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?


Tracks:
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.


Tracks:
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.


Tracks:
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.


Tracks:
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.


Tracks:
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

Oops


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.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Do Easy - Don't Talk (1987) C60


I should have taken my own advice and kept my mouth shut for the duration, but never mind. This was almost the last tape I recorded as Do Easy, mostly recorded in the college sound studio on a four-track TEAC, and thirty or so years later, I'd say it sounds mostly decent providing you don't pay too much attention to the words. I was young. I wasn't very happy. I hadn't had sexual intercourse in well over a year. I looked funny and people kept calling me names as a result. Musically speaking, this was mostly me, although Information through to Animation of Life, and also Down in the Echo were collaborations with Garreth Roberts, so that's mostly him singing or speaking on those; Steve McGarrigle also contributed in some way to In One Day and the remix of This Can't Go On Forever; and the sonic dog's dinner which was Sound Levels in Arabia additionally features Paul Fallon (who was also in the Spinning Pygmies with Garreth and myself for about forty seconds) and some bloke called Matt, about whom I don't remember very much at all.

Let me see...

Information was recorded as the soundtrack to a video piece, as us artists call them. The video comprised stills of drawings by Dennis Nilsen, and Garreth is reading out poems written by the same on the soundtrack, as you can hear. The point was that the material is only identified as having been the work of Nilsen at the end of the video, so everybody goes ooh! and agrees how playful and subversive it all is blah blah blah audience expectations blah blah blah. The drum machine pattern on Sound Levels in Arabia was originally written for the only song I wrote for Envy, which mercifully we never recorded because it was shite. Caroline A was me deciding I wanted to be the Jesus & Mary Chain and to record a proper pop song with a video of an actual band playing it, and I was going to give copies of this demo to my loyal recruits so they could learn how to perform my masterpiece, but luckily I lost interest and never got around to it. HSC was recorded after hanging around with TD and is pretty much an inferior rip-off of a track he recorded as Frenzied Encounters, which I've yet to digitise.

...and no, I never got around to a formal release of this one either, so no fancy cover I'm afraid.

Don't worry. I'll post a proper tape next week.


Tracks:
1 - Paper Tiger
2 - HCS
3 - In One Day
4 - Information
5 - Complicated Animal
6 - Sound Levels in Arabia
7 - Animation of Life
8 - This Can't Go On Forever (remix)
9 - Don't Talk
10 - Caroline A (demo)
11 - I Want You
12 - Down in the Echo


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Monday, 28 August 2017

v/a - Political Piggies (1984) C60


This was the first compilation put out by Trev Ward and Dave Padbury, then collectively known as Opera for Infantry. Opera for Infantry eventually morphed into the Grey Wolves and had a string of hits, as you'll probably remember, whilst simultaneously stirring up controversy of a general thrust implying they might actually subscribe to some of the extreme Fascist beliefs blasted forth in their music. Having met them a couple of times and spent at least a few years writing to Trev, I'm confident of this being complete bollocks, and clues as to why I might hold with such a conviction can be found here, a tape firmly rooted in the short-lived but fertile period of cross fertilisation occurring between weirdy electronics and the anarchopunk scene; and yes, I'm well aware of all that post-left green anarchist shite having been plopped out of the same arse, but that's something else entirely...

I think this was also the first compilation to which I was asked to contribute, so apologies for my tracks. Marginally less crackly versions can be found elsewhere on this blog if you're stupid enough to look for them. Anyway, it was massively exciting finding myself sharing ferric oxide with Nocturnal Emissions, Nurse With Wound and the Apostles, and I still say this was a fantastic genre-busting tape. You'll probably recognise a few of the names here, and I'm pretty sure the Nocturnal Emissions and Nurse With Wound tracks resurfaced elsewhere, although The Strange Life of August Strindberg was almost certainly an exclusive at the time. Steve Stapleton was known for his generosity when it came to tape labels no-one had heard of asking him for tracks. There's more by Anarchist Angels and Family Patrol Group elsewhere on this blog, if you want to check the index. There's more about Epidemic on the excellent Punky Gibbon site, and Alternative and the Destructors were pretty big names at one point so you should be able to find something about them if you look. Alternative released stuff on Crass, for example.

