Monday, 4 April 2016

621 Monosodium 621 - We, Torn from the Earth by Wonders of Gold (1992) C15+

Back in 1992, both Paul Condon - editor of Gneurosis - and myself had been subject to visitation by a fanzine editor to whom I shall cryptically refer as Jeremy Beadle because he was a fan of the same. Jeremy Beadle came to stay with me and slept on my sofa for a couple of nights but soon began to get on my tits, at which point I fobbed him off on Paul Condon and his sofa, like a true pal. Amazingly Paul was still speaking to me afterwards, so I suppose he understood, and on the positive side we subsequently had a whale of a time comparing notes and discussing how annoying we found Jeremy Beadle over beers and ciggies. Then one Saturday afternoon we went to some kind of free festival in New Cross, the one held annually in that park behind the Venue at the end of Clifton Ride - as it is misnamed in S. Alexander Reed's shit book about industrial music. There were crusty bands and there was beer and it was a nice day, and the conversation soon turned to Jeremy Beadle and his annoyingness. The thing that had really got to me about his visit, as I explained, was his diet. He wouldn't eat anything. Every night I'd cook something - spaghetti bolognese or curry or whatever, and I'm really not a bad cook.

'How much of this do you want, Jeremy Beadle?' I would ask.

'Oh I'm fine,' he would say, smiling as he pulled a family size bag of fucking Monster Munch and a litre bottle of Pepsi from his back pack.

Paul and I realised that neither of us had ever seen him eat anything other than crisps or related potato-based snacks generally marketed at school children, and this made us howl with laughter for most of the rest of the afternoon, culminating in Paul proposing we get t-shirts made - a picture of a packet of crisps with the legend Crisps - My Favourite! I'm not even really sure why it made us laugh so much, but it did.

Meanwhile I was toying with the idea of recording sarcastic power electronics, an idea which found itself split into two, one branch leading here, and the other to 621 Monosodium 621, but with those three little magickal dots around the numbers like you have on Current 93 records. Paul had an expensive sampler and was an accomplished violinist, and the idea was to record something with all of the usual fixations of the industrial or whatever the fuck you want to call it genre - Manson, Crowley, Hitler, and potato-derived snack foods. We both also found neofolk unintentionally amusing, so 621 Monosodium 621 - named after everyone's favourite flavour enhancer - was firing off in a number of directions all at once whilst going out of its way to take itself extremely seriously.

We convened one Saturday afternoon around my place in Lewisham, beginning with a trip to Sainsburys from which we returned with two carrier bags each full of snack foods, fizzy pop and so on. We sampled ourselves eating crisps over and over, and different kinds of crisps, cheese footballs and so on in pursuit of variant sounds. We recorded Wheaties - a tubular snack - played as atonal instruments by blowing across one end as though they were pan pipes. We sampled and looped cans of cola popped open for rhythm. We mixed all of this together with guitar and effects and Adolf Hitler and the humble potato as a mystic avatar of revelation 'n' shit, and we ended up with the material comprising this download. I drew a picture of Roman soldiers eating crisps before an inverted Christ on the cross; and I seem to recall Paul writing a brilliantly impenetrable essay about the role of potatoes in human magickal history, although I'm no longer sure whether this happened or was simply an idea; and I intended to put it out as a C15, but somehow lost the impetus. So eventually I just made a couple of copies for Paul and myself.

We might have ended up on Top of the Pops, or at least on the flip side of a Current 93 album, but never mind. Possibly the only thing we achieved was a cure for the desire to eat crisps ever again for at least the next few months.

Anyway, here are all four tracks, plus a couple of variant mixes I found I had laying around and which I think I prefer. Enjoy and take very, very seriously, preferably whilst scowling and marching up and down in front of a Bavarian castle whilst munching away on a bag of Wotsits.


1 - 621 Monosodium 621
2 - NaCl/HNO3
3 - Monosodium 666
4 - Boiled Alive in Oil of Sunflower
5 - 621 Monosodium 621 (early version)
6 - Boiled Alive (early mix)

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