Friday, 30 March 2018

Opera for Infantry - Band Sessions (1984) C60

Back in 1984, Opera for Infantry - Trev Ward and David Padbury who eventually went on to form the Grey Wolves - briefly spent some time as a punk band with guitar, bass, drums, and songs. It was really an experiment, an exercise in audience expectation, as Trev wrote at the time:

We've been busy working out a set for our next gig which is going to be on May 12th followed by one on May 26th that is a benefit for the ALF. What we'll be doing at these gigs is some punk stuff so that people will think that is what we are, and at the gig after that we are going to do something completely different so as to shatter their expectations and to let them know things are not as they appear to be. They couldn't stand it at the very first gig when we played Hopscotch (very loud) and smashed all this metal stuff to pieces. 99% of the crowd left the hall as soon as they could and after our set they filtered back in moaning about the violence of it all, the unbearable noise. We couldn't stop laughing as we cleared the mess up. So next time they'll get what they want, so they'll think we have changed and then we'll hit them again with something different. I find that these people who call themselves individuals and open-minded like the punks in this area turn out to be very conservative and don't like change, preferring to stick to their safe 'rebellious' music which actually isn't rebelling against fuck all or changing anything.

In case that all sounds a little cynical, I seem to remember another letter which claimed it was just a case of diversifying, appealing to a different audience - although I can't seem to find that letter right now, but given all the punk bands Trev put out through his label, and all those OFI supported, I'm sure it wasn't just Trojan horseplay; plus it's worth taking into account that the music is actually pretty fucking great, and hardly the work of someone who is merely faking it for the sake of knowing industrial chuckles.

This stuff comes from a tape I compiled myself, because everything Trev sent me was always on the cheapest shittiest car boot sale cassettes money could buy, so I usually copied the music onto a TDK or something; and this particular TDK contained the three tracks contributed to my Moraals compilation on Do Easy, only two of which I actually used, recorded when we were feeling a bit down, I seem to remember him saying, and possibly the best things Opera for Infantry ever recorded in my opinion. The rest of the material is from the rehearsal tape, complete with fuck ups, false starts, chatter and so on. Some of the titles are self-evident, but I've had to guess at a few of them. Trev is on vocals, and I definitely came across a letter (which I now can't find) referring to a drummer named Chris, and I don't know about the rest. There's a segment of the tape where Dap is mentioned, something about working out something for the bass for when Dap turns up, so I'm guessing he wasn't on this recording.

1 - It's Later Than It's Ever Been
2 - Self Discipline not Self Oppression
3 - Time is...
4 - (introduction)
5 - Technological Valium I
6 - Brenda Spencer I
7 - Brenda Spencer II
8 - Men of England
9 - Brenda Spencer III
10 - Chemical Warfare
11 - Policed
12 - Massacre
13 - It Could Be You
14 - Burning (false start)
15 - Burning
16 - Nothing's Wrong
17 - Don't Worry, Animal
18 - Technological Valium II

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Friday, 16 March 2018

IVE - That Infernal Chemistry (1984) C46

This completes my posting of stuff released by Refill Tapes of Devizes, Wiltshire, given that there was just this and the two compilations, Reflections of a Past Age and Another Lost Cause. You may already be vaguely familiar with IVE if you listened to Reflections, but otherwise - answers on a postcard to the usual address because I haven't a clue. They don't seem to be on Discogs and have no internet presence that I am able to detect. There's some information on the A4 information sheet which came with the tape, and which I've scanned and included with the download - names, address, and other tapes which may or may not have been available, but that's about it.

That Infernal Chemistry probably won't change anyone's life, but it's a decent cassette of approximately post-punk tracks distinguished by female backing vocals and drum machine, quite original in its own way, and maybe not unlike anything else you've ever heard, but at the same time I'm not sure quite who I should compare this too for the sake of piquing anyone's interest - the Au Pairs maybe?

1 - Secrets
2 - Sixties Man
3 - Htworgrednu eht Hgourht
4 - Spinning Top
5 - Haircut Off
6 - Take Me to Your Alchemist
7 - Through the Undergrowth
8 - So They Tell Us
9 - I Must (cake mix)

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

War Drum - Complex Adaptive System (1998) 12"

