Moon Wiring Club: wedding presence

By , Mar 15 2011
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“Are you ready to take it to the next level?!” booms David Morales.

I’m sat in the living room of Ian Hodgson, Moon Wiring Club, surrounded by shelves of trinkets, stacks of DVDs and old fitness LPs. These are all part of the machine behind Clinksell, the imaginary community of characters populating Hodgson’s records, which exist in an imaginary, timeless place, and whose identity is jigsawed together from hauntological artefacts and images of Peak District villages. David Morales isn’t here with us, he’s on the telly, in the opening video for MTV Music Generator 2 (2001) on the PS2, the computer game that Ian Hodgson makes all his music on.

Hodgson started making music during a fine art course, where he found that “all I really wanted to do, instead of trying to do high concept things, was draw vaguely aristocratic looking women in hats”. This eventually morphed into what’s now known as Moon Wiring Club, and just before Christmas, Hodgson released his fourth album, A Spare Tabby At The Cat’s Wedding.

There are two versions of the record: a CD and LP version, which are not the same, but share track names and a cast of characters. Oh, and the CD has just last week been reissued with different artwork. Hodgson explains to us below what on earth is going on in Clinksell…

“The LP version is the dream mix-up of the CD. So, by the end of listening to the CD you’ve fallen asleep, and in your sleep you’re trapped inside the LP.”


There are two releases with this album, a CD version of A Spare Tabby at the Cat’s Wedding, and an LP version, and they differ in terms of content. Can you explain how the two are connected?

“Every album I do has a story to it, and with this one I was very much interested in the idea of old entertainment, of old board games and old card games. Also, it’s like, when you look forward to something so much – a book, CD, LP, DVD – so much that you have dreams about it, and then you finally get hold of the real item, and it is totally different. But then what happens to that ‘dream version’? It still exists somewhere, so for this record, the vinyl version is, amongst other things, the dream-version of the CD.

“For this [the vinyl edition], there’s an old card game called A Spare Tabby At The Cat’s Wedding, and when it was around there were hints that there was a musical accompaniment to the game. The CD and the LP are that musical accompaniment, but whatever my idea for it is, isn’t necessarily the 100% fixed way to listen to it. The idea is to do the CD first and then the LP. The LP version is the dream mix-up of the CD. So, by the end of listening to the CD you’ve fallen asleep, and in your sleep you’re trapped inside the LP.





“The CD version is the male (prince) cat. He’s on the cover, but the reverse of the CD acts like a mirror trap holding him in place, until the first person who bought a CD lifted it out to play.


“You spend the first part of the game trying to avoid marrying the male cat.”



“The CD opens with the voices of the previous players, who couldn’t get out of the game. They’re no longer in limbo because you’ve played the CD, and that means you’ve started playing the game. There’s a voice that says: “It’s started,” which marks you starting to play, whether you realise it or not. In each track there’s sequences, and certain sequences are a part of the musical accompaniment and represent a card being played. As you progress, each track is a situation that you can or can’t get out of, and there’s also tracks based on people that could help you.

“The idea is that you would spend the first part of the game trying to avoid marrying the male cat. When you get to the end of the CD you need to escape into Edwardian times via a romantic dance, aka, the track  ‘Edwardian Romance’. But this is not an escape, it just leads you to the LP version, which operates on dream logic, and the female princess cat is now keenly pursuing you. The back of the LP says it’s a game for 1-450 players, because there’s 450 copies of the LP which are for sale.”

How does the game end?

“You’ve got to have figured out that you need to have woken up and left the LP because if you haven’t, the front cover of the LP is what’s waiting for you. You’ll open a door, but it’s the wrong door, and there’s a wedding entourage waiting. Only if you can avoid both the Queen’s offspring can you win, and that means you’re a Spare Tabby at the Cat’s (Royal) Wedding.


“We’ve spent so much time looking into the future we’ve got no idea what’s going on now, so you look back and you take comfort from and inspiration from what’s happened in the past.”



“If you don’t manage to escape the records you have to get married. You don’t want to marry the male cat on the CD and you don’t want to marry the female cat either. You don’t want to marry them firstly because I’d say their faces aren’t….ideal. You’d also be marrying a spectral entity, which means you become one of the players from the beginning of the CD. Of course, the outcome of the Wedding will be documented in April.

Documented how?

“The next Moon Wiring Club outing will be a commemorative LP, to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Apparently there’s another Royal Wedding taking place in April, but that is entirely coincidental.

To go back to the origins of the project, what is the Moon Wiring Club, and where is Clinkskell?

“The name for Moon Wiring Club stemmed from the famous Groucho Marx quote: ‘I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.’ This is a different spin, because it’s a club where I’m the only member. But I wanted to conjure up the image of a Victorian/Edwardian gentleman’s club too, and it did that well.

“When I started out it was never my intention to have my name on anything, I liked the idea that in 10-15 years someone would pick up my work, and not know where it’s from. Jon Brooks, who masters my work, is the only real human being that exists on the album sleeves. It takes away the ego of the performer, and it’s so easy to get information now that it’s more interesting if you don’t know who it is.


