The Dark Outside – details about unique project playing unheard music to a Scottish forest for 24 hours

The Dark Outside is the brainchild of one Stuart McLean, aka Frenchbloke, who plays 24 hours of music that nobody has ever heard to the Galloway Forest where nobody might be listening (except goats, red kites, deer, assorted wildlife and any humans who make the pilgrimage of course). This year’s The Dark Outside takes place on the 27th September and you can find more info about this brilliant, unique project below, along with a list of artists already confirmed to play and details regarding how to submit music if you wish to participate.

The original idea for The Dark Outside stemmed from a collaboration back in 2012 between Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges who were Artists in Residence for the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park and The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. They hooked up with music producer Frenchbloke who curated a 24 hour radio broadcast of previously unheard sound which was broadcast during August 2012.

As Frenchbloke explains:

“The basic premise for this  goes back to 2012 when I was given free reign over a FM transmitter for 24 hours and came up with the idea of broadcasting music nobody had previously heard in a place where nobody would hear them unless they went into a forest. “

The Dark Outside – details about unique project playing unheard music to a Scottish forest for 24 hoursAll the pieces of music played are unique, one off creations which artists submit to Frenchbloke to be played once and once only – quite possibly to no human ears. After the performance the music will mainly be destroyed, never to be heard again, although some previous submissions have subsequently made their way onto albums, singles or limited free download.

Everyone is welcome to go up to Scotland to listen and you may do so sat outside, in your car, hiking the hills or however you like. Just remember to bring a radio!

The list of previously participating artists can be found here (2012) and here (2013).

This year’s broadcast is on 27th September and runs from noon until noon the next day. A list of music already confirmed is here:

thedarkoutside.tumblr.com/who.

Keep your eyes peeled on that page as new artists are regularly being confirmed and that list growing. There are no restrictions to music that can be submitted. As Frenchbloke says:

“Although it looks like it’s a more leftfield electronic centric event, there is no overall preference of genre. Everything is welcome and as long as nobody has heard it before (or very few people) then it’s as good as in.”

“Last year we had opera, classical, dub, folk, prog, field recordings, poetry, ambient, pop, noise, krautrock, disco, shoegaze…”

They will also be using lights and projections as it gets dark and there will be:

“…books to read and take home with you supplied by The Random Book Club in cahoots with The Wigtown Book Festival.”

The Dark Outside website is here: thedarkoutside.com.

Artists so far confirmed for 2014 include:

For anyone wanting to take part, all you have to do is :

  • 1. Have a piece of music / recording (doesn’t have to be music – can be anything at all) that nobody, or at least, very few people have heard before. It can be a specially composed piece of work, a forgotten recording or an alternate versions of existing work.
  • 2. Send it to Frenchbloke! Upload the music somewhere online (remembering to keep it private) and send a link to frenchbloke@gmail.com. Examples of storage places online are WeTransfer, 
Hightail (formerly YouSendIt), 
Dropbox, Copy etc. Alternatively 
send a private Soundcloud link (remembering to make it downloadable first).
  • 3. worst case scenario I can always supply my home address for any physical media (it has happened before.)

The obligatory The Dark. Outside. Facebook event page is here – tick going to receive updates. You can also keep up to speed by following the Dark Outside Tumblr. Frenchbloke is also on twitter: @frenchbloke.

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Guy is a former full time member of the Louder Than War editorial team, who's since moved on to pastures new. Music's been a large part of his life since he first stumbled across Peel on his tranny as a fifteen year old. His whole approach to music was learnt from Peel in fact, which includes having as inclusive a taste in music as possible. Guy devotes most of his time looking for new music & although he's been known to say "the only good music is new music" he pretty much accepts this is bollocks. Favourite band The Minutemen.

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