Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Dovers - Nobody Never Told Me Nothing About No Lights (1992) C90+

That's Maydew House in Bermondsey which would be where we recorded the material on this tape, because I can't be arsed to scan a boring generic cassette inlay card. Carl's flat would be somewhere at the bottom on the right, and I think Danny Baker lived on the floor above at some point. The arbitrary title of this cassette derived from a conversation I had about double negatives with fellow Catford based postman Micky Evans who said this was his favourite one, as uttered by some bloke on a television documentary. The tape was recorded by Carl Glover and myself on Carl's portastudio between Sunday the 27th of October, 1991 and Saturday the 25th of January 1992, except Tim Song, which wasn't on the original tape. Tim Song and the recordings immediately before and after were recorded on Saturday the 11th of November, 1991 with Christine - Carl's girlfriend - as part of a tape letter sent to my friend Tim. This seemed as good a place for it as any. There are plenty of other entries concerning the Dovers to be found elsewhere on this blog so if you're still confused about anything, please refer to the index which can be found at the foot of this one.
As for the stuff which isn't self-explanatory - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey, named in honour of a former Cravat, was us going through my address book and insulting everyone in alphabetical order. There's a longer, probably funnier version on one of the other tapes. Cheer Up, Gen is the very definition of self-explanatory but I mention it so as to request that anyone of my acquaintance who happens to know him please refrain from grassing me up. It was a long time ago, he probably wouldn't get it anyway, and yes - I'm sure he has a great sense of humour. Ghost Dance is almost a Prince Buster cover. Telstar Air Strip was done for a Joe Meek themed compilation done by Chainsaw Cassettes, but the bloke didnae like it.
The Glenn referred to in passing at the end of the tape was, as is probably obvious, Glenn of Konstruktivists, Whitehouse, former Throbbing Gristle handler etc. etc., this being around the same time Carl and myself recorded stuff with him which ended up on some Konstruktivists CD or other. Anyone who calls themselves a true fan of the Gristle will therefore already have this material on the luxurious 360g splatter-effect vinyl triple album released by Waitrose Org a few years ago, much to the envy of those lightweight Johnny come lately part timers who were still listening to Captain Beaky when we were snorting nose candy off Chris Carter's gristlesizer backstage at Knebworth.
Crazy times. 

1 - Partial Bastard (version)
2 - American
3 - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey
4 - Tell Him About the Rabbit
5 - Tales of Tom
6 - Two Men Standing on a Rock
7 - I Can't Wait
8 - Cheer Up, Gen
9 - Wooden Head
10 - Don't Know What to Do
11 - Measuring Rooms
12 - Everyman
13 - Big Mouth
14 - Ghost Dance
15 - Telstar Air Strip
16 - Pink Brick Town
17 - Ed is Great
18 - Alan Retentive
19 - (Maydew House 16/11/91 I)
20 - Tim Song
21 - (Maydew House 16/11/91 II)

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Friday, 10 February 2017

War Drum - Final Music (2005) C60

This was the last tape I ever recorded, one that I didn't really regard as having been finished up until I digitised the thing this week. I was mixing the tracks down to a C90 as I recorded them, and about ten minutes into side two, the four-track portastudio I had been borrowing from Eddy Walsh finally gave up the ghost and I couldn't seem to find anyone to fix it. Additionally this was around the time I started seeing Marian, and my life turned to a mire of passive-aggressive shite and mumbo-jumbo, so creative endeavours became difficult to sustain for the next couple of years. Anyway, digging this out in 2017, I notice it's actually just under sixty minutes in length and it sort of sounds finished, so let's just say that it is.
I had drifted away from War Drum, partially to concentrate on LDB (the works of which I might post here at some point, or I might not) and partially to concentrate on writing. Then in 2005 I got back into it. I'd been to Mexico four or five times by this point, and had taken a minidisc recorder with me on a couple of those occasions so as to record environmental sound. So Final Music features quite a lot of that environmental sound rearranged and ordered back in England with, this time, a much stronger influence of Mexican artists such as Tribu, Antonio Zepeda, and Jorge Reyes. This one is much closer to how I always wanted War Drum to sound, and so seems fitting as the last thing I ever recorded. The themes are, as will probably be obvious, mostly related to pre-Hispanic Mexican culture, and Idols Behind the Altars is sung in Nahuatl; and yes, it's my own composition. Most of it is either self-explanatory, or at least not difficult to investigate if you care that much. I seem to recall recording Lonesome Town again mainly because previous versions I'd done had been a bit crap.
Since digitising this one, I haven't had the chance to listen to the files on decent speakers, so I hope the bass has survived the transfer and that my minidisc recordings of tropical rain can be identified as such rather than just as overpowering hiss, but at least on the strength of the tape as it came through my stereo, I've a feeling this might be the best thing I've ever done (which I state in the awareness of much of my stuff having left considerable room for improvement).

