Saturday, 31 December 2016

War Drum - My Heart is Broken OST (2001) C60

Here's another one which never came out as an actual tape, or as anything. The full story of the major motion picture that would have been My Heart is Broken has already been told here - starts on paragraph eight if you can't be arsed to read the bits which don't directly relate to south-east London's answer to Orson Welles. I recorded five tracks according to Paul's description of what he was after, and he said they were amazing, then next day he said they weren't amazing and could I make them a bit better? He lacked the vocabulary to describe what he considered would make them better, so I just remixed them and added a theme song. I don't even remember what happened after that, so probably nuffink innit.
I recorded this material on a four-track in February, 2001 and I'm still reasonably pleased with it. That said, it's a bit hissy, and for some reason I could never quite get the bass sounding right. It seemed to be in tune and yet somehow felt like it wasn't, but I could never identify the problem. The bass was purchased from Kingsley, star of My Heart is Broken, for thirty quid, so there was probably a reason why he sold it to me so cheap. Otherwise I still say Paul should have been kissing my ass for taking the trouble to record this stuff for a film which existed mostly in his head.
Yes, I am indeed a big fan of The Sweeney.

1 - Main Theme I
2 - Waiting I
3 - Losing Your Marbles I
4 - Main Theme II
5 - Acid Car Chase I
6 - Barry Car Chase I
7 - Sad Song (instrumental I)
8 - Sad Song (instrumental II)
9 - Main Theme III
10 - Waiting II
11 - Losing Your Marbles II
12 - Main Theme IV
13 - Acid Car Chase II
14 - Barry Car Chase II
15 - Sad Song

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Friday, 23 December 2016

Sat Next to the Radio, One Finger on the Pause Button (1980) C120

This was compiled in 2016, but all of the material dates from 1980, and it doesn't actually exist as a C120 but that's how long it would be if it did, so Merry Christmas.

I got my first mono portable tape recorder as a teenager, roughly coinciding with my developing an obsession with music. I bought a five-pin DIN lead and taped stuff from medium wave radio, particularly the interviews featured on Tommy Vance's Rock On Saturday show on Radio 1, usually conducted by David Hepworth, Phil Sutcliffe, and others whose names I can't remember; and being an obsessive type, of course I still have all of these tapes and this is the first six months or so converted to digital format on the grounds that it will probably be of interest to someone somewhere, and some of it is even still of interest to me.

You can probably work out who these people are or were if you retain any interest in their music, although some of this lot won't make a great deal of sense if you don't. The quality isn't amazing but it's listenable, and I've removed most of the songs played during the interviews. If you really need to hear Kings of the Wild Frontier, I'm sure you can find yourself something better than a crackly mono MP3 with someone talking over the introduction.

Points of potential interest: 1) Richard Jobson really was a bit of a Charlie, wasn't he? 2) Wouldn't have bothered including the Lennon thing given that he makes no actual appearance, but it makes for pretty weird listening considering how things turned out. 3) Interesting to note that Jello Biafra was mesmerisingly entertaining even back then, and also that 4) Bono was always like that, even when he was just a kitten. 5) Thrill as Malcolm McLaren courageously defends the sort of pictures Jimmy Savile liked to look at whilst trying not to sound like the sleazy failed art student he always was, the horrible auld tit-rifle. I particularly enjoy his amusing pronunciation of the word cassettes, delivered almost as though he's an old, old man trying hard to be down with the kids and getting it all wrong. What a fucking rotter. 6) That isn't a picture of the actual tape recorder on which all this stuff was taped, but it's the same model. I used to love that thing.

Seasons Greetings.
Happy Hanukah.
Merry Christmas.

1 - Max Splodge & Baby Greensleeves 16/8/80
2 - Spizz 16/8/80
3 - Kevin Rowland 26/7/80
4 - Annabella Lwin & Malcolm McLaren 2/8/80
5 - Ian Dury & Wilko Johnson 9/8/80
6 - Dave Wakeling 23/8/80
7 - Adam Ant 23/8/80
8 - Dave Ruffy & Paul Fox 23/8/80
9 - Lemmy 30/8/80
10 - Suggs & Chas Smash 27/9/80
11 - Richard Jobson 27/9/80
12 - David Hepworth on John Lennon's comeback 29/9/80
13 - Jello Biafra 27/9/80
14 - Sting 4/10/80
15 - Edward Tudor-Pole 4/10/80
16 - Rat Scabies 25/10/80
17 - Bono & the Edge 4/10/80
18 - Mel Smith & Pamela Stephenson 15/11/80
19 - Malcolm McLaren 15/11/80

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Do Easy - In the New Southern Territories (1986) C60

I was eighteen-nineteen and I'd just left home, moving from Warwickshire to Kent, so the title was intended to invoke the bold spirit of adventure 'n' shit, and particularly because this was the first Do Easy tape recorded entirely in a county other than the one in which I was born. It was also the first Do Easy tape for which I never got around to making a cover and flogging to strangers through the post. I recorded it, gave it a name, wrote on the inlay card, and stuck it in a box with the rest; which I suppose might be a shame given that it was arguably better than at least the previous five or six tapes I'd turded out under the assumption of quantity and quality being more or less the same thing - not saying it was a classic, but it definitely wasn't quite as shit as some of them.

