Friday, 22 December 2017

Godless Pinkoes - Waiter, There's a Communist in My Soup (1982) C46

If you regularly follow this blog, you should have heard of Paul Mex's Dead Hedgehog Enterprises, and this was one of his, or maybe their's. You also should know the name of Robert Dellar, possibly. If not, he now has his own, admittedly brief, Wikipedia page, and me and a few others put together this book in memorial of him, his life and work - which is touching, funny, inspiring, and all proceeds go to Mental Health Resistance Network.

I've a feeling Robert might have been slightly bewidered by this unearthing of material he recorded with the Godless Pinkoes, at least going by the look of long-suffering patience on his face when I first met him, greeting him with the exclamation, 'you're that bloke from Cult of the Supreme Being!', that being another band of which Robert was a member. Anyway, this one was recorded with Adam Penwarden and Flash Butler, and I expect Paul Mex was in there somewhere (can't really tell from the artwork, which is a bit of a dog's dinner once you're past the track titles). I'm not sure what Robert's role would have been, but most of the vocals sound like him to me.
Waiter, There's a Communist in My Soup is pretty basic and will probably just sound like a tape of three young lads pissing about with instruments upon first hearing, but the more you listen to it, the more it sinks in as a winning combination of punky enthusiasm and surprisingly infectious tunes. Actually, some of it reminds me of New Order, except that it's better.
Rest in peace, Robert. We still miss you.

1 - Communists
2 - Hell is Other People
3 - Within You, Without You
4 - Dictator
5 - Hiroshima Day
6 - Virgil's Breakfast
7 - Action Man
8 - Camouflage
9 - Acid Drops
10 - Virgil's Breakfast (dub)
11 - Sanctuary

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Friday, 15 December 2017

Opera for Infantry - Scumworld (1984) C60

Here's the second tape I put out by Opera for Infantry, and God only knows why they gave me such free reign with their covers. I think I'd just bought Meet the Residents that week, and that's where the phenomenal pop combo gag comes from.

It's okay. If you need to roll around a little longer, pounding one fist on the floor and crying with laughter, I can wait.

As you will be able to hear, this is essentially a live tape but with the backing track used for the performance taking up the first side on the grounds that it sort of works as a bit of music in its own right, or works as a bit of noise in its own right if you prefer. The gig itself comprises a set of several numbers, but I've digitised them all as a single track, as I suspect that's how it was intended.

As you may well know, Opera for Infantry eventually became the Grey Wolves, so for the benefit of anyone who has a problem with that, or who still suspects the Grey Wolves to have been some sort of covert British Movement recruitment drive, Scumworld is probably as revealing an insight into both their founding and actual political sympathies as you're likely to need - Crass meets Throbbing Gristle if you'd rather get it in primary colours: just listen to the words of the live performance (and the tape is pretty decent quality, all things considered, so they're fairly clear), then reacquaint yourself with Reality Asylum if the penny still hasn't quite dropped. Of course the images were horrible, because they were supposed to be horrible, because it was supposed to get you thinking rather than just nodding your head and agreeing that vivisection was a bad trip. I sort of wonder if it wasn't the frustration of Opera for Infantry actually having to explain that they weren't hoping to bring about some totalitarian state (when their stance was fucking obvious if you bothered to listen), which ultimately drove them to greater extremes as the Grey Wolves. I still have a ton of correspondence from Trev from around this time, and it's obvious that he was frustrated by a certain complacency which he saw as having overtaken the anarchopunk scene. So there you have it, I suppose. 

Thirty years later, I'm surprised at how good this one is - not at all the racket I remember. It sort of makes me wish some enterprising sugar daddy had whisked them off to IPS studios and got some of this material recorded with some kind of sound quality.

1 - Before Scumworld
2 - Scumworld (Amesbury Sports Centre 2/8/84)

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Monday, 11 December 2017

v/a - Meridians 1 (1983) C60

It was going to be Vittore Baroni's TRAX 0682 compilation this week, but at last minute I noticed someone had already stuck it on CD, so you should probably buy it if you want to hear it, mkay? Anyway, Larry Peterson sent me Meridians 1 as a swap for something I'd sent him which I remember thinking was quite a lot better, so I was briefly miffed, not least because it seemed obvious that someone had given him the tape as a freebie and he'd thought it was shit and so passed it on to me. So that wasn't a great start, and there was something I didn't like about the cover (and I'm usually a fan of Malcolm Garrett too), and the whole enterprise felt like the Hayward Gallery getting involved in the tape scene and showing us uncultured fucks how we should have done it instead of all those tacky pictures of Hitler adorning our shit Woolworths cassettes of short-wave radio noise. There was something a bit up itself about Touch, or so it seemed to me.

