Friday, 20 October 2017

Introducing the Brides of Christ II (1983) C30

I don't know much about this one. I seem to recall that Trev Ward thought it was so great that he insisted I have a listen, which was effected by him lending me his copy, sending it through the post on the condition that I'd send it back once I was done. So that's what we did, which seems weird with hindsight, but maybe he just didn't want to diddle them out of a sale, which seems fair enough. Anyway, I liked it enough to buy a copy.

So far as I know, this was Rock Wilson and Dave Ryder, also occasionally known as R&D Group 28, a name under which they released one tape (according to Discogs) and appeared on Sterile Records' Earthly Delights compilation. Rock Wilson was also something to do with Apocalypso a Go Go zine, whilst Dave Ryder recorded as Plastic Bag and put a tape out through Larry Peterson's Cause for Concern Tapes which I really fucking wish I had bought at the time. There's a Plastic Bag track on Paranoia is Awareness and it's one of the best things on there in my view.

Anyway, here you go - fundamentalist Christian electronics a good few years before anyone had heard of that other lot. This is arguably one of the odder things thrown up by the whole weirdy tape scene as was, and it still sounds great if you ask me.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Adventures of Twizzle - Party Ritual Extensions (1985) C60

Adventures of Twizzle were Saul Pol Koatep and Jude Wilton Keel, or at least that's how they signed their letters. They lived in Newcastle and were responsible for a series of noisy, low-fi and occasionally surreal cassettes distinguished by application of a well-developed sense of humour. The first one I heard was Hitler's Trousers After the Blast, from which point on I was immediately a fan. They also wrote great letters comprising peculiar flights of fantasy lavishly illustrated with wax crayon. One of my favourite was a postcard, a publicity shot from some old film to which Jude had selotaped a sachet of tomato ketchup and amended with what was either a joke or philosophical inquiry:

Q: Who is the Dada Jack?

A second postcard settled the issue about a month later:

A: Tommy Steele's Reggae Bagpipe.

Obvious really. Anyway, Party Ritual Extensions was a live tape they sent me and told me I would be releasing on my Do Easy label, which I did. The performances were two years old by then, but they seemed worth hearing. Listening to them again in 2017, this stuff is a bit basic but it still sounds good to me, and the tape makes for quite a powerful experience listened to in its entirety.

We lost touch soon after this, or specifically they wrote to me and I never bothered writing back. The two of them had apparently been nicked for fare dodging and had a massive fine to pay, so they photocopied a stack of legal stuff relating to their prosecution and asked if I could help them out, which I couldn't because I was a starving student and living on tinned potatoes at the time, so the request struck me as a bit fucking saucy. Then nearly a decade later, Jude saw my name mentioned as a member of Konstruktivists in an issue of Music from the Empty Quarter and so wrote a letter to Glenn explaining that he knew me of old and that I was in the National Front* and possibly also the Freemasons. It turned out to be a joke, just a bit of a wheeze, albeit one of those jokes which seems funnier when you've had your head stuck inside a bong for three days. So we corresponded, and he was clearly abrim with genuine regret at having libelled me for wacky fun-filled chortles, and explained that he had lost touch with Saul and was now a Hare Krishna. There didn't seem to be a lot to say after that.

Saul phoned me a few years later, mid-nineties some time, but it was at three in the fucking morning when I had to be up for work at five and he sounded somewhat off his tits, so I don't recall much of the conversation apart from that I found it heavy going. He'd found my number in an issue of The Sound Projector because I had stupidly included it in an advert for Ce Acatl tapes. He told me he was behind a label called Hypnagogia, of which I had actually heard, and sent me a few CDs and a 10" by Anomali, his most recent musical endeavour; which was nice, and at least better than writing to any of my friends and claiming to remember me having been on trial at Nuremberg.

Nowt so fucking queer as folk, eh readers?

*: Seriously - what do you fucking think?

1 - The Basement, Newcastle 22/6/83
2 - Widdershins
3 - Morden Towers, Newcastle 16/11/83

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Monday, 9 October 2017

v/a - International Sound Communication 10 (1986) C90

I don't have a vast wealth of knowledge regarding this one, one of a regular series done by Andi Xport who also recorded his own stuff under the name Man's Hate and which was pretty good as it happens. I had more volumes of this at some point, and certainly the first one, but it's no longer anywhere to be found, so I probably gave it to Jim MacDougall back in the nineties when I was having a clear out. I guess I kept this one because I'm on it.

