Monday, 26 September 2016

Total Big - Rehearsals 7 & 8 (1986) C60

Here's some more Total Big, rehearsals in the kitchen of Hollytree House in the village of Otham in Kent, first fourteen tracks from the 15th of February, 1986 and the rest a couple of weeks later on the 1st of March. This is the fourth Total Big cassette I've slapped up on this blog, and if you think the first three were fucking amazing (a scenario I imagine might be facilitated by it being the first music you've ever heard in the event of your having been raised by hogs on a desert island) then you're in luck because this is more of the same. Total Big were myself playing my trusty Teisco guitar, Chris on drums, and Carl on vocals, which I mention because I can't remember what I said about the band in previous entries and can't be arsed to check. This one sounds quite garagey to me, what with the drums pounding away louder than the guitar, although it may be just because I'm presently reading a book about music in the Medway towns, Billy Childish and all that - albeit a book about music in the Medway towns so violently definitive that it mentions Tim Webster a grand total of once in the first three-hundred pages and yet has already mentioned fucking Dodgy (who were shit and don't actually come from or have any association with Medway) five or six times for the sake of comparison.

Total Big's pounding rhythms owe much to the Crucial Trifles and Oasis and they were kind of like the Kaiser Chiefs of their day blah blah blah Jo Whiley blah blah Chatham dockyard blah blah rich musical heritage rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb...

1 - Louie Louie
2 - Sister Ray
3 - Louie Louie
4 - He Writes the Songs
5 - Rock Sandwich
6 - Are You My Mother?
7 - Call It What You Want
8 - Wham
9 - Cold Sore Herpes B
10 - Louie Louie
11 - Sister Ray
12 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
13 - Hail Fellow Well Met
14 - Twist, Hold It Back!
15 - Louie Louie
16 - Sister Ray
17 - Ouch!!!
18 - He Writes the Songs
19 - Rock Sandwich
20 - Are You My Mother?
21 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Soul Providers - Calli Yei (1998) C90

I'm not sure there's much I can say about this third Soul Providers tape which hasn't already been said either here or here. Ed, Steve and myself recorded this whole thing live onto tape in my front room on the last day of October, 1998 - which I suppose would have been Halloween. I suppose we should have made something of that, but never mind. Aside from a couple of minutes of me testing the levels right at the beginning, this pretty much works as a single track, and can hopefully be listened to as such. Anyone who has been listening to these things as I post them might also note that this one sounds more expensive than previous efforts. Either I had just borrowed some new fancy effects box and was shoving everything through that, or maybe we were just getting better at it, whatever it was.

Trainspotters might like to note use of a certain drum pattern at one point, a drum pattern which older boys and girls will possibly remember from either Third Door from the Left's Under Attack or even Cabaret Voltaire's Nag Nag Nag. The (admittedly not very interesting) story behind this is that back in the mists of time I asked Kevin Thorne of Third Door from the Left whether he had bought Cabaret Voltaire's old drum machine or something, but it turned out that Stephen Mallinder had done him a cassette of rhythms for his general use, and so Kevin very kindly ran me off a copy. So there you go.

For what it may be worth, the name Shoulder Lion - which I enjoyed for its Dadaist potential - came from an amusingly (to me) poor translation of Acolmiztli, the name or possibly title of a Prehispanic ruler of the Mexican city of Texcoco which appeared in some library book or other. A more accurate translation might be Lion of the Acolhua People, except miztli means feline rather than any specific type of feline, and the name of the Acolhua - one of those cultural groups who have since been erroneously identified as Aztecs - includes a term referring to a shoulder, or which can be taken to stand for the same, but otherwise doesn't directly translate without an essay's worth of explanations.

1 - Set Up
2 - Shoulder Lion part one
3 - Shoulder Lion part two

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Friday, 9 September 2016

Nocturnal Emissions - The Garage 22/6/99 (1999) C90

This, as the title suggests, was Nocturnal Emissions live at the Garage in London back at the tail end of the last century, an event either put on by or serving as a recruitment drive for the Association of Autonomous Astronauts. I've seen them - or if you prefer him - live on a couple of occasions since, and this was probably the lesser of the gigs I attended, but it was the one I attended with a tape recorder stuffed into my trusty green canvas bag, so here we are. When asking Nigel for permission to give away his work for free, I described this tape by saying I'm certain we've both heard worse which probably explains why I never really made it in marketing. It's not terrible, but the PA was far too quiet on the night and I was stood at the back, so you can hear a lot of background chatter on the recording. In fact the recording sort of suggests Nigel tinkling away on the piano in the corner of a restaurant full of yappy fuckers. Anyway, I mentioned that the tape also captures ten minutes worth of my travelling home on the tube after leaving the venue, which sort of makes it a field recording - as Nigel also suggested - which might be a better way of looking at it.