So imagine my surprise when I pluck this from the shelf as a last minute replacement for TRAX 0682, digitise the thing, and discover that it's actually pretty decent, as I would have realised had I listened to it more than once. The contributors were mostly established artists with record contracts, or close friends of established artists with record contracts, but the music is mostly decent, or the very least, interesting. Most of this lot shouldn't really require an introduction, although for what it's worth, NOTi is also Andrew McKenzie, and the Ludus track seems to feature SPK's Graeme Revell on saxomaphone and Dave Formula from Magazine tickling the ivories. You may notice that the track list given on the sleeve does that fucking annoying thing of featuring mysterious interludes identified in predictable lower case but with no artist, as though they was done by a fucking ghost or summink! This is a pain in the arse for a digitiser such as myself given that I have to divide everything into proper tracks, regardless of stray snatches of speech scattered hither and thither in the name of art. Anyway, I've followed the track list given on Discogs which blows the whistle on himself of the Hafler Trio as author of all the scrappy bits of art challenging the listener's preconceptions about something or other. I should probably also mention that I'm not entirely sure I've correctly labelled tracks 14 through to 17, or whether one of those is actually another one of Andrew McKenzie's medium questioning excerpts from an episode of Nationwide.

1 - Matador - Nowever, Ornever
2 -
AC Marias - The Whispered Year
3 -
Andrew McKenzie - sigil one
4 -
Pascal Gabriel - Machu Pichu
5 -
Matador - Mother Earth Film Music
6 -
Touch 33° - Oral Tradition
7 -
Graham Lewis - He Said "Argh..."
8 -
John Foxx - The Quiet Man IV
9 -
Simon F. Turner - Wash
10 -
Andrew McKenzie - sigil two
11 -
Current 93 - Salt
12 -
Touch 33° - The Crucible
13 -
Test Department - Efficiency
14 -
S/Z - Text
15 -
The Pathfinders - Long Shadows
16 -
NOTi - Diagnosis
17 -
Andrew McKenzie - sigil three
18 -
Ludus - Corpse Candle

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Monday, 4 December 2017

factor X - Weird (1992) C90

As I may have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Shaun Robert and I fell out (for reasons which I may have already mentioned and can't be arsed to go over again because who cares?), but hopefully he won't object to my sharing this one, because it's worth sharing. My dating it to 1992 is guesswork based on vague memories of where I was living when it popped through my letterbox. Weird was supposedly to be released by Fool's Paradise, who also put out material by Maeror Tri, for whatever that's worth, although I don't know if that ever happened, or even if Weird ever achieved a formal release.

I seem to recall Shaun being quite a fan of the Severed Heads, which really shows on a couple of these tracks - and I mean that as a good thing. The Frog & the Raven and MT (Parted to Meet Again) number amongst the greatest tape only songs I've ever heard. The rest steers a little closer to more familiar factor X territory, although this tape still sounds fairly unique amongst his body of work to me, and I have quite a few others so I'm not just saying that.

I think it was recorded with his girlfriend of the time, whose name was Francesca something or other, although I have a feeling they separated shortly after this one. I can't think of anything more to say about it, so I've also scanned a four page factor X manifesto-cum-statement type thing called Sciolism which comes with the download, so that should give you something to think about, should you require it.

1 - The Frog & the Raven
2 - The Light that Shines
3 - MT (Parted to Meet Again)
4 - minim
5 - Tautologize
6 - Denkzeichen
7 - Smelt
8 - Silverspoons
9 - ènôrm'ous irrělêvance
10 - Seal
11 - Headaway
12 - Lulla
13 - Butterfly Existence
14 - Everyone is Fine
15 - OUT

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Friday, 24 November 2017

Trilogy (1984) C15+

This was the second thing I released by Thomas Docherty, then recording as Trilogy - three tracks on a C15 for a mere fifty pence and a stamped addressed envelope. I seem to recall it sold fairly well by my admittedly humble standards, and quite right too given the quality of the music. This was July 1984, following the album which I'd put out a couple of months earlier.
Astute readers will probably notice that what you have here are thirteen tracks amounting to sixty minutes of music, hence C15+ rather than just C15 in the title of the listing. This is because it seemed to make more sense to digitise the chrome TDK master copy of these recordings than the WHSmiths C15 sub-master for the sake of quality, and seeing as TD had filled the tape with related material - some of which ended up on compilations, some of which was just stuff he happened to be working on at the time and which remains unreleased until now - you may as well think of this as the extended version of the C15 with DVD extras.
...and no, I don't know why there are two versions of Words Cannot Describe or what the difference is, aside from one of them being shorter.

