Monday, 26 October 2015

Dada X (1992) C90

I drew my first Dada X cartoon strip in 1988, inspired in equal parts by Alfred Jarry, Zippy the Pinhead, punk rock, and how I imagined the first Nurse With Wound album probably would have sounded had I bought it. Dada X - whose name should properly be rendered with the X as a mathematical exponent - was a nonsense character in a horned wooden mask which allowed me the liberty to produce strips without giving two shits about whether or not they made sense. Four years later, Carl Glover and myself, having been playing and recording as the Dovers for a while, took to a sudden and dramatic change of direction for reasons I can't quite remember, but possibly just for fun. We'd recorded a shitload of thrashy rock songs, that being our default setting, and now undertook an instrumental work of quite different complexion.

Dada X seemed an appropriate name. It would be a C90 with a single track taking up each side, a slowly evolving sound collage. We would refrain from using conventional or programmed instruments aside from, I suppose, the human voice, and all sounds would be derived from either non-musical sources, or compact discs, records, or tapes supplied by our friends, all of which would be heavily treated with effects. The end result features tape loops, samples, a food mixer, bath sponges as percussion instruments, and one hell of a lot of ourselves farting into the microphone over and over until someone had to open a window.

The idea was to regard this as composed by Carl and myself with everyone who had given us a tape of noise we could use listed as a member of the orchestra. Some tapes were supplied on request by those concerned, others we just had laying around and we used them anyway. Unfortunately neither of us bothered to write down just who was in the orchestra, so the following list is from memory, and what can still be recognised:

Source material provided by Glenn Wallis (Konstruktivists), Andrew Cox (Pump, MFH), Timothy Griffiths, John Powell, Shaun Robert (factor X), Paul Condon, Martin Woodall, Martin de Sey (Cravats), and there were probably others but it was a long time ago.

A particularly noisy passage occurring roughly twenty-five minutes into part one was given the title Chocolate Disco and appeared in isolation on the Power to Destroy compilation tape released by Trev Ward's Lebensborn back in 1993. There was a page of artwork supplied, although I don't think he ever used it, and so it is reproduced here for the sake of giving you something to look at, simply because this cassette never got so far as having a cover.

Quite chuffed with this one.

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