Showing posts with label ergo phizmiz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ergo phizmiz. Show all posts

Friday, 16 May 2014

Ergo Phizmiz at Hay Festival

Sound & Music and Good Energy have teamed up to present a new work for music and performance by Ergo Phizmiz, created entirely on-site at this year's Hay Festival.

How many Socratic dialogues does it take to illuminate a lightbulb?

Could "War & Peace" be used to power a refrigerator for a year?

Can the average home generate its monthly energy with the Times Literary Supplement?

All these, and more, questions will be answered by this bicycle powered musico-literary fantasia from Ergo Phizmiz, in which an eccentric polymathic librarian-inventor reveals his life's work: the creation of devices for capturing the energy generated by ideas, discourse, words, and using that energy as a renewable source for our day to day lives.

Created entirely on-site during Hay Festival, the performance will combine bike powered collage music, gramophone-automata, puppetry, live music, and performance, melding into a fantastical, Heath Robinsonesque world that also draws parallels between the ideas of renewable energy / recycling, and the raid-the-universe collage approach of many contemporary artists.

Press Release
Hay Festival 2014 sees major partner, 100% renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, team up with Sound and Music, the UK’s flagship agency for the promotion of contemporary music, to create a sound art installation, a first for the Festival.

Good Energy uses the 100% renewable power of sun, wind and water to match over the course of a year, the electricity its customers use. It has selected composer Ergo Phizmiz to create a new work to capture the ‘Good Energy of Hay’ and will engage visitors, performers and the festival environment as inspiration for the composition.

Attendees are invited to come and take part in the bicycle-powered fantasia being produced during the Festival at the Good Energy stand.

Ergo is Sound and Music’s Composer-in-Residence with Mahogany Opera Group. He is a true innovator, whose recent reviews have named him “One of the most inventive composers around” (BBC Radio 3), “Mad, but mesmerising” (The Times) and a hybrid between “the new Viv Stanshall, a young Eno, a British Zappa, or a replacement for Frank Sidebottom” (The Guardian).

Monday, 3 March 2014

TIMPERLEY RHAPSODIES - a celebration of Frank Sidebottom

Immediately after the screening of Jon Ronson & Lenny Abrahamson's FRANK at Bridport's From Page to Screen Festival, head to the Chapel in the Garden for an after party where unique, one off songwriters perform songs by and inspired by the unique, one off Frank Sidebottom. 

With performances from Ergo Phizmiz ("“We can't decide whether he's the new Viv Stanshall, a young Eno, a British Zappa, or a replacement for Frank Sidebottom (RIP)” - The Guardian), Oblivian Substanshall, and Elvis Herod, this is a one off, unmissable evening of outsider entertainment.

Also exhibiting will be the giant, fibreglass heads created by Martha Moopette for Ergo Phizmiz's productions of The Third Policeman and Gargantua an excessive entertainment by Ergo Phizmiz ....

Tickets just £4. Can you resist? Didn't think so.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Photograph by Claire Shovelton

He is a burst of imagination, colour and noise” - The New Statesman

We can't decide whether he's the new Viv Stanshall, a young Eno, a British Zappa, or a replacement for Frank Sidebottom (RIP)” - The Guardian

He's like the grandma-gobbling wold in Little Red Riding Hood, swallowing down the entire world, all the better to heave it back up in your face” - The Wire Magazine

The Emperor of Music!” - Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6Music)

Mad, but mesmerising” - The Times

One of the most inventive composers around” - BBC Radio 3

A truly English original who we should cherish deeply” - Sound Projector Magazine

Songwriter, Radio Producer, Collagist, Opera composer, and Film maker Ergo Phizmiz has developed a reputation as one of the most consistently inventive, entertaining and prolific artists working today.

His wildly unpredictable output has included the 15 hour sound odyssey “The Faust Cycle” (described as “the most ambitious music project of the 21st century”), “M: 1000 Year Mix” (a mash-up of a millennium), award-winning radio-plays for broadcasts across Europe, and his unique, home-made operas on subjects as diverse as the death by demonism of broadcaster Chris Evans, a late flowering love-affair of Gala Dali, the history of yodelling, an adaptation of a novel by Flann O'Brien, and a visualisation of the entire internet playing a game with itself.

