Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Mothmen

When we posted that early On-U Sound compilation, Wild Paarty Sounds, the track that got most attention was by The Mothmen, Manchester’s shadowy purveyors of post-punk dub-funk. It’s well past time, we thought, to revisit them…

Their brief life is a surprisingly fascinating one. They were assembled from various Manc bands, including the Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, to form the backing for Vini Reilly on his first Durutti Column album. This line-up split and Reilly effectively went solo, and the rest of them formed The Mothmen. After a single on local label Absurd, their debut album Pay Attention was picked up by On-U Sound for their second release. Despite this, owner Adrian Sherwood played no part in the record, and only remixed one track (for the aforementioned Wild Paarty Sounds) – though drummer Chris Joyce did guest with the London Underground on some recordings. A couple of singles and a more new wave, almost Talking Heads-ish second album for Robin “M” Scott’s Do It! label were followed in early 1982 by the band splitting.

And then – Joyce and guitarist Tony Bowers joined the first line-up of a little band called Simply Red, which in turn led to Adrian Sherwood providing some remixes for that band… and rumours of an entire “Simply Red In Dub” album languishing in the vaults somewhere. Various members have also played with the Suns of Arqa over the years; sure it’s no coincidence that the first track on One Black Dot is called “Wadada”, a word very familiar to Arqanauts. And tragically, the Happy Mondays song “Cowboy Dave” was inspired by the murder of guitarist Dave Rowbotham in 1991.

Credit where it’s due: The Irene single, included for completeness, came from the much-missed Always Searching For Music.

Moth+fr.Moth+bk
Does It Matter Irene, 7″, Absurd, 1979

A. Does It Matter Irene
B. Please Let Go

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Pay Attention, LP, On-U Sound, 1980

A1. Afghan Farmer Driving Cattle
A2. Animal Animaux
A3. Not Moving
A4. Factory/Teapoint/Factory
A5. Please Let Go
A6. Tardis (Sweep is Dead, Long Live Sweep)
B1. The Mothman

Link ZSLink DF • Discogs

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One Black Dot, LP, Do It!, 1982

A1. Wadada
A2. Temptation
A3. One More Weapon
A4. Let’s Talk About It
A5. No Rest
B1. One Black Dot
B2. Weekend
B3. House & Car
B4. Home Sweet Home
B5. Thank You I Like It

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Taurus – Brain Music™

Tape, self-released, 198something

Ever since the history of mankind, music was created for various purposes.

The BRAIN MUSIC™ is a very special and advanced music. It was created by highly sophisticated computer engineers, and was specially designed to be in perfect harmony with your brain.

The ultimate way to listen to this very special music is to lie comfortably on your back in your bedroom, close your eyes, listen to the music and enjoy a wonderful pleasent [sic] feeling.

A MUST for every thinking person. Try it.

We need say no more.

01. Brain Music part 1 (25:14)
02. Brain Music part 2 (22:10)

Link ZSLink K2SLink DF | Discogs

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Various – Movement, Mime & Music

movement-frontmovement-back

LP, BBC Records, 1969

Music and Sounds for music and movement from the BBC Movement, Mime and Music Series for Schools.

More Radiophonic goodness – and more – from the BBC’s fabulous world of music and movement, all produced once more by Vera Gray. In truth, with a fair amount of diligence, you could assemble most of the tracks on side two yourself, picking from the various current BBC Radiophonic Workshop, John Baker and Delia Derbyshire reissues. So why rip this for you? Simply, so you get the pleasure of trying this for yourself. Go on, clear a space in your yard or den, kick off your boots and let the music create sound pictures in your head. Rediscover, or find for the first time, the sheer visceral thrill of pretending to be a tree in a tornado, a little fish in a stream, a seed eaten and then crapped out by a common garden bird… oh sorry, that was what got us excluded back in our schooldays…

Also check that cover design (by Roy Curtis-Bramwell) – rather surprised Stereolab haven’t nicked it for an album yet.

SIDE ONE
All composed by Alan Paul.
Band 1: Trombone & piano (3 parts)
Band 2: Flute & piano (4 parts)
Band 3: Violin & piano (4 parts)
Band 4: Xylophone & piano / Violin, woodblock & piano (2 parts)
Band 5: The jig, played by separate instruments and then all together (6 parts)
Band 6: Duo for piccolo & oboe
Band 7: The two clowns – flute & bassoon
Band 8: Clarinet
Band 9: Fugue for five woodwind instruments

SIDE TWO
Bands 1-4—Useful Sound Effects to add colour
1. Fire engine, siren & flames / Jet aeroplane / Diesel train
2. Ship’s forghorn at sea / Strong wind / Thunderstorm with rain
3. Fireworks, with rockets / Machinery / Chiming bells
4. Jungle sounds / Fairground music / Dawn chorus

