Monday, 22 May 2017

Matfield & the Pond - Paem Wyrd (1982) C90

I didn't think I was going to have much to say about this one - the work of Matfield & the Pond, a duo comprising David Luery and David Andrews - but in the booklet accompanying the Cause for Concern label's Paranoia is Awareness C90 compilation, I find:

Matfield & the Pond were formed way back in 1975 completely by accident in Dave's bedroom one night. This historic occasion was actually captured on tape for posterity. The initial flood of creativity brought forth songs such as Klingon Jumper and Supergirl, culminating in the legendary Rough Acres tapes recorded in Borough Green. For reasons known only to the Davids, the Pond then split up. One David left after the band had recorded the Pond's Christmas single, and the other David went on to form the excellent band Infants' School.

During this first period the Pond played their only gig at a party in Matfield. General comment among punters was that they had pre-empted the punks' attitude to concerts by some eighteen months. The band deny this and that it merely confirmed their suspicions that concerts were boring to do, and that songs should be written and recorded - full stop.

In late 1979 the Daves reformed. One David actually bought a bass guitar at this period. Later Casio, Harmonium, and Waddingtons' Computone were added. Contrary to popular opinion, the Pond have never used a synthesiser or a studio. Both are unnecessary - studios especially are the death of many good bands. Without them all you have left is your initiative and your own creativity.

Regarding Paem Wyrd, the David with the typewriter describes it as one side songs, the other side based on the Middle English epic Beowulf, all songs recorded at Pond Studio 3 in Matfield, Christmas '81 to Easter '82. I'm therefore assuming Paem Wyrd to be the cassette referred to but otherwise unidentified by Music Emporium's Phillipe Collignon on this Discogs page referring to a later Matfield & the Pond vinyl compilation which I'd never heard of until I checked just last week, and which now regrettably costs a fucking fortune.

Matfield & the Pond were formed by accident in the attic of a small cottage in Matfield. It was a direct response to the punk revolution in that it entered the spirit of anyone can do it. A musician and a non-musician exploring the idea of write, record, forget. It was an entirely non-profit making collective that released three cassettes on the alternative home recording circuit. No promotion, entirely word of mouth.

Pondsongs and Beowulf was the first double release in about 1980. It sold about three-hundred copies. The price was the cost of the cassette plus nine pence to cover the cost of the Revox it was recorded on. It sold a lot in Europe, noticeably in Italy and Holland. (A video recently surfaced on YouTube constructed by an Italian fan). This cassette was the culmination of their appliance of non-musicianship combined with musicianship plus strongly written songs. [some other cassette, the account seems a bit vague here] sold 787 copies worldwide purely on word of mouth and prior to the internet. It was released in 1982. It has been compared to Syd Barrett, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Comus. It doesn't sound like any of them. They also appeared on the compilation Paranoia Is Awareness along with Throbbing Gristle and The Apostles.

Not Quite ‘It’ was a compilation put out by a record company in Bexhill. The band refused to accept any money. All of their material is currently unavailable although it has been digitised and remastered.

Well, I suppose that roughly squares with the first version. I bought this from Larry Peterson who released it on Cause for Concern with the catalogue number CFC024, and I bought it because Toxteth had been one of the best tracks on Paranoia is Awareness. That said, I've never quite been sure what to make of the full length tape. I'm assuming the name might be some sort of pun on Canterbury progsters Hatfield & the North, and certainly Paem Wyrd betrays certain proggy tendencies, not least a few slightly wearying attitudes about what counts as proper music; but on the other hand, it's tuneful, generally nicely done, and with a few belly laughs here and there.


