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Foci's Left - Grumpy Love LP (my debut album - OUT NOW)

I've been listening to this. It's pretty amazing. I really like Decompress The Magnet and An Upwards Slope, they are my favourites. I'm going to have to burn it to CD for the car.

247 Wrote:I've been listening to this. It's pretty amazing. I really like Decompress The Magnet and An Upwards Slope, they are my favourites. I'm going to have to burn it to CD for the car.

That's a huge compliment 247, thank you!

And added to the resume of the LP on Bandcamp.

Review coming in Nightshift next month (October issue).

I've just made all my released-on-Bandcamp music freely available. Feel free to help fund me by buying something too.

"After the disconcerting dissonance of his last demo (FTAL Attraction), Foci's Left - the solo work of occasional Nightshift contributor Mick Buckingham - casts forth a full album set on a far less turbulent plane.

Nine tracks of stretched-out electro-acoustic ambient pianism and electronic minimalism drift and shift with soporific intent, microtonal drones morphing and gradually mutating with precision-restrained variation. Best of the pieces here is the drone-drift of "Decompress The Magnet", while it's marginally more imposing twin "An Upwards Slope" dovetails into it seamlessly. "Regurgitated Impulses" adds a necessary glitchy interlude, while "Piano Paint" is both light in tone and texture but random enough to be distracting.

Where the album occasionally falls down is a lack of brevity on a few of the tracks - "Piano Paint" for example has run its course long before it concludes - while "For Fluid" is anything but and simply sounds like Mick's plonking random keys on his piano, but beyond such lapses, "Grumpy Love" is a neat enough addition to the ambient drone cannon." ~ Ronan Munro, Nightshift Magazine ed.

(, October 2013)

Critical acclaim from Fluid Radio:

[Image: m1.jpg]

James Catchpole on Fluid Radio Wrote:Introducing ‘Not Seeing Reality’ – the wayward, often mysterious journey that defines the pathway of what we call life. For many, reality is totally dependent on individual perception. The notes begin their life in innocent infancy, but by their teens they have snaked their way into the more unruly, dissonant territory, interacting with one another until a harmonious chain reaction ensues; one that started off with a primary note – a single heartbeat, the survivor in the battle of selection – but one that quickly brings in a thousand more.

Reality is then able to shape-shift into a sporadic, sparse piano line, accompanied by a gorgeous wave of crimson synth. Only, a line doesn’t quite work; it is bloated enough to feel pregnant with the baby bump of melody, oozing out of the thicker line and then submerging the original, vulnerable piano with new life.

Foci’s Left is the alias of Fluid Radio’s own Mick Buckingham, a name that regular Fluid readers will know very well. Told as a chronological tale, Grumpy Love isn’t nearly as dishevelled or as depressed with the state of things past and present as its grumpy name would seem to suggest. It is, in fact, shrouded by heart-felt sensitivity and deep personality. It is very much the opposite of grumpy. After all, there are two words up there; the oh-so-thin space that divides the first word from the second, ‘love’, is close enough to be considered intimate.

Love never fails. Love conquers all.

Grumpy Love is a beautiful, personalized painting, left to hang at a slight angle on the uneven canvas of life, with both enjoyable and difficult moments that come to claim every man. When linked together, they reach a teenage crescendo. ‘Piano Paint’ introduces some beautiful synths that jut into the piano, coating it with an intoxicating harbour of nostalgia – the nostalgic element traces a radiated line of melody, as if the early memory on which it was based has physically escaped, deceiving what we all thought of as reality and instead containing itself within the music as a precautionary measure. It cocoons itself against the decline that age brings and the mood swing of swift change that can affect our recollections as one decade passes into another.

Saturated in the vintage, ambient warmth of pure tone, when the genre itself was in its infancy, the synths are a mesmerising serenade. It shares the same angelic timbre that made the early Brian Eno classic, Music For Airports, such a lovable listen. You can tell instantly that Grumpy Love is a deeply personal recording just from this synth alone. The later drums seem to propel the passages of life forward, with no pause for reminiscing. That comes later on, because Grumpy Love has some beautiful, open spaces ideal for reflection. Life may, at times, feel like ‘An Upwards Slope’, but listening to the music here is to know that the inner serenity of peaceful ease is always there. Always. Here, a thinner drone is disguised as Cupid himself, but the darker echoes of possible distress lie just beyond the doorway. It is the tense, anxious sound of the unknown; a place where dusty road-signs are always blank with unmarked destinations.