1 - Primavera
2 - Nexpiltlan
3 - Fifth Sun
4 - Blood and Sand
5 - Idols Behind the Altars
6 - Sick Day
7 - Arrival of the Rain Baby
8 - Lonesome Town

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Monday, 6 February 2017

Do Easy - Italia 1912 (1986) C90

This wasn't so much an album as a tape of bits and pieces which eventually filled up, at which point I decided it probably would be an album if I ever got around to doing a cover, which I didn't. The title probably refers to some Futurist thing which had caught my attention and which I liked because it sounded exotic and mysterious, or possibly ominous. You know how it works, I'm sure. The er... title track wasn't actually the title track up until last week. Both tracks six and fourteen had self-consciously wacky titles up until I digitised the thing and decided to change them, or at least disguise them in the case of PJWFY-F, which originally stood for PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts.

'What shall I call this one?' I asked Steve McGarrigle.

'PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts,' he quipped in jocular fashion, and thus was it so.

Anyway, here we have three tracks of Steve and myself rehearsing with Peter Jones in preparation for the gig which was recorded on the previous tape. Steve plays trumpet, some keyboard, and programmed most of the the Yamaha RX15 drum machine for these rehearsal tracks and elsewhere on this tape. Also the piano coda - I suppose you would call it - of Italia 1912 is actually myself trying to play one of his compositions. It's what was on the tape which I recorded over, which is why you hear it at the end, so when I was mixing this thing I guess I thought fuck it, and left it going. Peter Jones, or PJ of the alleged fluorescent underwear, played either bass or keyboard on the rehearsals for the live set, but I can't remember which - probably keyboard.

Talking of live material, track five is an eighteen minute live improvisation. I set up a load of instruments, or at least things which generate noise, on the three landings of a stairwell in the illustration department at the art college. The idea was that anyone who happened to be passing could join in and make a racket, and the three performers, whoever they were, would be unable to see each other, so no-one would know who else was contributing to the sound. According to the inlay card, the performers, aside from myself, included Martin Smith, Mark Orphan, Steve McGarrigle, Peter Avery, Brendan Mooney, and Martin de Sey. I recognise Martin de Sey hooting away at the end, closely followed by some comments from Kirsten Butler and Charlie Adlard - the Walking Dead guy. Brendan Mooney is the one who turns the thing into Johnny Kidd and the fucking Pirates, the little bollix. He ended up as guitarist in Dave Vanian's Phantom Chords, as a point of probably negligible interest, although it links my rock family tree to the Damned, which is nice.

By the way, the more observant members of my huge fanbase may notice that some of this material actually predates that which appears on the previous tape, but I don't think I filled this tape until afterwards - in case that one's keeping anyone awake at night. 

The rest of the tracks were things recorded in the college sound studio, which was fairly nicely equipped with several four-track reel-to-reels, a Wasp synth, an old EMS suitcase synth bequeathed to the college by Brian Eno, a mixing desk, vibes courtesy of Bob Cubitt who was one of our tutors and something to do with And the Native Hipsters, and a brand-spanking-new Ibanez harmoniser. Mostly I was just fucking around, seeing what I could come up with. Some of these tracks ended up as soundtracks to videos. Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold! was er... inspired by the cover of an issue of 2000AD comic; and Live in Fear was Jane Hanley and myself just seeing what we could come up with. Jane sings and plays the flute on that one, which is possibly why it's a bit easier on the ear than the rest of this crap. According to my notes, Paul Mercer did something on tracks seven and thirteen, although I've no idea what. Maybe he was stood in the corner of the studio making balloon animals. That's the sort of thing he used to do all the time, that and the Punch & Judy at the weekends. Oh how that man loved to make us smile.

I'm kidding, by the way. I don't really think it's crap. Actually, considering some of the clunkers I've posted here, I mostly quite like this one.

1 - Protein Suppressant
2 - Cover of a Magazine (rehearsal)
3 - Something In Me Isn't Right (rehearsal)
4 - Salute the Future! (rehearsal)
5 - Maidstone College of Art, Maidstone 22/10/85
6 - Italia 1912
7 - Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold!
8 - Live in Fear
9 - This Says It All
10 - In Control
11 - Tachyon & Neon
12 - Hello David
13 - Galley Slaves
14 - PJWFY-F

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Friday, 27 January 2017

Total Big - Rehearsals 11 & 12 (1986) C90

Carl on vocals, Chris on drums, and me on guitar; all at Hollytree House, Otham, Kent, Nothing Like A Dame through to Is That Why? were bashed out on Saturday the 5th of April, 1986, and the rest were on Saturday the 12th of the same month. I found the picture on the internet and it seemed to fit the music. 