1 - Talons So Finch
2 - Toxteth
3 - St. Francis of Assisi
4 - Calculator Zombie
5 - The Pond Go Jazz
6 - Fanfart / I Give You... Cod
7 - En Ni Wun Kan B
8 - Les Bleus
9 - Spaced Out Laid Back West Coast Hippy's Lament
10 - Earwigo
11 - Tenderly
12 - Paem Wyrd

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Monday, 15 May 2017

The Anarchist Angels - As the Innocent Suffer... (1983) C30+

I first heard the Anarchist Angels on the Anal Probe compilation tape, Political Piggies. They immediately stood out, and with hindsight I'd say because they resembled a slightly low-fi version of how one of those bands on the Crass label might have sounded if they'd been listening to nothing but Wire. I realise that no two bands on the Crass label actually sounded particularly alike, but I'm generalising. Anyway, I immediately wrote off for a tape and got this, and played it to death. I gather the Anarchist Angels were two, maybe three people with a drum machine - Steve whom I wrote to at his home address in Sunbury-on-Thames, Gail who is mentioned on the cover, and I guess maybe someone else. I also gather they became the Anarchist Angels at some point, having simply been the Angels when they recorded As the Innocent Suffer... They seemed to be the Anarchist Angels on compilation tapes and in fanzines, so that's the name I'm sticking with.

When compiling the Moraals tape for my own Do Easy label, I asked Steve if he wanted to be on it and he sent me another copy of As the Innocent Suffer... with five new tracks recorded on the second side - being a C30, copies were sent out on one side of a C60 - so that's what you have here.

Weirdly I ran into Steve yet again more recently, around 2010 I think. He was selling stuff on eBay and I think I may have bought some old Adam & the Ants material from him - going by my remembering him having been quite a fan of that early, more expressionist incarnation of the Ants. Amazingly he remembered me, because he's clearly a nice guy, and mumbled something about not being too sure about his old band. It seems like there's a reasonable chance he might end up reading this seeing as he's probably still out there somewhere; so Steve, if you are, you're wrong - this was some fucking great music and you should be proud!

1 - I Cry with Despair
2 - You've Created Something You Can't Control
3 - Prepare to Die
4 - Sub-System
5 - Plastic People
6 - I Give, You Take
7 - Flowers in Full Bloom
8 - Man Does Not Create, Man Destroys
9 - Squat for Peace, Squat for Freedom, Squat to Preserve Your Life
10 - Force His Mind
11 - One in a Million
12 - No Freedom
13 - Sick But a Shepherd
14 - Don't Care

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Friday, 5 May 2017

v/a - From Down Yondah (1984) C120

Here's another relatively obscure compilation, another one on which I had a track, and rooting around on the internet I realise there were some genuine unsung weirdy music pioneers here, quite aside from those we all already know about; so my ego is a little larger than it was just before I digitised this tape.

From Down Yondah came as a C120 selotaped to a knackered charity shop record with a vague stack of associated A4 photocopies - vague, because it was sort of difficult to tell where the compilation artwork ended and Lennart Eilersen's manic accompanying letter began. Lennart Eilersen, also known as Uddah Buddah, was the man behind Selbstmord Organisation - one of my favourite things to emerge from the whole noisy tape scene of the early 1980s; and From Down Yondah was the label's international assemblage of friends and sympathetic parties. Cloister Crime, We Be Echo, Asepisis, and Do Easy are already fairly well represented on this blog, so please refer to the index and make sure you download the Cloister Crime tape if you haven't already done so because it's a fucking cracker. Opera for Infantry turned into the Grey Wolves, Unkommuniti turned into Stereolab, and Swedish Nature eventually became Brighter Death Now. Club Moral, FâLX çèrêbRi and Die Form surely require no introduction. The Cause for Concern was Larry Peterson who used to run the tape label of that name and who is now some sort of Thunderbirds puppet mogul or summink. Yttersta Tagghudingen was something to do with Lennart Eilersen, as referred to above, some kind of outgrowth of his magnificent Enhoenta Bödlar - which also featured Roger from Brighter Death Now and whose Ogreish Guttural Wounds is probably the greatest album ever recorded. The rest can be looked up on Discogs, probably.

While we're here, here's another masterpiece from the same label just in case you missed it. Someone really needs to write a book about the Swedish weirdy music scene. Those guys really had their shit together. Maybe it was something in the water.

I've always been a bit wary of C120s so have probably only played this thing a couple of times at most. Unfortunately for the sake of enduring quality this probably hasn't made a lot of difference as the tape appears to have been copied at an unusually low sound level. I've done what I can to restore the thing. Also, my own track was split between the end of side one and the beginning of side two for some stupid reason, so I've replaced it with the original uninterrupted version from The Fourteenth Metal Tape.

