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X-3, 2, 1...Blast Off! 

I hope the year is treating you well a few days in. Today is sponsored by the letter 'X' and the numbers 1971 and 2023.

X-3 was another name given to the Prospero satellite, launched by the BLACK ARROW rocket in 1971 (a technical overview can be found on the Wight Aviation Museum website) and X-1 is shorthand for a radio show on Satsuma Radio and Mixcloud that plays all manner of electronic oddities, including some highlights from BLACK ARROW, which concluded the most recent show.

Apparently there was a radio…

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Season's Greetings! 

Maybe it should be renamed Dark Krampus instead of Dark Compass given the time of year, but it's always nice to see songs getting a play on the radio, in this case, the song is In Your Neighbourhood

On that vague song theme, this year's festive Neighbourbood card has now been posted and there is a new collection of things over there which provides a backdrop to my previous seasonal efforts (and a whole lot of hoarding). Last year's festive episode of your favourite puppet adventures is also available to…

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Double Trouble and Other Numbers 

To badly borrow a quote from a bygone confectionary advert,

"DarkCompass, with these broadcasts, you are really spoiling us."

This time though it's Once Upon A Time, at number 10 on the list in the most recent show, which in Roman numerals is X. X is in both Precurxor and CURXES, which started in 2010. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

We've also been sitting on our Asimov over at 3Fach, which is playing a host of amazing music over in Switzerland and our sombre spaceward track, The Stars, Like Dust. Listen in,

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The Dark Outside is 10! 🎂 

Coaster by Tether.

Earlier in the year, I released my two space EPs with the finest cassette label and broadcaster in Dumfries and Galloway and was beyond delighted that they sold out in under 24 hours (especially in the post-Christmas period - arguably one of the most miserable times of year, perhaps second only to the hellscape known commonly as "summer"). My copies take pride of place in my tape collection, along with some of the earlier fever dream-esque Dark Outside compilations.

Long before this…

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Shortwave Transmissions 

Broadcasts and radio seem to be a bit of a theme recently. First off, BLACK ARROW & ETHER/ORBIT were released together on cassette via The Dark Outside (normally broadcasting from the Galloway Forest) and now Cities and Memory has released a new project called Shortwave Transmissions (broadcasts from around the world), featuring my contribution, Ottawa Shortwave

You can listen to the entire release on Bandcamp and hear a special radio programme from its curator on Resonance FM (broadcasts from London). 

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A Seance for a Satellite 

A transmission within a transmission. Thanks to Simon Heartfield for playing some of ETHER/ORBIT on his Secret Self Seance Radio show, along with Pye Corner Audio, Halina Rice, Rupert Lally and many more. You can listen below or view the whole archive of shows over at Mixcloud.

Moons and Stars 

We're back looking and listening to the night sky. My track 'Huygens' can be heard as part of Blue Star Radio's 41st episode, fittingly concluding with those stars who've recently drifted out into the infinite night, and a Leyland Kirby track. Listen below (full tracklist here). ✨

Huygens Probe Shines for Cassini Cameras. Photograph from NASA's Image and Video Library.

Synth In The City 

Potentially your city, even, depending on where you're tuning in from. Anyway, nice to hear In Your Neighbourhood get a little play here whilst I'm working on some new bits and pieces.

Also, on the subject of synth cities, if the idea of owning a wall of vintage synths appeals but storage is a problem, then these might be the answer. They are made by a graphic designer called Ronaldo Lopes Teixeira Rolt and I love them. Check out the gallery (including a mini Space Echo) or watch one of my favourites, the…

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Invisible Waves and Seasonal Joints 

When everything has felt firmly glued to the spot (and the sofa at certain points), I'd like to say thank you to everyone who joined me for a trip into space, with a special nod to Wavegirl, Simon and The Joint radio show (already well into 2021) for their kind end-of-year words and airplay. It's been really lovely and encouraging to read.

Best EP of 2020:

Roberta Fidora - Black Arrow

This is a work of stunning beauty from beginning to end, coupled with the artwork... wow!
I really can't wait to see what…

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Dandelions In December 

No, not the name of a forthcoming folk album (somewhat Mulligan and O'Hare in tone), but a little heads up that alongside ACR, Arab Strap, Black Honey and other goodies, I'll be on Andy Morrison's December show with a seasonal song to accompany anyone starting on those Christmas spirits early. There's some more information below and you can listen throughout December here.

The Da-Dark Outside 

Set your radios to hum, because it's time for another instalment of The Dark Outside (the broadcast where you could hear anything from an acid banger to a particularly beautiful washing machine), this time as part of Aerial Festival. Join in here and listen out for something about top secret rocket documents or that sounds like wind whistling through island deckchairs. You can also follow along on Twitter as you listen.

Photo shared by Pete Warren.

Are Waves Electric? 

These ones are. ⚡

Always exciting to hear a blast of In Your Neighbourhood over the airwaves, especially when it's followed up by Sufjan Stevens (probably the only time I will ever get to say that) and we're coming up to three years since Gilded Cage was released. This edition of The Electric Wave show also includes Not Really (Virtual Reality) by Blancmange, who we shared a stage with back in 2017 (probably some of my favourite live outings with venue The 1865 having a notable part-Shining, part-Butlins…

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Sunday Seance 

I was listening to the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack yesterday whilst swimming through the internet of opinions and ended up feeling several inches shorter. What I should have been doing instead, was summoning up some space sounds with Simon Heartfield below, on his Secret Self show on Seance Radio.

Secret Self Radio Show · Secret Self: Seance Radio Show 078

Enjoy this most excellent mix. ✨

BLACK ARROW is available here or via Bandcamp.

Listen to Simon's new release Mythologies on Bandcamp.

Blast Off! 

BLACK ARROW is out today! Thanks to everyone who's taken the trip with me and to everyone who sent me a picture of their record too - I've enjoyed seeing a little piece of space on synths (thanks to Simon Pott for the main picture), sound setups and beyond (with the Take Hart music looped in my head)!

It's also been nice to be able to chat to people about the release and hear it played elsewhere, so a big thank you to The Dark Inside, SonOfMarketing, SoundGym and We Buy Records podcast for providing a…

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Dandelion and Brr-dock 

I haven't been feeling particularly festive, but thankfully Dandelion Radio have come to the rescue, with Andy Morrision's first seasonal show since 2015! You can hear my solemn synth switch-up of a Santa song on rotation daily here in the run up to Christmas. There's also a good dose of Low to make it feel just like Christmas, although I could be wrong and perhaps it isn't like Christmas at all.

The cover is also this month's free mailing list download on my music page. Just type in your email and a gift…

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Dark Outside in Waltham Forest 

I’ve been sending secret synths in to this for a number of years now and still get a surge of pure joy from seeing not just my own name, but a sprawling community of the weird and wonderful who will all, for a short time, populate the forest.