The material is great, and the sound quality is actually decent - allowing the listener to fully appreciate John Eden and myself arguing over which of us owns the rarest Maurizio Bianchi bootleg album even during the noisier sonic assaults* - and it's a faithful record of the live event, if not the music performed, if you see what I mean. Superior versions of a couple of these tracks (albeit not from this gig) also appeared on the definitive Nocturnal Emissions live album Electropunk Karaoke, if you can find a copy. If you can't, you might try the Earthly Delights site. Maybe he'll reissue it at some point.

1 - (launch sequence)
- Tharmuncrape an'goo
- One Nation the ImagiNation - One Race the Space Race
- Bring Power to its Knees
- Do It '99
- Venus in Furs
- No Sacrifice
- Imaginary Time
- Going Under
- No Separation
- Levity's Rainbow
12 - (re-entry sequence)

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*: John won as proud owner of Schrecklich Tropft aus dem Hahn des Führers which is just the sound of a tap dripping with the dialogue from an episode of the BBC's Colditz in the background. A copy was recently sold for four thousand quid on Discogs.

Monday, 5 September 2016

War Drum - Fatu Hiva (2000) C90

Fatu Hiva was the fourth tape I recorded as War Drum, the first I can still listen to without wincing, and possibly the best thing I've ever recorded - which I state as someone who generally regards most of his own back catalogue as disappointing at best. War Drum's mission statement (what I thought I was playing at) can be extrapolated by referring to previous entries, but could probably be summarised as Death In June with Precolombian Mexican lore in preference to the European stuff and associated Nazi tendencies. I was trying to do something folky without necessarily sounding folky - Looking for Aztlán notwithstanding. Most of this stuff makes sense if you'd boned up on Mexican history and Quetzalcoatl as much as I had, so please feel free to visit the anthropology or mythology sections of your local book store in order to learn more. That said, Caught in the Glare was inspired by my having read up on the planet Mercury, and is - I suppose - a sound painting, if you will, of radiation blasting back out into space from the planet's night-side surface as it slowly turns. The track Fatu Hiva was inspired by Thor Heyerdahl's account of his living on a remote island of the same name.

Musical points of potential interest might be the covers of tracks by Severed Heads and Tuxedo Moon, also that Andy Martin of the Apostles, Academy 23, and UNIT plays electric guitar and provides backing vocals on Looking for Aztlán; and The Cage and Night Song were recorded with Glenn Wallis of Konstruktivists on vocals when he came to visit one evening. If you want to dig really deep, part of New God was recorded on a digital studio thing owned by James and Jason of Orange Can, who were NME darlings for a couple of months but somehow failed to become the next Stone Roses.

As for the rest, my listening was pretty much exclusively rap, R&B and the like by this point, the influence of which you'll be able to hear in some of these tracks - particularly For Christopher Rios which was my tribute to the recently deceased Big Pun.

So there you go, on the strength of being arguably the least-shit thing I've ever done, please download and enjoy this one. Amazingly it sold about a hundred copies, or at least I had to do a second run of fifty copies at the place I used to use in Bromley, and by the time I got around to packing up all my shit to move to America, they were all gone; so even if I didn't sell every last one, Fatu Hiva was at least much easier to give away for free than all my other stuff.

1 - Caught In The Glare
2 - Chicoce Coatl
3 - Looking for Aztlán
4 - Fatu Hiva
5 - Kingdom Hall
6 - Southern Cross
7 - Maguey Hare
8 - Nation
9 - On Mission
10 - The Cage
11 - Jaguar Sun
12 - Caxtollice Toxcatl
13 - New God
14 - Night Song
15 - Celebración de la Noche Triste
16 - For Christopher Rios
17 - Tepetlaoztoc II
18 - Land Of Thorns

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Friday, 26 August 2016

More Dovers Stuff...

