Monday, 27 February 2017

We Be Echo - Ceza Evi: Special Edition (1983) C60

Please refer to previous blog entries as linked in the index (see foot of this entry, immediately following the track list) or the dedicated We Be Echo website if you're either not sure who We Be Echo are, or else have them confused with a San Francisco jazz band.

I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind this souped-up version of Ceza Evi, released about a year after the first version. It mixes about half of the original tracks with more recent material, although the duplicates may actually have been polished up a little for all I know. Maybe this was an exercise in reclaiming the tape from Larry Peterson's Cause For Concern label, or Kevin had simply become dissatisfied with the earlier version of the tape - I don't know, but in any case the special edition works as a distinct album in its own right and is certainly more than just a director's cut.

Connoisseurs of weirdy music may be interested to learn, or else may already know, that Inside Life's Wire features the huffing and puffing of Genesis P. Orridge and Iham who used to edit Nanavesh on thigh-bone trumpets; and some of the other tracks feature vocals from Bobbie, Kevin's wife.

I really don't know what else to say about this one - almost a perfect tape album in my view. I certainly can't think of many which still sound this good thirty years later. 

1 - (introduction)
2 - Sexuality
3 - Punish You
4 - No Going Back
5 - Dawn
6 - Dull Day
7 - Cave Dweller
8 - Inside Life's Wire
9 - After the Battle
10 - Communication
11 - This Hour's Mine
12 - I Want
13 - Breakdown
14 - Paranoia
15 - House of Punishment
16 - Who You Are
17 - Bright Sheets
18 - I Do
19 - The Shout

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Dovers - Nobody Never Told Me Nothing About No Lights (1992) C90+

That's Maydew House in Bermondsey which would be where we recorded the material on this tape, because I can't be arsed to scan a boring generic cassette inlay card. Carl's flat would be somewhere at the bottom on the right, and I think Danny Baker lived on the floor above at some point. The arbitrary title of this cassette derived from a conversation I had about double negatives with fellow Catford based postman Micky Evans who said this was his favourite one, as uttered by some bloke on a television documentary. The tape was recorded by Carl Glover and myself on Carl's portastudio between Sunday the 27th of October, 1991 and Saturday the 25th of January 1992, except Tim Song, which wasn't on the original tape. Tim Song and the recordings immediately before and after were recorded on Saturday the 11th of November, 1991 with Christine - Carl's girlfriend - as part of a tape letter sent to my friend Tim. This seemed as good a place for it as any. There are plenty of other entries concerning the Dovers to be found elsewhere on this blog so if you're still confused about anything, please refer to the index which can be found at the foot of this one.
As for the stuff which isn't self-explanatory - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey, named in honour of a former Cravat, was us going through my address book and insulting everyone in alphabetical order. There's a longer, probably funnier version on one of the other tapes. Cheer Up, Gen is the very definition of self-explanatory but I mention it so as to request that anyone of my acquaintance who happens to know him please refrain from grassing me up. It was a long time ago, he probably wouldn't get it anyway, and yes - I'm sure he has a great sense of humour. Ghost Dance is almost a Prince Buster cover. Telstar Air Strip was done for a Joe Meek themed compilation done by Chainsaw Cassettes, but the bloke didnae like it.
The Glenn referred to in passing at the end of the tape was, as is probably obvious, Glenn of Konstruktivists, Whitehouse, former Throbbing Gristle handler etc. etc., this being around the same time Carl and myself recorded stuff with him which ended up on some Konstruktivists CD or other. Anyone who calls themselves a true fan of the Gristle will therefore already have this material on the luxurious 360g splatter-effect vinyl triple album released by Waitrose Org a few years ago, much to the envy of those lightweight Johnny come lately part timers who were still listening to Captain Beaky when we were snorting nose candy off Chris Carter's gristlesizer backstage at Knebworth.
Crazy times. 

1 - Partial Bastard (version)
2 - American
3 - 8-Ball 8-Ball Martin De Sey
4 - Tell Him About the Rabbit
5 - Tales of Tom
6 - Two Men Standing on a Rock
7 - I Can't Wait
8 - Cheer Up, Gen
9 - Wooden Head
10 - Don't Know What to Do
11 - Measuring Rooms
12 - Everyman
13 - Big Mouth
14 - Ghost Dance
15 - Telstar Air Strip
16 - Pink Brick Town
17 - Ed is Great
18 - Alan Retentive
19 - (Maydew House 16/11/91 I)
20 - Tim Song
21 - (Maydew House 16/11/91 II)