He is also notorious for his cover versions of other artists, including the Velvet Underground, Beyonce, Missy Elliott, the Pet Shop Boys, and Aphex Twin, who listened, perplexed, slowly fathoming out his material from Ergo's Amish-Party sound.

For his 2014 tour Ergo will present intimate, solo performances of music, miniature theatre, puppetry, and spoken-word, drawing upon his back catalogue whilst simultaneously inventing new material, and covering, in his own inimitable way, all your favourite hit songs from the 1920s to the present.

His set is rusty and unrehearsed, yet he has a certain theatrical charm that makes his crowd smile, in whimsical confusion if not genuine joy....Everything about him is shambolic, from his creased shirt to his arrangement of instruments. This would be annoying coming from any other artist, yet Phizmiz manages to create a laid-back environment; the atmosphere is more like having a cuppa with a close friend rather than giving a performance.” - The Upcoming magazine, on Ergo Phizmiz live at Rough Trade

Interested? Course you are. Contact

In the meantime, while away the time with a beverage of your choice and the Ergo Phizmiz 2008-2014 Concert Film:

And a specially cooked mix for the 2014 tour of ERGO'S FAVOURITE ERGOS ...

Tour dates to be announced soon...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Vinyl and Print yodeling release on DePlayer

Out now on DePlayer, in an edition of 200, "Public Sound #3: Yodelling", featuring a publication of the libretto for Ergo Phizmiz's "UOEIA: Favola in Jodel" and a green vinyl featuring, among other treats, an 8 minute edit of UOEIA. Add into that combination a new essay by Bart Plantenga, a yodeling score by Myriam van Imschoot, and recordings from Phil Minton, and Doreen Kutzke & Myriam Van Imschoot, then you have a package of yodeltastic stuff that's very lovely indeed.

From the marvellous folks of DePlayer ....
"This Dept. of Public Sound release is related to the UOEIA I event by DE PLAYER, during Operadagen Rotterdam in May 2013 at BAR, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
With soundtracks by Phil Minton, Ergo Phizmiz and Myriam van Imschoot & Doreen Kutzke on a 10" green vinyl/33 rpm.
Includes printwork containg an article on yodeling and avant garde by bart plantenga, a libretto by Ergo Phizmiz of his yodel operina UOEIA and a musical score of her piece Hola Hu by Myriam van Imschoot. 
UOEIA is a program that moves at the cutting edge of experimental sound/music and the phenomenon of yodeling; makes use of the rapid alternation between chest voice to falsetto. Inspired by the books Yodel-AY-EE-OOOO: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World and more recently, Yodel in Hi-Fi, From Kitsch Folk to Contemporary Electronica, we are proud to bring you the second edition of UOEIA. These books focus on yodeling as a global phenomenon and answer the question: How did an ancient tradition from the Alps find its way into American country music? Yodeling is not just a Swiss thing. From African Pygmies, rhinestone cow-people, avant-garde tonsil-twisters, and Nazi Jugend SS, to pop stars like R. Kelly and Sly & the Family Stone to Bollywood star Kishore Kumar, and many more – all have made use of the yodel. Yodeling projects over great distances, and Tibetan monks, like Swiss cowherds, may have used them for centuries as a communication tool. Explorer Marco Polo may have heard them yodeling in the 13th century. Through him yodeling reached the Alps and from there in the nineteenth century it also reached the American cowboys."
Buy this at DePlayer.


Also available, "UOEIA" cassette ....

.... from an edition of 50, a full recording of Swiss Family Phizmiz performing "UOEIA". 

You can buy the cassette here.


In 2014 we collaborate with DePlayer making a limited edition UOEIA pop-up book and lathe cut record. Tiny foxes.

Ergo Phizmiz remixes The Gravity Drive

Ergo Phizmiz recently created this remix for the lovely folks of The Gravity Drive, for their "Circles Shapeshifting EP".

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Ergo Phizmiz Live at the Shacklewell Arms, with Pete Um & Mucky Sailor

We are delighted to announce a most delicious triple bill. The world's foremost musical-miniaturist-poet-and-monger-of-gorgeous-crunks-and-thuds Pete Um, the delicious-synth-and-drum-tastic-pop-noise-odyssey-merchants Mucky Sailor, and lock-up-your-daughters-and-sons-and-block-your-noses Ergo Phizmiz.

Presented by Care in the Community Recordings, on December 19th at the Shacklewell Arms, London.