I suspect they may have been experiencing some technical difficulties at Anal Probe Tapes world headquarters when they were running off my copy of this tape, unless the fuck ups were on the master copy. The tracks varied in recording volume quite a bit so I've tried to bring the quieter ones up to the same level. Also there were a couple of instances of what sounds like a lead cutting out - first during Living a Lie, after which the track comes back much louder. I did some fucking about, raised the volume of the first verse, and copied the missing riff from later in the track so as to effect a repair, which is hopefully better than listening to the track with a few seconds silence just as the chorus kicks off. There was also a gap in the middle of Seen through Tear Stained Eyes, occurring during a sung passage ruling out the possibility of making a repair by copying anything from elsewhere in the song, so I've er... just copied and reversed a bit to at least make the screw up sound deliberate, which will probably make more sense if you listen to the thing.



Tracks:
1 - Nocturnal Emissions - Rabbits Don't Cry
2 -
Anarchist Angels - I Cry with Despair
3 - Destructors V - Urban Terrorist
4 - Do Easy - Waterside at 12
5 - Epidemic - Living a Lie
6 - White Elephants Over Jamaica - Adverts
7 - Alternative - Seen through Tear Stained Eyes
8 - Do Easy - Kick the Dwarf
9 - Epidemic - No Identity
10 - Family Patrol Group - Cronus
11 - Opera for Infantry - Resettlement
12 - Destructors V - Khmer Rouge Boogie
13 - The Cause for Concern - The Occasional Me and You
14 - Alternative - Caroline's Carnival
15 - Nurse With Wound - The Strange Life of August Strindberg
16 - The Apostles - The Phoenix

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Regular - Regulation Issue (1988) C60


Regular was the work of John Jasper, the man behind the Joneses and with whom I worked on the Illyana Rasputin tape. I already wrote plenty about him on the blog entries for those two, so please feel free to have a quick look at them so as to avoid my having to repeat myself. I can wait.

John recorded a ton of this stuff, and due to the general indeterminacy of his character, it wasn't always easy to tell when he'd run me off a copy of his new shit, or whether he'd just nicked a few bits and pieces from obscure On-U label records and failed to mention that they weren't actually by him. Anyway, the point is that he was very prolific, and this was definitely all his own work, and presumably the stuff of which he was most proud judging by the fact that he went down to that place on Rochester High Street which had a colour photocopier, ran off a load of covers, and decided it was an album. As you can probably tell, he was significantly influenced by On-U, Sherwood, Tackhead, Scientist, all of those guys, and for my money he definitely brought something new to the table.

The credits found on the insert were mostly pulled out of John's head, although let's face it, we've all been there with our own imaginary bands. I'm not credited but that's my voice you can hear on A Voice in the East, and also my cheapo Casio sampler which lived around at John's house for about a year. Glenn Wallis of Konstruktivists lived just up the road from John around this time, and I definitely remember them attempting to record something together. The voice on Naked They Go does actually sound a little like Glenn doing one of his characters, but I suspect it's something John took off the radio or another record. Janine, John's girlfriend of the time, can be clearly heard vocalising on Punjabi, but beyond that I've no idea where to draw the line between fantasy and reality. I'm not sure why Regular either - knowing John it was probably some esoteric nod to Reg Varney.

John was the most violently unreliable man on earth, but also a lovely guy and very funny, and I still sort of miss him. More than anything I wish he'd spread a few more of these tapes around, or that someone had chucked a load of money at him and forced him to put out a record; but never mind.


Tracks:
1 - Mission Impossible (Martial)
2 - Come into the Room
3 - Ghetto Swinger
4 - Touch (dub)
5 - Echo Bass (dub)
6 - A Voice in the East (a Memory)
7 - Naked They Come...
8 - Naked They Go
9 - Touch (Seikh Massacre)
10 - Touchdown
11 - Punjabi (Vaca-Dabi)
12 - Powder Room
13 - Bone Rattle
14 - Swing Low
15 - Likrish Tash
16 - Massacre


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Friday, 4 August 2017

Lead Shoes - Lead Up the Garden Path (1985) C46


Unlikely Records - whom I suppose might be best remembered for an early release of those Milovan Srdenovic numbers which were eventually reissued as Songs from West of the Pelvic Girdle - sent out a request for material. Put your best stuff on a C50, suggested Robert Cox - I think his name was - and if I like it we'll release it on Unlikely Records. I put together a Do Easy tape, which was rejected for obvious reasons, but I also mentioned the proposal to Steve Coots, with whom I shared a house. Like myself, Steve was on the Time Based Media course at Maidstone College of Art. To be honest, he could be fucking hard work at times, but he was often funny and I really liked the music which he recorded in the college sound studio under the name Lead Shoes.
 