‘For Fluid’ is a loving piece of music that is as much a generous tribute as it is a personal reflection. Grumpy Love narrates the passage of life with painstaking thought. The older hand outlines the black tail of a nurtured note like the embrace between a newborn and a parent. In this picture, the thin brush gives life to the paint. It holds itself in the palmed trust of the future, while taking one last look back at the past – this is the final dedication.

13 downloads in my all-time Bandcamp releases so far, with 5 purchases among them. Can someone make it 15 by Guy Fawkes to take me off an unlucky number?

Listening now Smile

Decompress The Magnet really is outstanding.

Roo Stercogburn Wrote:Decompress The Magnet really is outstanding.

Thanks very much, it seems a very popular choice from the LP, I'll pass all these comments onto Mike Twelve Xyxthumbs

He provided the drone bed, while I made the concentrated pad sounds, disorientating pad discords and arpeggios.

Mike arranged it after I sent him the parts.

Mike has agreed to work with me on a new track for my sophomore album "Life In A Less Southern Town". Smile

Up to 14 all time downloads on Bandcamp now. Icon_yippee

"I am very impressed, the Grumpy Love LP, it really has a lot to offer. 'Decompress the Magnet' has a depth of creativity, emotion and inspiration resonating from it. 'An Upwards Slope' has a feeling of a eternal dose of mystery and passionate adventure of abstract life just breathing in and out through the song... I wish the LP had a fixed price on it because it is of good value. Brillliant work love it!" ~ Simon Bean, Omni Music via Facebook.

Any more downloads before Christmas? Gwan, you know you want to Wink

In light of this:

Quote:I don't know if it helps your perspective, but since I set my releases to name your price on Bandcamp I've had less downloads. It's possible people think something free or almost free is almost always crap, reserved for mixes, even. Short answer: dunno.

I've just reset the amount to paid: £5, no more no less.

Something encouraging I discovered today: I have 81 unique listeners on the well-profiled platform, with 985 scrobbles ( counted plays since 2010).

This was nice to read:

"That's pretty out there man. Dunno what to think of it yet. I didn't dislike it, that's for sure, but the main thing I took from it was that it was very adventurous in what it tries to do." ~ ASC by email.

Feedback on "Grumpy Love" by Nils Frahm, revered by The Guardian, The Wire Sound System, Erased Tapes and the BBC 6Music team:

"It is very...interesting Smile
Well at times I really like the aesthetic and the goofiness of the sounds. Sometimes it is a tad too much for me I have to admit. Maybe it is something I have to listen to more carefully. But it is very inspiring at times." ~ Nils Frahm, Erased Tapes Records.

Help me get to 7 purchases - my favourite number being 7 - and I'll dedicate a track to you for your troubles. Grin

Foci's Left Interview – Futurepast Zine Issue 6 – September 2013

Mick (Foci's Left) has recently released an album called 'Grumpy Love', he also runs a very interesting blog ( and was one of the backers for this issue of Futurepast Zine. I'd interviewed Mick a couple of years ago and this was a good opportunity to find out what was happening right now...

1. You recently released your debut album 'Grumpy Love'. What's the album about, why give it that title?

“Grumpy Love” is about a few things really. First and foremost it's a dedication album to my sister Jo, in the form of dialectically epic-with-longevity music that I tried to conjure to me most affecting over the longest period of time. The second transitive is a soundtrack to my life so far. Now aged 25, I have been many things in life: a cheerful infant; a reclusive teenager; a full contact kickboxer; a freelance published writer in over 10 zines; a music producer. With “Grumpy Love” I wanted to encapsulate all the passionate moments as an epicentric part and counterpoint to aurally channelled “grumpy music”. When we are grumpy, we're usually brooding over something, some hardship which makes us feel a certain negative way, or cuts us off from bearing our soul. I have constantly had this theme of not bearing my soul too much over the course of my life, so the music on “Grumpy Love” takes on a certain, sullen tone. Whether that helps the end product is open to interpretation, but as you said yourself, “it's pretty amazing”, and I take that as a huge compliment.

2. Why dedicate the album to your sister?

My sister Jo is a driving reason why I've made a lot of moves in my life, from how long I went training, to how long I stayed living with her until middle 2011. “Silence Is Golden”, a 345 sample, 3 hour collage – and still the best piece of 'music' I've ever heard – lead to a loss of stability. I realised after that I needed to move on to my own accommodation, and a trip through mental hospital a year later lead to buying a keyboard to produce to help produce the album. I still don't consciously know why I wanted to do an LP, besides having “Regurgitated Impulses (Original)” produced since the age of 17, when Jo was experiencing a tough time. But I know I had her in mind when channelling my emotions, as she means a lot to me, yet we are still quite distant from each other at times. I guess as I'd done a few EPs, (the first on Audio Gourmet, the second self-released, the third on Omni Music) I wanted to express to a greater extent what I'm about, what sort of music I want to hear that I don't hear anyone else making quite the same way.

