Monday, 25 April 2016

Academy 23 - Live in Hackney and Chatham (1995) C90


If you've bothered to click on this link then you probably already know who Academy 23 were, thus saving me the effort of repeating myself. If not, then I refer you to this previous entry or have a look at the Apostles page on the excellent Punky Gibbon site, and I'm sure you'll be able to piece it all together somehow. This tape comprised the first two gigs with myself playing guitar, although I think Dave and Andy had played a gig as Academy 23 somewhere in Scotland prior to this. Anyway, this was the line up of the band which eventually transmogrified into UNIT, and these songs were our set for a year or so - some of our own stuff, a few Apostles numbers tarted up with new lyrics, a Death In June cover (to which usual terms and conditions apply) and At the Academy which someone told me is actually a King Crimson number with the plates switched, although I never really cared enough about King Crimson to bother finding out.

The first gig was at the part of the hospital in which both Andy and (I think) Robert Dellar were working as part of Hackney Patients' Council, possibly, so about half of the audience were there because they had been sectioned. They seemed to appreciate the effort anyway, and whilst technically we were probably a bit ropey, it all seemed to go well enough. I think Robert Dellar wrote a little bit about it in his excellent Splitting in Two, which you can buy from this place and I highly recommend. The only problem was my apparent decision to record the gig by placing the tape recorder inside Pete's drum kit, so the tape may bear closer resemblance to early Test Department performances than it really should, although the numbers without drums came out okay, I guess. 

The recording of the Chatham gig wasn't much better, originally sounding like I'd stuffed the recording microphone down the back of the pub sofa, but I've managed to clean it up a bit on Audacity. I tried the same with the Hackney recording but there was just no rescuing the music from behind Pete's wall of percussion, unfortunately. The Chatham gig was odd and uncomfortable for reasons I've whined about at great length here and which I don't care to rake over any further, but we played all right, I thought, and the tape sounds decent now that I've cleaned it up a bit, or at least it does to me (even despite my singing on a couple of numbers). Annoyingly, we got carried away with our determination to piss off our host by playing for as long as he had originally said we could play and went over time, meaning the last four hours worth of At the Academy were missed off the tape. I've faded it at the end so it doesn't sound like we screwed up, and eight minutes of the thing should be enough for anyone. There are a load of photos taken from the Chatham gig (along with other band pics) here if you need something to look at whilst listening to this stuff.


Hackney Hospital 18/12/94:

1 - The Quantum Quickstep
2 - Alien Nation
3 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France
4 - King's Cross Etc.
5 - Pagga in Pilton
6 - The Patient
7 - We Are the Lust
8 - Look Into the Sky
9 - Willie MacKintosh
10 - At the Academy
11 - Mob Violence

Churchill's, Chatham 10/2/95:

12 - The Quantum Quickstep
13 - We Are the Lust
14 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France
15 - Look Into the Sky 
16 - King's Cross Etc.
17 - Pagga in Pilton
18 - The Stranger
19 - The Patient
20 - Alien Nation 
21 - At the Academy


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Monday, 18 April 2016

v/a - Moraals (1985) 2C90


I'd already done one compilation tape, and I wanted to do another, but an hour just didn't seem long enough to include stuff from all the people I knew, either by mail or in person; so a double C90 set it was, and I figured I may as well throw in some sort of accompanying booklet of band artwork seeing as that was what everyone else had been doing, or at least what Larry Peterson had been doing. By the time it all eventually came together I had moved out of my parents' place and was half way through taking a degree at Maidstone College of Art, and the thing had been dragging on for ages. My enthusiasm was therefore probably a little diminished, although honestly it probably didn't make a lot of difference. The thing was always going to be what it was, although I gather certain contributors were somehow shocked when their contributor copies turned up in the post, having somehow garnered the impression that I was some kind of luxuriously funded arts institute and individual copies of Moraals were to be presented as 180g collectors' vinyl discs encased within a hand crafted marble lecturn supporting a hardbound edition of artwork pressed in gold leaf on hand crafted paper. I was fucking eighteen and financed by pocket money, a paper round, and then a student grant, most of which I spent on beer and fags. It was the best I could manage at the time, and bollocks because I still think it sounds pretty great. The "booklet" was actually hand photocopied sheets inside an artisan clear plastic envelope of the kind purchased in packs of twenty from WHSmiths, but then I wasn't going to blow half my grant at the printers without some sort of indication that people might actually buy the thing. I sold a few copies as I recall, but not many, although my publicity machine was kind of winding down by that point. Yes, that's probably the reason.