Unfortunately, Unlikely Records didn't seem to like Lead Shoes any more than they had liked Do Easy, so I offered to put the thing out on my own label. Lead Up the Garden Path, was Steve's best of tape. There's a potted history of the band on the cover, included with the download, which I can't be arsed to type out here, but for what it's worth I recall Eat Your Peas as being fucking great, and I really wish I'd kept a copy, or that Steve had included it here, but never mind. Steve was into a lot of music which I couldn't stand and still can't - Pink Floyd and Genesis, but also Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and those guys, the influences of which you can probably hear on this collection. Neither the Cockney Rejects nor Sham 69 had established much of a presence in his record collection. I'm not even sure he owned a copy of Machine Gun Etiquette. Mental.
 
Lead Shoes were named after a pseudo-surrealist film by Sidney Peterson which Steve loved, although I wasn't that impressed when I saw it as part of our film course. Steve later ended up in a somewhat laboured wacky folk band with Charles Thompson called Heads on Springs. They were a sort of trying too hard hey kids, poetry isn't just for squares type operation which I prefer not to remember in detail, just as I prefer not to remember sharing a house with Steve in detail, but even with such unpleasantries in mind, it has to be said that the guy recorded some fucking great music. It also has to be said that Steve McGarrigle's wonderful trumpet playing on a few of these tracks didn't hurt.
 
This tape makes use of Brian Eno's old EMS synthesiser and the poorly quantified involvement of someone from And the Native Hipsters. There were two covers because the first one didn't photocopy very well, featuring a photograph of the head of a tailor's dummy called Norman. Steve had Norman placed at an upper floor window of an earlier house in which he'd lived so as to cause innocent passers by to shit themselves when they caught sight of him.



Tracks:
1 - Sniffing Glue
2 - My Street
3 - Baseball on Sunday
4 - Beautiful Dreamer
5 - Drowning in a Coffee Pot
6 - Submerged
7 - Blink
8 - Night Soiler
9 - Holding My Nose
10 - Four Legged Friend
11 - Waltz
12 - Happy Feet



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Monday, 31 July 2017

Family Patrol Group - Fear Death by Water (1983) C60


Back when I was just a schoolboy in short trousers, I went to see Whitehouse play live at a pub in Birmingham. I'm not sure if it was the first gig I ever attended, and I can't be bothered to check, but it was probably one of them. I went with my friend Grez, and possibly also Jez, although I have a feeling he may not have been able to make it - it was a long time ago. Anyway, despite being a youthful bag of nerves I made a new friend just by standing outside the venue with a Come Org badge proudly sported upon the lapel of my school blazer. His name was Colin Fisher and I think he'd helped organise the event. He was a member of Family Patrol Group, one of the two support bands, the other lot being D.Mag 52 / SHC standing for Death Magazine 52 and Spontaneous Human Combustion because they had two names, not yet having decided which they preferred. We went in and my eyes boggled at what the inside of a pub looked like. I noticed a bloke resembling the Shend from the Cravats stood on the other side of the room fighting off a massive crowd of fans, and David Tibet was perched at the next table reading out the lyrics to Whitehouse's Rock and Roll to his pals and making them laugh. It was exciting, and also kind of scary.

Family Patrol Group were first on with a fifteen minute wall of noise, followed by D.Mag 52 / SHC, who were good, but not as good, finishing with Whitehouse, who were terrifying. A glass casually lobbed into the audience by one of the Whitehousers hit Grez squarely on the top of the head. I turned to him so as to opine something along the lines of fuck this - let's go home and found my question answered in dramatic fashion by blood gushing down his face from where the glass had hit. This incident has somewhat coloured my view of Whitehouse since, but to get to the point, Family Patrol Group really stole the evening for me. There was something about the pure force of their noise, like standing before the business end of a jet engine, and a jet engine which caught our attention without turning the event into the pre-title sequence of an episode of Casualty.