At some point during the recording of this tape (May 1985 to January 1986), Thomas Docherty of Trilogy (whose tapes I also released on the Do Easy label) came to stay at the house in Leeds village for a couple of days. We spent a lot of time talking about recording and I picked up a lot from him, not least multitracking tapes so as to produce the echo effect heard on Wrist Job Alley. I think the title of Tom's Kitchen - which was recorded in the kitchen at Hollytree House in Otham - was some sort of acknowledgement of his influence. Also around this time I started to make use of the sound studio at Maidstone College of Art (at which I was taking a degree) which had a four track TEAC and a ton of relatively fancy equipment - not least being Brian Eno's old EMS suitcase synth. Let the Bayonets Speak!, had I ever finished it, would have been the first Do Easy 12" single - or so I had decided. Obviously the plan never came to anything because I was unable to generate money, or even to not spend it on records, which is probably for the best given that I was simply exploring controversial ideas and images in borrowing the title from one of Benito Mussolini's zingers.

The multi-talented Steve McGarrigle programmed the rhythm on Let the Bayonets Speak!, it being his Yamaha RX15, and also for the live set at the Good Intent in Rochester, for which he additionally played trumpet and possibly some keyboard too. The live set came about because Paul Mercer of Apricot Brigade was booked to play a solo set under the name of the Acrobatic Champions - himself with a backing tape, guitar, and a load of effects. He asked if I wanted to support and I said yes. I recruited Steve and Peter Jones and between us we worked out a rough framework around which to improvise on the night, which is what we did. It probably wasn't the most amazing night anyone ever had seeing a band at the Good Intent, but we enjoyed ourselves and that's the main thing. I think Steve later became some sort of jetsetting DJ producer type and he has a couple of releases listed on Discogs as Saturnalia.

The chorus of Bayonets was shouted by Steve McGarrigle, Melissa Darvall, Peter Avery, Mark Enright, Garreth Roberts, Jon Storey, and Nick Scullard. The rhythm on Something In Me Isn't Right was programmed by Paul Mex, and the rhythm you can hear intermittently on Tom's Kitchen is from a tape Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire made for Kevin Thorne of We Be Echo and which Kevin kindly copied for me. One of the loops used on Tom's Kitchen was recorded by Nicola Percy, I seem to recall.

So there you go - as with most of my stuff, the tape suffers from terrible teenagery lyrics inspired by my continued failure to have sex with girls, and a general approach to music production amounting to fuck it - that'll do, but for the most part I'm still able to listen to this one without too much wincing. 

1 - Something In Me Isn't Right
2 - Wrist Job Alley
3 - Let the Bayonets Speak!
4 - Tom's Kitchen
5 - The Good Intent, Rochester 8/11/85
6 - Push You Down the Stairs

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Total Big - Rehearsals 9 & 10 (1986) C90

There's not really much that I can say about Total Big which I haven't already said here, here, here, or here. If you liked the last four tapes, then you'll probably like this, and you'll probably like the other four of these things I still have left to digitise. If you didn't like any of the last four tapes, then this one is almost certainly unlikely to change your mind. It was all recorded in the kitchen of Hollytree House, Otham, Kent. The first sixteen tracks are from our ninth rehearsal which occured on Saturday the 22nd of March, 1986, concerning which my diary of the time records:

We had a Total Big rehearsal, and Charlie came around to watch a load of Doctor Who videos. We went to Ian Elliott's party after that. It was okay but there wasn't enough dancing.

Charlie was Charlie Adlard who draws the Walking Dead comic and is as such now rich and famous. If anyone gives a shit I think we probably watched Warriors of the Deep and subsequently spent most of the time laughing like drains.

The remainder of the tracks were recorded on Saturday the 29th of March, 1986. The day began at Chris's house in Sittingbourne. Apparently I had fallen asleep on the sofa watching Catch-22 while Carl bleached his hair.

This morning we watched some episodes of Blackadder II on Chris's video. Then we went to the flea market and I bought a pair of sunglasses with white plastic frames and saw Mandy who used to go out with Paul. Then we went to Carl's mum's house in Hoo where his two sisters provided the entertainment with a display of wrestling. After that we went to Craig's house, and then we visited Paul for a bit and came home and had another Total Big rehearsal. Garreth and Steve came round. Carl and Chris left, and so did Steve, but Garreth stayed the night.

Garreth really did spell his name with two Rs. He isn't famous so far as I am aware, and he still has my fucking drum machine. He ended up in the Spinning Pygmies with me and Carl. Frankenstein is a New York Dolls cover. I was briefly obsessed with the song and even adopted it as my showbiz name for a time, not that anyone noticed.

The still is from a video we made for Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'.