1 - Batora
2 - Emily
3 - Slave
4 - Feedback Assault
5 - Do Not Forgive Them
6 - Dialogue in the Background
7 - Train Recording I
8 - Power Control
9 - Recorded in an Hour
10 - Words Cannot Describe I
11 - Words Cannot Describe II
12 - First Recording with DM
13 - Train Recording II

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Thursday, 16 November 2017

v/a - A Person's Healthy Guide to Listening (1991) C70

This was a cassette release by Regelwidrig Recordings, the work of one Simon Kelly whom I vaguely recall as a wonderful guy with whom Glenn Wallis, myself, and Paul Condon shared pints at Bradley's Spanish Bar in Hanway Street. Annoyingly, it was one of those cassette releases which came clad in fancy, fiddly packaging which meant you couldn't just slot it in with the others on the shelf. I appreciate the effort to keep things interesting and special, but there were a few people guilty of this sort of thing and it was always kind of annoying, and the end result nearly always seemed kind of half-arsed and never as good as the artist presumably hoped it would look. This one came in a large card box with a photograph slapped on the cover at an angle and an apostrophe missing from the title; and anyway, should it not be A Person's Guide to Healthy Listening? Wouldn't that make more sense? Anyway, opening the box - which is no longer necessary since it all fell apart with age and now looks even crappier - caused bits of paper to spill forth across one's listening space - track lists, information, and bits of artwork which I presume to have been supplied by the individual artists because they're all different shapes and sizes and only five of the contributors are represented in this way.

Which is probably why I never listened to the fucking thing more than once, which is a shame because Simon clearly put a lot of effort into it and spent some money on getting it properly mastered and so on, as you will hear. In fact, this tape makes for pretty convincing listening once you've sat down, having swept up a million bewildering pictures of Islamic shoes supplied by Bryn Jones, the man who invented the racist instrumental, it could be argued.

You should probably know of at least a few of these artists, and of the ones I hadn't heard of either, there's not much I can tell you. I always assumed Shock City was something to do with Stefan Jaworzyn of Whitehouse who briefly ran a similarly named label and publishing imprint, but apparently not.

Anyway, enjoy!

1 - Nocturnal Emissions - Raised Beach
2 - Shock City - One World Before the World's Ways Waste the World Away
3 - Das Kunst - Probe
4 - Bourbonese Qualk - O Sonambulo
5 - Konstruktivists - Desire (part one)
6 - Konstruktivists - Desire (part two)
7 - Asmus Tietchens - Lemminge
8 - Jouissance - Delirium Dosage
9 - Illusion of Safety - Musikfuck
10 - Shock City - Alienateaghurkin
11 - Due Process - RRRadio WCVW Extract
12 - Contact with a Curve - Balloon
13 - Muslimgauze - United States of Islam

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Friday, 3 November 2017

Acrobatic Champions (1985) C60

Not to be confused with its predecessor, the similarly untitled C15 with a cover which looked almost exactly the same and which can be found here. This was the album released in the wake of the hit single, I suppose, and everything useful (or otherwise) I may have to say about the Acrobatic Champions has already been said here - and that's the same link as was provided in the previous sentence, in case you already clicked on it.
So that leaves us with just the music, which is probably better heard than discussed. Most of this was recorded in the sound studio at Maidstone College of Art on a couple of four track reel to reel machines, making extensive use of Paul's own WEM Copycat echo - as you will doubtless notice. Most of it is just Paul, although I played bass on the first two tracks and electronic percussion for the two performances - both played in different areas of the aforementioned college with audience comprising whoever felt like standing around and watching for a bit.
On reflection, I realise that most of this music would now be termed dark ambient, except of course it's about a thousand times better. I know I've had my differences with the bloke, but Jesus - this was some good shit, yes siree.

1 - The Sound Room
2 - You Fill Me
3 - AV142
4 - Mirror Glass
5 - Performance 1
6 - Hand on White
7 - Flowers (part)
8 - Performance 2
9 - Negative as Before
10 - The Audience
11 - Carmilla

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Monday, 30 October 2017

v/a - Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1980) C60

This was Dead Hedgehog's first compilation tape, a wonderfully tuneful collection of punk, pop, and post-punk serving as a time capsule to where some of our heads were at in 1980, particularly if you were living in Watford, which I wasn't. Regular readers will probably know who Mex is by now, and this is one of his. Furthermore these files were kindly supplied by the man himself and as such are therefore better quality than what you probably would have heard had I digitised my copy of the tape. You can read about the individual artists on the cover, as included with the download - an entire A4 sheet scrunched into a cassette case - which I remember finding quite annoying at the time; but I suppose a few additional words might be in order.