I kept in touch with Colin and bought a few tapes off him, then saw Family Patrol Group again later that same year supporting a couple of bands I don't even remember - Seduction and Baptism with Fire. One of them was a Bauhaus tribute act or something along those lines. This second gig is captured on Fear Death by Water, or at least on my copy. I've a feeling the original tape may have been just the four studio tracks, and I added the recording of the gig in support of Whitehouse myself seeing as there was plenty of room on the tape. I had the impression that Fear Death by Water wasn't so much an official thing as just a tape they might slip you if they could be arsed. The cover doesn't give much away, certainly no titles, and some of this stuff turned up on compilation tapes with titles which may have come from the group, or may have come from whoever was putting out the compilation. I get the impression they were more interested in the live setting, and to be fair, they were fucking amazing live on the two occasions I saw them.

I still don't know much about Family Patrol Group, although their internet presence seems to have increased since the last time I looked, and there's even a website with a list of gigs performed. Their commitment to power electronics conventions of the time seemed tongue-in-cheek bordering on sarcastic, at least going by what Colin said about their Beyond Nilsen stickers. They clearly figured somewhere in that whole Birmingham noise thing which also bequeathed us Final, Smear Campaign, Con-Dom, Godlfesh and so on, and the two who weren't Colin Fisher had also been involved with D. Mag 52 / SHC, concerning which, please feel free to interpret whatever else you may feel you need to know from this excerpt from one of Colin's letters:


I'm not in D. Mag 52 / SHC, but the other two are. I'll give you the D. Mag 52 / SHC potted history if you like. Originally a large band of around nine members, fluctuating line up depending on who could attend, no rehearsals, just found instruments before gigs usually. Mainly metal bashing, drums, and other percussion, like Test Dept at times. Slimmed to five, four, or six piece - then mainly metal, tapes and vocals. Then down to two hardcore members - others thrown out or dissuaded. No gigs, but still fluctuating as people replace one another. At the Mermaid, Simon was helped out by a friend. The other hardcore member - Paul - was on 'holiday'. Truth is he was a bit embarrassed at supporting Whitehouse. I think he felt it was pointless trying to compete with them, as we all did, but nevertheless we didn't bottle out. After Family Patrol Group degenerated to nothing, mainly because of my absence at Sunday afternoon jamming sessions, Mike Grant, Family Patrol Group vocalist, was looking for gigs to play as D. Mag 52 / SHC, playing alongside Simon and Paul with Greg, our tape person. They got two, one at a pub which has a regular free spot on Monday evenings, and the second was at an all day festival where Nick Lowe was the main artist. They got ₤100 to play this, but I was told they used ₤80 in preparation by going into the recording studio to record backing tapes. I think it may have been Mike Grant's idea as he had not been into a studio before and was quite keen to do so. Anyhow, I didn't go to either of the above two, mainly due to Mike Grant falling out with me. Nothing serious, just once when we were in a pub he ignored me and he's never spoken since.

I'm therefore assuming that Family Patrol Group were Colin Fisher, Mike Grant, and some dude called Greg, but I'd be very happy to be corrected on any of this - always happy to revisit this little corner of noise history, given that you probably won't get to read about it in books written by tossers for whom it all started with comedy acts such as Ministry.




Tracks:
1 - Fighting Cocks, Moseley 17/12/83
2 - Fear Death by Water I
3 - Fear Death by Water II
4 - Fear Death by Water III
5 - Fear Death by Water IV
6 - The Mermaid, Sparkbrook 27/8/83



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Monday, 24 July 2017

v/a - Paranoia is Awareness (1982) C90


Regardless of accusations I may or may not have made last week, it really has to be said that Larry Peterson knew how to put a compilation together. A Sudden Surge of Power, which he released on his own Cause for Concern label, remains pretty much my favourite of its kind, and frankly it still pisses over better publicised tapes from the same era, notably the undoubtedly decent but somewhat overrated Red Sand. I'll put A Sudden Surge of Power up here at some point in the not too distant future, but in the meantime, here's Paranoia is Awareness - Larry's first compilation, maybe not the classic that was the later collection, but a fucking good showing nevertheless.