Also, I've scanned the Selbstmord catalogue, so that's included in the download for the sake of curiosity. I'd love to know how much of that stuff actually saw the light of day. I still have the first issue of Pok-a-Tok (which is, by the way, possibly the greatest fanzine I've ever read) but I have no idea if the promised From Down Yondah issue ever came out.

Finally, is it my imagination or does this version of The Witches Burn sound different to those posted previously on this blog? 

1 - (introduction)
2 -
Club Moral - Tegen Het Ik   
3 -
IMCP - Day of Stunts   
4 -
Asod Dvi - Det Synkende Synkende Skip   
5 -
Live Loop - Breathings   
6 -
Caspar Hausers - Slow Albanian Stucco   
7 -
Cloister Crime - Sacrum Sacrifice   
8 -
The Audience - We Need Fast Paint   
9 -
We Be Echo - The Witches Burn   
10 -
Asepisis - Genetik Product Control   
11 -
Family Patrol Group - Bottle Fuck   
12 -
Autentisk Film - Svarte Fugler   
13 -
Opera for Infantry - Black Christmas   
14 -
Do Easy - United States of America   
15 -
The Cause for Concern - To Life + Death   
16 -
Laxative Souls - Bryseri Half Anticipation
17 - Unkommuniti - Fry Day 2   
18 -
The Rimbaud Brothers - Bite the Bullet   
19 -
FâLX çèrêbRi - Olympic Games   
20 -
Comando Bruno - Racaille   
21 -
Interaccion - X y E   
22 -
Die Form - Il Coltello nell Acqua   
23 -
Swedish Nature - Suck It   
24 -
Diseño Corbusier - Escuadra Popular   
25 -
Yttersta Tagghudingen - Amschaspand Abrasax   

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Monday, 1 May 2017

v/a - Carnage in a Country Garden (1986) C90

Assuming they have no objections, at some point I'm going to be digitising and sharing some of the stuff I have by Opera for Infantry who became better known as the Grey Wolves in more recent years. As some of you may be aware, the Grey Wolves have been subject to a certain degree of criticism for their use of extreme right wing imagery, with some of this criticism suggesting that the Grey Wolves might even be sympathetic towards the politics of those whose flags they once slapped all over their tape covers. The thing is, I've known them on and off by various degrees of separation for about three decades now, and I still have a stack of letters from Trev of the group from when we used to write to each other back in the day, and with this in mind I respectfully suggest that whilst one might legitimately criticise their possibly irresponsible use of scary pictures, the idea that they could be genuine Nazis, closeted or otherwise, is complete bollocks; but it's really an argument for another time. I always viewed Opera for Infantry as more or less Crass with a synth and a fuzz pedal instead of guitars and drums, at least in terms of where their politics lay, and it really isn't hard to find material to support this if you can be arsed to look, not least all of those early compilations on their Anal Probe label, noisy but well-rooted in anarchopunk and squat culture and usually released as a benefit for some worthy cause or another, and no - we really aren't talking about anything comparable to how Death in June used to play at Rock Against Racism events...

Anyway, to get to the point, this was Anal Probe's third, fourth or maybe even fifth compilation cassette, a noisy affair as you might expect, but with a lot of variety too. I've written about Enhoenta Bodlar, Asepisis, and Do Easy - which was me - elsewhere on this blog with downloads which can be found via the index at the foot of this entry, and I wrote about Human Trapped Rhythms here, and as for the rest: Final was the bloke from Godflesh, and I think Chris Low who drummed for the Apostles was in Political Asylum, and you're probably as well-equipped to find out about the others as I am, should you feel you need to know. A few of this bunch turned up on other compilations, but they remain mostly just names to me.

As Do Easy, I played a live gig in support to Opera for Infantry and the Subhumans in Amesbury back in September 1984, so that's when I met Trev and Dap. After the gig we went back to their place - which I vaguely remember as being full of punk rockers - and I happened to have the tape of my tracks for this compilation on me, so Trev made a copy there and then on his ghetto blaster. I noticed the levels were whacked right up on the machine, and my bargain bin Matt Johnson impersonation was being transformed into something off the first SPK album as it was being copied, but I was too polite, or possibly terrified, to say anything. Anyway, if anyone cares enough, slightly clearer versions of the Do Easy tracks appeared on one of the Purifier tapes. Of course, that was 1984 and this came out in 1986 according to Discogs, which leaves a bit of an odd gap, so either my memory is wrong or some Discogs subscriber has messed up on the dating.