Exhibit A really should have been huge, but never mind; Soft Drinks still remain one of my favourite things ever; this version of the Bears' Motoron seems to be a sort of weirdy Copycat echo remix - Tigerbeat records put out a full length retrospective vinyl album back in 1986 with an (I think) much better version of the song, which is well worth grabbing if you happen upon a copy; as for the Steam Settee, I assume you all recall Nikki Sudden from the Swell maps, yes? ; and these Fire Engines seem to be an Exhibit A offshoot and as such are nothing to do with the Scottish band of the same name. I don't know what else to say about this bunch other than that I still find it mystifying that Dead Hedgehog never ended up a household name, which I suppose is testimony to the power of payola over a good tune, or something. Listening to the Traumatics, or the Notion, or the Garden, or Exhibit A - I don't know about anyone else but I have to remind myself that no, I didn't see them on Top of the Pops banging out 50:50 or The Signs Were Sure back in 1980, even though it feels like I should have done, especially considering the shite the rest of you were buying at the time.

While we're here, I should probably mention that Mex has a new album out, so you know what to do. Details at Mex One.

1 - Traumatics - SAS
2 -
The Notion - Human Zoo
3 -
Soft Drinks - Dangers of Drink
4 -
The Garden - Worried Man
5 -
The Bears - Motoron
6 -
Traumatics - 50:50
7 -
Passion Killers - X-87
8 -
Exhibit A - Me and You
9 -
The Beatles - The Lonesome Death of a Hedgehog
10 -
Jasbir Chhina - Nowhere Man
11 -
The Garden - Zoot Swim Suit
12 -
The Steam Settee - Cramped in Dr. Zombie's Vaults
13 -
Exhibit A - In the Wilderness
14 -
Soft Drinks - Pepsi Cola
15 -
Goddish Robs - Schoolgirl in Love
16 -
Fire Engines - Here We Go
17 -
Mex - Feature Film
18 -
Exhibit A - Echoes
19 -
The Garden - The Signs Were Sure
20 -
Fire Engines - Silver Machine 

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Introducing the Brides of Christ II (1983) C30

I don't know much about this one. I seem to recall that Trev Ward thought it was so great that he insisted I have a listen, which was effected by him lending me his copy, sending it through the post on the condition that I'd send it back once I was done. So that's what we did, which seems weird with hindsight, but maybe he just didn't want to diddle them out of a sale, which seems fair enough. Anyway, I liked it enough to buy a copy.

So far as I know, this was Rock Wilson and Dave Ryder, also occasionally known as R&D Group 28, a name under which they released one tape (according to Discogs) and appeared on Sterile Records' Earthly Delights compilation. Rock Wilson was also something to do with Apocalypso a Go Go zine, whilst Dave Ryder recorded as Plastic Bag and put a tape out through Larry Peterson's Cause for Concern Tapes which I really fucking wish I had bought at the time. There's a Plastic Bag track on Paranoia is Awareness and it's one of the best things on there in my view.

Anyway, here you go - fundamentalist Christian electronics a good few years before anyone had heard of that other lot. This is arguably one of the odder things thrown up by the whole weirdy tape scene as was, and it still sounds great if you ask me.

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Adventures of Twizzle - Party Ritual Extensions (1985) C60

Adventures of Twizzle were Saul Pol Koatep and Jude Wilton Keel, or at least that's how they signed their letters. They lived in Newcastle and were responsible for a series of noisy, low-fi and occasionally surreal cassettes distinguished by application of a well-developed sense of humour. The first one I heard was Hitler's Trousers After the Blast, from which point on I was immediately a fan. They also wrote great letters comprising peculiar flights of fantasy lavishly illustrated with wax crayon. One of my favourite was a postcard, a publicity shot from some old film to which Jude had selotaped a sachet of tomato ketchup and amended with what was either a joke or philosophical inquiry:

Q: Who is the Dada Jack?

A second postcard settled the issue about a month later:

A: Tommy Steele's Reggae Bagpipe.

Obvious really. Anyway, Party Ritual Extensions was a live tape they sent me and told me I would be releasing on my Do Easy label, which I did. The performances were two years old by then, but they seemed worth hearing. Listening to them again in 2017, this stuff is a bit basic but it still sounds good to me, and the tape makes for quite a powerful experience listened to in its entirety.

We lost touch soon after this, or specifically they wrote to me and I never bothered writing back. The two of them had apparently been nicked for fare dodging and had a massive fine to pay, so they photocopied a stack of legal stuff relating to their prosecution and asked if I could help them out, which I couldn't because I was a starving student and living on tinned potatoes at the time, so the request struck me as a bit fucking saucy. Then nearly a decade later, Jude saw my name mentioned as a member of Konstruktivists in an issue of Music from the Empty Quarter and so wrote a letter to Glenn explaining that he knew me of old and that I was in the National Front* and possibly also the Freemasons. It turned out to be a joke, just a bit of a wheeze, albeit one of those jokes which seems funnier when you've had your head stuck inside a bong for three days. So we corresponded, and he was clearly abrim with genuine regret at having libelled me for wacky fun-filled chortles, and explained that he had lost touch with Saul and was now a Hare Krishna. There didn't seem to be a lot to say after that.

