Monday, 14 September 2015

v/a - Circumcise the Foreskin of Your Heart (1983) C60

Here we go. Everybody and their milkman had a compilation tape clogging up fanzine column inches and I was determined that I shouldn't be left out. Additionally I had certain ideas about the sort of thing I wanted to hear on a compilation tape, and the sort of thing I didn't want to hear, and had already begun to formulate cynical thoughts about those independent tape labels which quite clearly just wanted to be EMI, or at least 4AD, and were only slumming it with the rest of us because they couldn't afford to do otherwise, wankers; and, to be more ruthlessly honest, it had also occurred to me that no-one could say what should appear on my tape but me, and I'd sent tracks off to a few tape labels only to be told either that my stuff was shite, or was else not worthy for inclusion on the grounds that I didn't know anyone from SPK.


Anyway, at the time I was corresponding fairly busily with Larry Peterson of Cause for Concern tapes, architect of the genuinely wonderful A Sudden Surge of Power C90 featuring Chris & Cosey, Attrition, Test Dept and all sorts - the finest compilation of that entire era, I would argue. Larry encouraged me to get a compilation of my own together, and then fobbed me off with a few tracks he'd been sent but obviously didn't want to use for his follow up to A Sudden Surge of Power, and also he put me in touch with Kevin Thorne of We Be Echo who accordingly sent me a track out of the blue without my even having to ask. Plus, I wasn't entirely without my own resources so...

Some of these you may as well just look up on Discogs or wherever given that I never really knew much about them. I understood Citipati, for example, to be something to do with the excellent Adventures of Twizzle (who came up with the title Circumcise the Foreskin of Your Heart, which is from some religious source, possibly), with whom I was in correspondence, but Discogs seems to think they were some sort of New Blockaders side project; and The Prison was the best song on a five track demo which Larry passed on to me, a demo by a band which never actually responded to any of my letters, so I thought fuck it and stuck the track on there anyway. It seemed to fit. I guess it's the same track which appeared on something called Sing As We Go from the previous year. Oh well.

The Desolate Accountants were Pete and Graham, my two friends from school and half of the Pre-War Busconductors, which also included myself and Eggy. The Pre-War Busconductors were a fairly raucous (not to mention stupid) cardboard box drum kit punk band, included here mainly so as to annoy anyone anticipating a fifteen minute track of mains hum by Coil's dentist and named after Aleister Crowley's favourite holiday destination, but also because we all enjoy having our bollocks whipped from time to time, don't we? I included the two Desolate Accountants tracks because I always loved them, and thought they were the most musical of our imaginary bands, the one name from the bunch which could justifiably fill a Vinyl-on-Demand release without too many people asking for a refund.

The Cause for Concern was Larry Peterson having a go at noise as he did from time to time before he realised there was no money in it, and none of the bands on his tape label would ever be famous. I realise with hindsight that Mike Finch was a pseudonym used by Dave Fanning of the Apostles and later Academy 23 with some frequency, so I assume this may have been something to do with him given that he did stuff with Larry on a couple of occasions. He also played bass for Three Heads Nodding, or so I heard somewhere. Three Heads Nodding were, so far as I know, Neil, Kev (possibly) and some others who lived in a squat in the Brougham Road in Hackney just a few doors along from the Apostles. Neil also drew and wrote Ka-Ka Komik back in the days when Viz was still a fanzine sold in Newcastle pubs. Ka-Ka Komik was fucking mint!

NKVD was an alias of Glenn of Konstruktivists to whom I had been writing since A Dissembly came out. I think this version of Mansonik No. 2 may be the original portastudio demo which Glenn later took into the studio and had fancified by Dave Kenny ready for its appearance on his second album. I could be wrong about that, although it sounds different to me.

Asepisis was my friend Jez from school, another Gristle fan who recorded a load of stuff on my equipment, and actually seemed to make a better job of it than I did with the whole noisy electronics schtick. He did a great C60 called The Glory of Punishment for whatever the Grey Wolves' tape label was called at the time, but we fell out (which was my fault). I'm still trying to work up the courage to ask him if I can reissue his C60 here as a free download.

Do Easy was myself, obviously, sounding a lot more Numan-influenced than I remember being the case. Neither did I realise my voice was quite that nasal, although it was pointed out to me, in fact it was even pointed out to me by the bloke out of ABC. Oh well. I still say some of my lyrics were decent, even if the execution left something to be desired.

Probably the best tracks on the whole thing were from Irsol, a band which featured Ash from Attrition and a couple of his friends. Irsol put out two exceptionally wonderful cassettes which have recently been given the vinyl treatment, two exceptionally wonderful cassettes which remain amongst the absolute best of the entire cassette scene to my ears. I've a feeling they may have been a bit pissed off upon discovering that their lovingly recorded tracks ended up sharing tape with an assortment of tossers rummaging around in a broom cupboard and a song called Whip My Bollocks. I actually had my mum drop me off at one Irsol member's house on the Kenilworth Road in Coventry so I could leave four complimentary copies of Circumcise with his dad, or whoever the guy was. They never wrote back. I suppose it might have been the wrong house.

Anyway, that's your lot. It didn't set the world on fire. I think it sold about sixty or seventy copies over the space of a couple of years. There were worse compilations. I'm not sure what else I can say.

1 - We Be Echo - Soma Improvement
2 - Desolate Accountants - Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree

3 - The Cause for Concern with Mike Finch - Look in the Mirror
4 - Do Easy - My Remaining Eye
5 - Three Heads Nodding - Sloven Song
6 - Pre-War Busconductors - Whip My Bollocks
7 - NKVD - untitled
8 - Citipati - Improvisations April '83
9 - Irsol - Time Domain
10 - Do Easy - British Movement
11 - Three Heads Nodding - Hitch Hiker
12 - Konstruktivists - Mansonik No. 2
13 - Asepisis - Accidents with More People
14 - His-Create-He - The Prison (that Jack Built)
15 - Irsol - The Stranger
16 - Desolate Accountants - Interview

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  1. Hi Lawrence,
    we might have swapped a few letters back in the early 1980s when I was publishing my little fanzine Interchange.
    I have read the above and it might amuse you to know I have just digitized the magazines and made some downloadable PDfs.
    Citipati/Adventures of Twizzle/Blockaders etc all there in issue 2 (sort of...)
    Here is a link:



    1. Hello John - I remember you well! Thanks for the link, will have a look a bit later. Great to know yr still out there.