Bands 5-14—Radiophonic Music – useful for movement
5. David Cain – Radio Nottingham
6. Delia Derbyshire – Mattachin
7. John Baker – The Missing Jewel
8. John Baker – Fresh Start
9. John Baker – Milky Way
10. John Baker – Structures
11. John Baker – New World
12. John Baker – Festival Time
13. John Baker – The Chase
14. Delia Derbyshire – Towards Tomorrow

Link ZSLink K2SDiscogsBook your own Music and Movement session

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Howard J Davidson – Discoveries Underwater

LP/CD, BBC, 1988

Here’s some sleepy sub-aquatic television soundtrack music, as used in the documentary of the same name made by the BBC. It’s licensed from Ocean Disques, more usually a new age label, of the sort you see with their own little electronic display in craft shops and garden tool stores, but we think this transcends the usual beige dribbling. YMMV.

Incidentally, Discogs suggests this is the same Howard Davidson who conducted the orchestra on Gavin Bryars’ orginal Obscure label recording of The Sinking of the Titanic but we’re not totally convinced. Any thoughts?

A1. B’breath (Theme from Discoveries Underwater)
A2. Panarea
A3. (As a Mark of Respect) No one Shall Enter the Ship
B1. Aqua Sub Aqua
B2. Isle Royal
B3. Atocha
B4. Truk Lagoon

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Null – Saishiyu Bushitsu

LP, Nux Organisation, 1985

The first album release from the Nux Organisation, the ultra-collectable Japanese noise rock label, was this earth-devouring slab of miasma from KK Null. The disc was later remastered and reissued by those dedicated noiseniks at Forced Exposure in 1990, in a pretty cool sleeve (second image above) but the original is just gorgeous – 200 copies in handmade, screenprinted metal sleeves. Ah, we love just to hold it… All music was recorded by KK Null, on April 9th and 13th, 1985. The title translates as “Ultimate Material”, apparently. Which makes sense.

A. Ultima (21:40)
B. Materia (20:39)

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Paul Nagle – Chimera

Tape, Soft Room, 1982

Thirty years ago, Paul Nagle was one of the leading lights in British cosmic synth music. With several dozen self-released tapes to his name, and almost as many compilation appearances (the Flowmotion album or Third Mind’s Visions comp perhaps being the most noteworthy), his lush Berlin School-inspired keyboard workouts walked the fine line between sweet and severe. Truth be told, too often they fell on the wrong side, with many tracks named after episodes from Lord of the Rings or fantasy games. Which means that most of that early stuff is unjustly overlooked – just look at all those titles listed on Discogs, barely heard. There was a reissue of his first two tapes by Vinyl-on-Demand a year or so back, but that was all.

More recently Paul has been playing out as part of synth outfits like Cosmic Smokers and the Joint Intelligence Committee, which are more modern in sound, and thus less interesting to us at least. With all things Krautrock and cosmic synthy – and New Age slush too – being rediscovered by a new generation of hipsters, perhaps his time will come too.

A1. Metal Water
A2. 732 and 815
A3. The Ultiman
A4. Marid
A5. Bedenke Ich Bin
B1. Chimera
B2. Cerin Amroth
B3. Fallow
B4. Phaeta
B5. Firvulag

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Peter de Havilland – Bois de Boulogne

LP/CD, Venture, 1987

Pete de Havilland was, if we believe what we read online, a part-time Vivienne Westwood model, an in-house musical arranger for Virgin, and a member of an apparently unrecorded London band called The Mau-Maus (different to the three bands of that name on Discogs). Who really knows? Not the internet.

Whatever the story – and Peter, you are very welcome to pop back to our Comments section and actually answer some of our questions – this is delicious modern neo-classical music. Cyclical minimalism, some of the sounds audibly emanating from Fairlight samples, that in places summons up the rattling verve of Mchael Nyman’s soundtrack miniatures for Peter Greenaway’s early short films. Drifts into new agey territory only occasionally (well, it is on Venture), and mostly this is well worth a listen or tracking down. We like it.

01. Escher (10:30)
02. Shaku (Cause) (2:42)
03. Myoho (5:02)
04. Shaku (4:02)
05. Shaku (Chant) (1:57)
06. Bois de Boulogne (Theme & Improvisation) (18:58)
07. Shaku (Effect) (1:20)

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Revolutions Per Minute (The Art Record)

RPM

2xLP, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc/The Charing Hill Company, 1982

Ah, art. What would we do without it, pop kids? And hey, you know, some of those real-life, full-time artistic types, they can rock out too. Why look, here’s a double album full of their grrrrreatest bits.