Roll up! Roll up!

Get yer tickets HERE.

Press Release from Care in the Community Recordings:

"Care in the Community recordings present three music conceptualists

Mucky Sailor: Relentless, distorted and deranged prog-rhythm-rock duo of drums and large keyboard array that includes a bespoke ships wheel oscillator. Phenomenological.

Ergo Phizmiz: “Hailed in some quarters as the missing link between Viv Stanshall and Robert Wyatt”(Uncut) the song-writer,composer and performer opened the year with the album Eleven Songs (Loud and Quiet record of the week ) and his crazed music theatre piece Gargantua touring the UK and Europe .Both were loving detailed in a four page feature in The Wire. Ergo continued his year in typically prolific style with an opera commission from Trinity Laban and Tete-a-Tete, music for a Channel 4 animation series , started a movie soundtrack and has just begun a residency with the Opera Group. Ergo will perform either solo or with his three or four piece band with music from Eleven Songs and his forthcoming LP The Peacock.

Pete Um: A master of the miniature electro-acoustic song-poem, a form he has more or less invented and crystallised himself, his work displays a sardonic wit combined with a healthy misanthropy in micro-collages of voice, instruments, samples, and electronics."

To commemorate this joyous occasion, we decided to release EIN TOKSVIG. It's been a while coming, but here it is.

EIN TOKSVIG. Not a tribute to Sandi Toksvig, this song was written and recorded long before I'd ever heard the News Quiz. Now I have, of course, I think Sandi Toksvig is a marvellous little teddy-bear. The song itself, Toksvig aside, is heavy-metal nonsense. T.S. Eliot described Edward Lear's later nonsense poetry "the blues" - this is my answer. Nonsense metal. The rock'n'roll of non sequiturs and Toksvigs. But if the attitude of Lear's poetry defines it as "the blues", it is necessary for nonsense metal to fully adopt the necessary attitude of rage and testosterone. I recorded this song dressed entirely in leather, and had my nipples pierced for the occasion. The holes have since closed up.

Another press release...

"You lucky folks can catch Ergo Phizmiz at The Shacklewell Arms on the 19th December playing songs from his forthcoming LP The Peacock due for release Spring 2014. 
Ergo the song-writer, composer and performer opened the year with the album  Eleven Songsand his crazed music theatre piece, Gargantua whictoured the UK and Europe. 
He also had an opera commission from Trinity Laban and Tete-a-Tete, music for Channel 4s Random Acts animation series and started a movie soundtrack. Ergo will perform music fromEleven Songs and The Peacock at the Shacklewell Arms and details of this special gig are below.
Care in the Community Recordings presents a night of avant-pop music with “one man movement” (The Wire) Ergo Phizmiz and Leeds based deranged prog-rhythm-rock duo, Mucky Sailor.  They are joined by Pete Um and a stripped down set from Belarusian Sasha llyukevich backed on keyboards by Dave Maric (Steve Martland Band).  DJ support from Nick Name (WFMU) Tickets HERE"

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

DIK DOK - New album by Ergo Phizmiz

Ergo Phizmiz & Care in the Community Recordings present DIK DOK, the third part of Ergo Phizmiz's IDIOT TRILOGY. 


EIN TOKSVIG. Not a tribute to Sandi Toksvig, this song was written and recorded long before I'd ever heard the News Quiz. Now I have, of course, I think Sandi Toksvig is a marvellous little teddy-bear. The song itself, Toksvig aside, is heavy-metal nonsense. T.S. Eliot described Edward Lear's later nonsense poetry as "the blues" - this is my answer. Nonsense metal. The rock'n'roll of non sequiturs and Toksvigs. But if the attitude of Lear's poetry defines it as "the blues", it is necessary for nonsense metal to fully adopt the necessary attitude of rage and testosterone. I recorded this song dressed entirely in leather, and had my nipples pierced for the occasion. The holes have since closed up.

HEAVY METAL PEOPLE. This is what happens when you bring William Burroughs to the mosh-pit.

MERZYBEAT. This is what happens when you bring Kurt Schwitters to the disco.

PUN YOUNG. This is the after party. Schwitters is DJing.

THIRST CLASS. Composed and recorded on a train, on one of those strange occasions where a first-class ticket is cheaper than standard-class. The people in first class didn't like the sounds emanating from my headphones. But that's ok. I didn't like them.

