Friday, 7 May 2010

Choclate Monk

It was a wise decision to take today off work. I knew I'd be too knackered after a late night watching the General Election unfurl on TV. I'm not (party) politically minded or affiliated at all but once every four or five years this circus happens and last night it was nice to sit back with a couple of bottles of wine and a smorgasbord of niblets - cold comfort buffet - and watch politicians' careers end and pundits verbally masturbate over anything that moves....Good stuff.
It was a wise decision for the postman had a full sack for Hartop Towers and to be in instead of having to traipse tomorrow to the sorting office is a blessed relief.
One of the parcels contained a couple of releases from Chocolate Monk. A week or so ago I was trawling the Internet (I don't surf...I trawl) to find some alternatives to Norman and found Brighton's Chocolate Monk. I was familiar with the name and the guy that runs the label - I've got some Prick Decay - but I have never bought from them before. A couple of their releases caught the eye.
Aaron Dilloway "Door With No Handle" CDr is a top class release. Recorded at Brighton's "Colours Out Of Space" festival in 2008, the CDr is nearly 30 minutes of prime Dilloway. One track separated into six segments of powerful looped noise. After seeing Aaron perform a similar set last year at London's ICA I know that the noise is created simply by FX pedals and contact microphones (maybe a WEM Copycat)? Powerful attention grabbing stuff and to have witnessed this performance in the flesh must have been quite something. I am slowly building up my Dilloway collection and I have yet to be disappointed. It was in 2008 that Aaron Dilloway first got in touch with me. He wanted to stock the I.B.F. Harbinger Sound 12"EP for his Hanson catalogue so we did a trade and I slipped in some Dieter Muh - then there was talk of him performing in the UK, then he said he wanted Dieter Muh to support....all was looking good. A while afterwards I got an E Mail from George from Turgid Animal asking (on Aaron's behalf) if we wanted to play in Newcastle. No fee - no expenses and a floor to "crash on". Newcastle! I live in South Devon....Paris is nearer than Newcastle (and I can understand the French language). I had to decline. A shame.
I am still actively collecting Dilloway releases + if you have any...please let me know.
Also in the Chocolate Monk package was a CDr by Neil Campbell + John Clyde-Evans. "Live At Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. 22 November 1998". (catchy title). This release is a little of a disappointment. 23 minutes of poorly recorded live material. Campbell on cello + Clyde-Evans on violin recorded on a Walkmans (not mixing desk) at the back of the gallery. The sound is muffled and there is "audience chatter", if I was Neil or John I would not have allowed this to be released - or at least let it be known it is a "document" release...if you know what I mean? (For Campbell completeists only). A shame but lesson learnt. Both releases cost me £5,50 (inc.P+P). That's fair for the Dilloway CDr although the material deserves better packaging (It is also a Hanson cassette release and if you see it - buy it)! But I think £5.50 is a little cheeky for the Campbell / Clyde-Evans release.
I remember playing a gig with John Clyde-Evans way back in 1999. Steve Underwood asked us to do a gig in Brixton with Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, Colin Potter, Putrefier + Nomex - we agreed (of course), then he offered the Nottingham gig (I think someone must have pulled), so Dave and I took it as a "warm up" gig for London. The gig turned out to be the straw that broke the camel's back as it were for Steve as it was the gig where nobody turned up. No body came. I kid not. Not one person came out that night to watch DSM, Dieter Muh + John Clyde-Evans live.
What was also strange was that John was playing with his friend Ross (from the band Hood) and they produced some nice improv. ambient drone type sounds. They played squatted on the floor. But once they had finished they packed up their keyboard and sax and left leaving Guido + Sam of DSM playing in front of 5 people and ourselves then playing in front of 5 people. I would have thought for moral support that John and Ross and their entourage of three could have sat the evening out and shown Steve some kind of support.
That night we recorded the gig and sections from that performance ended up on "Cari Saluti". The sleeve from the EE Tapes release is a photograph taken by Mick McDaid on that night. All good things.

I shall keep a tab on Chocolate Monk releases, there might be some gems popping up. At least now I know what I am letting myself in for.....

1: Aaron Dilloway "Door With No Handle" CDr. (Chocolate Monk. choc 193).
2: Neil Campbell + John Clyde-Evans CDr. (Chocolate Monk. choc 142), design by Karen Constance.
3: Das Synthetische Mischgewebe / Dieter Muh Nottingham Flyer. 1999. Design by Steve Underwood.

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