Sunday, 28 February 2010


"Totnes...What A Mess...Totnes" to paraphrase the Prats "Inverness".
Or "I Love The Smell Of Incense Sticks In The Morning......It Reminds Me Of Totnes" to totally paraphrase or even misquote Robert Duvall as Lt. Col. Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now"

Now the Famalie Cammai have become travelling and/or nomadic we shall be visiting small towns and villages in Devon and Cornwall. Yesterday we embarked on a journey to Totnes. It's about 7 or 8 miles South East from where I live. Totnes is kind of alternative culture heaven. Not a place where all roads meet, but a place where all ley-lines meet. A small town occupied by ex-hippies, alternative therapists and a Conservative stronghold. Not an ideal place for me - but what it does have is excellent vegetarian restaurants and charity shops that still stock vinyl! I have been down here in the South-West for 7 years and this was my 4th time to Totnes. On my last visit I picked up a 7" by Sheffield funksters Workforce on the Rorschach Product label. (1986). Very happy I was too - Workforce being ex-Chakk members. This time I found a couple of records...Passage "Degenerates" LP that was going for a fiver, but was in such a cak condition that I decided against and John Cooper Clarke's "Snap, Crackle and Bop" LP on Epic Records. (It didn't have the lyric book in the top pocket but I have got a copy of his book "Ten Years In An Opened Neck Shirt", I found that in a charity shop in Bovey Tracy for a pound). There was also Wayne County + The Electric Chairs LP "Storm The Gates Of Heaven" which I could not force myself to buy again! And The Wolfgang Press 1st LP (I have this already - otherwise a change of underpants would have been needed).
Tamsin picked up some nice (but expensive) wool from one of the myriad, nay plethora of wool, beads, needlecraft type shops and Oscar got a carrier bag full of toy cars and monsters from the various charity shops and market stalls. Veggie meal at The Willow restaurant was £24 (for 4 - inc. overpriced organic lager) all in all, a good day out.
If travelling through the South West I do recommend stopping in Totnes - a walk up and down the high street'll take an hour or so...and it is where 23 Skidoo performed "The Culling Is Coming".

The Cooper Clarke LP took me back. It is a long while since I've heard any JCC.
He is a genius. Full stop. I do prefer his non-musical output though. "Innocence" EP withstanding. Back in the day that EP was the only JCC in my collection. The LP "Snap Crackle and Bop" came too late. Listening to it now, it's not that good. Lyrically it is outstanding. "Evidently Chickentown" had me and the kids dancing - simple rhythm machine and snare beat. other than that the music sounds like a cross between Sad Cafe and The Albertos (with a bit of The Smirks). Does not really work. The only track where the music does suit JCC lyrics is "Beasley Street", which still has me in tears. (I have lived there)!
John Cooper Clarke is a genius. In the days of punk poets he set the bar at a very high level. In fact - nobody touched that bar.....Attila The Stockbroker, Seething Wells etc. Not in a piss mark of John. I used to visit a squat in Salford (1983) and on the middle floor was punk-poet Dino The Frog. Whatever happened to Dino? Probably living in Totnes...

Section 25

Very sad to learn about the death of Larry Cassady today. Section 25 are one of my favourite bands of all time. Their records are still highly relevant in my life today.
I saw them on many occassions as they played the triangle of Retford, Nottingham and Sheffield often in the late 1970's - early 1980's. My favourite SXXV gig being when they supported A Certain Ratio at Nottingham Rock City and played tracks from the first album. The final time I got to see them they had expanded from a three piece to a five or six piece! 1984 at the Hacienda in Manchester.
I shall now go and play "Charnel Ground".

Dining Out On Campbell's Soup

Only two months in to the year and I have three new Astral Social Club releases. Two of them coming in a jiffy this week, along with the Early Hominids CDEP.
Firstly "Metal Oblation", a CDrEP on the (new to me) Apollolaan Recordings label. I am thinking that this is a Dutch label (?). Limited to 100 copies and lasting a little over 25 minutes this is a fine EP. 5 tracks that melt in to one, easy listening and excellent Campbell fare. No punches or surprises pulled here - this is why we buy Astral Social Club. The photocopied insert is pretty cheap and nasty . A pet hate of mine I'm afriad, these hand drawn and hand written inserts, they usually accompany stuff that comes out of Scotland. Mmmmm, is Apollolaan a Scottish label? I played Astral Social Club "#21" directly afterwards and it is a nice follow. 30 odd minutes this time. "Colt" opening up the CDr sounding like an attack of the fax machines - chaos of speeds, blips, tweeks and electronic buzzes. Like the aforementioned release all tracks melt in to the singular and "Lunar" takes us in to a great psychedelic swirl of electronica, rhythms and samples - speeded up and slowed down cassette whirr, heavy keyboards and .. well, sounds that I just cannot recognise. Track 5 "Duct" is "Information Overload" again. Masses of beeps, clicks, whizzes and burrs like when you see documentaries of old massive Babbidge style computers with discs rolling backwards and forwards and soundtracks of beeps, clicks, etc. Lovely stuff. Shorter than the other ASC label CDr's but I must mention that the artwork is changing. Early doors and all Astral Social Club "#" series CDr's had the same sleeve, just different coloured logos on the front sleeve, now the releases are becoming more stylised. I wish Neil had stayed with the "uniform" sleeve - still no going back now. These CDr's'll get played but still nothing compares to "Stig 'Fucking' Anderson" on these two.
Early Hominids 3"CDrEP released by new French label La Station Radar is a different barrel of fish. Recorded live at Batley Baths. Early Hominids are Neil Campbell and Paul Walsh (aka Paul Noonen) both ex members of Smell + Quim. This is 20 odd minutes of improvised "noise" rather like the early days of Smell + Quim. A pleasant listen, but not one that'll have repeated plays. Perhaps I had to be there, if this gig at all existed!
See what March brings....perhaps the new Astral Social Club 3"CDr on La Station Radar if it isn't sold out.