A scarce double disc of the great and the good from the early 1980s NYC art scene, this is a very mixed bag of sound pieces, spoken word and, well, some songs. But there are some gems here too, so this isn’t just notable for its rarity. The Bill Burroughs piece has his voice slowly set out of phase like an early Steve Reich piece. And the Terry Fox excerpt, from recordings made from a show where he wired very lengthy steel springs from the altar to the doors of an Italian church and then plucked them like the world’s largest guitar, basking in the gloriously cavernous reverb, is pretty damn special. There’s more of Fox’s wire music on his album Ataraxia.

This was released in a limited run, in a gatefold covered in notes, plus a couple of large fold-out posters with further sleevenotes and alternative cover designs. There was also a 500-copy run with prints from some of the contributors as a collector’s item. We ain’t got that one.

01. Jud Fine – Polynesian/Polyhedron (3:12)
02. Eleanor Antin – Antinova Remembers (4:12)
03. Terry Fox – Internal Sound (4:21)
04. Margaret Harrison – First Lines (2:46)
05. Les Levine – Would Not Say No to Some Help (4:10)
06. Hannah Wilke – Stand Up (3:21)
07. Douglas Davis – How to Make Love to a Sound (4:21)
08. Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid – Russian Language Lesson (3:21)
09. Helen & Newton Harrison – Extract from The Second Lagoon: A Memoriam to John Isaacs (2:29)
10. Vincenzo Agnetti – Pieces of Sound (4:30)
11. Chris Burden – The Atomic Alphabet (0:31)
12. Piotr Kowalski & William Burroughs – You Only Call the Old Doctor Once (4:45)
13. Ida Applebroog – Really, is That a Fact? (3:09)
14. Edwin Schlossberg – Vibrations/Metaphors (4:52)
15. SITE – Comments on SITE (2:46)
16. R Buckminster Fuller – Critical Path (2:52)
17. Thomas Shannon – Smashing Beauty (4:02)
18. Conrad Atkinson – The Louis XIV Deterrent (5:20)
19. David Smyth – Typewriter in D (3:35)
20. Todd Siler – Think Twice (3:17)
21. Joseph Beuys – Excerpt from Cooper Union Dialogue (4:07)

Link ZSLink K2SLink DFDiscogs | Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc RPM notes

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Drop – Beat Bytes

12″, Beat Bytes, 1987

More mid-80s turntable cut-ups from anonymous creators. The Scratchmasters boot credited this to DJ Head. Possibly aka Pete Smith. Or maybe Cesare, sometime KLF/JAMMs DJ. We’ve seen this credited to all three and more besides. When we bought it, it was tagged by the record store guys as “Beat Bite” by Drop. Whatever it’s called, this is in essence a massive mash-up of every classic early Public Enemy track. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 200 copies only. More information very gratefully received.

UPDATE And after we posted this first time around, we received that info too…

Hey’all,
Chez (DJ Cesare) here just flying through… It’s actually “Beat Bytes” by Drop, released as a white label promo in 1988. Drop were DJ Cesare with engineer Pete Smith. It was recorded ‘live’ using only 2 turntables and a mixer, layering beats and scratches onto an 8 track tape machine in Gee Street Records’ basement.

There you go, straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. Thanks, Chez! You’re the man.

A. Burn the Place pt 1 (5:56)
B. Burn the Place pt 2 (6:03)

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Japan Bashing vols 1-3

It’s strange to look back and realise that even as late as 1990, the new Japanese experimental rock music was a rarity in the West. Fuelled by the desperately tantalising reviews of discs on Alchemy, PSF and Bron in the pages of the irreplaceable Forced Exposure magazine, noiseheads were drooling at the thought of this brain melting psych racket finally making its way beyond Japan’s borders. So praise was duly given to the fine people of Public Bath Records, creators of these three seminal EPs of new Japanese rock racketry. These days, as the saying goes, nobody knows if it really happened. Japan Bashing Volume 1, 7″, Public Bath, 1990 • Discogs A1. Boredoms – Discow Moscow A2. UFO or Die – Space Disco B1. Omoide-Hatoba – Linear Motor Jet Shop B2. Hanadensha – Future Deadlock Japan Bashing Volume 2, 7″, Public Bath, 1990 • Discogs A. Subvert Blaze – Butterfly (Away Mix) B1. Playmate – Upside Down B2. Playmate – Life is Never Too Short Japan Bashing Volume 3, 2×7″, Public Bath, 1991 • Discogs A. Hijokaidan – Theme of the Taste of Wild West B. Solmania – Highdrophobia Part 2 C. Hanatarash – Galaxy Boost & Hanataradelic Planet Dub (Sore Diamond Remix) D. Masonna – Hot Licks From a Cunning Linguist All three in one at new ZSK2S

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