Monday, 21 March 2016

Soul Providers - Cipactli Nahuatlamatl (1998) C90

I first met Ed Pinsent through comic books and his involvement with Fast Fiction, then later came to know him a little better when I realised that we lived in roughly the same part of London and shared an interest in weirdy music, as expressed by Ed starting his own magazine and asking if I would like to contribute. The magazine was called The Sound Projector and still exists today in concert with an associated radio programme broadcast on Resonance FM, all of which should be investigated by following this link. Anyway, back in 1997, both Ed and myself were furrowing along related musical parallels. My crap is sporadically documented right here on this blog, whilst Ed recorded and performed with Attack Wave Pestrepeller (famously including Savage Pencil) and Mystery Dick - improvised and occasionally noisy outfits whose works on vinyl and compact disc are well worth the effort of hunting down should you feel so inclined. I vaguely recall Ed and myself recording together mainly because it seemed crazy not to, given certain shared musical interests, although it may also have been significant that Alan Mason's girlfriend had given me an electric piano and Ed was quite keen to have a go on it. The electric piano was free on the grounds of it being the size of a small car and that Alan's girlfriend had grown tired of carting it around with her each time she moved. The contacts could have done with a clean, and the thing was so huge that I ended up giving it away for the exact same reasons that the thing had come into my possession; but it had a good sound, so it was nice that Ed made such great use of the thing whilst it was around, not least because his tickling of ivories had a little more going for it than my characteristic one fingered Gary Numan tributes.

Anyway, the story behind these tracks beyond that which is already described above is that we set up every instrument or sound producing object we had at our disposal in my living room and just improvised, although the first three significantly shorter tracks were recorded by making stuff up along to an already improvised backing track bounced onto my tape deck. I was probably worrying about them sounding too sparse or something.

The titles and artwork were more or less arbitrary choices derived from my Mesoamerican fixation of the time, as was the name of our "group" - the Soul Providers, which I liked because it sounded more like some RnB thing than a bunch of noise merchants, and I was mostly listening to RnB at the time. I'm not sure what Ed ever thought of the names or my turning this stuff into tapes, although Soul Providers didn't make him frown quite so hard as had my first suggestion - Shinjuku District, which came from a Godzilla film and I now realise would have been a dreadful choice. I had the impression he was really mainly just interested in the music, the improvisation and so on; which is fair enough. Listening to this stuff nearly two decades later I realise I still enjoy it. It still sounds good to me - at least once you get over the terrible hiss generated by the recording process of the first three tracks. In fact, I'm actually sort of proud of this tape, which isn't something I can say about many of them.


1 - Tepetlaoztoc
2 - Eight Deer Jaguar Claw
3 - Amplifier
4 - First Migration
5 - Chiconahui Cuetzpallin

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  1. Hi Lawrence

    Thanks for publishing these tracks. I'd have to dispute the 1988 date as reflected in the title of this post, as I don't think I'd even met you by then!

    I do recall the ungainly size of that monstrous electric piano. Also that I struggled hard to get any kind of response out of it. It wasn't down to the contacts or the amplification, but the action of the keys. One really had to slam down quite hard to produce any sort of musical note.

    I take this to be a good thing. Most modern digital keyboards are, converselty, far too "easy" to play. In the same way, I'd like to think your beloved Mesoamerican artists had to work three times as hard to make any impression in the volcanic rock they carved - not that I would liken my work to any product of that ancient civilisation!


    1. 1998 of course... no matter how many %#@& times I type it, I look back at the screen and see that without fail I have dated our collaboration to at least three years before we even met. Ugh. Corrected the mistake now, so well spotted!