MICKEY MOUSE. Funeral music.

DON'T LET THEM SEE US. Of course. (or, Hassan goes to a much more discreet disco).

THE PLAINTIVE HEATING GRIDDLE. The melancholy of inanimate objects. An abandoned kettle looks forlorn. A product of the Institute for Caressing Machines.

SCRATCH. The sound a very dry back makes.

MR PUNCH FINDS A MACHINE GUN. And does very bad things with it.

SATURDAY MORNING FLEA CORALE. That could be what caused the scratch.

MISER RARER. Dedicated to Cynthia Strings.

ANNA BOOM. This is my "Bohemian Rhapsody". Recorded in the Lake District with Elvis Herod, using Kurt Schwitter's Merzbarn and objects inside it as a percussion instrument. Anna Boom is in the cupboard at a party. Her husband isn't pleased. Anna won't come out of the cupboard. All hell breaks loose.

"Anna Boom" is probably my favourite track from all these piles o' shite I've thrown out.

This track was originally released by Bad Panda Records some time ago, and a marvellous film was made to accompany it by the brilliant collage film-maker Jared Brandle.

And why not dip into the first two parts of Ergo Phizmiz's IDIOT TRILOGY, "IDIOT" and "QUALITY & SERVICE".

Catch Ergo Phizmiz live at the Shacklewell Arms, London, December 19th 2013, with the mammoth line up of PETE UM and MUCKY SAILOR.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ergo Phizmiz "THE NOEL COWARD TRILOGY" (2011-2013)

"The Noel Coward Trilogy" (2011-2013). 

Collage Operas. 

Media playing games with itself, with Ergo Phizmiz as slightly cruel ringmaster. 

Image as music, sound as image, re-filming films, personalisation of the past. 

Adventures in intermedia storytelling, and the use of chance to "grow narratives" from the collision of media and time. 

Carousels of images, circles of sonic juxtapositions, slapshod re-contextualisation, silent music, discovery of rhythms hiding in the gaps and the creases.

Animation, composition, found-video, found-sound, found-text. Paper, Scissors, Stones.

The production of the Noel Coward trilogy was assisted by contributions from Martha Moopette, Simon Mathewson, The Travelling Mongoose, and Flora Cavalino Bertolli.

- Part One -
"Aria For Cowards"

- Part Two -
"The Impulse to Shoot at Every Shadow"

- Part Three -
"Every Hitch and Every Hold Up"

Monday, 11 November 2013

Ergo Phizmiz Live at The Ropemaker's, Bridport

Ergo is delighted to be playing at his favourite local pub The Ropemakers, Bridport this Friday.

The first part of the evening will comprise a performance of Ergo Phizmiz & The Ramshackle Swank, playing music from Ergo's back catalogue.

The evening continues with a performance by a S U P E R G R O U P comprising some incredibly fine musicians, including Robert Lee, Simon Mathewson, The Travelling Mongoose, Simon Hartung, and Bridport's most famous resident Flora Cavalino Bertolli.

The aforementioned S U P E R G R O U P will play a set of cover versions including 1990s club classics, a spot of Beyonce, a spot of Missy, and a Sister Ray.

From 9.16pm, Friday November 15theth.


And to wet your appetite, here's Ergo Phizmiz & The Ramshackle Swank performing "Time To Think It Over" at Islington Mill, Salford

And performing "Ophelia" at The Lexington, London

Thursday, 17 October 2013

UOEIA preview - photographs by Rebecca Vaughan

Huge thanks to Rebecca Vaughan for these delicious photographs of "UOEIA * the histories of yodelling" at the private preview performance in Bridport.

* the histories of yodelling around the world

UK mini-tour October 2013

18th LIVERPOOL Mellomello Buy Tickets *** Facebook Event page
19th WHITBY Musicport Festival
21st GLASGOW The Old Hairdresser's Buy Tickets   *** Facebook Event page
22nd LONDON The Old Dentist's (33 Chatsworth Road) Buy Tickets *** Facebook Event Page

A production of DePlayer, based on books by Bart Plantenga.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013


A - take three composers. Place them in a room together, late at night.

B - give three said composers a really, really badly recorded version of the first 8 tracks from Augustus Pablo's "East of the River Nile" in headphones, and then three aforementioned composers attempt to play the album over the top on the fairly arbitrary selection of instruments in Atelier Royale.