1 - Sex From Behind
2 - He Writes the Songs
3 - Rock Sandwich
4 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
5 - Call It What You Want
6 - Are You My Mother?
7 - Cold Sore Herpes
8 - Louie Louie
9 - Sister Ray
10 - Falling in Love with My Voice
11 - Hail Fellow Well Met
12 - Ugly Baby
13 - Rock & Roll
14 - I Own the World  
15 - Why Did You Forget My Name?
16 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
17 - Cold Sore Herpes B
18 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
19 - He Writes the Songs
20 - Rock Sandwich
21 - Are You My Mother?
22 - Call It What You Want
23 - Hail Fellow Well Met
24 - Frankenstein
25 - Louie Louie
26 - Sister Ray
27 - Here We Come
28 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
29 - Total Big & the Nutty Rhythm

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Monday, 12 December 2016

We Be Echo - Radio Werkz II (1985) C30

This is the last of my three tapes of obscure We Be Echo material, the first two being Psychick Kontakt Specials and Various Obscure Recordings - so feel free to refer to the write-ups for those two so that I can avoid further repeating myself about who they were and how I came to have these cassettes. This cassette actually duplicates all but one track from Psychick Kontakt Specials, but they appear in this upload as individual cuts rather than being embedded within the radio broadcast of a man who clearly could have used a coffee. I haven't bothered scanning the cover as it's a generic inlay card filled in with my own handwriting, and I'm not even sure why this should be named Radio Werkz II (aside from the obvious detail of this stuff having been broadcast on and presumably recorded for New Zealand Radio). I have a vague memory of there being a Radio Werkz I put out by the Mystery Hearsay label, but it doesn't seem to be listed on Discogs, or anywhere else so far as I can see, so maybe I imagined that.

Anyway, it turns out that Kevin is still very much at it, so the answers ye may seek shalt perchance be foundeth yonder at

1 - Never Mind
2 - Beat of the Drum
3 - Fly with the Wind
4 - Straighten Your Knees
5 - In the Beginning
6 - No No
7 - The Greatest Lover
8 - Hide and Seek

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Konstruktivists - Instrumentals (1992) C60

The first six tracks here would have been at least some of what emerged from the speakers had we played at the event listed on the above poster (as kindly provided by Simon Dell, archivist extraordinaire). As I said in an audio letter dated to the 2nd of November, 1991:

We had a gig at the Fridge in Brixton on the - it was going to be on the 24th of October which was just over a week ago, except it was cancelled because the thing about the Fridge is that they don't actually advertise themselves. All it is is that the people who organise it, they hire the place and it's down to them to do everything like printing the tickets, manning the door and so on. This Dutch woman who was organising it, this Hans Christa - there's an enormous problem with the language barrier. She didn't advertise it at all. There's a mention of the gig in letters about one millimetre high in the gig guide in Melody Maker, no mention of it in the NME, and so they cancelled it at last minute because it didn't sell enough tickets. It was a bit of a pain, although I was secretly relieved as it would have meant getting a taxi back from Brixton to Lewisham at God knows what time - like two in the morning or something - then having to be up for work at 5.30AM, which wouldn't have been much fun. It's a shame in a way because it would have been quite a good line-up. There would have been us, Konstruktivists, who would have been playing at eleven.  Joe got this set together the day before. I went up to Joe's place in Harlow and we went through it and it sounded brilliant, good dancey stuff. All I really had to do was doodle away on the guitar. Anyway, we were going to be on at eleven, and the main band was to be Nocturnal Emissions. They are one of my favourite groups so that was quite exciting, and also a group called Soviet France would have been supporting. I heard about them back in 1984 but never actually heard any of their stuff, but people always go on about how good they are; so that would have been interesting. There would have been two other groups playing, and one of them was Blue Anger which is the group of this Hans Christa woman. I can't work out why a woman would be called Hans. It must be something to do with being Dutch, I suppose. At least I'm fairly sure she's a woman. I hope she's a woman because she's quite attractive. Her group is called Blue Anger and I've heard a bit of them and they are quite good. Anyway, the whole thing has been rescheduled and it might be at Subterrania which should be better as they handle all the advertising so all we would need to do is turn up, so hopefully it will go ahead; and hopefully it will be on a Saturday. All this getting up early...

The other tracks on this tape were, I think, either rough versions of stuff proposed for Jihad e Sazendegi - the lost fifth Konstruktivists album, or just stuff from the same time. I wasn't really involved with any of it so I'm not sure, and I think it's mostly Joe and Glenn. Jihad e Sazendegi would have been the follow up to Glennascaul but it never happened for some reason. I suspect the hurried recording of Forbidden may actually have been a reaction to Jihad e Sazendegi having dragged on for so long.

1 - Konstruktivists
2 - Housewife's Choice
3 - Break Your Legs
4 - Hurts So Good
5 - Mansonik No. 1
6 - Tic Tac Toe
7 - Much Too Much
8 - Autumn Park
9 - Untitled (mix I)
10 - Untitled (mix II)
11 - Untitled (mix III)
12 - Dance Music
13 - حملة لبناء

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