Every Sunday I stand before the shelf of about three hundred cassette tapes thus far liberated from the slightly larger collection still at my mum's place back in England, then pick a couple of tapes to digitise - usually something by the Pre-War Busconductors which no-one reading this is ever likely to hear, and something for this blog based on whoever hasn't had a tape on here for download in the last couple of weeks - just to mix it up a bit and keep things moving, alternating between lost classics and the stuff no-one but me cares about. This week I picked a Dovers tape and noticed that it contained half of a gig in addition to the usual rehearsal material. The second half of the same gig had been recorded on a different tape in the name of maximising space and avoiding ownership of too many cassettes with just a few things recorded on the beginning of side one. It seemed a bit mad to present a recording of a gig in separate installments, so I've digitised the lot and rationalised the material into the equivalent of three cassettes (as listed below).

Download the tapes by clicking on the titles and following the links:

The Dovers - Rehearsals 7 & 8 (1988) C90.

Both rehearsals at my miserable bedsit in Glencoe Road, Chatham and recorded quietly so as to avoid enraging the stinking alcoholic in the next bedsit. Tracks 1 to 11 date from Sunday the 10th of January, 1988, and I think the rest were Saturday the 16th of January with this bloke called Andy Bibby sat watching, smoking my snouts, drinking my tea, and probably chuckling away in the background. One of these tracks slags off a load of Medway bands, but I'm not going to tell you which one so you'll just have to download it and listen to the lot if you care that much. Fatback is the Link Wray song, obviously.

1 - Callin' My Boots Dave
2 - Wanna Buy Me Some Boots
3 - Beat Me Black & Blue
4 - The Insect
5 - Misery List
6 - Batman's Personal Friend
7 - Wanna Buy Me Some Boots
8 - Callin' My Boots Dave
9 - Fatback
10 - Mammy
11 - Come Off Everybody
12 - Brown House Music
13 - Piece of Meat
14 - Pizza to Go
15 - Come Off Everybody
16 - Beat Me Black & Blue

The Dovers - Rehearsals 9 & 10 (1988) C90.

Our numbers expanded seeing as we had a gig coming up. Chris, our drummer from Total Big, was available once again to bash the skins, plus Martin de Sey was now living in the gloomy bedsit directly beneath mine, so it seemed like it might be fun to have him play bass. Martin was a founding member of the Cravats and had previously been in To The Max with Carl and Chris - and also Smilin' Paul Mercer of Apricot Brigade and Envy if anyone is interested. This rehearsal (the first eighteen tracks) was in the garage of Chris's dad's house in Kemsley on Sunday the 17th of January, 1988. I'm not sure about the date of the remaining three tracks, except that we were back down to just Carl and myself in the wake of the Sunset Strip gig and Carl had obviously just got hold of his Yamaha REX-50 effects thing. Many Years Ago is a cover of a Sexton Ming song - whom both of us worshipped as a God at the time - and I'm Not Telling You was just us mucking about with the riff from I'm Telling You by the Sceptres, which was Martin's previous band.

1 - I Wanna Be Your Dog
2 - He Believes 
3 - Hail Fellow Well Met
4 - Batman's Personal Friend
5 - Top of the Pops
6 - A.I.D.X.
7 - Louie Louie
8 - I'm Not Telling You
9 - Pizza to Go I
10 - Pizza to Go II
11 - Are You My Mother? I
12 - Are You My Mother? II
13 - The Breakthrough I
14 - The Breakthrough II
15 - The Insect
16 - Big Girl's Blouse
17 - Rock Sandwich
18 - Silver Machine
19 - Many Years Ago
20 - The Insect
21 - The Breakthrough (extended) 

The Dovers - Live Sunset Strip 27.1.88 (1988) C46.

It was billed as a duos evening, and we had been asked because we were ordinarily a duo. Typically there were four people in the band by the time the gig happened, although Martin had stepped in to replace Alan Mason who hadn't been able to make it after all. Alan had also been supposed to play with us at a gig at the Half Moon in Putney (or wherever it was) on Thursday the 14th of January, except that one had fallen through. Anyway, we played but not very well, or at least nothing like as "good" as it had been at the rehearsal. The other acts were Whistling Vic and Rocking Richard - featuring former Dentist Ian who particularly impressed me by puffing away on his pipe whilst drumming; and then Billy Childish and Russ Wilkins who put on a fucking astonishing performance - just two men with guitars, bellowing away and stamping their size fifteens to keep the rhythm. It was amazing.

I'm not sure who is singing on the final track. I suppose it's Carl, although there are mutterings about getting in a guest vocalist just before the track starts. We had talked about getting Andy Fraser of the Martini Slutz and Unlucky Fried Kitten in - which is probably why he's mentioned on the poster - but he reckons he was fitting a carpet at his mum's place that evening, amongst other things. Maybe it was Prez. Maybe it was me.