C - then take off Augustus Pablo's "East of the River Nile", and ask three aforementioned composers to play something else over the top of their first layer of attempting to play over "East of the River Nile".

D - Discover cheap Vodka and Sambuca. Do vocals, with whatever words are hanging around, one at a time.

E - release it on the internet, hoping at least one listener will die whilst listening (will it be you?).

Dedicated to Jah Wabbles.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

"The Postman Sometimes Rings Twice or Not" (Children's Poem)

Dedicated to
without whom
I would have

and greetings from Imaginary Jamaica


"The Postman Sometimes Rings Twice or Not" 
by Ergo Phizmiz

Knock knock.

Who's that at the door?

Peep through the letterbox - dark blue shorts,
                                                    and little hairy knees.

                                                    It's the Postman!

                                                    If you please, what has the Postman brought for me?

For Mum - some bills,
For Dad - some bills,
For both - some brightly coloured junk
                                             that no-one wants

                                             in short a dire lack of thrills.

For Uncle Bob a calendar of
                                                   aeroplanes and
                                                   other things that
                                                   in World War Two.

For baby sister?
                                  Postman must have missed her.

And finally, to little me,
what could these curious parcels be?
Fastened tight with tape and string,
postmarked Canberra, Peking,
Las Vegas, London, Hollywood,
and other places just as good.

Now take the scissors, cut away the string
unpeel the sellotape
(and such delicious sound it makes)
then empty all the polystyrene rocks
and see what lurks in each and every box.

Now is the time, so come and see, what has the Postman brought for me?

An ancient clock that measures stars,
some baby mice in honey jars,
a typewriter, a ship and crew,
entire contents of a zoo
including: Marmosets, Barn Owl,
Muscovy, and Guinea-Fowl,
Elephants, Giraffes, and Mice,
and all the Birds of Paradise,
a blackboard, and a robot who
will clean your room from 9 till 2,
a brand new pair of stylish shoes,
one of those dolls that wees and poos,
a Persian Cat, a brand new Gran
that isn't grumpy, then a can
of fruity fizzy sugar drink,
a new schoolbag that isn't pink.

Hold your horses there, you say
the Postman brought all this, but where
in his little trolley-red
did he put all that you said?

That is ....

          An ancient clock that measures stars,
          some baby mice in honey jars,
          a typewriter, a ship and crew,
          entire contents of a zoo
          including: Marmosets, Barn Owl,
          Muscovy, and Guinea-Fowl,
          Elephants, Giraffes, and Mice,
          and all the Birds of Paradise,
          a blackboard, and a robot who
          will clean your room from 9 till 2,
          a brand new pair of stylish shoes,
          one of those dolls that wees and poos,
          a Persian Cat, a brand new Gran
          that isn't grumpy, then a can
          of fruity fizzy sugar drink,
          a new schoolbag that isn't pink.

Surely an enormous drag,
all this inside a Postman's bag?

                    I sat and thought, and shook my head,
                    (I may have turned a little red).

                              Strange things happen, yes it's true,
                              (though maybe more to me than you).

If you question how the Postman fit these items in his baggy,
then permit me to reveal to you the cause.
If your Postman's bag defies the laws of physics then it's obvious
the Postman really must be Santa Claus.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

GESTURE PIECE by Vicki Bennett, featuring music by Ergo Phizmiz & others

GESTURE PIECE (2013) by Vicki Bennett from Vicki WFMU on Vimeo.

Gesture Piece is a new Pixel Palace commission in development by artist Vicki Bennett (also known as People Like Us). Vicki has collected scenes from hundreds of films containing gestures or instructions, from classic black and white cinema to recent releases. She edited them together to make a 15-minute film consisting of seven chapters, and invited seven sound artists to create a unique film score for each section. The result is a fascinating and witty reinterpretation of familiar film footage, with scenes arranged in incongruous, surprising and often very funny combinations. Gesture Piece was commissioned by Pixel Palace, Tyneside Cinema's digital art programme and supported using public funds by Arts Council England.
Soundtracks by :
Andrew Sharpley [00:06]
Matmos [01:02]
Wobbly [05:08]
Gwilly Edmondez [07:48]
Dave Soldier [09:38]
Jason Willett [11:02]
Ergo Phizmiz [13:23]
To find out more about Gesture Piece, please visit
Background info at
Press info at