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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Friday, 5 August 2016

Total Big - Rehearsals 5 & 6 (1986) C90

Here we are - yet more Total Big, this time from the point at which we just about had a set and were starting to sound like a band. I'm not really sure what else I can say about this stuff which hasn't already been said in the course of previous blog entries - for which please refer to the index as linked below.

Both of these rehearsals occurred at Hollytree House, Otham, Kent, probably in the kitchen - the first sixteen tracks were on Saturday the 18th of January, and the rest were on Saturday the 8th of February, both in the year of our Lord, 1986. I don't have any corresponding diary entries of particular interest to either of these dates, although on Friday the 17th of January I wrote:

I actually remember what happened today. I paid Charlie some petrol money and him, me and Garreth went over to Chatham to shoot some videos with Glenn. We drove around trying to find a spot, only to find out that the portapak wasn't working. We went to a pub in Gillingham for some food, and Glenn told us he has become a born again Christian, which was a bit of a shock. We went back to Maidstone and we all bought cap guns.

That would be Glenn from Konstruktivists and Charlie who now draws The Walking Dead (and whose band of the time have featured previously on this blog), for those of you with a taste for obscure industrial music-comic book crossover trivia. Talking of industrial music, one channel of Chris's tape deck was on the fritz so there's a couple of tracks which sound a bit like Controlled Bleeding. It wasn't on purpose.

Chris recorded the original tapes, by the way, then edited each one down to a single side of a C90 of just the stuff which sounded like a song, so that's what you have here.

1 - Are You My Mother?
2 - Rock Sandwich
3 - I'm Not Losing Sleep 
4 - Something Stirs
5 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
6 - Reggae
7 - Simon Says
8 - Wake Up, Sleepyhead
9 - Bob Hope
10 - Ouch!!!
11 - Rock Sandwich
12 - He Writes the Songs
13 - Are You My Mother?
14 - Call It What You Want
15 - Wobblin' and a-Hollerin'
16 - Simon Says
17 - Ouch!!!
18 - He Writes the Songs
19 - Rock Sandwich
20 - Are You My Mother?
21 - Cold Sore Herpes B
22 - Call It What You Want
23 - Untitled I
24 - Untitled II
25 - Louie Louie
26 - Sister Ray
27 - Wham
28 - You Won't Let Me Down
29 - He Writes the Songs
30 - Rock Sandwich
31 - Are You My Mother?
32 - Call It What You Want

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Monday, 1 August 2016

War Drum - War Drum by War Drum (1998) C90

Usual terms and conditions apply as previously stated here, particularly regarding martial shit, the token bit of neofolk karaoke, and Thanksgiving because it's fucking awful and sounds like one of those shitty Ibiza comedown tracks, all hopefully mitigated by potentially bewildering covers of material by Link Wray and All Saints. I was fairly pleased with this one, for the most part. The tracks came out more or less how I hoped, and it was all recorded on a four-track with access to more technology than had been customary for me. So pleased was I that I splashed out on a two-colour cover so as to invoke the national flag of my beloved Mexico. 

By this point I had given up on rock, pop, industrial, and other music made by white people because it had mostly turned to shit. I went through a period of just listening to old classical albums, and by the time it came to this cassette I was getting into rap, garage and R&B, thanks mainly to people at work, and the influence of that stuff can be heard here in places; although Twilight Years owes its existence to my encountering the first seven studio albums by Iron Maiden in a junk shop on Lordship Lane for the same number of quids and all in good nick.

Andy of the Apostles, Academy 23, and UNIT handles the vocals on Flaying of Men, and whilst we're here, America, Awake! was my adaptation and repurposing of Academy 23's Europe, Awake! to hopefully less dubious seeming ends given that the perspective is changed from that of a white European to a Native American. I wasn't a Native American at the time, and I'm still not one now, but my intentions were noble.

1 - One Handed Tormentor
2 - Protomammal
3 - Plains Dweller
4 - Crusader
5 - Nanautzin
6 - Twilight Years
7 - Soul Rebel No. 1
8 - Blood Garage
9 - His Day Sign Was Fortified
10 - Take Everything
11 - Rollergirl
12 - Ce Quiahuitl
13 - Sixth Extinction
14 - Scapegoat
15 - Java Sunday
16 - Thanksgiving
17 - Fat Back
18 - My War Drum
19 - Flaying of Men
20 - Remembrance Day
21 - America, Awake!
22 - Love for the World
23 - Yei Mazatl Quecholli
24 - War of Nerves

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Monday, 25 July 2016

F*** F****** - Enjoy! (1991) C60

So as to save time, please refer to the entry for 1988's Stupid C15 for all the relevant explanations, excuses, apologies, and secret origin - although don't bother downloading it (assuming you haven't already done so) as the whole thing turns up as the first six tracks on the album, and as I noticed whilst digitising the thing, these versions are of marginally better quality for some reason.