A Split Second and Stress were both quite big, relatively speaking, so you should know of them; I believe Crawling With Tarts had some sort of following too, although I think this is the only thing I ever heard; Ajnynytyv once sent me a tape with a red cover but it was pretty noisy and I don't remember liking it much, so I think that went to Jim McDougall too, probably ending its existence flung off the top of an east London tower block for air rifle target practice or something; Len Liggins also contributed a (slightly better) track to an Unlikely Records compilation which I'll get around to digitising at some point; and I vaguely recall Modern Art, WeR7 and Mystery Plane from fanzines and Color Disc flyers of the time. I never bothered sending for any of their stuff, but I sort of wish I had now. Anything else you want to know, you might be able to find out from the Discogs page, although it's patchy where some of the more obscure artists are concerned.

Weirdly, I've a feeling this may only be the second or third time I've bothered listening to this one, which is a pity as I realise it's pretty decent, with a good variety and some interesting stuff on there. I really wish I still had the other volumes, but never mind.

1 - A Split Second - Resignation
2 -
Twilight Ritual - A Perfect Memory in Here
3 -
Syndrome - Night Talk
4 -
Linear Movement - Wired to the Machines
5 -
Photodrama - Dan Dare, Where Are You?
6 -
Ideas Beyond Filth - Rollercoaster
7 -
Agencement - Kazbuz
8 -
Crawling With Tarts - Smak
9 -
Ajynytyv - Integration (live excerpt)
10 -
Die Schlaffen Affen - Back to Rock 'n' Roll
11 -
Do Easy - Knife in My Side
12 -
Rudolf's Rache - Sommersprossensesicht
13 -
LD50 - Your Country Needs You
14 -
Los Paranos - Life On the Floor
15 -
Katharsis - Content Discontent
16 -
Mystery Plane - Find Somebody
17 -
WeR7 - I Was Not a Jew
18 -
Modern Art - Monochrome Dance
19 -
La Créme de la Crime - Lipstick
20 -
10T - Pandra Music
21 -
Det Wiehl - Himalaya
22 -
The Marvelous Roofs - Them Scarecrows
23 -
Len Liggins - Leningrad
24 -
Len Liggins - All the Dead Men
25 -
Solomonoff, von Hoffmanstahl & Hoffman - Serenade in the Night
26 -
Terry Gray - Faith
27 -
Stress - Fist Comes Down
28 -
F/i - Echo River (excerpt)

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pssst... more here.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Tryouts - The Look On Their Faces (1983) C30

I always felt Tryouts should have achieved some sort of vaguely legendary status. I'd read about them in Sounds music paper (the clipping of which is reproduced on the cover of this cassette) even before they turned up on one of Larry Peterson's compilation tapes, and eventually on one of mine too. They had a synthesiser, a Casio VL1, a crap tape recorder, and that was about it, and their songs had puerile titles suggesting common ground with the sort of shite I myself had been recording for the previous couple of years.

Strangely, when the tape turned up in the post, they weren't quite as I expected. The toilet humour was merely an aspect of their work rather than an actual jihad, as it had been for the Pre-War Busconductors. They sounded a bit like someone in the group wouldn't have minded being in the Human League, but were let down by the pitiful circumstances of their recordings, and yet this shambolic quality was at the same time part of their charm. You could probably call it outsider art, or at least you could if you were a fucking tosser.

They were from Scarborough, and I don't know much else about them, and if I still have any of their letters, I can't find them; so just listen to the tape and feel the realness.

