degree show is in the process of mentally and financially bankrupting me, don’t forget you can support my endeavours by buying some incredibly modestly priced releases from my bandcamp page here.

See you Monday I hope.


Go Shopping

I recently came to the realisation that I’m getting a little tired of the destitute life of the international drone superstar and that I’m unlikely to reach my short term goals of helicopters and swimming pools so decided to set up a little roadside stall to push some of my less available works from the archive along with some shiny brand new and previously unreleased works and give you good people the opportunity to support a struggling artist.

The current jewel in the selection is a recording of my latest 46 minute longform work, Groundshift (free stream below) recorded live at Colony in London earlier in the year. You can pick it up for a meagre £4 and it comes with a bonus video download of Jupiter.

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There are a bunch of other full albums available from as little as £2 here, go on, treat yourself, you’re totally worth it.




This Friday sees the opening of a group show which I have organised and curated along with Norman Shaw. 22 Artists will be exhibiting a number of works in response to an open call. There will be performances on the night from Norman Shaw, Neil McIntee and  I’ll be performing a new work exploring modular synthesis as a ritual practice inspired by Voudon ceremonies. Find out more about Invocations here.

Voudon Invocations by Erstlaub

I hope to see you there.



Just a short note to say thanks to the guys from Colony for putting us on down in London last week, excellent sets and patter all round. Unfortunately the venue’s projector decided not to work on the night so below you can hear a recording of my set from the night and see the visuals that remained in the realm of the unseen.

Groundshift (live @ Colony 15/03/13) from Erstlaub on Vimeo.

As ever, everything has been quite aggressively crunched to fit onto vimeo but such is the shape of things.

This week I also managed to squeeze out another in my series of infrequent pieces considering modular synthesis as a ritual practice straying into the boundaries between minimal techno and Voudon territory.

Ayizan by Erstlaub



I know, I know, I suck. It’s been a while.

Things have been super busy lately, for anyone in the South, Broken20 are decamping to the big smoke for a face off with Colony on March 15th at the Waiting Room, the Quietus did a nice little preview of it here. Expect a brand new set from me, and my first time trying out an alternative means of performance. Do come.

I’ve been working away on a project with Norman Shaw (who has done us an amazing podcast for Broken20 that we’re just waiting for the technical goblins to sort out).

Through an open call, we are inviting artists from all stages in their careers to submit works created in response to their mystical ‘otherness’. You can read about the project and more importantly download the submission form from the site here.

I have a new work (along with an insanely varied and awesome roster of artists) in the Generator Members Show which opens this Friday at 7pm at Generator Projects, Dundee. Do attend if you can, it’s generally completely stowed out with fantastic work.

Finally, here’s a little audiovisual piece I made the other night. Enjoy.

Completion from Erstlaub on Vimeo.

Hail Eris!


Amidst Measured Chaos

I’ve been having a think recently about the notion of performance, in particular when it comes to improvising. I have previously written a short piece titled ‘On Confessions of Breath’ published on The National Tropospherics Commission site ( that looked into my improvised trumpet/clarinet and electronics works as a meditational/exorcism device but, with a new performance piece and an alternative approach looming, I thought it pertinent to consider and readdress this area.

I’ve become quite enamoured lately on the prospect of chaotic systems and their capacity to self organise, I’m about to start work in the next while on a paper that investigates the artist as a self organising system (or possibly the process of the artist as a self organising system), or maybe my system will self organise itself into something more sensible and assessable, I digress.

There is a counterpoint in improvised music where both the performer and the listener reach an acceptance of chaos. The performer, with dexterity, knowledge and ability creates, navigates and disperses new and exciting landscapes (often this is a more enjoyable process for the performer than the listener but that’s already a long running argument to be had elsewhere). Knowing their medium, the improviser can listen and react. but there also exists a more chaotic direction, I’m not saying this is in any way ‘more improvised’, just another approach.

The piece that has spurred this text into motion is a response to Plymouth Rock, an installation work by New York based artist Trisha Baga who is currently exhibiting at DCA, Dundee.

“Plymouth Rock (2012) […] considers the famous pilgrim landing site by meandering through Chinese takeaway menus and a recital of a Justin Bieber Christmas song. This work is emblematic of her experimental approach to presentation – harnessing reflections, shadows and overlays which match the fragmented edits of the film itself.”

The soundtrack to this work is a disparate collage of snippets of songs, diegetic sound and spoken word that Baga has woven together (or allowed to fall together?), it mirrors the physical realisation of the piece comprising of a complex series of found and appropriated objects, both displaying and breaking projections and creating intricate shadow play in the gallery space.

Now, I should confess, I work in the gallery at DCA, I often end up spending hours in the close proximity of work and it does have a tendency to creep into your subconscious. So I was sitting in the studio the other day and an ohwürm surfaced. After a fair amount of poking and prodding, I managed to grab hold of it and identify it as a bit of ‘Let’s Dance’ by Bowie (not my favourite period of his, that naturally is ‘Low’ but I’ll continue), it wasn’t a sensible bit though, not the chorus, or the bridge, or even an even bar’s worth of it but a strange little off-loop. Seeing as my brain was already unconsciously sampling and looping this material, I thought it might be an interesting challenge to use this random, ever changing sequence of sounds as a chaotic impetus for improvising using a series of dedicated effects units and loop pedals.

In the past, when using physical instruments (or even occasional forays into radio based scrying) alongside electronics, there has been an inclination of control over the input, having played a series of notes that are looping, my brain, fingers and breath can make the leap and build on them or I can allow the situation to take the piece in another direction. With a completely uncontrolled and random input, we reach into a different, weirder territory.

There is something dangerously liberating about the idea of not being entirely in control of a situation that you are entrenched at the heart of, particularly given that in a moment of crisis, you can’t fall back into safer territory, both performer and audience locked together into a dialogue that endures until one of them decides that enough is enough and calls it a day.

It could be argued that knowing the signal processing equipment and carefully considered order of the system that I’ll be using for the performance, that I still have a degree of expertise and control over the results, but then that needs to exist otherwise it would be a perpetually growing, saturated wall of mush and of little performative or sonic purpose. The ‘goal’, (although I’m starting to feel a little less goal oriented and possibly more interested in process and potentiality) is the opportunity to open up discourse, to react to situations outwith regular systems of control and maybe even to throw little caution to the wind? When we are in control of all the elements in a system, there is less room for surprising feedback loops, odd rhythms and unexpected harmony to arise.

Maybe this will be the beginnings of a more free, less organised, decentred self or, more likely, an additional escape vessel to be employed when the constrictions of order become a little too frustrating and asphyxiating. I like having systems, sometimes I like having systems a little too much, it is just worth bearing in mind that even a chaotic system is still a system and as such it will have a tendency to organise itself (even if its organisation is a chaotic form ((you see, it gets somewhat recursive?))).