Monday, 5 December 2016

Konstruktivists - Instrumentals (1992) C60

The first six tracks here would have been at least some of what emerged from the speakers had we played at the event listed on the above poster (as kindly provided by Simon Dell, archivist extraordinaire). As I said in an audio letter dated to the 2nd of November, 1991:

We had a gig at the Fridge in Brixton on the - it was going to be on the 24th of October which was just over a week ago, except it was cancelled because the thing about the Fridge is that they don't actually advertise themselves. All it is is that the people who organise it, they hire the place and it's down to them to do everything like printing the tickets, manning the door and so on. This Dutch woman who was organising it, this Hans Christa - there's an enormous problem with the language barrier. She didn't advertise it at all. There's a mention of the gig in letters about one millimetre high in the gig guide in Melody Maker, no mention of it in the NME, and so they cancelled it at last minute because it didn't sell enough tickets. It was a bit of a pain, although I was secretly relieved as it would have meant getting a taxi back from Brixton to Lewisham at God knows what time - like two in the morning or something - then having to be up for work at 5.30AM, which wouldn't have been much fun. It's a shame in a way because it would have been quite a good line-up. There would have been us, Konstruktivists, who would have been playing at eleven.  Joe got this set together the day before. I went up to Joe's place in Harlow and we went through it and it sounded brilliant, good dancey stuff. All I really had to do was doodle away on the guitar. Anyway, we were going to be on at eleven, and the main band was to be Nocturnal Emissions. They are one of my favourite groups so that was quite exciting, and also a group called Soviet France would have been supporting. I heard about them back in 1984 but never actually heard any of their stuff, but people always go on about how good they are; so that would have been interesting. There would have been two other groups playing, and one of them was Blue Anger which is the group of this Hans Christa woman. I can't work out why a woman would be called Hans. It must be something to do with being Dutch, I suppose. At least I'm fairly sure she's a woman. I hope she's a woman because she's quite attractive. Her group is called Blue Anger and I've heard a bit of them and they are quite good. Anyway, the whole thing has been rescheduled and it might be at Subterrania which should be better as they handle all the advertising so all we would need to do is turn up, so hopefully it will go ahead; and hopefully it will be on a Saturday. All this getting up early...

The other tracks on this tape were, I think, either rough versions of stuff proposed for Jihad e Sazendegi - the lost fifth Konstruktivists album, or just stuff from the same time. I wasn't really involved with any of it so I'm not sure, and I think it's mostly Joe and Glenn. Jihad e Sazendegi would have been the follow up to Glennascaul but it never happened for some reason. I suspect the hurried recording of Forbidden may actually have been a reaction to Jihad e Sazendegi having dragged on for so long.

1 - Konstruktivists
2 - Housewife's Choice
3 - Break Your Legs
4 - Hurts So Good
5 - Mansonik No. 1
6 - Tic Tac Toe
7 - Much Too Much
8 - Autumn Park
9 - Untitled (mix I)
10 - Untitled (mix II)
11 - Untitled (mix III)
12 - Dance Music
13 - حملة لبناء

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Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Dovers - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey (1991) C90

There were three people in the Dovers for a couple of years - myself living in Chatham with Carl and Alan living in Bermondsey. Alan was the other (admittedly more accomplished) guitarist. I understand that Carl and Alan had fairly frequent rehearsals, and I vaguely remember one wherein they renamed themselves U3 with Alan rebranding himself as the Corner to record Where the Streets Have Rude Names, amongst others. Carl and I would rehearse when he came down to Chatham, but all three of us were so rarely in the same room that I wasn't even sure there were any recordings of the Dovers as a trio; but there is and here they are, accompanied by my favourite picture of Alan - taken at the Camberwell Grove Tavern, 15th of May, 1993, in case anyone's counting. He was playing the barbecue pit as a piano whilst channelling Jimmy Durante. If you've been following this shit I'm sure you've seen more than enough of Carl and myself, and it really was an exceptional rendering of the Schnozzola.

Anyway, I left Chatham in 1989 and moved to Coventry, then moved back down south to Lewisham in 1990, having decided the move north had been a bit of a mistake. The Dovers hadn't really been a thing during that time, at least not with me as a member, so once Carl and I were back in the same part of the country we kind of picked up where we'd left off. Well, maybe not quite - gigs were harder to come by in London and Carl had bought a four-track portastudio, allowing us to record material of slightly more tuneful composition, or at least less like someone dropping concrete blocks on your foot. I think this was the first full tape of this material, mostly improvised live onto a couple of the four tracks, then tarted up with additional instrumentation.

