Friday, 23 June 2017

v/a - Reflections of a Past Age (1984) C60


I'm Dead was Keith Goldhanger, later of Headbutt, and IVE released a very fine full length tape through Refill (which will probably turn up here when I get around to it), but otherwise I'm in the dark about most of this lot, at least beyond what was written in the booklet that came with the cassette. Refill were a small operation based in Devizes, Wiltshire whom I knew through Trev Ward and Anal Probe, or possibly the other way around. I say small in reference to the extent of their legend and how little it seems to loom here in 2017, which is a shame, because Refill was actually run by three people (as opposed to the usual one bloke in his bedroom, like me) who used to write nice letters, full of enthusiasm despite a somewhat dour outlook when it came to the possibility of anyone ever buying their tapes, presumably outside of Trev and myself. They didn't make much of a dent in the polls at that year's design awards, but they released three decent tapes - two compilations and the aforementioned That Infernal Chemistry by IVE; and technical considerations aside, they did a pretty good job.

I've edited the tape, as is my custom, so as to remove bewilderingly lengthy fifteen second gaps between songs and to round off some of the harsher edits and clicks, but some of this is kind of low-fi so there was a limit to what I could set straight - notably the wow and flutter you may notice on Haircut Off, which I've a feeling may have been on the master tape, possibly even on the original.

There - that's about all I can tell you, which by happy coincidence is probably about all you need to know. I played this one a lot back in the day and there's not a duff track on there - even the token helping of cod reggae is good. Turn this one up until it rattles the windows.


Tracks:
1 - IVE - Haircut Off
2 - I'm Dead - With Memories Gone
3 - Synchronization - Strange Travel
4 - Plan-Net Werk - You're So Pretty
5 - Mike Moore - On My Way Home
6 - Mike Moore - Into the Distance
7 - IVE - I Must
8 - IVE - Rain
9 - Synchronization - Recreation Reggae
10 - Dross - Ill Repute
11 - Plan-Net Werk - Moondrift Daughter
12 - I'm Dead - Iceland
13 - I'm Dead - Stay
14 - Dross - No Words
15 - Mike Moore - In the End

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Artwork Update #1

Remember-member-member what a Womble-womble-womble you are...

A month or so back I returned from England with another suitcase full of old tapes of lawnmowers, washing machines, and kids farting into microphones, the fruits of which have begun to appear here on this blog as freely downloadabubble sound files; but in addition to the suitcase of old tapes, I also had a stack of artwork I had believed lost. Some of this artwork constituted tape covers and related material pertaining to releases I've already posted here, but posted without the scans which should have accompanied them, obviously. Anyway, I've tarted all this stuff up, and added it to the pertinent downloads so that anyone downloading any of that stuff from this point forwards will at least have the full set or sets. However, in the unlikely event that any of you have already downloaded any of this material, here's a handy download of just the newly scanned stuff so as to save you hunting back through all those previous posts for whatever you missed.

Okay, so here's what you have: 

1) A cover I made for the Anschluss cassette even though I never actually got around to making copies or selling the thing.
2) Prize-winningly shite covers for a stack of old Do Easy cassettes, including the two C15s I released (if you're looking at the list and wondering what they were), the tracks from which appear on Purifier.
3) Like Fall Apart, the Dada X tape never got released either, but I found these notes which would have been used had Carl or myself ever got around to designing a cover, so at least now I know who actually appeared on the fucking thing.
4) An important essay I wrote explaining the philosophy of 621 Monosodium 621.
5) A page of Asepisis artwork which Jez did for the track Terminal Beach, which would have been on the Moraals compilation but for us falling out.
6) A limited edition booklet of We Be Echo artwork by Kevin Thorne which came with the first version of Ceza Evi, taking the form of thirteen loose A4 pages in a plastic wallet.

The names of the individual files are indicated by italics in the list below.


Anschluss - Fall Apart (1992) C60 ANS01 (cover)
Do Easy - The Metal Tape (1982) C60 DE01d
(cover)
Do Easy - The Second Metal Tape (1982) C60 DE02 (cover)
Do Easy - The Fourth Metal Tape (1982) C90 DE04 (cover)
Do Easy - The Fourteenth Metal Tape (1983) C60 DE14a (cover)
Do Easy - Five Track Compact Cassette (1984) C15 DE17 (cover)
Do Easy - Exquisite Torment (1984) C15 DE20 (cover)
Do Easy - The 35th Release (1985) C60 DE21 (cover)
Dada X (1992) C90  Eph1992-0715-01 / Eph1992-0715-02 (notes)
621 Monosodium 621 - Torn from the Earth... (1992) C15+ Eph1993-0319-00 (essay)
various - Moraals (1985) 2C90 Moraals28 (unused Asepisis artwork)
We Be Echo - Ceza Evi (1983) C60 WBE Ceza Evi (thirteen page booklet)


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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Khmer Rouge - Year Zero Disco (1981) C46


I asked Mex if it would be okay to slap this one up here as a freebie (along with a couple of other Dead Hedgehog releases) and not only did he say yes, but he very kindly sent me his own digitised file of the tape, meaning 1) I didn't have to do nuffink, and 2) being closer to the source, the quality may be marginally better than it would have been taken from my copy.

