New Weird Britain

Music journalist John Doran travels across the country in search of an underground movement of musicians, blossoming in the margins of Britain.

Artists of all stripes have been driven out of the city centres by soaring rent prices and hit hard by the dwindling revenues of the digital economy. But untethered from the prospect of making any money and fueled by the current political turmoil, a new wave of musicians is splintering away from convention to stage bizarre one-off performances that fly in the face of austerity.

They are living off-grid in the countryside, building their own instruments out of electronic junk, staging strange rituals with priests smeared in clay, or even performing with a team of dancers dressed as anatomically correct vaginas which squirt cream over the audience.

Episodes

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Broadcast
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01Urban Hinterlands20190603

In this episode, John Doran seeks out the musicians who are managing to cling on to the edgelands of the big cities to find out whether, away from the expensive artisanal coffee outlets of the urban centres, a new musical underground can still survive in the major cities of Britain.

Contributors include Natalie Sharp, aka Lone Taxidermist, Dan Jones and Charlotte Blackburn from UKAEA, Marion Andrau, Kelly Jayne Jones, Emma Thompson, LOFT, Gordon Bruce and Joel White from GLARC.

Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Music Journalist John Doran seeks out radical music in the urban hinterlands of Britain.

John Doran seeks out a new wave of radical music being made in the margins of Britian.

Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Image credit: Luis Kramer

John Doran seeks out a new wave of radical music being made in the margins of Britain.

02Post-industrial Towns20190610

Rather than moving to the capital to seek out the crumbling infrastructure of the music industry, they are self-releasing straight to the internet, teaching themselves how to edit via youtube or avoiding recording entirely to put on unrepeatable live shows.

In this episode, John Doran heads to the East Midlands and Northern England where a musical underground is flourishing in the back rooms of Newcastle, the bedrooms of Nottingham and the phone boxes of Todmorden.

Contributors include Sophie Cooper, Nwando Ebizie, AJA, Richard Dawson and Urocerus Gigas from Guttersnipe.

Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Music journalist John Doran travels across the country in search of an underground movement of musicians, blossoming in the margins of Britain.

Artists of all stripes have been driven out of the city centres by soaring rent prices and hit hard by the dwindling revenues of the digital economy. But, untethered from the prospect of making any money and fuelled by the current political turmoil, a new wave of musicians is splintering away from convention to stage bizarre one-off performances that fly in the face of austerity.

They are living off-grid in the countryside, building their own instruments out of electronic junk, staging strange rituals with priests smeared in clay or even performing with a team of dancers dressed as anatomically correct vaginas which squirt cream over the audience.

Rather than moving to the capital to seek out the crumbling infrastructure of the music industry, they are self-releasing straight to the internet, teaching themselves how to edit via YouTube or avoiding recording entirely to put on unrepeatable live shows.

Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Image credit: Laura Kate Bemrose

Music journalist John Doran seeks out radical music in post-industrial Britain.

John Doran seeks out a new wave of radical music being made in the margins of Britain.

03Radical Rural20190617

Music journalist John Doran travels across the country in search of an underground movement of musicians, blossoming in the margins of Britain.

Artists of all stripes have been driven out of the city centres by soaring rent prices and hit hard by the dwindling revenues of the digital economy. But untethered from the prospect of making any money and fueled by the current political turmoil, a new wave of musicians is splintering away from convention to stage bizarre one-off performances that fly in the face of austerity.

They are living off-grid in the countryside, building their own instruments out of electronic junk, staging strange rituals with priests smeared in clay or even performing with a team of dancers dressed as anatomically correct vaginas which squirt cream over the audience.

Rather than moving to the capital to seek out the crumbling infrastructure of the music industry, these musicians are self-releasing straight to the internet, teaching themselves how to edit via youtube or abandoning recording entirely.

Now that all you need to be a musician is a bit of spare time and reliable broadband, some musicians have sought out the space and isolation of the countryside for their creative practice. In this episode, John Doran heads to the rural areas of Britain to discover what musicians actually find when they go in search of England’s green and pleasant lands.

Contributors include Elizabeth Bernholz, aka Gazelle Twin, David Chatton Barker, Layla and Phil Legard from Hawthonn, Saxon Roach, Farmer Glitch and Richard Skelton.

Produced by Alannah Chance.
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

John Doran seeks out radical music being made in the valleys and plains of Britain.

John Doran seeks out a new wave of radical music being made in the margins of Britain.

04Coastal Underground20190624

Music journalist John Doran travels the country in search of the musicians of New Weird Britain, an underground movement which is blossoming in the margins of Britain.

Artists of all stripes have been driven out of the city centres by soaring rent prices and hit hard by the dwindling revenues of the digital economy. A new wave of musicians are splintering away from convention to stage bizarre one-off performances that fly in the face of austerity. They live off-grid, building their own instruments out of electronic junk, staging strange rituals with priests smeared in clay or performing with a team of dancers dressed as anatomically correct vaginas which squirt cream over the audience.

In this episode, John Doran heads to the ultimate edgelands of Britain, to hear from the musicians who have sought out refuge in the broad horizons of the coast. In Kings Lynn we hear from the transgressive performance artist Cosey Fanni Tutti, one of the founding members of the radical group Throbbing Gristle from the late 1970s, to understand how New Weird Britain can also be seen as a response to the current political turmoil. We also interrogate what the idea of Britain means to this community of artists in 2019.

Other contributors include Rhodri Davies, Kemper Norton, Jennifer Lucy Allen, Hannah Catherine Jones, Jennifer Walshe and Lee Patterson.

Produced by Alannah Chance
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Photo: Rhodri Davies
Image credit: Kuba Ryniewicz

John Doran seeks out radical music being made in the coastal areas of Britain.

John Doran seeks out a new wave of radical music being made in the margins of Britain.