Monday, 6 February 2017

Do Easy - Italia 1912 (1986) C90

This wasn't so much an album as a tape of bits and pieces which eventually filled up, at which point I decided it probably would be an album if I ever got around to doing a cover, which I didn't. The title probably refers to some Futurist thing which had caught my attention and which I liked because it sounded exotic and mysterious, or possibly ominous. You know how it works, I'm sure. The er... title track wasn't actually the title track up until last week. Both tracks six and fourteen had self-consciously wacky titles up until I digitised the thing and decided to change them, or at least disguise them in the case of PJWFY-F, which originally stood for PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts.

'What shall I call this one?' I asked Steve McGarrigle.

'PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts,' he quipped in jocular fashion, and thus was it so.

Anyway, here we have three tracks of Steve and myself rehearsing with Peter Jones in preparation for the gig which was recorded on the previous tape. Steve plays trumpet, some keyboard, and programmed most of the the Yamaha RX15 drum machine for these rehearsal tracks and elsewhere on this tape. Also the piano coda - I suppose you would call it - of Italia 1912 is actually myself trying to play one of his compositions. It's what was on the tape which I recorded over, which is why you hear it at the end, so when I was mixing this thing I guess I thought fuck it, and left it going. Peter Jones, or PJ of the alleged fluorescent underwear, played either bass or keyboard on the rehearsals for the live set, but I can't remember which - probably keyboard.

Talking of live material, track five is an eighteen minute live improvisation. I set up a load of instruments, or at least things which generate noise, on the three landings of a stairwell in the illustration department at the art college. The idea was that anyone who happened to be passing could join in and make a racket, and the three performers, whoever they were, would be unable to see each other, so no-one would know who else was contributing to the sound. According to the inlay card, the performers, aside from myself, included Martin Smith, Mark Orphan, Steve McGarrigle, Peter Avery, Brendan Mooney, and Martin de Sey. I recognise Martin de Sey hooting away at the end, closely followed by some comments from Kirsten Butler and Charlie Adlard - the Walking Dead guy. Brendan Mooney is the one who turns the thing into Johnny Kidd and the fucking Pirates, the little bollix. He ended up as guitarist in Dave Vanian's Phantom Chords, as a point of probably negligible interest, although it links my rock family tree to the Damned, which is nice.

By the way, the more observant members of my huge fanbase may notice that some of this material actually predates that which appears on the previous tape, but I don't think I filled this tape until afterwards - in case that one's keeping anyone awake at night. 

The rest of the tracks were things recorded in the college sound studio, which was fairly nicely equipped with several four-track reel-to-reels, a Wasp synth, an old EMS suitcase synth bequeathed to the college by Brian Eno, a mixing desk, vibes courtesy of Bob Cubitt who was one of our tutors and something to do with And the Native Hipsters, and a brand-spanking-new Ibanez harmoniser. Mostly I was just fucking around, seeing what I could come up with. Some of these tracks ended up as soundtracks to videos. Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold! was er... inspired by the cover of an issue of 2000AD comic; and Live in Fear was Jane Hanley and myself just seeing what we could come up with. Jane sings and plays the flute on that one, which is possibly why it's a bit easier on the ear than the rest of this crap. According to my notes, Paul Mercer did something on tracks seven and thirteen, although I've no idea what. Maybe he was stood in the corner of the studio making balloon animals. That's the sort of thing he used to do all the time, that and the Punch & Judy at the weekends. Oh how that man loved to make us smile.

I'm kidding, by the way. I don't really think it's crap. Actually, considering some of the clunkers I've posted here, I mostly quite like this one.

1 - Protein Suppressant
2 - Cover of a Magazine (rehearsal)
3 - Something In Me Isn't Right (rehearsal)
4 - Salute the Future! (rehearsal)
5 - Maidstone College of Art, Maidstone 22/10/85
6 - Italia 1912
7 - Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold!
8 - Live in Fear
9 - This Says It All
10 - In Control
11 - Tachyon & Neon
12 - Hello David
13 - Galley Slaves
14 - PJWFY-F

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