Monday, 29 January 2018

Trilogy - Other Input (1985) C90

This week features a special guest post by the man who actually recorded the thing on the grounds of our having kept in touch (but for a couple of decades somewhere in the middle), and that he naturally has a more informed take on this collection than myself. I'd already released a couple of his tapes on my Do Easy label (which can be found listed in the index linked at the foot of the page) and I had the impression this one was something in the order of tidying up loose ends so as to allow greater focus on the cassette he recorded as Sin, which will probably follow in a couple of months and is a masterpiece in my view. Tom didn't really have a title for this one and suggested I should come up with something, which was unfortunate because my suggestion was so fucking awful I can't even bear to type it out - I'd been very taken with the surreal grammatical phraseology of Lennart Eilersen of Enhoenta Bödlar, author of the mind-boggling Pok-a-Tok fanzine, and this was my lame attempt to weave gold of similar carat. For the purposes of this download, I've opted for Other Input, which Tom wrote on the master copy and which I choose to regard as the proper title from hereon.

Anyway, over to the man behind the music...

Tape to Some Bizarre (2:42) (Dec 1983)
This track started life as a letter to Some Bizarre Records asking Stevo if I could make films and videos for them. I then thought that something as prosaic as a straightforward request was hardly going to get the attention of these “arty” types – so I cut up the text and broke up the words and reassembled it as a kind of poem – with a few stray remarks about hating taxi drivers and Christmas trees (which I don’t – but it was a left over bit from an early recording I made while tripping – which I'm surprised I didn’t suggest for this comp). Anyway the cut-up letter still didn’t quite make it as far as I was concerned and being a Marc and the Mambas fan, I tried singing it over Empty Eyes. That really worked – so after double tracking it to make it more murky and bring in a repetitious quality to my chant, I sent the thing off to Some Bizarre. I never got a reply, but years later I heard from someone who worked at Some Bizarre that my tape had become something of a cult favourite in the office – though no one could figure out what the hell I was asking them for. Well at least I made an impression.

If anyone wants to see the “lyrics”...

“Cut-up” (6:25) (Nov 1983)
A very early piece when I was limited to a Casio VL-Tone, an old reel to reel which I’d picked up for £5 in a jumble sale and my still relatively new Sharp tape to tape. The title is more interesting than the track – which features no “cut-ups” at all – just me muttering and saying the phrase cut-up against overlaid Casio cycles.

Blows to the Head (1:42) (Mar 1984)
More experiments, but with a good deal more purpose. I now had the Roland SH-1000, so I could produce somewhat more gutsy sounds and I had refined the tape to tape echo effect quite well. Although this short tryout of a chugging white noise blast against an ultra high frequency “tune” wasn’t really developed, I recycled the basic sound a month or so later for Our Patience will End.

Such A Lot (2:58) (Nov 1983)
This particular experiment – only my 3rd “musical” recording - was my first attempt to create a song with lyrics and a recognizable tune. While primitive, it’s quite sweet but the just because she has an ugly face… stanza makes me cringe a bit.

Cosmetic Surgery (5:53) (Dec 1983)
First track to use my newly acquired Roland SH-1000 – probably around Dec 26th or 27th 1983. This SH-1000 was a demented beast of a synthesizer which could always be trusted to make the sounds I least expected. I loved it, although I discovered it was useless live. Back in the early seventies my mum had a brief stint as a “Studio Beauty Advisor” selling cosmetics door to door. Given how painfully shy my mum could be this was a truly heroic thing to try, especially in such a tough-sell area as recession hit Cumbernauld. It could only mean my parents were going through some hard financial times – something I was never aware of at the time. By 1983 all of that was a thankfully distant memory but the introductory record was still around – voiced by none other than The Jaw himself, Patrick Allen.  So I mangled the recording and riffed over it with my synth. I think I made two passes – each time double tracking the previous layer – and introducing some stereo panning via my twenty channel Equalizer. I was pretty pleased with the result. I felt I was now in a brave new world of synthesizers. In retrospect I wish I’d called it Cosmic Surgery – but at the time I would’ve probably shuddered at such hippy like connotations.

Elation (8:49) (Feb 1984)

An early SH-1000 instrumental with a nice free form quality to it. This is actually about half of the original recording – the original had a lengthy meandering opening – and either Lawrence or myself probably decided to cut it for tape space purposes. It’s like a pleasant version of something from TG’s Second Annual Report and the double tracking and EQ panning have developed to the point where there is some nice syncopation at various points.