Saul phoned me a few years later, mid-nineties some time, but it was at three in the fucking morning when I had to be up for work at five and he sounded somewhat off his tits, so I don't recall much of the conversation apart from that I found it heavy going. He'd found my number in an issue of The Sound Projector because I had stupidly included it in an advert for Ce Acatl tapes. He told me he was behind a label called Hypnagogia, of which I had actually heard, and sent me a few CDs and a 10" by Anomali, his most recent musical endeavour; which was nice, and at least better than writing to any of my friends and claiming to remember me having been on trial at Nuremberg.

Nowt so fucking queer as folk, eh readers?

*: Seriously - what do you fucking think?

1 - The Basement, Newcastle 22/6/83
2 - Widdershins
3 - Morden Towers, Newcastle 16/11/83

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Monday, 9 October 2017

v/a - International Sound Communication 10 (1986) C90

I don't have a vast wealth of knowledge regarding this one, one of a regular series done by Andi Xport who also recorded his own stuff under the name Man's Hate and which was pretty good as it happens. I had more volumes of this at some point, and certainly the first one, but it's no longer anywhere to be found, so I probably gave it to Jim MacDougall back in the nineties when I was having a clear out. I guess I kept this one because I'm on it.

A Split Second and Stress were both quite big, relatively speaking, so you should know of them; I believe Crawling With Tarts had some sort of following too, although I think this is the only thing I ever heard; Ajnynytyv once sent me a tape with a red cover but it was pretty noisy and I don't remember liking it much, so I think that went to Jim McDougall too, probably ending its existence flung off the top of an east London tower block for air rifle target practice or something; Len Liggins also contributed a (slightly better) track to an Unlikely Records compilation which I'll get around to digitising at some point; and I vaguely recall Modern Art, WeR7 and Mystery Plane from fanzines and Color Disc flyers of the time. I never bothered sending for any of their stuff, but I sort of wish I had now. Anything else you want to know, you might be able to find out from the Discogs page, although it's patchy where some of the more obscure artists are concerned.

Weirdly, I've a feeling this may only be the second or third time I've bothered listening to this one, which is a pity as I realise it's pretty decent, with a good variety and some interesting stuff on there. I really wish I still had the other volumes, but never mind.

1 - A Split Second - Resignation
2 -
Twilight Ritual - A Perfect Memory in Here
3 -
Syndrome - Night Talk
4 -
Linear Movement - Wired to the Machines
5 -
Photodrama - Dan Dare, Where Are You?
6 -
Ideas Beyond Filth - Rollercoaster
7 -
Agencement - Kazbuz
8 -
Crawling With Tarts - Smak
9 -
Ajynytyv - Integration (live excerpt)
10 -
Die Schlaffen Affen - Back to Rock 'n' Roll
11 -
Do Easy - Knife in My Side
12 -
Rudolf's Rache - Sommersprossensesicht
13 -
LD50 - Your Country Needs You
14 -
Los Paranos - Life On the Floor
15 -
Katharsis - Content Discontent
16 -
Mystery Plane - Find Somebody
17 -
WeR7 - I Was Not a Jew
18 -
Modern Art - Monochrome Dance
19 -
La Créme de la Crime - Lipstick
20 -
10T - Pandra Music
21 -
Det Wiehl - Himalaya
22 -
The Marvelous Roofs - Them Scarecrows
23 -
Len Liggins - Leningrad
24 -
Len Liggins - All the Dead Men
25 -
Solomonoff, von Hoffmanstahl & Hoffman - Serenade in the Night
26 -
Terry Gray - Faith
27 -
Stress - Fist Comes Down
28 -
F/i - Echo River (excerpt)

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pssst... more here.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Tryouts - The Look On Their Faces (1983) C30

I always felt Tryouts should have achieved some sort of vaguely legendary status. I'd read about them in Sounds music paper (the clipping of which is reproduced on the cover of this cassette) even before they turned up on one of Larry Peterson's compilation tapes, and eventually on one of mine too. They had a synthesiser, a Casio VL1, a crap tape recorder, and that was about it, and their songs had puerile titles suggesting common ground with the sort of shite I myself had been recording for the previous couple of years.

Strangely, when the tape turned up in the post, they weren't quite as I expected. The toilet humour was merely an aspect of their work rather than an actual jihad, as it had been for the Pre-War Busconductors. They sounded a bit like someone in the group wouldn't have minded being in the Human League, but were let down by the pitiful circumstances of their recordings, and yet this shambolic quality was at the same time part of their charm. You could probably call it outsider art, or at least you could if you were a fucking tosser.

They were from Scarborough, and I don't know much else about them, and if I still have any of their letters, I can't find them; so just listen to the tape and feel the realness.