Anyway, here's the lot - all three fucking hours of it split into two separate downloads so as not to clog up your internet connection and spoil the enjoyment of anyone who happens to be watching episodes of Ice Road Truckers on Netflix in the next room. The cassette cover - as designed by Klive Humberstone of Tex Mirror H, who also suggested the title - is included with the second download, and both cassettes had the same cover, in case you were wondering why there only seems to be one of them. Also included in the second download is a folder containing scans of all of the booklet artwork I have at my disposal. The pages for Mex and Opera For Infantry are missing as they all featured naughty pictures which I felt uneasy about stuffing into my luggage when I flew back to England to retrieve this material, and I'm not sure there ever was any Family Patrol Group artwork.

Mex produced some of the greatest pop music ever recorded so far as I was concerned, and it was a great moment when he sent me a tape for my compilation. I would have punched the air if I'd been American back then. He is still in existence today, and you should conduct further investigations here.; Trilogy was my friend Thomas Docherty (not to be confused with etc. etc.), author of some of the greatest weirdy sounds of that whole era, and I'll be ripping some more of his old tapes once I can rescue them from across the seas but if you're unable to wait, have a rummage in his YouTube channel.; Members of Tex Mirror H achieved wider recognition as In The Nursery and, as I say, Klive provided the cover and title of this compilation. They also had a track on an Adventures In Reality compilation.; Saul Pol Koatep was half of AOT 418 who released tapes through both myself and Anal Probe and others. I think they had something to do with the New Blockaders, and Saul was behind the Hypnagogia label, if anyone remembers that.; Do Easy was obviously myself, apparently trying hard to turn into John Cougar Mellencamp at the time of recording, although I definitely don't remember it as a conscious ambition. Still, the other two tracks are all right, I suppose.; The RSM, standing for Rob, Shend, and Mart, were an improvised music project initiated by my friend Martin, who also contributed as Mart E. Knee. The Shend and the Rob in question were Cravats and later Very Things whom Martin knew fairly well, having been a founding member of the former. Martin's YouTube channel can be found here.; Scram Ju Ju was David Lebens-Wankling, formerly of Urge with the semi-legendary Kevin Harrison, and whom I first encountered as a contributor to Gary Levermore's Rising from the Red Sand compilation. Apparently I was the first person to write to him as a result of the Third Mind tape, which is kind of depressing. He should have done a song about a murderer or summink.; Anarchist Angels were a bloke called Steve from Sunbury-on-Thames plus friends, and their As the Innocent Suffer tape remains one of my all time anarchopunk faves and is as such due for a ripping just as soon as I can get hold of my copy. Steve's tracks are probably my personal favourites of the whole compilation, possibly excepting those by Opera For Infantry, who of course later scared the living shit out of everyone as the Grey Wolves. Trev said something in his letter like we were feeling a bit sad when we recorded this stuff, and he's probably ashamed of it these days, but I still think these two tracks are wonderful. I also have a tape of Opera For Infantry rehearsing as a punk band with guitar, drums, and Trev yelping about TV standing for technological valium - just trying something different, and another one for the retrieval list.; Thee Unkommuniti, as you're probably aware, was Tim who later achieved wider recognition with Stereolab, of whom you can hear formative traces in this stuff if you listen closely. Vinyl-on-Demand put out a boxed set of Unkommuniti material a while back, but it costs about a million quid and anyway I still have all the tapes, thank you very much.; Lead Shoes were two Steves from my degree course, one of whom was much nicer than the other one and with whom I am still in touch on friendface. I think he's some sort of dance/techno luminary these days.; Also from my degree course was Paul Mercer who named his thing after a phrase in an article about bats which described them as Acrobatic Champions. For some reason he found this funny, but then he was kind of gothic in certain respects, and I always thought his music was excellent - in fact I still do, even though apparently we hate each other's guts these days - and there is some more of it here.; NKVD is Glenn from Konstruktivists who sent me these early versions of tracks which ended up on Black December.; I started writing to Family Patrol Group after I saw them supporting Whitehouse in Birmingham. They had split by the time I was putting together this compilation, but Colin suggested I lift some sections of noise from their tape Fear Death By Water, which was what I did.; and the rest were mostly people I was writing to or swapping tapes with at the time.