1 - Introduction
2 - Tryouts Theme Song
3 - Intramural
4 - He Wears Underpants
5 - Damn Her
6 - Sitting On the Bog
7 - Am I Really Having Fun?
8 - We Cannot Avoid the Mad
9 - Dr. Who
10 - All Alone
11 - Haven't Got the Time
12 - The Look On Their Faces
13 - Here Comes the Train
14 - Motorway
15 - Don't Let Those Spots
16 - This is Life
17 - Goodbye from Tryouts

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Opera for Infantry - Hopscotch (1984) C60

Opera for Industry were the first band to write to me and ask if I'd like to release their tape. I think they got my address from Colin of Family Patrol Group. The tape was called Hopscotch, and it was a bit rough, but nevertheless a fair bit more convincing than any of my own efforts in the same noisy direction, so naturally I said yes. Then they changed their name to Opera for Infantry as acknowledgement of their residence in Amesbury, Wiltshire, a town full of squaddies and camouflaged types; and then they started their own label and released a million tapes, including one of mine; and then they eventually became the Grey Wolves.

Just for the record, and seeing as this one has come up a few times, and I feel I'm in some sort of position to address it having known these people on and off for the last three decades, albeit at a distance - I always understood the whole point of the Grey Wolves to be protest mounted by means of a sort of sensory overload, bombarding the audience with horror upon horror to the point at which there is no choice but to react - which is more or less directly stated in their Cultural Terrorist Manifesto; and this is why they've been accused of extremist right-wing sympathies from time to time, because they've made use of imagery suggesting the same but, I would argue, towards entirely different ends to those from which such imagery has been appropriated. In other words, the point is to inspire a positive reaction against the authoritarian status quo not by educating you, as Crass might do, but by scaring the living shit out of you. Whether or not such tactics work or are at best badly misjudged is another thing entirely, but that's how I've always seen it.

Anyway, Hopscotch was their first album, so far as I'm aware and is fairly revealing as to where the lads were coming from. Confrontational electronics was kind of a new thing at the time, and those dabbling were still very much experimenting rather than just forming Whitehouse tribute bands, which came a bit later. To me, Hopscotch always sounded like it owed at least as much to Reality Asylum and the other, noisier works of Crass as it did to Gristle and the like, particularly Winds of Mauthausen.

Hopscotch is a racket, and a primitive racket amounting to two blokes with a Jen SX1000 and a ghetto blaster making a noise in a scout hut, the hard electronics equivalent of Link Wray or something, I suppose; but I'm surprised at how powerful it still sounds, all things considered.

I've cleaned it up as best as I can, editing out all the clicks and pops of turning the tape on and off with what sounds like a cheap Woolworths cassette in the deck. Also, three different inlay cards are included, a homemade version forged from swinging mags in which the initial cassette was presented to me for my consideration, a photocopied one which came with the master tape they sent once I said I'd like to release it, and the overly fussy fold out Do Easy tape cover.

1 - Hopscotch
2 - Winds of Mauthausen
3 - Repetition
4 - Hopscotch Revisited
5 - Playing with Fire
6 - Propaganda
7 - Black Christmas

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Monday, 18 September 2017

v/a - A Sudden Surge of Power (1983) C90

You may have noticed how I'm in the habit of apologising for the stuff I post here, occasionally even writing something amounting to I wouldn't bother if I were you; well, not today. A Sudden Surge of Power gets my vote for the greatest compilation tape of all time, and it's probably no exaggeration to say this thing changed my life when I first heard it. This collection tipped me off to a lot of stuff without which my life would have been significantly poorer, and of the eighteen individual contributing artists, there remain just eight whose work I never subsequently hunted down on vinyl or on other tapes. Fuck - I even ended up knowing a few of these people as friends. Third Mind's Red Sand is the one which always seems to get the publicity, and which is fondly remembered by industrial music historians who weren't actually fucking there; and Red Sand is great, and yes, I would never have bothered checking out DDAA were it not for that tape, but Sudden Surge was the one you actually listened to for pleasure because it was such a fantastic and varied assemblage of the weird and wonderful with a good few of those Wild Planet big names we were all gagging to hear.