Because I'm a generous old fucker, I've scanned the A4 booklet which came with the tape, so that's included as a series of JPEG files in the folder which comes with the download. My copy was customised by various members of the Apostles and the Assassins of Hope, adding sarcastic commentary to their own respective pages before Larry got the thing to the safety of an envelope with my name and address written on it, so although I've cleaned up all the scans as much as I could so as to get rid of yellowing, coffee stains and so on, I left the thoughts of Chairman Martin as they were because it seemed right to do so.

The inclusion of the booklet also means I don't need to spend too much time telling you about these artists. You should be familiar with the Apostles, Matfield & the Pond and We Be Echo if you've been following this blog, and Third Door from the Left were the group of which Kevin Thorne was a part before he started recording as We Be Echo. The track here is actually an excerpt from a Third Door from the Left live tape released by Cause for Concern, one which I might put up here providing it hasn't been reissued by Vinyl on Demand (I still haven't got around to checking, although I know Frank did Face the Firing Squad on vinyl). You will no doubt recognise the Nocturnal Emissions tracks which first appeared on their classic Fruiting Body album which you own, or you should own, and if you don't, get the fuck away from me. I think Plastic Bag were pals of Nigel from Nocturnal Emissions as they had a mailing address around the corner in Camberwell and used to put out a zine called Apocalypso a Go Go, of which one issue was full of extremely naughty pictures and another was a special on Nocturnal Emissions. They also recorded some great harsh electronics as Brides of Christ II. Finally, I seem to recall seeing Nervous Legion mentioned in the cassette column in Sounds a good year before Dave Henderson started the whole Wild Planet thing, so I have the impression they were something significant which vanished off the radar just as I was becoming aware of this sort of stuff. I'm sure Larry told me that the guy behind Nervous Legion committed suicide, but I could be getting my wires crossed. Terrorist, as it appears on the tape, seems to end with the sort of repetitive scratches which suggest it may have been taped from a 7" single (can't be heard here due to my cleaning up process), which is intriguing; so if anyone knows anything about Nervous Legion, I'd love to know more. I've always thought those two Nervous Legion tracks were the bollocks.


Tracks:
1 - The Apostles - Redifusion Refugee
2 - The Apostles - Escaping Again
3 - Matfield & the Pond - Toxteth
4 - Matfield & the Pond - Paem Wyrd (theme)
5 - Matfield & the Pond - All My Toys
6 - Nervous Legion - Terrorist
7 - Nervous Legion - Gas
8 - NCP - Wild Thing / Johnny B. Goode / Standard Punk Song
9 - Assassins of Hope - Prisoner of Law
10 - Assassins of Hope - Rejection
11 - The Cause for Concern - Some Suffer
12 - Tom Castle - Adric
13 - Red Herring - Newman's New Trees I (advertisement)
14 - Red Herring - EZ Chew (advertisement)
15 - Tom Castle - This Place is So Rewarding
16 - Red Herring - Extranose (advertisement)
17 - Red Herring - Newman's New Trees II (advertisement)
18 - Tom Castle - You Stop Me (Doing What I Want)
19 - Red Herring - Newman's New Trees III (advertisement)
20 - APF Brigade - Dreaming
21 - APF Brigade - Burnt Offering
22 - APF Brigade - 1805-1945
23 - Third Door from the Left - Live at the Ship
24 - Nocturnal Emissions - LD50
25 - Nocturnal Emissions - Routine Surveillance Exercise
26 - The Event Group - Seward Rap
27 - Michael Jones - Uncle & Auntie Bastard
28 - Michael Jones - Delicious Enemy
29 - Michael Jones - Dance of the Wild Brains
30 - Michael Jones - Drinking Like Mad
31 - Plastic Bag - In the Corridors of a Train
32 - Swinging 3-Man Junta - Untitled
33 - Swinging 3-Man Junta - Larry is a Rock Star
34 - Alien Kulture - The Burden
35 - Tom Castle - Doors of the Mind


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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Omelettes (1984) C30

Andy and Larry with Ian Slaughter.