Anyway, I don't really know much about Khmer Rouge beyond what can be gleaned from the artwork, all scanned and included with the download. The late Robert Dellar apparently plays some keyboard on this one, for what it may be worth, and of course Mex was involved and should require no introduction, but in the event of your having missed all the memos, please refer to this website and don't be afraid to buy an ice cream while you're there. One of the things I always appreciated about Dead Hedgehog Enterprises was their obvious love of disco in an era and culture in which it had become more or less a dirty word. There were plenty of tapes with the circled A of anarchy doing the rounds, but only Dead Hedgehog slapped DISCO! on the cover of their tapes in that font you otherwise only ever saw used on the signs of newsagents.

Year Zero Disco is punky and low-fi by the standards of your regular disco artist, but it rewards repeat listening, and begins to sound like something in the general direction of Public Image Limited, LCD Soundsystem, Shriekback and those guys, once you're accustomed to it.

The tape came in a plastic sleeve of the kind you would buy so as to protect the cover of a 7" single, so the artwork - two sheets of A4, were folded over so as to fit into the package. This annoyed the hell out of me at the time, so I made my own cover from photocopies of the original so as to fit a cassette in a jewel case neatly filed away under K, between my tapes of David James and Killing Joke as nature intended. I've also included a scan of my reconfigured cover in with the download just in case anyone gives a shit.


Tracks:
1 - Boogie 'Til You Drop
2 - Come Dance With Me
3 - Love Like Dynamite
4 - Take Me (Across the Floor Tonight)
5 - Tuesday Relay
6 - Disco Suicide


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Monday, 12 June 2017

Clench - In the Garden (1984) C46


I'm afraid I don't have much of a clue about this one, and even the year of its appearance is guesswork based on where the catalogue number should appear amongst other Black Dwarf releases listed on Discogs, which this one isn't, for some reason. Black Dwarf was the label run by Tim Gane of the Unkommuniti (and yes - Stereolab blah blah blah), so I have a vague hunch this may have been a couple of other Unkommuniti peeps branching out so as to experience the novelty of recording an entire cassette without H.P. Lovecraft references; but it's a hunch, so I'm not sure. It could be Jonathan King for all I know. I vaguely recall being sent this copy by some Clench person, asking if I would consider releasing it on Do Easy, which confused me because it sort of looked like it was already available through Black Dwarf what with the cover and everything. Maybe that was just some provisional thing and it never received formal release, hence the absence from Discogs. Maybe they just wanted it to appear on a few labels. Anyway, I thought the tape was great but Do Easy had more or less bitten the dust by that point, as I recall. There's a chance I still have the letter from the guy somewhere in one of the six lever arch box files in which I have kept all of my antique correspondence from Cosey Fanni Tutti, Neil Campbell, the Grey Wolves, and other famous people, but it could take a couple of days to find even if I still have the thing, so - well, y'know...

In the Garden stands out as one of the stranger, more interesting weirdy cassettes I've heard over the years - drum machines deployed as sonic effects rather than for the sake of rhythm in the traditional sense, and those weird, dark titles - more like lines of poetry than a list of tracks. Maybe if Michael Gira had been hanging around with Portion Control rather than New York art gallery wankers...


Tracks:
1 - Child - Man, a Summer's Day
2 - One Result of Courage
3 - He Was Pushed
4 - Don't Touch... Mine!
5 - Grab Me
6 - Insanity Begins (at Home)
7 - Kata'ib
8 - Why Choose Her, That Poor Little Girl?
9 - Lenny
10 - Instinctuality
11 - Indoctrination Starts Young
12 - Only an Attack Can Do These Things


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Monday, 5 June 2017

v/a - Ars Magna et Ultima (1983) C60


Here we go - the Black Dwarf label compilation Ultimate Arse Magnets by popular request. Black Dwarf, as you probably know, was the H.P. Lovecraft-fixated home of the Unkommuniti and therefore the work of Tim Gane, more recently and better known for McCarthy and Stereolab. A few of those featured here should be familiar to you if you've been following this blog, and shouldn't need much of an introduction, but just for the sake of argument: Trilogy were here just last week, and still known as the Complete Trilogy when this tape went out. These tracks were taken from Tapestry, although Our Patience Will End / Clean Recording is actually a single track made from the two originals edited together, presumably by Tim; the Cause for Concern piece seems to be yet another offering culled from that same afternoon when Larry got to play with a ring modulator around his mate's house; I know nothing about Ashenden except that I really wish I'd got hold of the bloke's tape back then - I have a couple of the fanzines he produced and he was clearly an interesting guy; Opera for Infantry eventually became the Grey Wolves; Smear Campaign - tellingly named after the Nocturnal Emissions hit single - eventually became Godflesh, or at least one of them did; and Mass of Black were a Bolton based punk band who released a few things through Bluurg Tapes as run by Dick of the Subhumans. As for the Kallous Boys, Last Breath, VVH, Spinebender and Assailer, they all seem so closely associated with Black Dwarf as to make me wonder whether they might not simply be Unkommuniti solo-projects, given how the Unkommuniti were more than just Tim, from what I gather.