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Friday, 10 February 2017

War Drum - Final Music (2005) C60

This was the last tape I ever recorded, one that I didn't really regard as having been finished up until I digitised the thing this week. I was mixing the tracks down to a C90 as I recorded them, and about ten minutes into side two, the four-track portastudio I had been borrowing from Eddy Walsh finally gave up the ghost and I couldn't seem to find anyone to fix it. Additionally this was around the time I started seeing Marian, and my life turned to a mire of passive-aggressive shite and mumbo-jumbo, so creative endeavours became difficult to sustain for the next couple of years. Anyway, digging this out in 2017, I notice it's actually just under sixty minutes in length and it sort of sounds finished, so let's just say that it is.
I had drifted away from War Drum, partially to concentrate on LDB (the works of which I might post here at some point, or I might not) and partially to concentrate on writing. Then in 2005 I got back into it. I'd been to Mexico four or five times by this point, and had taken a minidisc recorder with me on a couple of those occasions so as to record environmental sound. So Final Music features quite a lot of that environmental sound rearranged and ordered back in England with, this time, a much stronger influence of Mexican artists such as Tribu, Antonio Zepeda, and Jorge Reyes. This one is much closer to how I always wanted War Drum to sound, and so seems fitting as the last thing I ever recorded. The themes are, as will probably be obvious, mostly related to pre-Hispanic Mexican culture, and Idols Behind the Altars is sung in Nahuatl; and yes, it's my own composition. Most of it is either self-explanatory, or at least not difficult to investigate if you care that much. I seem to recall recording Lonesome Town again mainly because previous versions I'd done had been a bit crap.
Since digitising this one, I haven't had the chance to listen to the files on decent speakers, so I hope the bass has survived the transfer and that my minidisc recordings of tropical rain can be identified as such rather than just as overpowering hiss, but at least on the strength of the tape as it came through my stereo, I've a feeling this might be the best thing I've ever done (which I state in the awareness of much of my stuff having left considerable room for improvement).

1 - Primavera
2 - Nexpiltlan
3 - Fifth Sun
4 - Blood and Sand
5 - Idols Behind the Altars
6 - Sick Day
7 - Arrival of the Rain Baby
8 - Lonesome Town

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Monday, 6 February 2017

Do Easy - Italia 1912 (1986) C90

This wasn't so much an album as a tape of bits and pieces which eventually filled up, at which point I decided it probably would be an album if I ever got around to doing a cover, which I didn't. The title probably refers to some Futurist thing which had caught my attention and which I liked because it sounded exotic and mysterious, or possibly ominous. You know how it works, I'm sure. The er... title track wasn't actually the title track up until last week. Both tracks six and fourteen had self-consciously wacky titles up until I digitised the thing and decided to change them, or at least disguise them in the case of PJWFY-F, which originally stood for PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts.

'What shall I call this one?' I asked Steve McGarrigle.

'PJ Wears Fluorescent Y-Fronts,' he quipped in jocular fashion, and thus was it so.

Anyway, here we have three tracks of Steve and myself rehearsing with Peter Jones in preparation for the gig which was recorded on the previous tape. Steve plays trumpet, some keyboard, and programmed most of the the Yamaha RX15 drum machine for these rehearsal tracks and elsewhere on this tape. Also the piano coda - I suppose you would call it - of Italia 1912 is actually myself trying to play one of his compositions. It's what was on the tape which I recorded over, which is why you hear it at the end, so when I was mixing this thing I guess I thought fuck it, and left it going. Peter Jones, or PJ of the alleged fluorescent underwear, played either bass or keyboard on the rehearsals for the live set, but I can't remember which - probably keyboard.

Talking of live material, track five is an eighteen minute live improvisation. I set up a load of instruments, or at least things which generate noise, on the three landings of a stairwell in the illustration department at the art college. The idea was that anyone who happened to be passing could join in and make a racket, and the three performers, whoever they were, would be unable to see each other, so no-one would know who else was contributing to the sound. According to the inlay card, the performers, aside from myself, included Martin Smith, Mark Orphan, Steve McGarrigle, Peter Avery, Brendan Mooney, and Martin de Sey. I recognise Martin de Sey hooting away at the end, closely followed by some comments from Kirsten Butler and Charlie Adlard - the Walking Dead guy. Brendan Mooney is the one who turns the thing into Johnny Kidd and the fucking Pirates, the little bollix. He ended up as guitarist in Dave Vanian's Phantom Chords, as a point of probably negligible interest, although it links my rock family tree to the Damned, which is nice.

By the way, the more observant members of my huge fanbase may notice that some of this material actually predates that which appears on the previous tape, but I don't think I filled this tape until afterwards - in case that one's keeping anyone awake at night. 

The rest of the tracks were things recorded in the college sound studio, which was fairly nicely equipped with several four-track reel-to-reels, a Wasp synth, an old EMS suitcase synth bequeathed to the college by Brian Eno, a mixing desk, vibes courtesy of Bob Cubitt who was one of our tutors and something to do with And the Native Hipsters, and a brand-spanking-new Ibanez harmoniser. Mostly I was just fucking around, seeing what I could come up with. Some of these tracks ended up as soundtracks to videos. Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold! was er... inspired by the cover of an issue of 2000AD comic; and Live in Fear was Jane Hanley and myself just seeing what we could come up with. Jane sings and plays the flute on that one, which is possibly why it's a bit easier on the ear than the rest of this crap. According to my notes, Paul Mercer did something on tracks seven and thirteen, although I've no idea what. Maybe he was stood in the corner of the studio making balloon animals. That's the sort of thing he used to do all the time, that and the Punch & Judy at the weekends. Oh how that man loved to make us smile.

I'm kidding, by the way. I don't really think it's crap. Actually, considering some of the clunkers I've posted here, I mostly quite like this one.

1 - Protein Suppressant
2 - Cover of a Magazine (rehearsal)
3 - Something In Me Isn't Right (rehearsal)
4 - Salute the Future! (rehearsal)
5 - Maidstone College of Art, Maidstone 22/10/85
6 - Italia 1912
7 - Gaze Upon the Doom That Was Foretold!
8 - Live in Fear
9 - This Says It All
10 - In Control
11 - Tachyon & Neon
12 - Hello David
13 - Galley Slaves
14 - PJWFY-F

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