Anyway, four-hundred years later, this doesn't sound anything like so noisy as I remember it being, and it's also nice that it's not just twenty-seven tracks of different blokes screaming that they're going to do you up the bum; yes, quite a pleasing collection, I'd say.

1 - Enhoenta Bodlar - Antichrist ne Telleth
2 -
Der Verboten - Walking
3 -
Vox Populi! - White Man in Africa
4 -
Human Trapped Rhythms - Part of the Same
5 -
Final - Belief
6 -
Political Asylum - Symptom
7 -
Asepisis - The Presence
8 -
En Halvkokt I Folie - Men Pensionarer
9 -
Kosa - Watt Tem
10 -
Do Easy - In the Moral Hit Parade
11 -
Nun - Vermilion Sands (extract)
12 -
Kallous Boys - Sovereign
13 -
Opera for Infantry - Hate Machine
14 -
Der Verboten - Your Cancer My Sort
15 -
Kosa - No Trouble
16 -
En Halvkokt I Folie - Invitation to the Blues
17 -
Vox Populi! - Mind
18 -
Political Asylum - A Day in the Life
19 -
Kallous Boys - Tolerance
20 -
Do Easy - Mussolini and a Plate of Gruts
21 -
Der Verboten - Slem Jem
22 -
Kosa - Pole Sud
23 -
Nun - The Disaster Area (extract)
24 -
Vaccine Damaged Children - Last Train to Auschwitz
25 -
En Halvkokt I Folie - Senator Bizarre
26 -
Human Trapped Rhythms - Suck Mud
27 -
Kallous Boys - Elizabeth

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Dovers - More of the Same Old Thing (1992) C60

I'm back, and before anyone asks, yes I did, and very soon - in fact I'm digitising one of them even as I write this.

This was the last cassette we recorded as the Dovers, and it comes as a surprise even to me because I didn't think I had a copy of this particular material. Something of its evolution is described here - specifically the last five paragraphs if you want to cut to the chase. If you can't even be arsed with the chase, the short version is that as guitarist in a two man band distinguished by a drum machine and a sense of humour, I was terrified of turning into Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Therefore I dug out my Casio SK1 sampling keyboard and shoved it through a fuzzbox, and while this didn't represent a conscious attempt to impersonate Suicide, the fact that you could listen to it as such is probably why it sounded all right to us, and crucially, nothing like fucking Carter the Unlistenable Suck Latrine.

Regrettably it all went tits up at the gig due to my ingestion of an unfeasible quantity of booze which helped me forget not only my stage fright but also those fiendishly complicated one finger - three note tunes I'd been working on. We muddled through, and Carl decimated the main band's prissily arranged effects pedals by jumping up and down on them whilst singing along to whatever the fuck I thought I was doing. This was because they believed we weren't a proper band due to our homosexual synthesiser, and thusly did they attempt to conceal us from the audience in a sarcastic cloud of dry ice like the wanky muso Dungeons & Dragons playing cunts they were.

I was mortified by the whole thing, and mortified to the point that I didn't even want to talk about it, so we never did, and the Dovers ceased to be. This rehearsal material sounds okay to me now, and really it was just a slightly crappy gig and nothing more - although I've never heard the actual live tape. Carl says it's decent, but I'll believe it when and if I hear it. I suppose it was shame - at least on my part - even embarrassment, over the contrast between how good I thought it was going to be and how good it really wasn't. I'd even worn a fucking shirt and tie.

Oh well. 