Excepting the stuff from Stupid, some of this was recorded on a four-track portastudio albeit still with the same basically careless approach as the earlier stuff. Some of these are almost okay, for what they are, although I must admit there are a few I remembered as being better, but never mind.

By 1990 I was living in Lewisham and had a job with Royal Mail. I was also still reading a lot of comic books, which is reflected in this material. Terminator, for example, is directly inspired by a specific Skip Williamson strip from the old undergrounds, and the influences of Crumb, Bill Griffiths, Drew Friedman and others will probably be obvious to anyone who knows their work. IQ3 is a cover of an Anthropod Lithontriptic Band song, Anthropod Lithontriptic Band being Graham from the Pre-War Busconductors; and The Arthur Young Workbench is an old Sexton Ming number. Mrs. Sullivan expresses my frustration with a Mrs. Sullivan to whom I delivered mail in my job as a postman, and who was a whining old battle axe. This being over twenty-five years ago, I guess she's dead now, so it looks like I had the last laugh after all.

The cover image was from a birthday card my grandmother sent me that very same year, even though I was in the second half of my twenties, and the the title Enjoy! comes from a game played by Carl Glover and myself one afternoon, each drawing imaginary album covers for popular artists of the time in an effort to shock the other into either hysterics or stunned silence. Carl won the game by proposing a new Kylie Minogue collection entitled Enjoy!, the cover of which would be a close up of a ringpiece. You probably had to be there. The title and general spirit of Bad Time Blues also came from the same game.

The first time I met Andy Martin of the Apostles he called around my house with Nick Simms in tow. Nick Simms wore a boiler suit and bowler hat like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. He sat on my couch - whoever the fuck he was - shaving the hairs from the back of his hand with my craft knife so as to appear menacing, occasionally interrupting my conversation with Andy to share the sort of pointless observations a tough guy would make. At one point he picked up a copy of the first Fist Fuckers tape and studied the cover.

'I thought this was the Fist Fuckers I've heard of,' he said.

'That's something I did,' I told him. 'There's more than one?'

'Yeah, these blokes from Scotland.' He looked at the cover of my tape and chuckled confidently. 'I think they're probably better than your version.'

Seeing as I lacked the courage to say it at the time - no, Nick, you're completely wrong. My version might well be shite, but it's still better than anything you're into, because anything you're into will by definition be fucking rubbish because you're into it, you posh-boy right-wing arsehole.

So that's another one ticked from the to do list. 

1 - I Don't Wanna Have to Hurt You, Baby
2 - Beat You Up
3 - Stupid
4 - Terminator
5 - Rockin' Amoeba
6 - Violence
7 - You Won't Like It
8 - We Watch Our Favourite Shows
9 - Neck Tie Party
10 - Stupid (live)
11 - Bad Grades
12 - Badder Than All the Rest
13 - IQ3
14 - Shoot Thy Neighbour
15 - Transylvania
16 - Comic Books
17 - Bust Your Ass
18 - In the Summertime
19 - Beer Drinking Competition
20 - Mrs. Sullivan
21 - Bad Time Blues
22 - Disco Stomp
23 - I, Robot
24 - The Arthur Young Workbench
25 - Too Much Fun

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Spinning Pygmies - Spinning Pygmies III (1987) C90

Here we go. You probably know the score by now with this stuff. If not, please refer to previous posting of Spinning Pygmies material as can be found listed in the index. This was our fourth rehearsal, now just myself and Carl fucking about at my place - Hollytree House, Otham, Kent as shown above - almost certainly in my room which would have been the nearest one on the ground floor with the window open. We had a guitar, a Roland Cube with its fuzz thing, some bits of drum kit, and my Casio SK1 keyboard. We made stuff up and recorded it on a tape recorder, if you can imagine that. I'd say this stuff is only really likely to be of interest if you were actually in the band, but fuck it - I personally find it all very listenable now, although I suppose I would say that.

Fuck it. No-one's forcing you to download the thing.

1 - Burning Black & Blue I
2 - Burning Black & Blue II
3 - Why Did Chris Move?
4 - Runciter Swing
5 - Oi! Rides Again
6 - Piece of Meat
7 - Cheesey Cheesey
8 - Ain't No Light
9 - Do the Frug
10 - Check Out Your Pants
11 - He Writes the Songs
12 - Louie Louie I
13 - Sister Ray
14 - Hey Joe
15 - Are You My Mother?
16 - ChogI!
17 - What Elvis Said to Me
18 - Hubba Hubba Frug
19 - Kiss Me Blind
20 - Against the Law
21 - Hold Your Hand
22 - Louie Louie II
23 - Strawberry Feels Fever
24 - Magical Mystery Tor Johnson
25 - Here He Comes Again
26 - A Little Hell from My Friends
27 - Prince Chow Mein

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Do Easy - Purifier (1986) 3C60

In the unlikely event that anyone has been following the semi-regular posting of downloads of the stuff I recorded as Do Easy, you might also note how I've been posting this stuff more or less in the order of release; so with the most recent cassette having been The Fourteenth Metal Tape, that brings us to Five Track Compact Cassette and Exquisite Torment, both from 1984, and both being C15 cassette singles (for the sake of argument) sold for fifty pence in an effort to reach a moderately wider audience, or just an audience.

