Monday, 5 October 2015

Spinning Pygmies - Spinning Pygmies I (1987) C60

This is what the album cover would have looked like in the unlikely event of our having signed to Blue Note. Left to right is Carl, Garreth and myself (I don't have any pics of the other two).

My diaries of the time record a gig by Total Big at Maidstone College of Art on Tuesday 9th December 1986, then a Dovers performance at a party at 5, Terrace Road, Maidstone on Friday 19th June 1987, and nothing musical occurring between these two events because I was better at beer consumption than I was at keeping a diary, or playing guitar for that matter. Total Big were myself with Carl Glover on vocals and Chris New on drums, but Chris moved to Dover and we eventually slimmed to a two-piece using a drum machine named in honour of the coastal town in which our rhythm section had purchased a house. However, prior to re-emerging as the Dovers like some sort of slightly pungent butterfly with kids' drawings of dobbers on the wings, Carl and I spent some time mucking about with various friends of varying degrees of musicality in an effort to form a band which wasn't just the two of us with a drum machine. These were all people we knew from the college's Time Based Media course. Mark Smith had played saxophone at the last Total Big performance, or at least had played the saxophone in proximity to the last Total Big performance; Garreth Roberts had been involved with quite a lot of the music I'd recorded in the college sound studio as Do Easy; and Paul Fallon had time to kill before the pubs opened, I guess.

We were called the Flaps - named after a feminine anatomical feature - until Garreth came up with Spinning Pygmies, which was funnier. I'm fairly sure the material on this first tape derives from a single Saturday afternoon, early 1987, kicking off with just Carl and myself, then Garreth turning up in time for Dinosaur Man, then Mark and Paul until we're all jamming away without any real idea of what we were doing, or how any of this could ever be turned into songs. I recall these improvised sessions as a fucking racket, which is essentially what they were, but the more I replay the tape, the more it all begins to sound like a rockier version of one of those German groups from the seventies. Some of the later pieces could almost be described as grooves, particularly those with Mark's sax honking away like a lonely seal.

Ordinarily I would have chopped out all the fannying around, people asking is it recording?, me saying rude words into my Casio SK1 sampler then playing them back at different pitches whilst giggling, and so on, but it was difficult to divide this tape up into cohesive tracks, and in the end I've left it more or less as it is. Make of it what you will.

1 - Concrete Shoes
2 - Hard to Dance

3 - Burned from Behind
4 - Breasts Painted Black
5 - Dinosaur Man
6 - Going No Place
7 - Here's Fatty
8 - Free Jazz
9 - Ramoneo & Juliet
10 - General Pissing Around
11 - What Do You See?
12 - B&B
13 - Louie
14 - What's Going On In My Pants?
15 - Can't Get Enough I
16 - Can't Get Enough II
17 - Bad Disco
18 - Who Owns the Flaps?
19 - From Space

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