1 - Electricity
2 - Electricity
3 - Compost World
4 - Electricity
5 - Compost World
6 - Sister
7 - Fine Night
8 - Mr. Pop
9 - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey

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Saturday, 18 March 2017

v/a - Process (1993) C90

I'm afraid there's not much I'm able to say about this one. Shaun Robert, then recording as factor X, got the ball rolling. The idea was that the tape would be passed from person to person with everybody adding stuff, treating what was already there and so on, presumably to end up with a piece of >cough< >cough< sound art of indeterminate multiple origins. He sent it to me, and there was clearly already some input from persons other than factor X - the guy with the American accent being one - but I have no idea who these people were or how many times this cassette had been messed with before it came to me. I suppose logically those involved would probably be persons with whom factor X had already collaborated in some capacity or other - so AMK, Odal, Sudden Infant, Suzuki Shunya, Mlehst, and others may be on there somewhere, but I have no way of telling. I had a look through my eight or nine lever arch box files full of correspondence (I keep everything) but found only the above in reference to this cassette. In another letter I found, Shaun talked about a performance he would be doing in Portugal. Whoever was putting him on had paid his air fare and would be providing accommodation, but he still needed money for fun. He had estimated two hundred quid should just about cover it, so he hated to ask but could I loan him fifty towards that sum? Seeing as I was working full time in a physically demanding job and yet still having trouble making ends meet, whilst Shaun had decided that wage slavery just wasn't his scene and had rounded up this begging letter with a cheery one day we shall both be artists! I decided that he could, in this instance, go fuck himself. Therein may be found clues as to why we are no longer in touch, and why I haven't been able to ask him who else contributed to this thing.

Anyway, the enterprise reminded me of Dada X, as orchestrated by Carl and myself a year earlier - the composition of which was why I'd introduced myself to Shaun in the first place - but frankly more ponderous with all that dull self-referential baggage about the process of recording. I was already sick of media drawing attention to its own structure by the time I left Maidstone College of Art in 1987, but I tried to get into the spirit of the thing, and tried to add material which might render it a bit more listenable - although some of that which I added is just me taking the piss, and the opening speech was nicked straight from Peter Avery's introduction to Moraals.

I don't know if this project was ever completed as Shaun never mentioned it again. Maybe I killed it off, but anyway, here's what it sounded like once I was done with it.

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Total Big - Rehearsal 11 - Complete & Unabridged (1986) C90

Sorry - I've run out of photos and/or related gig posters, so here's the cover of a comic I drew based on our adventures after Chris, the drummer, moved to Dover and we renamed the band accordingly. I never got around to printing the comic which is probably for the best as it wasn't that good, truth be told.

And yes - this is simply the unexpurgated version of Rehearsal 11, highlights of which I posted here back in January. We used to leave the tape recorder running during rehearsals or sessions or whatever you want to call them, and usually I got given a copy the week after once Chris had edited it down to just the stuff which sounded promising. Personally I preferred the unedited versions because I enjoy hearing us talking rubbish between tracks, plus I quite like the more shambolic numbers which Chris left off as being presumably beyond salvage; but then I was in the band so I'm biased, and this material will probably bore you shitless, whoever you are.

This one doesn't quite divide neatly into tracks as do previous rehearsal tapes, and so each track here is generally the track then a load of related fucking about up until the beginning of whatever I've identified as the next track, so this also incorporates a few fuck-ups and snatches of material which otherwise got taped over. Please feel free to call it sound art. The last two tracks were, I presume, from our first live performance at Maidstone College of Art on Wednesday the 27th of November, 1985, which presents something of a mystery as I wasn't aware of our having recorded it. Might have been from the video as I expect there was someone knocking around with a video camera.

1 - Nothing Like a Dame
2 - He Writes the Songs
3 - Rock Sandwich
4 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
5 - Are You My Mother?
6 - Call It What You Want
7 - Louie Louie
8 - Sister Ray
9 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
10 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
11 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
12 - Hail Fellow Well Met
13 - Cold Sore Herpes B
14 - Nervous Wreck
15 - Madonna
16 - Do It Again
17 - What's Up With Chuck?
18 - I Want It
19 - Is That Why?
20 - Hey Joe
21 - Louie Louie
22 - Sister Ray
23 - Hey Joe
24 - He Writes the Songs
25 - Rock Sandwich
26 - Spectre in My Trousers
27 - Ouch!!! (live)
28 - He Writes the Songs (live)

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