Some trivia:

  • Laugh by Mandible Rumpus may actually be the greatest song ever to appear on a compilation tape. Their 7" single wasn't as good though. Shame.
  • These two Mex tracks come from the lad's Happy Life 7" which, at the risk of hyperbole, is probably one of the greatest 7" singles of all time, alongside Gambit of Shame's wonderful 18 out of 20, in which Mex also had a hand. Complete your Mex collection here.
  • Cult of the Supreme Being were Mex and the late and greatly missed Robert Dellar, in case anyone was wondering.
  • These are still my two all-time favourite Attrition tracks. I've heard a million versions of Monkey in a Bin but this one remains the most powerful for me.
  • John Balance had something to do with Cultural Amnesia, but I'm not sure what - unless he just supplied the artwork for them or summink.
  • Behold - even Chris & Cosey's track sounds great!
  • Dave Henderson's favourite track was apparently Strangeways (because that's what he told me, so it isn't really apparently at all), and wouldn't it have been fucking wonderful if 400 Blows had lived up to their initial promise at least long enough to make a decent album?

The tape came with a highly informative 24-page A5 booklet with contributions from everyone involved, which I've scanned and included in the download along with cover, flyer, and a CFC tapes catalogue of the time.

1 - Mandible Rumpus - On the Floor
2 - Mandible Rumpus - Laugh
3 - Mex - Happy Life
4 - Mex - Veins
5 - Gambit of Shame - Gambit of Shame
6 - Section 10 - Mr. Parker
7 - Cult of the Supreme Being - Chlorine Fills My Lungs
8 - Cult of the Supreme Being - God is Thicker than Water
9 - Attrition - Hang Me
10 - Attrition - Monkey in a Bin
11 - Test Dept - Shockwerk
12 - The Cause for Concern - Disturbing Visions
13 - Martin Howard Naylor - Modulation 4/5
14 - Cultural Amnesia - Colourblind
15 - Cultural Amnesia - The Pigs Are Coming
16 - Paul Kelday - Angel Hair
17 - New 7th Music - Apocalypse
18 - Chris & Cosey - Light Fantastic
19 - We Be Echo - Survivalist I
20 - We Be Echo - Sex Slave
21 - Ramshackle Ammunition Band - Space Song
22 - 400 Blows - Strangeways
23 - Twelve Cubic Feet - Fred's Song
24 - Red Herring - UAB Advert
25 - Red Herring- Crispy Wrap

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Monday, 11 September 2017


I had a good one all lined up for this week, but have had to postpone my posting it at last minute. It's a tape by someone whose work I've posted before and with his blessing, but this is material from a group he was in with some other guy, and he decided it might be an idea to check with the other guy regarding my sharing this material; and as I still haven't heard anything else, I've yet to get full permission to share the thing, so I'm erring on the side of caution and sitting on it for however long it takes.

This left me with nothing much to post, so as it's been a Death Magazine 52 kind of month - what with the Family Patrol Group material I posted a few weeks ago, and Mike Grant of the same commenting, and my getting hold of a copy of their excellent retrospective double album released by Harbinger a couple of years ago - I figured I may as well digitise my tape of the Death Magazine 52 performance from when they appeared on the same bill as Whitehouse and Family Patrol Group at the Mermaid in Birmingham back in 1983. I don't recall D.Mag 52 / SHC being particularly amazing that night, certainly not compared to Family Patrol Group, but it seemed like the tape should be of interest to someone. So I digitised it and immediately realised why they had seemed so underwhelming: they played for about six minutes and knocked it on the head, so it's really just a track rather than a live gig. The evening is described in more detail in the Family Patrol Group post, and I therefore gather that whichever two - or maybe it was three - of the Death Magazine 52 collective had turned up to play that night must have felt as though it had been a mistake and pulled their own plug or something. It's a shame really. There's a tantalising burst of rhythm about half way through the track (which I don't remember at all from the event itself), hinting at the kind of material I've heard more recently on the Harbinger album, but I guess it just wasn't happening for them. Anyway, if you're interested, this was Death Magazine 52 briefly live at the Mermaid, Birmingham on the 27th of August, 1983.

While we're here, somebody asked me if there was any chance of FLAC files of the Academy 23 and Apostles material I've digitised a couple of weeks ago. I posted some before, but only kept them up for a month or so due to the space they took up on my PC. Anyway, I have a different PC now as the other one blew up, and space is no longer such a concern, so here are those FLAC files again, for whoever it was. I'll leave them be this time seeing as there appears to be some demand and I expect I may be asked again. The artwork can be found with the downloads of MP3 versions of the same tapes which you should be able to get to from the index.

I'll definitely post a proper tape next week.