Friday, 29 November 2019

Konstruktivists - Jihad-e-Sazendegi Demos (1988) C60

As a few of you may have surmised, I'm coming to the end of my five-ish year mission to digitise my entire tape collection, meaning I've now digitised all of the stuff which leaps out at me as requiring digitisation, leaving just 1) things which will only make sense to me and which I'm not really bothered about listening to, stuff taped from the radio and the like, 2) things which I would digitise and share except I still know the people who recorded them fairly well and haven't yet summoned up the energy to ask whether it's okay to give their shit away to strangers for free because I'm afraid that either they'll say no, or they'll say yes but I'll have to explain what the internet is, 3) collections of tapes by either factor X, Academy 23, or Konstruktivists which I've barely tackled. The reason I've barely tackled the Konstruktivists material is because I have forty-four tapes of stuff Glenn passed on to me and it can be quite a job working out what is what, and what has already seen the light of day in one form or another.

Anyway, no promises, but I think this stuff should be new to at least a couple of you, and hopefully it hasn't already appeared on some CD, or even on a previous download shared through this blog. The cover of Black December doesn't really have anything specific to do with this material, except I thought you might like to see it in colour.

Okay. 1988 is a guess but I think this dates from around then, give or take a year. Konstruktivists had released Glennascaul through Nigel's Sterile Records, recording Ikon during the same sessions and that was supposed to be the next record, a twelve inch single, except it never happened. Ikon was also the first studio track with Joe Ahmed in the group. Glenn then went through a couple of years of domestic difficulties, mainly just the practicalities of holding down a job, getting married, having a kid, finding places to live, and the usual stuff. Jihad-e-Sazendegi (meaning Crusade for Construction) was to be the fifth album and bits and pieces had been recorded at Joe's place in Harlow, Essex, and they sounded fucking amazing too; but somehow it never quite came together what with life getting in the way and everything, and eventually I guess the album was forgotten.

This is my tape of what was recorded, except I'm not absolutely sure of the details. I've a feeling some of these titles may be ones I came up with for the sake of writing something on the inlay card, and although I'm fairly certain the first seven tracks were recorded with Joe for the proposed album, there may be some wiggle room, and the second half of the tape sounds like Glenn solo to me, so is quite possibly something else entirely. Anyway, it's good stuff, so hopefully you'll get a kick out of listening to it.

1 - Militaristik
2 - Islam
3 - East of Eden
4 - First Light
5 - Here it Comes
6 - Jihad
7 - Midnight Leather
8 - Cruising My Decade
9 - Celebration
10 - Last Dawn
11 - New Direction
12 - Fear Teachers
13 - Fourth International
14 - Tracking

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Friday, 22 November 2019

Regular - Mule City (1992) C90

You may recall the work of John Jasper from Regulation Issue and this other tape. Here's a third one. I can't absolutely swear that these tracks didn't appear in some version on either of the other two tapes I've shared. In fact I can't even guarantee that this is exclusively a tape of John's work given his bewildering form for throwing the occasional piece of thievery into the mix - like the tape which turned out to be Keith LeBlanc's Major Malfunction, which I actually recognised as I'd already taped bits of it from Peel; plus I have a more recent tape which is obviously the first Leftfield album, but who fucking knows? The man was a mystery.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is all John, excepting a few samples you'll doubtless recognise. When editing I incremented the tracks, giving each one its title according to what John had written on the inlay card, then noticed that it's actually pretty hard to determine what counts as a full track on this tape, plus there are many more discreet pieces of music here than there are titles, so I gave up and assigned everything a number. The title Mule City comes from the first track according to the inlay card, which I've repurposed because it sounds better than John 1992. The scanned inlay card comes with the download so if you want to sit there and go through them, deciding which title refers to what, then please do. I seem to be credited on this tape too, as you may notice, although I have no memory of having been involved in any of these. Of course, maybe it was something from one of those many late nights fucking about with the portastudio at his house in Chatham. I have no idea. While we're here, I don't know who Jeff Smith was or recall any stage during which John had a drummer, but John Page was definitely a real person. I met him and thought he was a bit of a prick. His opening line was how he didn't realise anyone was still wearing shirts with button down collars. I was wearing a shirt with a button down collar at the time so it struck me as a knob-esque remark.
Anyway, if you a) enjoyed the other two, or b) have any taste whatsoever, you should also enjoy this one on account of it being fucking fantastic.
Madness, genius, fine lines etc.

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Monday, 18 November 2019

Family of Noise - Rough Versions (1996) C60

Bit of a dud this week, I'm afraid, but no-one's forcing you to listen to this shit and maybe it will sound as amazing to you in 2019 as it apparently did to me in 1996.

Yes, 1996: I'd just left Academy 23 (or possibly UNIT - can't remember what we were called at the time) because learning all those progressive rock symphonies was beginning to feel a bit too much like homework and I was getting tired of playing other people's songs, not least because I thought mine were better. I was going through a bit of a pre-mid-life crisis crisis and trying to reinvent myself as something less ridiculous, and thusly decided there was no good reason why cunts shouldn't be learning to play my fucking songs for a change. The clock was ticking, so I placed an advert in Melody Maker calling out for musicians with the intention of Family of Noise becoming something which played gigs and got paid. I got a few replies, more than I expected, and made up a demo tape to send out to the authors of those responses which hadn't obviously been prank calls. I was going to reinvent myself as some sort of hybrid of Courtney Love and Marc Almond and these were to be the songs you will be playing, I told my potential minions, should you be good enough to join my amazing band.