This is the two-hundredth Total Big rehearsal tape which I've digitised and posted here for free, so I only have another fifty or sixty to go. If you enjoyed the first two-hundred tapes you will almost certainly enjoy this one too; but if you didn't, then this probably won't be the one to change your mind. As is probably obvious by now, most of this is done for the sake of my own amusement. Last time I went back to my mother's house in the Land of Fred West and Benedict Cumberbatch and also some other people, but mainly those two guys, I filled a suitcase with every cassette from my mammoth collection to feature myself in some capacity, plus a few other faves such as the work of We Be Echo when I realised I had room. On returning to the Land of Johnny Cash and Andy Griffith I didst vow to digitise every single tape I had brought back from England, so unfortunately that means a lot of Total Big, because we recorded every single rehearsal. Sorry.

Actually, I'm not even remotely sorry. I'm listening to this one right now as I'm writing this and it's fucking great.

I only have another three Total Big cassettes left to digitise, although apparently Chris still has a few tapes of which I don't have copies; but never mind. I'll post that rare tape Lustmord did with the Rubettes next week.

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 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
10 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
11 - Hail Fellow Well Met
12 - Cold Sore Herpes B
13 - Nervous Wreck
14 - Madonna
15 - Do It Again
16 - I Want It
17 - Is That Why?
18 - Louie Louie
19 - Sister Ray
20 - Hey Joe
21 - Are You My Mother?
22 - He Writes the Songs
23 - Rock Sandwich
24 - Call It What You Want
25 - Hail Fellow Well Met
26 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
27 - Cold Sore Herpes B
28 - Oh Yeah!
29 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
30 - Some Kind of Place For Us
31 - Prettiest Thing
32 - Rock Commando
33 - Tee Total Big
34 - Children of the Revolution

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Monday, 23 January 2017

We Be Echo - Ceza Evi (1983) C60

I wasn't going to do this one as a freebie download seeing as it's already available elsewhere - but then I digitised the thing anyway on the grounds that I'd rather digitise my own copy than download someone else's version, because I can at least control the quality and I make the effort to tidy up the beginning and end of each track, replacing hissy gaps with a standard two seconds of digital silence, and to get the titles right and so on - proper capitalisation and nothing showing up as A9 WE BE ECHO DIRTY HARRY INDUSTRIAL in my iTunes, and I've seen some freebie downloads where the bloke doesn't even bother to divvy up one side of a tape into individual tracks...

Anyway, fuck it, I thought - the more the merrier, I suppose, and Kevin didn't seem to mind when I asked him so here we are.

Ceza Evi was probably the first full length tape I bought by any artist then limited to cassette only releases - therefore not counting Throbbing Gristle live tapes or compilations such as Larry Peterson's A Sudden Surge of Power, on which We Be Echo's Sex Slave was easily one of the best tracks and thus the one which caught my attention and inspired me to send for this. I'm probably influenced by this having been the first full length tape I bought by any artist then limited to cassette only releases, but it remains one of the greatest out of that whole cassette thing for me. When people get all misty eyed over the hits of the eighties, they're usually thinking about Spandau Ballet or Michael J. Fox dancing on the hood of a car and showing the adults a thing or two about what it means to be young, but for me the eighties was We Be Echo, the Unkommuniti, Opera For Infantry and the like, because I was actually there (authors of twatty point-missing histories of industrial music take note, having actually been there really fucking helps).

The incredible thing about Ceza Evi, at least so it seemed to me, was that it had been recorded on a home stereo system - employing a fine sense of judgement to produce something at least ten times more exciting than what most artists pulled off in a proper studio - and yet it felt like a real thing. It didn't feel like a demo, or someone pissing about with a tape recorder simply because they could. Ceza Evi is an album. Some of this was thanks to Kevin's artwork - he was a graphic designer on the side (and even today I still find myself doing things I picked up from studying his artwork when designing book covers or whatever) - but also because the music was just so well realised, weirdly dark little film soundtracks in miniature occupying a halfway point between Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire without ever quite sounding like either.

Yup. This one's a classic.

More We Be Echo to be found elsewhere on this blog, and also here.