I had to take a slightly different approach to editing the digitised file of this tape, given Tim's propensity for punctuating the track listing with bits of what sounds like Edgar Allen Poe, not to mention his tendency to segue certain tracks into one another leaving it ambiguous as to where Smear Campaign end and Crusade begins, for one example. I've inserted my standard two second gaps where appropriate, but otherwise tried to preserve the flow of the cassette, as was. I've rendered Larry Peterson's amazing contribution in proper mono, as opposed to stereo but only playing in one channel - as appears on the original tape for no good reason I can think of aside from that something probably got unplugged by accident and Tim was too busy reading At the Mountains of Madness to notice. Also included in this download are a couple of Black Dwarf catalogues from the time, plus some sort of manifesto.

More Black Dwarf chortles next week, readers...


Tracks:
1 - Yogge Sothotha
2 - Kallous Boys - Tranquilise
3 - Trilogy - Our Patience Will End / Clean Recording
4 - The Cause for Concern - Hey Juden
5 - Unkommuniti - Pit
6 - Last Breath - Down in the Drains
7 - VVH - Blackfire
8 - Spinebender - Step on Your Backbone
9 - Assailer - I Did It Mi-go
10 - Trilogy - The Dark Night
11 - Ashenden - Jesus Ipsation
12 - The Cause for Concern - Last Doomsday Reprisal
13 - Opera for Infantry - Self-Discipline Not Self-Oppression
14 - Smear Campaign - Processor
15 - Unkommuniti - Crusade
16 - Mass of Black - I Feel


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Friday, 26 May 2017

Trilogy - Tapestry (1984) C60


The first full length cassette released on my Do Easy label by someone other than myself was Hopscotch by Opera for Industry (February 1984 I think), and the second - about four months later - was Tapestry by the Complete Trilogy. The Complete Trilogy, whom I seem to recall having been named after some book I'd never heard of, was the work of one Thomas Docherty, whom I suspect got fairly tired of having to explain that no, he wasn't the former manager of Manchester United. He wrote following Larry Peterson having given me the big up in Scum #6 fanzine. He had pretty much the same limited set up as myself, with everything being recorded onto a home stereo, but he seemed to achieve quite a lot with very little, as can be heard on Tapestry - from which I nicked his technique of playing several copies of the same recording out of sync so as to create a sort of budget echo effect. Anyway, I liked the tape so I released it, once I was certain TD - as he signed his letters - understood that I probably wasn't going to make him famous.

The tape sold quite well by my standards, more than thirty, probably not in excess of fifty copies from what I can recall. A couple of the tracks appeared on Black Dwarf's Ars Magna et Ultima compilation, so maybe that was something to do with it. Actually, I seem to recall TD being quite good friends with Tim Gane and the possibility of a Trilogy / Unkommuniti split album was discussed at one point.


Due to his parents' trade, TD lived on a building site in Hatfield and had one of the most amusingly industrial addresses ever, and myself and my friend Grez drove down there to meet him during the summer of 1984. We all bonded instantly over our shared obsession with Laurel & Hardy and TD played us a new track he'd recorded called Words Cannot Describe, elements of which apparently derived from recordings made inside some giant metal pipeline he'd found. To this day Words Cannot Describe remains, at least for me, one of the scariest pieces of mutter mumble industrial music I've heard outside of Heathen Earth or Psykho Genetika - turn off the lights, wack up the volume, and maybe you'll see what I mean.

A few months later, TD decided to shorten the name to Trilogy and revise the tape, replacing Metallic Grey with Words Cannot Describe. Personally I wasn't too sure about this, believing that music albums should be left as products of their time, but I did it anyway. Words Cannot Describe is probably the better track, although oddly I find that Metallic Grey - despite the obvious Throbbing Gristle influence - seems to foreshadow the twisted cabaret sound of TD's later material recorded as Frenzied Encounters. Anyway, I've digitised both versions of the tape, so once you've downloaded I suppose you could shuffle either track six or seven to see which version of the album you prefer; or just keep them both because they seem to work together just fine, I'd say. I should probably point out that the recording volume on the original tape varies wildly, presumably so as to give greater dramatic impact to the really noisy stuff such as Our Patience Will End. I've done what I can, but you may want to fiddle with the volume a bit, and you'll definitely need to wack Words Cannot Describe right up for full impact.

TD is still in existence today and can be found here on YouTube, along with some of the stuff he's worked on over the years since Tapestry.


Tracks:
1 - Tropical
2 - Non-Malignant Breakthrough
3 - Our Patience Will End
4 - Clean Recording
5 - The Dark Night
6 - Metallic Grey
7 - Words Cannot Describe
8 - Tapestry
9 - Orchestral


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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.

Enjoy.


Tracks:
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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