Here's another one by special request, and the last which will be by special request. I have a couple of hundred of these old tapes to get through, and I plan to digitise most of them and leave them here for free upload. That's a lot of work right there, but I get through it by doing two tapes a week, every Sunday morning, usually one which you lot will never get to hear because it just wouldn't be of interest to anyone but myself, and one of the kind of which a few people may have heard of, the sort of thing I've been adding to this blog over the last couple of years. It's a lot of work, and what makes it fun is getting up on Sunday, going to the shelf, and thinking what the fuck am I going to digitise today?, then picking something I probably haven't heard in two decades and firing up the computer, already burning with curiosity as to what's going to come out of those speakers and whether it will still sound as good as it once did. Therefore, when I get up on Sunday morning and I already have a list of requests because some bloke just can't live another two months without hearing a tape made by someone who used to collect Genesis P. Orridge's pools coupon back in 1978, it sort of sucks the fun out of it for me. So leave requests, by all means, but keep in mind that if I have the tape, you'll get to hear it when I feel like digitising it; and it will still be free; and it will still be something you probably wouldn't have had otherwise, so be happy.

This week's masterpiece is Larry Peterson of Cause for Concern tapes mucking about with Dave and Andy of the Apostles. These tracks were on one side of a tape Larry sent me and which he described as this group I was in called the Omelettes, although I've a feeling it may have been just Larry who regarded it as having been a group rather than just the three of them pissing about one afternoon. If you're familiar with the Apostles, you'll probably recognise these tracks, some with original lyrics, some with new lyrics improvised by Larry - and I came up with the titles, obviously. Larry was later vocalist in some sort of rock group called Many Happy Returns, and he sang backing vocals on Revolution Baby from the Nocturnal Emissions album, Songs of Love & Revolution. I met him a couple of times and he was a wonderful and very, very funny guy, but I really got the feeling he resented his own failure to have become either rich or famous as a result of having been involved with tapes, and he wouldn't fucking shut up about money. He showed me a stack of obscure records and tapes, the kind of stuff I've been posting here, and told me he was getting rid of it all. 'None of this lot will ever be worth anything,' he said. 'If any of these bands were going to make it big, it would have happened by now.'

...and that's why you probably shouldn't meet your heroes.

There'll be something less disappointing next week, readers.


Tracks:
1 - Asking For It
2 - The Money Song
3 - What Would We Do Without the Alien Asian?
4 - Hello Deutschmark I
5 - If There Was Anarchy, What Would We Use for Money?
6 - Hello Deutschmark II
7 - You Can Make Good Money Playing the Blues



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Friday, 7 July 2017

Acrobatic Champions (1985) C15


This was a solo tape by Paul of Die Brücke, Apricot Brigade, Envy, and a million other musical identities. You may remember he had a couple of tracks on Moraals, possibly. I asked him if I could put some of his stuff out on my crappy label, and he said yes, picking the name Acrobatic Champions from either a TV documentary or a kid's book about bats, which are apparently quite acrobatic in their own way, and which appealed to Paul's sense of humour.

A full sixty-minute tape was to come, but first there was this because I liked the idea of putting out C15s for fifty pee (inc. P&P) on the grounds that it was cheap, no-one else seemed to be doing it, and it seemed like a good way to get the music out there. Flowers and Skylight were both composed as soundtrack material to a film and a video piece of the same names made by Paul as part of his degree at Maidstone College of Art, both recorded in the sound studio associated with our course. The third track was just something he came up with to bring the whole up to fifteen minutes. I watched him record it then asked what it was to be called, and he said, I'll name it Piranha, after the tape, because the C15 master copy was a brand of cassette manufactured by a company called Piranha. Crazy times.

For what it's worth, the distortion you can hear on Flowers is part of the music rather than the result of a knackered old cassette. Paul was somewhat ahead of the curve in his use of deliberately distressed sounds, at least in a blatantly composed and musical context. He really should have been disgustingly famous.