A couple of these made it onto The World of the Dovers, which would have been the "album" had I got my arse into gear, although these are earlier mixes. 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey came about when Carl nicked the tiny notebook I always used to carry around in which I wrote addresses and telephone numbers, so what you hear is him working his way through from A to Z insulting everyone; so if you and I had any significant form of contact with each other during the eighties, Carl has probably insulted you by name in this song, but it probably wasn't anything personal unless you're Steve Coots. All of this stuff was recorded at Carl's flat in Maydew House, Bermondsey. The first ten tracks were just Carl and myself and date from early 1991, it says here. The remainder I have down as being from 1989-ish and all feature Alan on guitar with me playing keyboard, specifically a Casio SK1 novelty sampler. All of this stuff could probably have been mixed with a little more going on in the bass department, but I don't seem to be able to do anything with my editing software which you'd call an improvement, so please adjust your listening equipment accordingly.

Normally at this juncture I would apologise for the quality of the material, but not this time because it still sounds fucking great to me.

You're welcome.

1 - If You Wanna Get On
2 - Fuck Off Pigs
3 - Charles Manson
4 - Armchair Maniac
5 - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey (A to D)
6 - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey (D to W)
7 - Chas 'n' Dave's Authentic Cockney Disco (second version)
8 - Chief (original mix)
9 - Disney!
10 - Chas 'n' Dave's Authentic Cockney Disco (first version)
11 - Be My Valentine (prelude)
12 - Be My Valentine
13 - Rochester Bridge
14 - Born on the Street
15 - Punishment
16 - Consider the Bat
17 - Enjoy
18 - Semtex

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Monday, 21 November 2016

War Drum - La Quinta Trecena (2000) C90

This was the last War Drum tape which got finished and was sold to people. There were a couple of other tapes after this - half a new album plus a film soundtrack - but nothing complete. I think by this point I'd more or less stopped listening to anything which wasn't rap, and it shows - for better or worse. With hindsight my efforts vaguely resembled those of enterprising 1980s rural English schools making a "rap video" to raise funds for their new swimming pool, as seen on local news programmes and usually featuring lines like Mr. Jones is taking class / He shouts, 'Hey Johnson - get off the grass!'. Still, I like to think I got better after this tape (recording as LDB) and fuck it - at least I was trying something rather than just sticking some Gregorian chant through a reverb and naming it after Aleister Crowley's dog.

The preoccupations here were mostly orientated towards the general direction of Nahuatl-speaking Mexico, excepting the occasional nod at Max Ernst, the first Godzilla film, and Psi-Force comic; and First Steps is another Severed Heads cover, obviously. Colhuacan was indeed recycled from the very first Do Easy tape, in the unlikely event of anyone noticing. As for anything else, explaining it would spoil the fun and I can't be arsed, or in some cases can't remember.

It's no Physical Grafitti, but nevertheless I was quite pleased with this one, and I  think it still sounds mostly decent.

1 - At the First Clear Word
2 - Shadow of Love
3 - Last Exit
4 - Staying Alive
5 - Colhuacan
6 - Chalchiuhxochitl
7 - Biding My Time
8 - Pодство

9 - Ryde or Die
10 - Endless Night
11 - Bride of the Ixcuiname
12 - Chicoce Cuauhtli
13 - Tattered Birdman
14 - Oxygen Destroyer
15 - First Steps
16 - Cueva de Villa Luz
17 - Connect Gang

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Soul Providers - Last Tape (1999) C90

That isn't actually us in the picture, but a different group also known as the Soul Providers, seen here providing something which I expect may be more immediately recognisable as soul. The image came up in a Google image search whilst looking for something with which to illustrate this post in lieu of a sleeve, or even a picture of Ed, Steve and myself rocking out in my front room. I never thought to take photos and the cassette never had a sleeve, beyond a blank inlay card with dates written on it, because this was our last tape - as suggested by the canny title. We never actually filled the tape up, so it was never formally completed and I never made copies or did anything with it.

