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November 2011

September 2011

  • NEW SINGLE - Unbelievably, it was 2007 last time we heard from Oh Joyous Diner. In Britain that means they bypassed the entire premiership of Gordon Brown. Draw your own conclusions on that one. But they return to us with a dose of ill-fitting retro electronic noises. This time their inspiration comes from the unique 8-bit sound of the early 80s home computer. There are 3 tracks of exciting noises influenced by the ZX Spectrum (48K, proper rubber keyboard of course), the Vic 20 and the Commodore 64. Not the BBC Micro though: they were always expecting one but it never arrived. We Must Perform a Quirkafleeg is a title which will bring back fond if frustrating memories for those who sought to be pixel-perfect and will just bemuse everyone else. As we used to say in the 80s

10 print "click here to listen"
20 goto 10

  • SIR CLEMENT! - Hank alumnus outfit Sir Clement have been busy playing live in Toronto and producing new work.  It is every bit as asskickingly awesome as we have come to expect. The new 3-track release even includes a video of "Can't Count Corn" and, stunningly, a cover of Cab Williamson's Waxworks Best Kind of Cock. If you really want to you can listen to the original and the Waxworks' own live versions on the Cab Williamson's Waxworks Archive page but frankly the Sir Clement version doesn't merely piss over it, they toss a match onto its steaming carcass and flambé it in their urine. Experience it for yourself on www.weepingtruckers.com.

  • SLABCAKE PODCAST All four of the original Slabcake shows are now available online - see the link on the left to listen to them. There will be more at some unspecified point.

  • FORTHCOMING barring the usual caveat about not expecting "forthcoming" to mean anytime soon, if you're inclined to check the release schedule, you may notice that Acid Wilhelm has been busy lately not only with his own future release of music especially prepared for the Slabcake podcasts but also in putting together a second collection from the Michishige Tomohisa Archive which should be out in the next few months. There may even be some Hair by Roger soon, but don't start the party yet.

May 2011

  • BIG NEWS - LEARN TO SWIM ON THE RADIO! During this year's Chorlton Arts Festival, Learn to Swim is hosting a breakfast radio show on Chorlton FM entitled SLABCAKE. 9am on Saturday 21st, Sunday 22nd, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. Expect highlights from some of Learn to Swim's odder corners as well as selections of unusual, strange and uncanny music. There will be some specially composed music from the Learn to Swim illuminati including an exclusive collaboration with Southern Charles of Weeping Truckers fame. You can listen online at www.chorltonfm.com with accompanying features on the Learn to Swim Blog

  • TWITTER: I know, we said we never would, but with the launch of SLABCAKE, we've taken the plunge and joined the world of tweets. Follow @thelearntoswim for news, other people's interesting stuff and general useless apocrypha.

  • NEW SINGLE - Can you stand the pace? This time we bring you the sound of geezers, narks, stakeouts and heists. Karswell present the first of two mini-albums of "library music" under the title Criminals (and the tracking down thereof). Click here to listen.

  • GROWN UPS - the Learn to Swim Blog "Now That I'm a Grown-Up..." continues fortnightly updates with increasing earnestness, profundity and beguiling thoughts on all manner of topics. Since last time Carl Sagan and Debussy have been joined by Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles, Stereolab and Peter Cook. That's a damn fine party. Gatecrashers welcome.

  • LEARN TO SWIM on FACEBOOK - http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Learn-to-Swim/19845736140 

  • HANK NEWS: like some kind of transatlantic competition the ever-lovely HANK people have updated their website www.weepingtruckers.com.with more new "Weekly Weeping" trinkets. And they're playing live again! Another point for the "hurrah" axis on the graph of happiness and despair over time.

March 2011

  • NEW SINGLE - And just when we've lulled you into a false sense of security that the concept of a tune is here to stay, here comes Acid Wilhelm with another round of vaguely primordial noises under the title I was promised spacemen and flying cars. Click here to listen.

  • BONUS TRACKS - Thanks to the really positive response to our most recent release Gold Coins for a Cat by Michishige Tomohisa we've posted a couple of little extras - earlier versions of two of the tracks on the album, "Access Visitor" and the title track (probably our favourite) "Gold Coins for a Cat". Both are far from complete but give a fascinating glimpse into the process by which Tomohisa "evolved" his work. Click here to listen.

  • GROWN UP STUFF - the Learn to Swim Blog "Now That I'm a Grown-Up..." is growing nicely. Topics covered so far include Carl Sagan, Debussy, the nature of childhood prejudice and depressing indie music from the 1990s. There is more, oh so much more, to come. If you drop by, please leave some comments.

  • LEARN TO SWIM on FACEBOOK - http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Learn-to-Swim/19845736140 

  • HANK NEWS: It bought cheer to February to see an update on the HANK website www.weepingtruckers.com. Splendid new material and an excellent new video Mantler video. 

January 2011

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR - If this is a time when you recognise the start of a new year, we wish you a pleasant one.

  • HAPPY NEW ALBUM - For only the third time in our patchwork history, we present to you a new album. Yes, no mere single this time, this is the real deal. However in a break with tradition (if "twice" counts as a tradition), this is dedicated exclusively to the work of one artist and, moreover, one person. To spark off a new year of hope and fertile imaginings, we present Gold Coins for a Cat, being a collection of electronic keyboard works by Japanese synthesizer pioneer Michishige Tomohisa. All of us at Learn to Swim have been hugely excited and honoured by the chance to put this special release together which has been achieved in an unbelievably short time, with work only starting on 13th November. Acid Wilhelm, who helped recover the recordings, undertook the restoration process and has generally championed this neglected figure, has provided sleeve notes to give such background as seems decent and, to be honest, possible. Because of the special status of this release and in order to give the best presentation from these rare recordings, we've encoded it at the maximum 320kbps rate (and hang the bandwidth consequences). Click here to listen. Watch out for more releases and bonus tracks as they become available.

  • HAPPY NEW FEATURES: We've done a little redecorating in The Lounge, tidying up our page of interesting links, adding the inevitable Facebook stuff and creating a totally new feature in the form of...

  • HAPPY NEW LEARN TO SWIM BLOG is now live and is called "Now That I'm a Grown-Up..." This is what might be called a "blue moon blog" insofar as that's about how often it'll be updated and is probably randomly dull enough to be considered a blog. I guess this stuff could have gone on the message board, but what the hey. Rest assured, we won't be doing Twitter anytime soon.

  • NEXT UP: If you should care to, the release schedule page offers an idea of what we're likely to see during the coming months. Not that you should regard it as entirely reliable. We certainly don't.

  • HANK NEWS: Our ever-beloved Canadian friends HANK made a long-overdue return to live performance in December. Oh how we wish we could have been there to cheer them on and coo over their offspring. Still, their "Weekly Weeping" series goes on and you can grab a slice of that action at www.weepingtruckers.com. Enjoy.

  • LEARN TO SWIM on FACEBOOK - still available at http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Learn-to-Swim/19845736140 if you sign up you get updates and things and there's a little picture gallery. There's a little extra new bit of Facebook linky stuff in The Lounge