Tracks:
1 - Flowers
2 - Skylight
3 - Piranha After the Tape


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Friday, 30 June 2017

Enhoenta Bödlar - William Bennett in the Sky with Diamonds (1985) C60


I don't know much about this one, at least not beyond what I've already said about Enhoenta Bödlar in previous blog entries - and before anyone gets snippy, the name seemed to get a different spelling every time it appeared, so I just stick with the one I like best. This came out on Trev Ward's Anal Probe - a tape label which seemed to switch identity every year. By 1987 they were probably Zeal SS or something else I'm slightly wary of naming here for fear of attracting undesirables, and this tape was listed as the work of Bomb the Day Nursery. Actually, as my copy came with what appears to be the original artwork for the sleeve - letraset and bits of paper glued on rather than a photocopy, it seems likely I had the last copy sent out before gender reassignment.

For a period it seemed that the duo of Uddah-Buddah and Roger Karmanik recorded and released material as both Enhoenta Bödlar and Bomb the Day Nursery, and a few tracks from Enhoenta Bödlar's first album appeared here and there credited to Bomb the Day Nursery. That said, I always assumed that Bomb the Day Nursery was more Roger's thing given his enduring fascination with those initials in Bodies Drowned Natural, Brighter Death Now, and possibly others I've never heard of. William Bennett in the Sky with Diamonds may be just Roger for all I know.

There's no track list below because there isn't one on the cassette, just two lengthy pieces, each taking up one side of a C60, and probably released through Anal Probe because of Trev's interest in ritual and atmospheric music, that being as good a description for this as any. If you want to know what you're possibly about to download, it's mostly layered loops with a heavily tribal feel, something in the direction of Muslimgauze or even that stuff David Byrne did with Brian Eno. I wouldn't absolutely swear that it dates from 1985, but it can't have been much later, and whenever it was, it was some way ahead of its time when you consider what else was around. I've never quite worked out the significance of the reference to the Whitehouse dude, and assume that was just someone pissing about and having a laugh, but it seems coincidentally and peculiarly prescient considering how much this shares with the stuff he ended up doing as Cut Hands.



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Friday, 23 June 2017

v/a - Reflections of a Past Age (1984) C60


I'm Dead was Keith Goldhanger, later of Headbutt, and IVE released a very fine full length tape through Refill (which will probably turn up here when I get around to it), but otherwise I'm in the dark about most of this lot, at least beyond what was written in the booklet that came with the cassette. Refill were a small operation based in Devizes, Wiltshire whom I knew through Trev Ward and Anal Probe, or possibly the other way around. I say small in reference to the extent of their legend and how little it seems to loom here in 2017, which is a shame, because Refill was actually run by three people (as opposed to the usual one bloke in his bedroom, like me) who used to write nice letters, full of enthusiasm despite a somewhat dour outlook when it came to the possibility of anyone ever buying their tapes, presumably outside of Trev and myself. They didn't make much of a dent in the polls at that year's design awards, but they released three decent tapes - two compilations and the aforementioned That Infernal Chemistry by IVE; and technical considerations aside, they did a pretty good job.

I've edited the tape, as is my custom, so as to remove bewilderingly lengthy fifteen second gaps between songs and to round off some of the harsher edits and clicks, but some of this is kind of low-fi so there was a limit to what I could set straight - notably the wow and flutter you may notice on Haircut Off, which I've a feeling may have been on the master tape, possibly even on the original.

There - that's about all I can tell you, which by happy coincidence is probably about all you need to know. I played this one a lot back in the day and there's not a duff track on there - even the token helping of cod reggae is good. Turn this one up until it rattles the windows.


Tracks:
1 - IVE - Haircut Off
2 - I'm Dead - With Memories Gone
3 - Synchronization - Strange Travel
4 - Plan-Net Werk - You're So Pretty
5 - Mike Moore - On My Way Home
6 - Mike Moore - Into the Distance
7 - IVE - I Must
8 - IVE - Rain
9 - Synchronization - Recreation Reggae
10 - Dross - Ill Repute
11 - Plan-Net Werk - Moondrift Daughter
12 - I'm Dead - Iceland
13 - I'm Dead - Stay
14 - Dross - No Words
15 - Mike Moore - In the End

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