This final installment of the arbitrarily titled Shoulder Lion was recorded on the same day as Calli Yei as the final leg of the same session - 31st October, 1998. The Last Song was recorded on Thursday the 3rd of July, 1999, again in my front room in Dulwich. I have a vague feeling this recording may have been just Steve and myself due to Ed not showing up, which would possibly explain our improvising just the one twenty-minute track rather than the usual several hours worth of material. I seem to recall Ed having become a bit fed up with our efforts for reasons I didn't really follow, but then again it was two decades ago so who knows? Maybe this last track was all three of us jamming with Wink Martindale and Micky Most making tea in the kitchen. It was a long time ago.

Anyway, it still sounds decent to me.

As a word of warning, if you've been Googling those other Soul Providers (as pictured above) and somehow ended up here, there's a chance this might not quite be your sort of thing. Just saying.

1 - Shoulder Lion part three
2 - Last Song

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Friday, 4 November 2016

Spinning Pygmies - Spinning Pygmies IV (1987) C60

Spinning Mbilikimo walikuwa Carl na mimi mwenyewe kujaribu kuweka kwamba Jumla ya Big uchawi kwenda kufuatia kuondoka kwa Chris, and for youse thick fuckers who never made the effort to familiarise yourselves with Swahili, most of the relevant details may be gleaned by perusing previous postings of Spinning Pygmies material, as can be found by referring to the index, as linked at the foot of this blog entry.

The first five tracks represent a rehearsal at Hollytree House in Otham, some time during the summer of 1987 it says here - presumably the rehearsal which convinced us it wasn't working and would probably forever remain an unlistenable racket and therefore the final Spinning Pygmies rehearsal. Saxophone was played by Mark Smith, Carl sang, and I think Garreth and myself alternated on guitar and Casio SK1 keyboard. I probably haven't bothered listening to this thing since we recorded it, although three decades later it sounds a bit like Faust to me, or one of those bands. If it doesn't sound like Faust to you then that's your problem.

The rest was just me filling up the tape. The story behind the sixth track can probably be deduced by referring to this excerpt from my memoirs. It's not a great recording but if you wack the volume up and listen close you can probably just about hear some sounds of excitement and the phrase as my producer said to me... Tracks eleven and twelve were Carl and myself at my flat in Chatham during autumn 1987, which is where the rest of the tape was recorded, or at least filled up (and we had probably taken to calling ourselves the Dovers by that point). The last three tracks are myself and Martin de Sey, whom I knew from college but who had moved into the bedsit directly below mine. I can't even remember if he'd formally joined the band or just fancied a kick about, but anyway he'd been drafted in to play bass for us at a gig at the Sunset Strip, so this was presumably just the two of us working things out in advance. I know the singing sounds incongruously mild for the material, but neither Martin nor myself were gunna be on the mic on the night innit.

1 - Slip Inside Me
2 - Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
3 - Something New Around
4 - Less of the Gun
5 - Good & Gothic
6 - Amanda B******* Being Shagged by Man Resembling Ronnie Corbett
7 - Daughters of Darkness
8 - Carry On at Your Convenience
9 - Twelve Bar
10 - Silence Network 7
11 - Less is More
12 - Never Be Without Your Hand-Truck
13 - Misery List
14 - You Bastard
15 - I Wanna Be (a Punk)
16 - I Wanna Be Your Dog
17 - Precinct
18 - No Lip

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Monday, 31 October 2016

Asepisis - The Glory of Punishment (1984) C60

Asepisis was Jez, actually my oldest friend on the grounds of my being told to sit next to him on my first day in Mrs. Daglish's infants class. We both ended up at the same comprehensive school and discovered Throbbing Gristle and related weirdy music artistes around the same time. Once I'd worked out how to layer sound on the twin tape deck of the family music center, it made sense to invite Jez over to see what he could come up with. We had already collaborated to some extent when he played guitar at a Do Easy performance which ended up on Death in a Milan Square, but this was to be his own thing seeing as he already seemed to have plenty of ideas. He came over to my place a few times and vanished into the spare room at the top of the house where we kept the music center, and I left him to it. At one point he had me shout Mishima into the drum of an old washing machine he'd brought over, but that was otherwise the full extent of my involvement.