3. Why did you release it as digital only?

The choice to release it digitally came about as a half-inconsequential decision. I hadn't really taken into account what sorts of funds I'd need to press CDs and get digipaks designed – so it's digital only for now. Heck, if I had a hundreth of the 33,000 "For The Ambient and mixtape archive 001” (my Subvert Central thread concerning Ambient reviews) audience exposed to and enjoying the album so they would support it I'd be able to sort out CD pressing. Alas it's not quite that simple – I'm still a very obscure artist with only 5 releases contributed to. In the Ambient and electroacoustic scene there is a surprisingly broad selection of records to choose from...naturally the more exposed the artist the greater their revenue share. I've never been about making money from music, but if I could sell enough to support funding of future projects I'd be happy.

4. When I listened to your album it felt I would have to burn it to CD to listen in my car, you could always do it that way yourself...anyway, how does the artwork link in with the album?

Yes I could always burn a few mastered Wav CDs to send to people, make it proper DIY and all that. The artwork and how it fits in...Niomi is Jo's current girlfriend and leopards have been with my parents as a means of comfort for decades – they have a cuddly leopard toy. So it seemed ideal to include the image, and plus I think it's ace, so it all worked out nicely.

5. Have you got any more music coming out soon?

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to my fourth solo EP, “Dumping The Rock”. It will be comprised of 5 tracks – the fifth a bonus for whoever purchases it on Bandcamp. Like “Grumpy Love” the EP will showcase a range of styles with a unifying theme – in this case music that disperses any of the aggression of past releases. I'll be selling it at the same price as the album – an inexpensive £5. I feel it's my most mature music to date but still retains a youthful edge.

6. What do you use to make your music?

I use various sources to make my music. The primary two sequencers I use are Mulab, a freeware tracker with kits of great VSTs built in. The second and essentially intermediary one I go to is Ableton Live 8 Suite. “Overdriven Terrain”, the synthesiser track you said was breathtaking was created solely there, with The Dream Machine and STS-21 freeware VSTs. But mainly I use hardware these days. My trusty Casio CTK-4200 AD 61 key keyboard produces over 600 tones on its own before I go in and edit. I then capture these sounds with an Olympus VN-713 voice recorder and resample them back into software.

7. Also, I noticed your post about a 'Police State' on Subvert Central some time ago, I was wondering if any of that works its way into your music?

As to the Police State situation, it depresses me for sure, however as my Mum says, if you're not doing anything wrong, wholesale, then you shouldn't have to worry about anything. The article in question was extremely leftist, discussing and condoning the organisation of police forces as to creating positive measures against criminals. But I like your analogy there that the police are little more than organised gangsters. I'm actually still surprised that the rules are being enforced, as it means the police might have to get off their arses and do some work.

8. I asked you to put together a short mix. You called it 'Positive Congruence' – what does that mean and can you tell me a bit more about the mix?

'Positive Congruence' arose from reading Carl Rogers' 'On Becoming A Person' psychotherapy doctrine when the British Olympic Games Opening Ceremony was on in 2012. The chapter concerning the phrase 'positive congruence' piqued me, in how to understand and open myself up to new experiences with individuals. It means transparency and honesty without being overbearing. Sounds that followed suit in their nature of being rousing only were added. There are up to ten tracks layered at once in 'Positive Congruence'. Therefore providing a track list would be impossible. I can give you some tunes and artists that were played. “Birthday Suit” by Chubby Wolf opens it; Hallock Hill's “A Burning Question (A Question Of Burning)” from “There He Unforeseen” not long after. Machinefabriek & Gareth Davis' “Oh, Doctor Jesus” post 15 minutes (the saxophone piece); Donato Wharton's “Ink Mountains” at 14:30. Barn Owl's epic “Devotion II” at closing. This amount of tracks layered at one time by me, has only been exceeded (16) in the timelesss “Silence Is Golden” 3 hour collage that I published on this year. I'm very happy with this mix, the climax at the end by Jon Porras & Evan Caminiti giving anchorage into more powerful affectations, once the listening process is over. Since it's all about congruence with a certain type of thinking – powerful affectations that nurture knowingness and trust – that the person is being understood for what he or she is.

Mick has done an excellent mix for Futurepast Zine so be sure to check it at and check his music out at - it's breathtaking Smile

New Year bump.

End of 2012 = joined
End of 2016 = 76 releases featuring me directly on

All prices are npw for pressing plants, not casual buyers. If you went to the trouble of being a fan and contacting me, I'd freebie it.

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