Five Track Compact Cassette comprised new improved versions of earlier songs - ActorsI and the Village, SongImage Control and Second Brain Product - and I put a bit of effort into getting them sounding as good as I could, having begun to grow tired of tracks which sounded shite next morning once the excitement had worn off. I'm not saying this was classic material, but it was okay compared to some of the rubbish I'd produced, and I know a couple of people who still seem to view Five Track Compact Cassette with something resembling affection. It might have been my best seller too, fifty or sixty copies or something like that.

Exquisite Torment was recorded a couple of months later, just the two tracks this time - Knife in My Side and The Ecstacy of Spite - and you can tell I was starting to go a bit mad. I was due to be turfed out of my home seeing as my parents were split and I was going away to college, I was suffering from severe testosterone poisoning, and I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be Marc Almond or William Bennett. Also, I'd just read a load of stuff about use of subliminals, so I tried them out on these tracks in an effort to persuade a naked lady to have sexual intercourse with me, and it fucking worked too. Get in there.

Anyway, with these being just C15s, and seeing as how I want to finish posting all this crap before I die of old age, it seemed a better idea to just offer Purifier, which is the name I later gave to the three tapes on which I had kept all the master recordings for the cassette singles and all the tracks I'd started churning out for inclusion on other people's compilation cassettes; and particularly as this three-hours worth of material neatly bridges the gap between The Fourteenth Metal Tape and The Thirty-Fifth Release, which is the next full-length Do Easy tape in sequence - except for the fucking awful Damned cover version which was tossed off in 1986 for the sake of filling up side six.

Okay, so here we have the two cassette singles, plus tracks which appeared on compilations such as Another Lost Cause (Refill Tapes), Political Piggies (Anal Probe) plus I think at least one other cassette by the Grey Wolves lads, and Inhibitor and Kill Technology which Larry Peterson of Cause For Concern asked for but never used - I have the tapes, but not here with me in Texas, so I can't really check what was what at the moment and it was a long time ago. Also, having embarked on a career in the yartz in September 1983 - or at least signed up for an art foundation course - I'd started making vaguely industrial videos in an effort to be more like Cabaret Voltaire, yielding soundtrack material which didn't really fit in anywhere else, so that's included here too. If anyone really needs to know what the videos looked like, there are some screen shots here. I watched a VHS copy of all my video work back in 2011, then wrote this obituary, and decided it really wasn't worth the effort having them converted to something I could upload to YouTube, seeing as how they're mostly shit.

I had a vague intention of releasing this as a three tape set but just never got around to it. There are a couple of stinkers for sure, but mostly it seems generally listenable, at least by my standards. The lyrics are often hilariously earnest and at least one track sounds like The Heat is On by Glenn Frey (mortifying seeing as I was actually trying to sound like Alternative TV), but fuck it, I expect you've downloaded much worse.

Synthnerds - the analogue synth you can hear on some of these tracks - All My Friends, The Ecstacy of Spite etc. - was a homemade job built from the pages of Practical Electronics (or one of those mags) by my friend Justin's dad, and which I purchased for thirty quid. It had two oscillators and was great while it worked, but just sort of conked out before I was really able to discover what all the knobs were for, Captain Peacock. 

1 - Inhibitor
2 - Kill Technology
3 - My Remaining Eye
4 - British Movement I
5 - Let Down
6 - British Movement II
7 - Improvisation
8 - Documentary
9 - Distortion (film soundtrack)
10 - Nuove Tendenze
11 - Vicar Vicar Straight into the Public Lavatory
12 - All My Friends
13 - Waterside at 12

 ...and the second one here.

14 - Inspecting the Experimental Grain Fields at Ostia Near Rome
15 - The Discipline
16 - Kick the Dwarf
17 - Actors
18 - I and the Village
19 - Image Control
20 - Song
21 - Second Brain Product
22 - The Silence Deepened (video soundtrack)
23 - The Fart
24 - Domestic Control Section (installation soundtrack)
25 - Portrait of a Minority (installation soundtrack)
26 - Intolerance (video soundtrack)
27 - The Voice of Reason
28 - Winter Again
29 - Thee 23rd Message to thee Temple

...and the third volume here.

30 - Knife in My Side
31 - The Ecstacy of Spite
32 - Our Tune
33 - Nobody Can Describe How We Truly Feel
34 - Republic of Saló
35 - In the Moral Hit Parade
36 - Pair of Trousers
37 - Mussolini & a Plate of Gruts
38 - Over the Bay of Naples
39 - Lie Through My Teeth
40 - Don't Cry Wolf

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