1 - Sexuality
2 - Punish You
3 - No Going Back
4 - Death Row
5 - A New Day
6 - I'm a Gambler
7 - It Was You
8 - Micropenis
9 - Dirty Harry
10 - Survivalists II
11 - Knechtschaft
12 - This Hour's Mine
13 - I Want
14 - Got You
15 - Paranoid
16 - House of Punishment
17 - Manson
18 - Kick

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Academy 23 - Chats Palace 4/10/96 (1996) C46

This was our last gig as Academy 23. It was supposed to be four gigs, or so Andy told me, but the first was cancelled, and then so were the other two following this one. It was put on by Core Arts, who were associated with Hackney Hospital and something to do with the late and very much missed Robert Dellar, and word came back that they weren't happy about Academy 23 trying to take over the event, as it was phrased. My understanding was that they had asked us to arrange it all and to find a load of bands to play, so who knows? Anyway, Konstruktivists, somehow expanded to a five piece line-up including a flautist, came down from Norfolk and played, and were amazing. Then we played, or maybe we played first. We had been rehearsing for months and it sort of paid off, although I sang on a few of the songs where Andy was obliged to play complicated guitar solos, and my singing was pretty shit, although I had fun at the time. Otherwise this is probably the best tape I've heard of any live event involving Andy. As usual it was a mix of old Apostles songs, some with new, slightly more pompous lyrics and different titles, plus legitimate Academy 23 numbers like The Stranger which was written by Dave and which we added to the set on my request. I dressed up as a bird and was subsequently subject to marriage proposals from a Nigerian gentleman in the audience, so that was an interesting new experience. I also think Jess Hopkins was there too, although I don't think he performed that night.

I doubt anyone will notice, so I'll mention it anyway - but the microphone fucked up so there's a silent second occurring on the tape during the first chorus of God of Death. Using my audio editing software I have rectified this by pasting the equivalent bars from the second time we played the chorus. You probably won't notice the join. This is because I'm amazing.

Nice to have a version of At the Academy on tape. I probably haven't listened to this cassette since the gig, having assumed it to be shite; but we put one hell of a lot of work into learning how to play our ten-minute prog instrumental, so it's nice that, contrary to what I believed, it still exists in more or less listenable form. 

1 - God of Death
2 - Alien Nation
3 - Quantum Quickstep
4 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France
5 - Look Into the Sky
6 - The Patient
7 - The Stranger
8 - Fucking Queer
9 - At the Academy

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Friday, 6 January 2017

The Dovers - Water Pistol Filled with Beer (1991) C90

This is what rock and roll used to look like, you autotuned assholes.

Here's another Dovers tape, and definitely one of the better ones. All of this stuff was recorded on various portastudios. The first eleven tracks were recorded at Carl's flat in Bermondsey over a long, hot weekend in the late eighties, as I've written on the inlay card. He Writes the Songs through to Do the Frug were apparently recorded at John Jasper's house in Chatham on his portastudio around the same time. The rest were recorded at Carl's flat from winter to spring 1991. The aforementioned inlay card was too boring to be scanned and is thus absent from the download. As I may have mentioned before, whilst these tracks transfer to my own iTunes in the right order, they'll probably download in alphabetical order for you, depending on what you use and how you listen to them, if you listen to them, so I'd advice rearranging them in the correct sequence shown below, not least because a couple of them segue into each other. I'm primarily digitising this shit for my own entertainment, so I'm not going to give them titles like A9 Work That Body! because it offends my pedantic sensibilities. If that's annoying, screw you because it's not like I'm charging anything, unlike Radiohead and Oasis, and what you get is about a million times better than Radiohead or Oasis, so great bolshy yarblockos to thee and thine.

Some of these tracks also appear on the album that never was. The versions on The World of the Dovers are probably mixed a little better, but there's probably not much in it. Carl, as pictured above, handled most of the vocal stylings and programming, and I played guitar and can usually be heard giggling in the background. I'm not sure about the photo, as I think that's Carl from when he was in a group called Churchill's Shoe, possibly, which was before we met.

Download tracks.
Burn to a plurality of CDRs.
Slap in car stereo and drive down to Camber Sands and eat ice creams on a hot day.
Job fucking done.
You're welcome. 

1 - The End
2 - Eggs, Beans & Mayonnaise
3 - Blue Moon of Kansas
4 - The Insect
5 - Sentimental Fool
6 - You Were Better When You Were Crap
7 - After a Particularly Uplifting Sermon...
8 - I Am Mr. Bennett
9 - Work That Body!
10 - When the Power Falls
11 - Fly in the Ointment
12 - He Writes the Songs
13 - Worm
14 - Sentimental Fool
15 - Beat Me Black & Blue
16 - Do the Frug
17 - Make My Flesh Crawl
18 - Do You Use Your Brain?
19 - Everybody's Got to Change
20 - Horrible Glam Thing
21 - Surfing On My Mind
22 - State of Pigs
23 - Vale of Tears
24 - John Piss-take
25 - Business Biscuits etc.

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