Tracks:
1 - (introduction)
2 - Mex - The Kid is a Little Monster
3 - Trilogy - Do Not Forgive Them
4 - Tex Mirror H - Out of Reach
5 - Saul Pol Koatep - Thou Shalt Not Kill
6 - Morris Dolby & the Bouncy Lobster Band - Len Fairclough
7 - Human Trapped Rhythms - Fish Tale
8 - Tryouts - Superior Human Beings
9 - Do Easy - Inspecting the Experimental Grain Fields at Ostia Near Rome
10 - The RSM - Rounds A No. 14
11 - Scram Ju Ju - After All
12 - Anarchist Angels - One in a Million
13 - Help! Help! I've Got My Head Stuck Down the Bog! - I'm In Love (With My Lavatory)
14 - Unkommuniti - Winterkill
15 - Do Easy - Nobody Can Describe How We Truly Feel
16 - David James - Pooh Disease
17 - Lead Shoes - Baseball on Sunday
18 - Anarchist Angels - Sick But A Shepherd
19 - NKVD - Eastern Vein III
20 - Acrobatic Champions - Three Minutes
21 - Scram Ju Ju - Ruled by the Heart
22 - Opera For Infantry - Time Is...


Tracks:

1 - David James - Untitled
2 - Tryouts - If You Take Advantage of Me
3 - Human Trapped Rhythms -The Message (Roll Down and Die)
4 - Tex Mirror H - Absorption
5 - Family Patrol Group - Extreme Nature
6 - Mart E. Knee - Bone Structure
7 - Unkommuniti - To Us Unseen
8 - Anarchist Angels - Untitled
9 - Do Easy - Our Tune
10 - Opera For Infantry - It's Later Than It's Ever Been
11 - Lead Shoes - Sniffing Glue
12 - WEOJ - Pyromania
13 - Family Patrol Group - The Fight Is On
14 - Acrobatic Champions - Order and Disorder
15 - Cause For Concern - Me Mucking About
16 - Anarchist Angels - Force His Mind
17 - NKVD - Eastern Vein IV
18 - Do Easy - Pair of Trousers
19 - AOT 418 - Beckie's Mission
20 - Morris Dolby & the Bouncy Lobster Band - Eggy Soldiers
21 - Family Patrol Group - Fear Death by Water
22 - Mex - Simplicity

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Monday, 11 April 2016

Do Easy - The Twelfth Metal Tape (1983) C60


Another one which wasn't much good I'm afraid; and with hindsight I continue to notice themes which weren't so obvious at the time. If The Sixth Metal Tape was my media album - as proposed in a previous blog entry - and The Ninth Metal Tape was a concept album about sexuality and fear of molestation, if you squint a bit, then this was the theatrical album. I was at the South Warwickshire College of Further Education retaking the 'O' levels I'd been too thick to obtain at school, plus some new subjects such as drama. My drama class split into two groups towards the end of the academic year, and each one wrote and produced its own play as part of our course work. The other group came up with a play called Everybody is Someone - or something of the sort titled so as to more or less give away both the entire story and the conclusion towards which it frogmarched its audience at gunpoint before anyone had even sat down; and my bunch came up with the similarly understated Victory For Who?, because if you really want to understand the horror of war, who better to ask than a self-involved teenager?

Anyway, we wrote this thing and put it on for an audience and I did the sound, which allowed me access to the college sound room and a lovely TEAC reel-to-reel on which I could make echo effects. With the exception of Song this tape comprises an audio recording of our performance, sound effects material I cobbled together for the same, and stuff derived from my pissing about with the TEAC. One of them is named after a painting by Adolf Hitler, which is really playful and subversive blah blah blah...


Victory For Who? was produced and performed by Helen Barnard, Addi Harris, Mark Langston, Stella Gill, Richard Jones, and myself, and the download includes a transcription of the script as a PDF - which you should be able to read on a Kindle if you feel so inclined - mainly because the audio recording is impossible to follow. I'm no longer in touch with any of the other five and I have no idea what happened to any of them, but I figured that if any of them should Google either the play or any of the names involved, being able to read the thing should at least compensate for the sound quality, possibly. Keep in mind however that we were all about seventeen, so if you're reading this as some massive theatre producer on the look out for the next Waiting For Godot, don't get your hopes up.