Our Patience Will End (version) (13:36) (April 1984)
By April '84 I was tired of the somewhat ambient stoned sounding instrumentals I was doing and I wanted to create a really full on piece – something that would actually hurt people’s eardrums. Well, how better to kick this off than with a few samples of Adolf H and Goebbels taken from a documentary my dad recorded. (As Lawrence might say, I was in industrial bad lad mode). I had enormous fun creating and recording this one, really getting into the frequencies. I experimented with channeling the two German samples through the Roland and was delighted to find the syncopation of the speeches bleeding into the frequencies. Finally I recorded a ninety second highly rhythmic version of the Blows to the Head sound onto my reel to reel and was able to give the piece an even more manic feel by manually stopping and starting the tape – basically scratching.
I think the original was about twenty minutes long and outstayed it’s welcome by about ten, but from this point onwards I felt I had a clear vision of where I was headed musically. The title is the translation of what Hitler is actually ranting. Incidentally almost all of these tracks were recorded in my bedroom in my folks' caravan on the tarmac site we were living on at that time. Given that my folks were never more than fifteen feet away you might think tracks like this caused a lot of disagreement, but I always worked with headphones on and almost never played what I was working on through the speakers. This is another reason that the few vocals I recorded in this period are very subdued.

Do Not Forgive Them (8:10) (May 1984)
(or playing in traffic with microphones)
A shortened version of this full strength Frenzi piece, one of a quintet of feedback based pieces recorded over a few weeks in May 1984 (in retrospect a very productive time). This recording is one of several road-side performances / freak-outs I carried out at this time - in which I risked road-rage from Essex drivers by creating pieces of noise and visual performance live. Armed with my tape to tape this one took place one evening at an underpass just outside Waltham Abbey. Using two handheld microphones (one for each channel) and the natural echo and ambience of the concrete tunnel - this begins with several minutes of feedback music (sounding a bit like enraged whales) then proceeds to some full-on vocal screaming and invective from Frenzi. My "audience" was at best bemused - apart from a disgruntled motorist (at about 2:02) who tries to end both the performance and me...

Batora (3:00) (June 1984)
I was very interested in Martin Denny at this time, having heard Momba from a PTV tape compilation – but when I tried to get hold of one of his albums all I could find was a much later piano only album with no bird sounds to be heard. So I decided to create my impression of a Martin Denny track – with a very tribal vibe. This was one of those tracks that came together incredibly quickly, in about an hour when I was on lunch break from my summer job – working for Tarmac Construction in Hatfield.

Soul Mind (4:50) (Sept 1984)
This is a much more formally experimental piece – with the premise of meeting a girl on a date and the many ways it could go - most of them horribly wrong, but all ending with the same line, and then I went home and I wept. This was a pretty frustrated time for me sexually so I let my imagination run rampant, writing eight different scenarios which I then read over one another, assuming a different version of myself for each. I wanted to see if a meaning would emerge through the jumble of words and different voices. I then added a melancholy melody on the SH-1000 and this is the result. For a while I was unsure of whether I actually wanted to put this out – since I was genuinely uncomfortable with some of the scenarios I created – but in the end I think Lawrence persuaded me it was worthwhile.

Power Control (4:56) (July 1984)
An attempt to do something a little more poppy than my usual – with a lot of scratching on the TV commentator – from a program about propaganda.

Existence (2:24) (Aug 1984)
The second recording using my new echo machine, and my first attempt at synchronising Super 8 footage to my music – although I never committed the results to video. Throughout this summer I was filming material with a video-music project in mind – this would lead to
Disease by Sin. So this is a kind of dummy run at themes I was developing for that one.

Point One (4:54) (Aug 1984)
This very spacey sounding piece was my first recording using the Boss echo machine – and boy do I use it. I relished the way even my Casio suddenly sounded rich and luxurious and this would feature on virtually every recording I made from this point on.

Waking Dreams (17:24) (6th Nov 1984)
This one was created simply to fill some space on side two of this compilation. Essentially out-takes and isolated parts from Words Cannot Describe & Pagan Orchestral (as it was later known) which appeared on the Disease: First Movement tape. Since I had just recorded the latter I still had all the separate bounce tracks of the various layers and so I created a somewhat new track for this compilation. 

1 - Tape to Some Bizzare
2 - "Cut-Up"
3 - Blows to the Head
4 - Such a Lot
5 - Cosmetic Surgery
6 - Elation
7 - Our Patience Will End (version)
8 - Do Not Forgive Them
9 - Batora
10 - Soul Mind
11 - Power Control
12 - Existence
13 - Point One
14 - Waking Dreams

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