The first guy was an Elton John style keyboardist and an American then living next door to Emma Thompson. He said my tape reminded him of Fad Gadget, which seemed fair enough, and he was probably the gayest man I've ever met. He was also massively talented and way out of my league, so I suspect had replied more for the sake of making friends with other weirdos in a foreign country.

The second guy was about fifteen and lived in Chatham with an older, seemingly long-suffering girlfriend. He raved about Hummingbird and then strummed and sang one of his own songs, proposing we might add it to the set. It was called Morphine and suggested not so much that he'd had experience of the drug, but that he listened to a lot of Nirvana records. I reversed from the flat giving a series of positive McCartney-esque thumbs aloft signals, got back to London, then phoned the poor cunt and told him I'd changed my mind.

Finally I met Gareth who, so it turned out, lived around the corner from me. He was already in a band, specifically a popular Queen covers band as their John Deacon, and I don't think he'd been particularly impressed by my tape, but something I'd said had apparently given me away as a fellow Doctor Who fan (this was before it came back to the screen and was shit in 2005), so he got in touch mainly out of curiosity, and we never formed a band but have been pals ever since.

The universe was trying to tell me something, and that was to not bother forming a band. With hindsight I realise that the universe was probably right. While these tracks aren't entirely without their qualities, I couldn't really sing and the lyrics of which I was once so proud are unfortunately spattered with all sorts of faintly ludicrous references intended to make it sound a bit edgy and dangerous, which it actually wasn't.

The first four were from New Golden Age; I don't think My Remaining Eye ever appeared on anything; Hummingbird and The Girl Who Has Everything were eventually recycled as War Drum tracks; New Breed became UNIT's This Hour's Mine, which is a bit of a sore point; Cenotaph, my token dalliance with martial industrial bollocks, turned up on some UNIT tape I haven't got around to digitising (and probably won't bother); and Shit Factory (which was massively influenced by Third Door from the Left and was recorded in Lewisham with the involvement of the late Andrew Cox of Pump and MFH) ended up on War Drum's Year One tape which I haven't bothered digitising as most of the tracks were from other tapes. Also, the original master is a C54 which truncated the end of Shit Factory. As this tape is a compilation, and not so much a straight digitisation as a reconstruction from the original source tapes, there didn't seem to be much point in truncating the last track for the sake of authenticity, so it's the full version.

1 - Song of the Snake
2 - New Face in SE13
3 - New Golden Age
4 - Tin Men
5 - My Remaining Eye
6 - Hummingbird [inst. version]
7 - New Breed
8 - The Girl Who Has Everything
9 - Cenotaph
10 - Shit Factory

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Monday, 11 November 2019

Ceramic Hobs - The Garage 21/6/03 (2003) C40

This was a Mad Pride event of some description, hence the opening address by Tim Telsa who wrote something in the Mad Pride anthology put together by Robert Dellar; and this is a tape of the gig I was sent by Stan because I'm on it, so not an official release or anything. I had joined the Ceramic Hobs on stage for about thirty seconds during their previous appearance at the Garage, improvising some shit or other so as to prevent Simon reading excerpts from the Qur'an - which he threatened to do in the event of no spontaneous audience contribution being forthcoming. This time I wrote out a whole thing as an LDB performance, which is track six. I spent a few weeks memorising it, and still forgot a few parts. I'd sent Stan a tape of what I planned to do over an arbitrary loop from Illmatic, assuming the Ceramic Hobs would probably just jam while I dropped science, as we say in the rap biz, but for some reason they used the loop and just sort of noodled over it. I hope no-one was under the impression I was expecting them to use that loop from Illmatic, but never mind.

The gig was recorded due to Stan of the Ceramic Hobs suggesting I hang onto the tape recorder, except I was performing, so I left it with Dave (Apostles, Academy 23, UNIT etc. etc.) and my friend Eddy who had come to the gig, possibly to lend me moral support, or even immoral support. Anyway, that's why you can hear myself, Dave and Eddy yacking away at the beginning and then again at the end of the tape. You can also, if you listen closely, hear Jim MacDougall loudly delivering edgy comments and observations from elsewhere in the audience just in case anyone had stopped thinking about him for a moment. Crazy times.

Sound quality is a bit rough, but it sort of works, I think. Apart from me, it was a pretty great gig, which I'd say comes across on the tape.

1 - Introduction (Tim Telsa)
2 - Knight's Move
3 - Native American Healing Chant
4 - Would You Like to Kiss Me?
5 - When I Was a Little Boy
6 - We Don't Do Like That feat. LDB
7 - Xanadu in Veins
8 - Amateur Cops
9 - Lone Twister

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Friday, 1 November 2019

The Night Factory (1997) C90

Here's my final DJ set by my friend Paul Condon, whom some of you may recall as the editor of Gneurosis mag. I'm not honestly convinced this one dates from 1997, but am taking a rough guess (and to be honest I could have sworn Fiery Bliss was '95 at the latest because I recall lending it to an ex-girlfriend with whom I think I had fallen out by '96, but Paul insists that's the right date)...

Anyway, he was playing as DJ Novafrost (or possibly just Novafrost) by this point, and this is a bit of a darker set as you will hear. I think the opening material is actually Nurse With Wound. The rest I don't really have much idea about, I'm afraid. I had to be in bed by ten for most of the nineties so this is all a foreign land to me.

End of side one glued on to beginning of side two so as to hopefully present a seamless sound experience. Usual terms and conditions apply.

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