Annoyingly, given that I actually knew how to play an instrument and everything, The Glory of Punishment sounded significantly better than anything I had myself recorded on the same equipment, and listening to the thing now, I'm still not sure how he achieved some of those sounds given our limited resources. When I recently got back in touch with Jez to ask him about this tape, he described it with typical humility as low rent, fourth grade power electronics, but I think he's doing himself a disservice. The tape is certainly of its time, as they say, but let he among us who hasn't contrasted a tape of Charles Manson talking with a wall of screeching noise cast the first stone. I've heard a lot of power electronics over the years, and quite frankly this tape still sounds better than the great majority - at least to me. It's inventive and demonstrates some sort of understanding of composition, of what works, when to turn it up full, when to cut back, and so on.

Anyway, it would have been a tape on my Do Easy label, but first I got a bit freaked out by the artwork which Jez came up with - which neither of us seem to have a copy of any longer - and then we fell out due to my being a massive arsehole, or at least carrying off a convincing impersonation of one, for shameful reasons I won't go into here. We're back in touch again, after all this time, and on good terms at last, although we still need to properly thrash it all out over a few beers. Anyway, the upshot was that the tape was released on the label run by Trev Ward of the Grey Wolves, whatever it was called that year.

It makes me very happy to be able to share this tape, and to once again be on good terms with its creator. Enjoy! I'd add play loud but I think that's probably a given. 

1 - Highland Park
2 - The Glory of Punishment
3 - The Presence
4 - Mishima
5 - Firezone
6 - Before the Temptation
7 - We Swallow Our Pride
8 - Atomage III
9 - Theatre of Violence
10 - New Patriotism

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Monday, 24 October 2016

F*** F******* - For Our Real Fans Only! (1992) C60+

The story so far is to be found here and here, should it be necessary. This album was produced in a limited edition of two copies, which is perhaps why you've never heard of it. It was a compilation mostly of stuff I had laying around and which hadn't been recorded with any particular destination in mind (with a few exceptions), and it was compiled for my friend Carl's birthday seeing as he seemed to get something out of this shit. Hence I recorded a special birthday song (see if you can tell which one it is), and a song which could be transferred to Carl's telephone answering machine, should he feel inclined to do so (and I seem to remember that he did) as a sort of additional birthday present.

Tribute to factor X was originally sent to the sound-artist-bloke-project-entity of the same name for possible inclusion on one of his Radio Dada tapes, although I don't know if he ever used it; probably not, the miserable cunt. My droning DJ impersonation was based heavily on the bloke you may have heard on We Be Echo's Psychick Kontakt Specials a couple of months ago; and (in case anyone really cares) the Green Men actually existed and featured my friend Jez's dad along with other members of the village bowling team. They had the song pressed as a 7" single and I expect they sold it in the local pub or something. The test tone you hear at the beginning of Tribute to factor X was on the other side for some reason.

You Don't Have to Say Please was my improvement on an inferior Whitehouse song recorded for Still Going Strong - Impulse fanzine's collection of sarcastic Whitehouse covers, presently available from [aufnahme + wiedergabe].

...and the rest were mostly just me pissing about, except I Know What I Like which featured the late, great Andrew Cox on guitar, and Let the Bad Times Roll on which harmonica is played by my fellow Catford postman, the multi-talented Billy Playle. He carried a harmonica with him most of the time and would whip it out and give us a few mournful bars during tough mornings in the sorting office to underscore that plantation vibe. The last three tracks are covers of songs by the Leather Nun, Death in June, and Led Zeppelin. Behind the Rose and In My Time of Dying weren't actually on the original tape, but I've added them here for the sake of tidiness. I recorded the Leather Nun song partially because that's where the band's name came from, and the Death in June song is recorded in the club style because why the fuck not, and In My Time of Dying happened because someone had to bring together the majesty of Led Zeppelin and the mighty force of the Casio VL Tone, and it turned out that this person was me.

1 - Happy Birthday to Carl
2 - Please Leave a Message
3 - Tribute to factor X (WKXK radio session)
4 - This Old Man
5 - When We've Had a Couple of Beers
6 - Invokation
7 - You Don't Have to Say Please
8 - Stupid (instrumental)
9 - I Know What I Like
10 - Bad Time Blues (live)
11 - Sniff Your Ass
12 - You Don't Have to Say Please (live)
13 - Let the Bad Times Roll
14 - F*** F****** of America
15 - Behind the Rose (Fields of Rape)
16 - In My Time of Dying

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