Monday, 22 May 2017

Matfield & the Pond - Paem Wyrd (1982) C90

I didn't think I was going to have much to say about this one - the work of Matfield & the Pond, a duo comprising David Luery and David Andrews - but in the booklet accompanying the Cause for Concern label's Paranoia is Awareness C90 compilation, I find:

Matfield & the Pond were formed way back in 1975 completely by accident in Dave's bedroom one night. This historic occasion was actually captured on tape for posterity. The initial flood of creativity brought forth songs such as Klingon Jumper and Supergirl, culminating in the legendary Rough Acres tapes recorded in Borough Green. For reasons known only to the Davids, the Pond then split up. One David left after the band had recorded the Pond's Christmas single, and the other David went on to form the excellent band Infants' School.

During this first period the Pond played their only gig at a party in Matfield. General comment among punters was that they had pre-empted the punks' attitude to concerts by some eighteen months. The band deny this and that it merely confirmed their suspicions that concerts were boring to do, and that songs should be written and recorded - full stop.

In late 1979 the Daves reformed. One David actually bought a bass guitar at this period. Later Casio, Harmonium, and Waddingtons' Computone were added. Contrary to popular opinion, the Pond have never used a synthesiser or a studio. Both are unnecessary - studios especially are the death of many good bands. Without them all you have left is your initiative and your own creativity.

Regarding Paem Wyrd, the David with the typewriter describes it as one side songs, the other side based on the Middle English epic Beowulf, all songs recorded at Pond Studio 3 in Matfield, Christmas '81 to Easter '82. I'm therefore assuming Paem Wyrd to be the cassette referred to but otherwise unidentified by Music Emporium's Phillipe Collignon on this Discogs page referring to a later Matfield & the Pond vinyl compilation which I'd never heard of until I checked just last week, and which now regrettably costs a fucking fortune.

Matfield & the Pond were formed by accident in the attic of a small cottage in Matfield. It was a direct response to the punk revolution in that it entered the spirit of anyone can do it. A musician and a non-musician exploring the idea of write, record, forget. It was an entirely non-profit making collective that released three cassettes on the alternative home recording circuit. No promotion, entirely word of mouth.

Pondsongs and Beowulf was the first double release in about 1980. It sold about three-hundred copies. The price was the cost of the cassette plus nine pence to cover the cost of the Revox it was recorded on. It sold a lot in Europe, noticeably in Italy and Holland. (A video recently surfaced on YouTube constructed by an Italian fan). This cassette was the culmination of their appliance of non-musicianship combined with musicianship plus strongly written songs. [some other cassette, the account seems a bit vague here] sold 787 copies worldwide purely on word of mouth and prior to the internet. It was released in 1982. It has been compared to Syd Barrett, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Comus. It doesn't sound like any of them. They also appeared on the compilation Paranoia Is Awareness along with Throbbing Gristle and The Apostles.

Not Quite ‘It’ was a compilation put out by a record company in Bexhill. The band refused to accept any money. All of their material is currently unavailable although it has been digitised and remastered.

Well, I suppose that roughly squares with the first version. I bought this from Larry Peterson who released it on Cause for Concern with the catalogue number CFC024, and I bought it because Toxteth had been one of the best tracks on Paranoia is Awareness. That said, I've never quite been sure what to make of the full length tape. I'm assuming the name might be some sort of pun on Canterbury progsters Hatfield & the North, and certainly Paem Wyrd betrays certain proggy tendencies, not least a few slightly wearying attitudes about what counts as proper music; but on the other hand, it's tuneful, generally nicely done, and with a few belly laughs here and there.


1 - Talons So Finch
2 - Toxteth
3 - St. Francis of Assisi
4 - Calculator Zombie
5 - The Pond Go Jazz
6 - Fanfart / I Give You... Cod
7 - En Ni Wun Kan B
8 - Les Bleus
9 - Spaced Out Laid Back West Coast Hippy's Lament
10 - Earwigo
11 - Tenderly
12 - Paem Wyrd

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