This would have been a five track 12" EP except I never managed to get the money together to have the thing pressed, and the longer I waited, the more I realised no-one would buy it or even want to distribute it, and eventually I stopped caring. I seem to recall that Mark of Impulse fanzine (and Konstruktivists) ran me off twenty-five CDR copies, but my disillusionment with CDRs had set in by the time they came in the mail and I never did anything with them. It was recorded at JTI Studios in Brixton with Ian McKay engineering - same place as various Alternative TV and Skullflower records, and (as I've only realised just now) Ramleh's fucking fantastic Blowhole album. It would be nice to think some of the magic rubbed off, but it probably didn't. Anyway, I was at JTI recording a load of stuff with UNIT, probably material for the album which never happened and (frankly) would have been about a million times better than the one which did, and I've a feeling there were a couple of days we had booked upon which it turned out that Dave or Pete or someone wasn't going to be able to make it. Andy was going to ask Ian, who ran the place, if he could just have his money back for those days and let someone else make use of the studio, but I said I'd pay for those days and use them to record some of my own stuff. So that's what I did. This was January and February, 1998.
As you can probably hear, I was suffering from neofolk poisoning at the time, but never mind. Penitent wasn't really supposed to be on the non-existent 12" EP, but I recorded it seeing as I had some time left after we'd finished the first five. Lonesome Town is a Ricky Nelson cover, for some reason which made sense in 1998, and the other tracks, excepting Shoemaker-Levy 9, Fragment G, are fancier versions of things I'd already recorded on various War Drum tapes, as can be found elsewhere on this blog. Most of this was just me, although Andy Martin sang backing, played drums, and delivered the spoken vocal on Shoemaker. Ed Pinsent, whom you may recall from either Pestrepeller, Mystery Dick, Sound Projector magazine or his Resonance FM show, played guitar on Shoemaker.

I don't know. It all seemed to make sense at the time.

1 - A Marriage
2 - Toltec Inheritance
3 - Hummingbird
4 - Shoemaker-Levy 9, Fragment G
5 - Lonesome Town
6 - Penitent

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Friday, 2 March 2018

Another Lost Cause (1984) C90

Little bit of politics there. My name is Ben Elton. Goodnight!

No, I don't remember this one making much of a showing in that year's design awards either, but this might have been the first compilation tape to which a stranger had asked me to contribute (although it could have been Anal Probe's Political Piggies - it's all a bit of a muddle) so that makes it amazing in my book, even though, with hindsight, my tracks probably weren't. Another Lost Cause was the follow up to Refill Tapes' similarly wistfully named Reflections of a Past Age compilation. I suspect it was also their last offering as I don't recall hearing anything from them after this one. I think the tape-buying public's general lack of enthusiasm for Refill product was beginning to get them down; and before anyone says anything, yes I know their tapes looked a bit low budget, but fuck it - they made for some decent listening - apart from my tracks, I suppose.
If you've been following this blog, chance is you may already have some of this stuff. Mine appeared straight off the master copy here, for what little it may be worth; at least one of the Opera for Infantry tracks came from Hopsotch; I'm pretty sure all of the Family Patrol Group material is taken from Fear Death by Water; and the Bomb the Day Nursery stuff all comes from the album they released as Enhoenta Bödlar, although you might do best to get it from their Soundcloud page which additionally features a whole bunch of other stuff. I never quite worked out why this same material appeared credited to both Bomb the Day Nursery and Enhoenta Bödlar (and not just on this particular compilation) but assume it would be something to do with Roger Karmanik and Lennart Eilsersen eventually falling out with each other given that Roger went on to record under other names utilising the initials BDN, Brighter Death Now being the best known. The Yttersta Tagghudingen tracks eventually resurfaced on a 12" EP which I'll get around to buying one of these days, although I'm not sure if they're the exact same versions. Yttersta Tagghudingen were also something to do with Lennart Eilersen - or Uddah Buddah as he was also known, and possibly still is.

As for the rest, there are more details in the booklet, which I've scanned and which comes with the download, and which is as much as I know. This is a little annoying as I now realise I really should have sent for that tape by the Rattle when I had the chance. I've rooted around for any trace of it or them on the internet but can find nothing. I never really noticed them at the time, but I think the two tracks on this tape are fucking astonishingly good - My Bloody Valentine with a Casio VL Tone.

1 - Astral Joe & the Nighthawks - Our Friends in America
2 - Do Easy - Documentary
3 - Yttersta Tagghudingen - I Trek from Down Yondah
4 - Opera for Infantry - Playing with Fire
5 - Family Patrol Group - (live)
6 - The Rattle - The Party's Over
7 - Bomb the Day Nursery - That Blind Tormentor
8 - Opera for Infantry - Shoot to Kill
9 - Astral Joe & the Nighthawks - Theme
10 - White Elephants Over Jamaica - Pyromania
11 - Do Easy - Vicar Vicar Straight into the Public Lavatory
12 - The Rattle - She Loves You
13 - Family Patrol Group - Fear Death by Water I
14 - Astral Joe & the Nighthawks - The Dark
15 - Opera for Infantry - Hopscotch
16 - Bomb the Day Nursery - The Only Way to Survive is to Commit Suicide
17 - Yttersta Tagghudingen - I'm Nailed to the Barn Door
18 - Astral Joe & the Nighthawks - Where Do I Go?
19 - Do Easy - Nuove Tendenze
20 - Yttersta Tagghudingen - Golliwog
21 - Family Patrol Group - Fear Death by Water III
22 - Bomb the Day Nursery - Heathen Nordic Temple
23 - Astral Joe & the Nighthawks - Astronauts / Voice of a Psychic

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