Tracks:

1 - South African Power Corporation
2 - Song
3 - Don't Trust Anyone
4 - In the Ruins of Becelaere
5 - Warfare
6 - Your Wife...
7 - Victory For Who? (live audio recording 17/5/83)
8 - Tortion

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Monday, 4 April 2016

621 Monosodium 621 - We, Torn from the Earth by Wonders of Gold (1992) C15+


Back in 1992, both Paul Condon - editor of Gneurosis - and myself had been subject to visitation by a fanzine editor to whom I shall cryptically refer as Jeremy Beadle because he was a fan of the same. Jeremy Beadle came to stay with me and slept on my sofa for a couple of nights but soon began to get on my tits, at which point I fobbed him off on Paul Condon and his sofa, like a true pal. Amazingly Paul was still speaking to me afterwards, so I suppose he understood, and on the positive side we subsequently had a whale of a time comparing notes and discussing how annoying we found Jeremy Beadle over beers and ciggies. Then one Saturday afternoon we went to some kind of free festival in New Cross, the one held annually in that park behind the Venue at the end of Clifton Ride - as it is misnamed in S. Alexander Reed's shit book about industrial music. There were crusty bands and there was beer and it was a nice day, and the conversation soon turned to Jeremy Beadle and his annoyingness. The thing that had really got to me about his visit, as I explained, was his diet. He wouldn't eat anything. Every night I'd cook something - spaghetti bolognese or curry or whatever, and I'm really not a bad cook.

'How much of this do you want, Jeremy Beadle?' I would ask.

'Oh I'm fine,' he would say, smiling as he pulled a family size bag of fucking Monster Munch and a litre bottle of Pepsi from his back pack.

Paul and I realised that neither of us had ever seen him eat anything other than crisps or related potato-based snacks generally marketed at school children, and this made us howl with laughter for most of the rest of the afternoon, culminating in Paul proposing we get t-shirts made - a picture of a packet of crisps with the legend Crisps - My Favourite! I'm not even really sure why it made us laugh so much, but it did.

Meanwhile I was toying with the idea of recording sarcastic power electronics, an idea which found itself split into two, one branch leading here, and the other to 621 Monosodium 621, but with those three little magickal dots around the numbers like you have on Current 93 records. Paul had an expensive sampler and was an accomplished violinist, and the idea was to record something with all of the usual fixations of the industrial or whatever the fuck you want to call it genre - Manson, Crowley, Hitler, and potato-derived snack foods. We both also found neofolk unintentionally amusing, so 621 Monosodium 621 - named after everyone's favourite flavour enhancer - was firing off in a number of directions all at once whilst going out of its way to take itself extremely seriously.

We convened one Saturday afternoon around my place in Lewisham, beginning with a trip to Sainsburys from which we returned with two carrier bags each full of snack foods, fizzy pop and so on. We sampled ourselves eating crisps over and over, and different kinds of crisps, cheese footballs and so on in pursuit of variant sounds. We recorded Wheaties - a tubular snack - played as atonal instruments by blowing across one end as though they were pan pipes. We sampled and looped cans of cola popped open for rhythm. We mixed all of this together with guitar and effects and Adolf Hitler and the humble potato as a mystic avatar of revelation 'n' shit, and we ended up with the material comprising this download. I drew a picture of Roman soldiers eating crisps before an inverted Christ on the cross; and I seem to recall Paul writing a brilliantly impenetrable essay about the role of potatoes in human magickal history, although I'm no longer sure whether this happened or was simply an idea; and I intended to put it out as a C15, but somehow lost the impetus. So eventually I just made a couple of copies for Paul and myself.

We might have ended up on Top of the Pops, or at least on the flip side of a Current 93 album, but never mind. Possibly the only thing we achieved was a cure for the desire to eat crisps ever again for at least the next few months.

Anyway, here are all four tracks, plus a couple of variant mixes I found I had laying around and which I think I prefer. Enjoy and take very, very seriously, preferably whilst scowling and marching up and down in front of a Bavarian castle whilst munching away on a bag of Wotsits.



Tracks:

1 - 621 Monosodium 621
2 - NaCl/HNO3
3 - Monosodium 666
4 - Boiled Alive in Oil of Sunflower
5 - 621 Monosodium 621 (early version)
6 - Boiled Alive (early mix)

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