1 - Introduction
2 - Tryouts Theme Song
3 - Intramural
4 - He Wears Underpants
5 - Damn Her
6 - Sitting On the Bog
7 - Am I Really Having Fun?
8 - We Cannot Avoid the Mad
9 - Dr. Who
10 - All Alone
11 - Haven't Got the Time
12 - The Look On Their Faces
13 - Here Comes the Train
14 - Motorway
15 - Don't Let Those Spots
16 - This is Life
17 - Goodbye from Tryouts

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Opera for Infantry - Hopscotch (1984) C60

Opera for Industry were the first band to write to me and ask if I'd like to release their tape. I think they got my address from Colin of Family Patrol Group. The tape was called Hopscotch, and it was a bit rough, but nevertheless a fair bit more convincing than any of my own efforts in the same noisy direction, so naturally I said yes. Then they changed their name to Opera for Infantry as acknowledgement of their residence in Amesbury, Wiltshire, a town full of squaddies and camouflaged types; and then they started their own label and released a million tapes, including one of mine; and then they eventually became the Grey Wolves.

Just for the record, and seeing as this one has come up a few times, and I feel I'm in some sort of position to address it having known these people on and off for the last three decades, albeit at a distance - I always understood the whole point of the Grey Wolves to be protest mounted by means of a sort of sensory overload, bombarding the audience with horror upon horror to the point at which there is no choice but to react - which is more or less directly stated in their Cultural Terrorist Manifesto; and this is why they've been accused of extremist right-wing sympathies from time to time, because they've made use of imagery suggesting the same but, I would argue, towards entirely different ends to those from which such imagery has been appropriated. In other words, the point is to inspire a positive reaction against the authoritarian status quo not by educating you, as Crass might do, but by scaring the living shit out of you. Whether or not such tactics work or are at best badly misjudged is another thing entirely, but that's how I've always seen it.

Anyway, Hopscotch was their first album, so far as I'm aware and is fairly revealing as to where the lads were coming from. Confrontational electronics was kind of a new thing at the time, and those dabbling were still very much experimenting rather than just forming Whitehouse tribute bands, which came a bit later. To me, Hopscotch always sounded like it owed at least as much to Reality Asylum and the other, noisier works of Crass as it did to Gristle and the like, particularly Winds of Mauthausen.

Hopscotch is a racket, and a primitive racket amounting to two blokes with a Jen SX1000 and a ghetto blaster making a noise in a scout hut, the hard electronics equivalent of Link Wray or something, I suppose; but I'm surprised at how powerful it still sounds, all things considered.

I've cleaned it up as best as I can, editing out all the clicks and pops of turning the tape on and off with what sounds like a cheap Woolworths cassette in the deck. Also, three different inlay cards are included, a homemade version forged from swinging mags in which the initial cassette was presented to me for my consideration, a photocopied one which came with the master tape they sent once I said I'd like to release it, and the overly fussy fold out Do Easy tape cover.

1 - Hopscotch
2 - Winds of Mauthausen
3 - Repetition
4 - Hopscotch Revisited
5 - Playing with Fire
6 - Propaganda
7 - Black Christmas

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Monday, 18 September 2017

v/a - A Sudden Surge of Power (1983) C90

You may have noticed how I'm in the habit of apologising for the stuff I post here, occasionally even writing something amounting to I wouldn't bother if I were you; well, not today. A Sudden Surge of Power gets my vote for the greatest compilation tape of all time, and it's probably no exaggeration to say this thing changed my life when I first heard it. This collection tipped me off to a lot of stuff without which my life would have been significantly poorer, and of the eighteen individual contributing artists, there remain just eight whose work I never subsequently hunted down on vinyl or on other tapes. Fuck - I even ended up knowing a few of these people as friends. Third Mind's Red Sand is the one which always seems to get the publicity, and which is fondly remembered by industrial music historians who weren't actually fucking there; and Red Sand is great, and yes, I would never have bothered checking out DDAA were it not for that tape, but Sudden Surge was the one you actually listened to for pleasure because it was such a fantastic and varied assemblage of the weird and wonderful with a good few of those Wild Planet big names we were all gagging to hear.

Some trivia:

  • Laugh by Mandible Rumpus may actually be the greatest song ever to appear on a compilation tape. Their 7" single wasn't as good though. Shame.
  • These two Mex tracks come from the lad's Happy Life 7" which, at the risk of hyperbole, is probably one of the greatest 7" singles of all time, alongside Gambit of Shame's wonderful 18 out of 20, in which Mex also had a hand. Complete your Mex collection here.
  • Cult of the Supreme Being were Mex and the late and greatly missed Robert Dellar, in case anyone was wondering.
  • These are still my two all-time favourite Attrition tracks. I've heard a million versions of Monkey in a Bin but this one remains the most powerful for me.
  • John Balance had something to do with Cultural Amnesia, but I'm not sure what - unless he just supplied the artwork for them or summink.
  • Behold - even Chris & Cosey's track sounds great!
  • Dave Henderson's favourite track was apparently Strangeways (because that's what he told me, so it isn't really apparently at all), and wouldn't it have been fucking wonderful if 400 Blows had lived up to their initial promise at least long enough to make a decent album?