1 - (introduction)
2 - Hail Fellow Well Met
3 - He Believes 
4 - Beat Me Black & Blue 
5 - I Wanna Be Your Dog
6 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burning
7 - The Insect
8 - A.I.D.X.
9 - Are You My Mother? 
10 - I Wanna Be Your Dog

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Monday, 22 August 2016

Do Easy - Death in a Milan Square (1984) C60

Death in a Milan Square was my live album, as distributed by Anal Probe Tapes - the label set up by Trev and Dap of Opera For Infantry who eventually became the Grey Wolves. I'd released their Hopscotch and Scumworld tapes on my label, and Trev kept asking if I had anything he could release (or at least he mentioned it a couple of times, just in case it sounds like I'm trying to give the impression of my being some kind of hot property). I sent him this cassette of two live performances because it seemed more like the sort of thing he would be into adding to his catalogue. The material was fairly noisy - unusual for me as I spent at least some of 1984 apparently trying to sound like Haircut 100. Trev came up with the title and the cover in reference to my interest in Mussolini and Fascist Italy, which had come from my interest in Futurism and was - seeing as it apparently needs spelling out - largely historical with just a pinch of pleasure taken in upsetting people, and also the fact that I find bald, fat men fairly amusing, especially when they're angry.

The live performances were both held in the afternoon in the sculpture studio at the Mid Warwickshire College of Further Education, Leamington Spa, because I was on the art foundation course at the time. I'd done a couple of performances back in November, 1983, basically just abusing the audience and calling it performance art. This was an attempt to do something similar with a vaguely more musical element, or at least something I might be able to get away with doing in a pub before a paying audience.

The first set was on Thursday the 28th of June, 1984 and featured Jez Diston on guitar, with Graham Pierce and Stephen Webb of the Pre-War Busconductors on fashionable metal percussion. The shouting, electronics, and tapes were all down to me, except I was too pissed to really get anything together - having medicated my pre-gig nerves with a lake of lager down the Star & Garter. I borrowed an amplifier from Jon Hunt of the Ideal Husbands which I think I somehow managed to blow during the proceedings, which was a bit embarrassing, but only for me as I think most of the audience fucked off after the first five minutes.

The second set - performed because the first had failed to resemble the power electronics tour de force I had hoped it might be - was on Monday the 2nd of July, again with Jez on guitar, but with Dave Browning and Jim something-or-other of the Shining pounding the scrap metal. My diary commemorates the occasion thusly:

I spent the morning setting up all the equipment, then got some booze at dinnertime. Jez arrived after that and we had a sort of rehearsal and got drunk. At three we put on another Do Easy live performance, which seemed to go well and was enjoyed by all. We had some great percussion from Dave Browning and the other guy out of the Shining. I borrowed an amplifier and delay pedal from Dave Hirons. I am very pleased with the results and feel a bit randy.

No, I don't know, although there was probably a good reason given that I was eighteen at the time.

Both of these sets were captured on VHS video by Tim Griffiths - who can be heard asking Alan Partridge style questions at the end - and the sound was taken from the video recording. The videos still exist, but aren't that interesting even to me, and I can't be arsed to pay a million dollars to have them converted to a YouTube friendly format. Trev's cover suggests sets comprising individual tracks, following my admittedly vague plan for how each set should progress prior to performance, but it all sort of went out of the window in recording, so each set has been digitised as a single long track - also, the original C60 release chopped off the end of the first set which it then continued on side two, so I've stitched its tail back on, so to speak. The final track is Trev trying to flog other tapes from his label just like that Victor Kiam with his razors, and is included here as a snapshot of the time.

We did it all again on Saturday the 15th of September at Amesbury Sports Centre supporting the Subhumans and Opera For Infantry.

I seem to recall playing more or less the same set, but getting it right. I also seem to recall Jez being there except he isn't mentioned in my diary, which states:

Today I started off depressed for no reason I know of. At one point I was in tears but I still don't know why. Me, Grez and Anders went to Amesbury and met Opera For Infantry and their pals, that is Trev, Dap, Charlie and others. Then we played live at the Sports Centre. We also met the Subhumans and a lot of nice punks, one of whom gave me a go on his joint and said my set wasn't too bad. The Subhumans were good people, especially Trotsky and the guitarist whom I also spoke to, and Dick as well. Opera For Infantry were really good live. It was a really good day.