“What is that feeling you get when you listen to a piece of music, or read a book? You get an emotion; a feeling from it that you didn’t have before, and in some way the feeling that comes from the person who created it. What is that? You can’t describe it or identify it.”



“When the Ghost Box 7” was reviewed by Record Collector I scanned and posted the review on the MWC Facebook, but swapped my name for Adam Rickitt in Photoshop. I had a chortle at comments saying: ‘Who is Adam Rickitt!?’, and the thought of those commenters typing Adam Rickitt into Google, watching the video for ‘Breathe Again’, and thinking he’s now performing under the name Moon Wiring Club, which is possibly taking it all too far.

“I’ve never wanted to give a precise description of exactly what or where Clinskell is, or a description of who exactly Paris Green is…there’ll be no potted history. It’s because things seem to happen for curious, nonsensical reasons and I’ve thought that from an early age. So I don’t want to explain who Osman Brown is, and why he’s hanging around all the time, for example, because that’s not the way things happen in real life.”





Is that because if you explain what’s happening too much, you’re limiting the imagination and interpretation listeners can make?

“Yeah, that’s part of it. It needs to be peculiar and not clearly defined because thats my interpretation of what life’s like. We’ve spent so much time looking into the future we’ve got no idea what’s going on now, so you look back and you take comfort from and inspiration from what’s happened in the past.

“What is that feeling you get when you listen to a piece of music, or read a book? You get an emotion; a feeling from it that you didn’t have before, and in some way the feeling that comes from the person who created it. What is that? You can’t describe it or identify it.”



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The sense of humour in your work is sometimes overlooked (see ‘Queen of Puddings’ video above, specifically 1m 20s in). Why do you think that’s not discussed as much as other aspects?

“Humour in all situations is very important. If something really scary or horrible happens, quite often something funny or odd happens as well. One default setting of gloom can be great, like Gas, but if everything’s packaged as being sinister and ghostly, and there’s also elements that are daft or funny it can make it a richer listen, because you’re adding different ingredients. Nigel Kneale [who wrote Quatermass] is one of the pioneers of British post-war horror, but if you read his writing lots of it is really funny. There’s one TV episode he did in an anthology series called Beasts from 1976, called ‘During Barty’s Party’. It starts off with a deserted lane and a car, and you can hear screaming in the distance, and then it closes in on a woman who’s on her own in this upper middle class house, and she looks vaguely hysterical, and she goes over to the record player and puts on ‘Shout’ by Lulu incredibly loud, and then the opening credits come up, saying ‘Beasts!’. It’s very odd, and very funny, but confusing too.

What does hauntology mean to you? Do you think there are two types of hauntology now: the original Derrida definition and a musical one?

“With any other scene that I can think of there are more artists. Hypnagogic pop for example: over the past 18 months it’s grown to something like 20-30 groups. But I can’t find any other genre apart from hauntology where nobody else seems to have turned up. It’s like the ship’s gone past and here’s the wave of discussion, and the wave has gone on for ages and the actual interesting part of the ship is miles away.


“If you create something you have to consider that it’s more intelligent than you are, as its creator.”



“I have no objection to being called hauntological though – there’s plenty of worse things to be called. It’s what happens to every bit of music: you have to call it something. If you create something you have to consider that it’s more intelligent than you are, as its creator. So I’m always interested when people see things I haven’t thought of.”


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To skip back to the start, what was the first piece of music you made, and how did you end up making music on a PS2?

“The first thing I did musically was a soundtrack of a crackly dream for my degree show. After that I looked around for a means to make music but found all the computer programs just seemed incomprehensible. Someone suggested MTV Music Generator 2 on the PS2, and it was fairly straightforward, but because it was a computer game it wasn’t like sitting down and figuring it out in an academic way on a computer, it was a game, and it was good fun. There was a £17 sampler add-on that I sent off for too. It’s not great: the connection doesn’t work properly, and never has done: you have to press it at a weird angle otherwise it gets feedback and distorts. It’s all a bit Heath Robinson.”


“There’s no excuse for something to be half-baked. There’s loads of records I’ve bought over the years with duff tracks, but what’s the point in doing that now, if every computer you buy has a home studio inside it?”



The way you make beats – sampled and cut up from soundtrack records and other bits and bobs – seems a long-winded and difficult way of doing things. Why did you decide to do it this way in the first place?

“At the beginning I felt using the MTV MG 2 was a bit shit and wrong, so if I used samples from other things, I wasn’t just using the default settings. I have changed my mind over that in some ways. I’m pretty sure the Joker ‘Digi-design’ single on Hyperdub, is largely using the preset settings on the Microkorg, but it’s one of my favourite songs. It made me ask who I was making music for: it’s either good music or it isn’t, so I have crept back into using presets. Time isn’t an issue, because if I was playing a computer game, I’d probably stack up 70 hours of gameplay. I see it as a recreational thing, meaning I don’t really sit down and think ‘this is taking a long time’, it’s what I do for enjoyment and fun.

“There’s no excuse for something to be half-baked. There’s loads of records I’ve bought over the years with duff tracks, but what’s the point in doing that now, if every computer you buy has a home studio inside it? These days anyone could make music, you’ve got to step up your game – you’ve got to take it to the next level.

Jennifer Lucy Allan

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