The tape came with a highly informative 24-page A5 booklet with contributions from everyone involved, which I've scanned and included in the download along with cover, flyer, and a CFC tapes catalogue of the time.

1 - Mandible Rumpus - On the Floor
2 - Mandible Rumpus - Laugh
3 - Mex - Happy Life
4 - Mex - Veins
5 - Gambit of Shame - Gambit of Shame
6 - Section 10 - Mr. Parker
7 - Cult of the Supreme Being - Chlorine Fills My Lungs
8 - Cult of the Supreme Being - God is Thicker than Water
9 - Attrition - Hang Me
10 - Attrition - Monkey in a Bin
11 - Test Dept - Shockwerk
12 - The Cause for Concern - Disturbing Visions
13 - Martin Howard Naylor - Modulation 4/5
14 - Cultural Amnesia - Colourblind
15 - Cultural Amnesia - The Pigs Are Coming
16 - Paul Kelday - Angel Hair
17 - New 7th Music - Apocalypse
18 - Chris & Cosey - Light Fantastic
19 - We Be Echo - Survivalist I
20 - We Be Echo - Sex Slave
21 - Ramshackle Ammunition Band - Space Song
22 - 400 Blows - Strangeways
23 - Twelve Cubic Feet - Fred's Song
24 - Red Herring - UAB Advert
25 - Red Herring- Crispy Wrap

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Do Easy - Don't Talk (1987) C60

I should have taken my own advice and kept my mouth shut for the duration, but never mind. This was almost the last tape I recorded as Do Easy, mostly recorded in the college sound studio on a four-track TEAC, and thirty or so years later, I'd say it sounds mostly decent providing you don't pay too much attention to the words. I was young. I wasn't very happy. I hadn't had sexual intercourse in well over a year. I looked funny and people kept calling me names as a result. Musically speaking, this was mostly me, although Information through to Animation of Life, and also Down in the Echo were collaborations with Garreth Roberts, so that's mostly him singing or speaking on those; Steve McGarrigle also contributed in some way to In One Day and the remix of This Can't Go On Forever; and the sonic dog's dinner which was Sound Levels in Arabia additionally features Paul Fallon (who was also in the Spinning Pygmies with Garreth and myself for about forty seconds) and some bloke called Matt, about whom I don't remember very much at all.

Let me see...

Information was recorded as the soundtrack to a video piece, as us artists call them. The video comprised stills of drawings by Dennis Nilsen, and Garreth is reading out poems written by the same on the soundtrack, as you can hear. The point was that the material is only identified as having been the work of Nilsen at the end of the video, so everybody goes ooh! and agrees how playful and subversive it all is blah blah blah audience expectations blah blah blah. The drum machine pattern on Sound Levels in Arabia was originally written for the only song I wrote for Envy, which mercifully we never recorded because it was shite. Caroline A was me deciding I wanted to be the Jesus & Mary Chain and to record a proper pop song with a video of an actual band playing it, and I was going to give copies of this demo to my loyal recruits so they could learn how to perform my masterpiece, but luckily I lost interest and never got around to it. HSC was recorded after hanging around with TD and is pretty much an inferior rip-off of a track he recorded as Frenzied Encounters, which I've yet to digitise.

...and no, I never got around to a formal release of this one either, so no fancy cover I'm afraid.

Don't worry. I'll post a proper tape next week.

1 - Paper Tiger
2 - HCS
3 - In One Day
4 - Information
5 - Complicated Animal
6 - Sound Levels in Arabia
7 - Animation of Life
8 - This Can't Go On Forever (remix)
9 - Don't Talk
10 - Caroline A (demo)
11 - I Want You
12 - Down in the Echo

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Monday, 28 August 2017

v/a - Political Piggies (1984) C60

This was the first compilation put out by Trev Ward and Dave Padbury, then collectively known as Opera for Infantry. Opera for Infantry eventually morphed into the Grey Wolves and had a string of hits, as you'll probably remember, whilst simultaneously stirring up controversy of a general thrust implying they might actually subscribe to some of the extreme Fascist beliefs blasted forth in their music. Having met them a couple of times and spent at least a few years writing to Trev, I'm confident of this being complete bollocks, and clues as to why I might hold with such a conviction can be found here, a tape firmly rooted in the short-lived but fertile period of cross fertilisation occurring between weirdy electronics and the anarchopunk scene; and yes, I'm well aware of all that post-left green anarchist shite having been plopped out of the same arse, but that's something else entirely...