I'm pretty sure Charlie - whoever he was - handled the guitar for me. I'm not sure what Grez or Anders did but I suspect they were concentrating mainly on their drinking. Unfortunately no tape exists of this performance, so let's just assume it was fucking amazing, unlike the shite you've probably just downloaded. Winky face. Winky face.

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Monday, 15 August 2016

We Be Echo - Psychick Kontakt Specials (1985) C90

I had corresponded with Kevin Thorne of We Be Echo on and off whilst at college (I mean whilst I was at college, not whilst Kevin was at college) and he'd contributed tracks to a couple of my compilation tapes - Soma Improvement on Circumcise the Foreskin of Your Heart, plus Jump Up and I Think I May Be Coming on Avanti! which was never completed, never surfaced, and I've somehow managed to lose the master tape over the years. Oh well. Anyway, Kevin and I lost touch somewhere along the way.

I'm going to assume you all know who We Be Echo were. This was their first tape and it's a fucking cracker. I'm going to assume that link is still good being as I haven't used it myself. If not, I may digitise my own copy of Ceza Evi when I get the time.

At some point in 1991 or maybe 1992, having moved to that London, I at last met up with Larry Peterson of Cause for Concern tapes, the man who introduced me to We Be Echo and a whole load of vaguely related artists. By this point Larry had decided industrial music is evil - as he put it in those exact words - and he'd turned his back on the genre so as to focus on his capitalism. This worked out well for me when he sold me a Broken Flag compilation album for peanuts (and which is now worth several million pounds due to the presence of Stereolab's noisier teenage years) and gave me a carrier bag full of tapes which Kevin Thorne had sent him.

Some of these tapes were shitty Woolworths cassettes with just a couple of tracks on them, so what I have with me now are three tapes - a C46, a C60 and a C90 which I seem to have compiled from the original tapes by adding tracks from some to the blank sections at the ends of others in the name of keeping things neat and tidy. I'm going to stick these three up on this here blog over the next couple of months on the grounds that they seem to comprise otherwise unavailable material, and this is the first one. Unfortunately my hypothetical reorganisation leads me to suspect that some of the tracks have taken on new titles - possibly invented by myself - in the event of my copying something for which there was no written information on the original (since discarded) inlay cards. I don't know. It was twenty-five fucking years ago. Be happy this stuff still exists at all.

Here's the first one which presents a couple of New Zealand college radio shows as broadcast, but not actually recorded as broadcast (see cover notes), plus an interview with Kevin and Bobby Thorne which may or may not have been transmitted. When digitising this tape, I started breaking it all up into individual tracks but the labelling began to annoy me, so in the end I've kept each broadcast as a single continuous chunk of sound. My other two We Be Echo rarities tapes seem to include all of the tracks featured here which didn't turn up on the special edition of Ceza Evi, so if you need them as individual tracks (possibly better recordings - not sure as I haven't listened to the tapes in a couple of decades) that will happen shortly.

Also, I've indulged in some editing here: Greatest Lover on the original tape runs out at the end of side one then continues at the start of side two, so I've spliced the two halves together in order to make the join less aggravating for the listener; I've monkeyed around with the interview a little as well because Kevin and Bobbie's replies were ridiculously quiet in comparison to the interviewer's questions, and there were a couple of long, awkward pauses of the kind which are probably inevitable when assembling this sort of material from different tapes, so I chopped a few of those out. The last two tracks probably aren't called Werkout 24 or Werkout 25, but that's what I wrote on the inlay card, presumably after copying them over from another tape. One of the other tapes has a couple of tracks called Werkout 22 and Werkout 23 on there, so maybe I took a guess based on that. They don't actually sound like finished tracks to me, but who knows? They might not even be We Be Echo. They could be REO Speedwagon out-takes for all I know.

More We Be Echo in another month or so. 

1 - Psychick Kontakt Show, New Zealand - Ceza Evi Special 22/11/84
     Punish You
     No Going Back
     Dull Day
     Cave Dweller
     Inside Life's Wire
     After the Battle
2 - Psychick Kontakt Show, New Zealand - NZ Radio Werks Special 21/2/85
     In the Beginning
     No No
     Greatest Lover
     Hide and Seek

3 - Psychick Kontakt Interview
     Never Mind
     Beat of the Drum
     Fly with the Wind

4 - Werkout 24
5 - Werkout 25

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