I think this was also the first compilation to which I was asked to contribute, so apologies for my tracks. Marginally less crackly versions can be found elsewhere on this blog if you're stupid enough to look for them. Anyway, it was massively exciting finding myself sharing ferric oxide with Nocturnal Emissions, Nurse With Wound and the Apostles, and I still say this was a fantastic genre-busting tape. You'll probably recognise a few of the names here, and I'm pretty sure the Nocturnal Emissions and Nurse With Wound tracks resurfaced elsewhere, although The Strange Life of August Strindberg was almost certainly an exclusive at the time. Steve Stapleton was known for his generosity when it came to tape labels no-one had heard of asking him for tracks. There's more by Anarchist Angels and Family Patrol Group elsewhere on this blog, if you want to check the index. There's more about Epidemic on the excellent Punky Gibbon site, and Alternative and the Destructors were pretty big names at one point so you should be able to find something about them if you look. Alternative released stuff on Crass, for example.

I suspect they may have been experiencing some technical difficulties at Anal Probe Tapes world headquarters when they were running off my copy of this tape, unless the fuck ups were on the master copy. The tracks varied in recording volume quite a bit so I've tried to bring the quieter ones up to the same level. Also there were a couple of instances of what sounds like a lead cutting out - first during Living a Lie, after which the track comes back much louder. I did some fucking about, raised the volume of the first verse, and copied the missing riff from later in the track so as to effect a repair, which is hopefully better than listening to the track with a few seconds silence just as the chorus kicks off. There was also a gap in the middle of Seen through Tear Stained Eyes, occurring during a sung passage ruling out the possibility of making a repair by copying anything from elsewhere in the song, so I've er... just copied and reversed a bit to at least make the screw up sound deliberate, which will probably make more sense if you listen to the thing.

1 - Nocturnal Emissions - Rabbits Don't Cry
2 -
Anarchist Angels - I Cry with Despair
3 - Destructors V - Urban Terrorist
4 - Do Easy - Waterside at 12
5 - Epidemic - Living a Lie
6 - White Elephants Over Jamaica - Adverts
7 - Alternative - Seen through Tear Stained Eyes
8 - Do Easy - Kick the Dwarf
9 - Epidemic - No Identity
10 - Family Patrol Group - Cronus
11 - Opera for Infantry - Resettlement
12 - Destructors V - Khmer Rouge Boogie
13 - The Cause for Concern - The Occasional Me and You
14 - Alternative - Caroline's Carnival
15 - Nurse With Wound - The Strange Life of August Strindberg
16 - The Apostles - The Phoenix

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Regular - Regulation Issue (1988) C60

Regular was the work of John Jasper, the man behind the Joneses and with whom I worked on the Illyana Rasputin tape. I already wrote plenty about him on the blog entries for those two, so please feel free to have a quick look at them so as to avoid my having to repeat myself. I can wait.

John recorded a ton of this stuff, and due to the general indeterminacy of his character, it wasn't always easy to tell when he'd run me off a copy of his new shit, or whether he'd just nicked a few bits and pieces from obscure On-U label records and failed to mention that they weren't actually by him. Anyway, the point is that he was very prolific, and this was definitely all his own work, and presumably the stuff of which he was most proud judging by the fact that he went down to that place on Rochester High Street which had a colour photocopier, ran off a load of covers, and decided it was an album. As you can probably tell, he was significantly influenced by On-U, Sherwood, Tackhead, Scientist, all of those guys, and for my money he definitely brought something new to the table.

The credits found on the insert were mostly pulled out of John's head, although let's face it, we've all been there with our own imaginary bands. I'm not credited but that's my voice you can hear on A Voice in the East, and also my cheapo Casio sampler which lived around at John's house for about a year. Glenn Wallis of Konstruktivists lived just up the road from John around this time, and I definitely remember them attempting to record something together. The voice on Naked They Go does actually sound a little like Glenn doing one of his characters, but I suspect it's something John took off the radio or another record. Janine, John's girlfriend of the time, can be clearly heard vocalising on Punjabi, but beyond that I've no idea where to draw the line between fantasy and reality. I'm not sure why Regular either - knowing John it was probably some esoteric nod to Reg Varney.

John was the most violently unreliable man on earth, but also a lovely guy and very funny, and I still sort of miss him. More than anything I wish he'd spread a few more of these tapes around, or that someone had chucked a load of money at him and forced him to put out a record; but never mind.

1 - Mission Impossible (Martial)
2 - Come into the Room
3 - Ghetto Swinger
4 - Touch (dub)
5 - Echo Bass (dub)
6 - A Voice in the East (a Memory)
7 - Naked They Come...
8 - Naked They Go
9 - Touch (Seikh Massacre)
10 - Touchdown
11 - Punjabi (Vaca-Dabi)
12 - Powder Room
13 - Bone Rattle
14 - Swing Low
15 - Likrish Tash
16 - Massacre

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