1. Neil Campbell Live.
2. "Metal Oblation" cover.
3. "#21" cover.
4. Early Hominids "Bathz" sleeve.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

John Peel

Just finished reading the book "John Peel:A Life In Music" by Michael Heatley. I read it in week, which is strange for me - I am a notoriously slow reader - but I read the book in the style of which it was written. Quickly. After finishing the excellent "England's Dreaming Tapes" I found myself with no book to read. OK, I have Barry Hale's "Legion 49" + "Thee Psychick Bible" by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge...2009 version - but I'm not taking them to work to read! They cost too much money to be smeared by canteen food and greasy I dug down to the bottom of the "to read" pile and found this book. I picked it up for a pound at Christmas from Saint Marychurch "Animals In Distress".
I've already read the Peel (auto) biography "Margrave Of The Marshes" and his printed columns "The Olivetti Letters". I got them as Christmas/Birthday presents over the past few years - well...what do you buy a guy who likes music, but not like proper music that other people like? A couple of years ago I spent a long weekend in Penzance, Cornwall, and found it bereft of secondhand record shops and charity shops so I bought the Ken Garner "Peel Sessions" book. All these three books are great reads. Unputdownable books. "A Life In Music" is the opposite. An easilyputdownable book.
It was 50p. 50p. You can't go in to a charity shop and not spend money. 50p on a book about John Peel. Bargain.
This book is a fleshed out obituary. The publishers, Michael O'Mara Books, gave the job to music journalist Heatley to flesh out the obituaries that were in the nationals and music papers and add tributes from the fan pages on the Internet...collate the material - put in some pictures that are free - i.e. pictures of Anfield, Scissor Sisters, Radio 1 DJ's and hey presto! A book. There is one chapter in this book that covers the 1980's in 20 pages "From Hip Hop To Hardcore" that just names bands that Peel played. Throughout the 1980's there is no insight to Peel's life. Not that I am interested - it was all covered in the (auto)biography - but it is just bad journalism.
In 1983 he played Stump and The Smiths and had a session by etc etc. In 1984 he featured records by Sonic Youth and Shamen. Just very poor.
I do not recommend this book.
The last few pages are of tributes from artistes who have been touched by John. A blatant exercise in appropriation from Peel tributes pages on the Internet.

One night - August 1978 - I was in a hotel in Newquay (Cornwall) on holiday with my parents. They had had a long day and were ready for bed by ten. I, as a 16 year old, wanted to stay up and carry on drinking at the hotel bar - but i was sent to my room. Mum said "Listen to John Peel". The hotel had one of those radios built in to the walls - so I did and immediately heard Ultravox! and Ian Dury. From that night on - I was hooked. In 1981 I taped every Peel Session. I think I am right in saying that the first Peel Session of 1981 was Crispy Ambulance.
My Peel story: I met John Peel one night. It was 1985, I am sure it was 1985 and Peel was curating a week at the ICA in London (in conjunction with Heineken Lager). Thursday night was Shoot Dispute! (From Scotland), Big Flame (From Hulme, Manchester) and SPK. I travelled from Hulme, Manchester as a guest of SPK.
The gig ended in a riot. A riot at the ICA! It was all down to the London Fire Brigade and them not allowing SPK to use axle grinders and flame throwers during their set and SPK refusing to play under those conditions. I was in the "changing rooms" as the conversation was taking place. Squatting on the floor next to Brian Williams and a guy dressed as Fireman Sam - it was surreal. But surreal, real surreal was yet to happen. SPK played for 10 minutes. "Junk Funk" was the opener, then Brian started with the axle grinder and the sound was turned off. Audience threw objects at the stage, picked up monitors to throw at the speakers etc. Graeme Revell handed me his Fairlight synth and said "Keep It Safe".
I ran backstage, Fairlight underarm and hid behind a large PA cabinet case. I was soon to be joined by Bruce Foxton and John Peel. We looked each other in the eyes as if to say "FUCK" and then Bruce said "Nice Synth those", and that is all I remember. I was squatting behind a PA Stack cabinet case staring John peel in the face whilst a riot ensued all around and Bruce bloody Foxton is trying to chat to me about Fairlight synths.
I was staying in Mile End that night and I caught the last tube back dressed in army fatigues. I got stick from Cockney wide boys all singing the Status Quo song "You're In The Army Now".
A night I shall never forget.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Was asked a few weeks ago to perform live in London. The venue is The Ivy House in Nunhead, or Peckham Rye depending on which search engine you use, this will be the first Dieter Muh live gig of 2010 - it will also be the first Dieter Muh live gig with just myself.
There are other live dates being planned for later in the year (and I thought these would be the first Dieter Muh gigs as solo performer), but being asked is always an honour and also on the bill are Plurals.
Last year I got in to the sound of Duncan Harrison and he kindly mailed me a jiffy of his wares as a solo artiste and as a member of Plurals. I played the Plurals stuff loud as I pottered around Hartop Towers...liked...and told him so. Now I am doing a gig with Plurals I thought I should reacquaint myself with their sound.
I played the CDr "Half Reality". Released by Dead Sea Liner label. When I first played this I was reminded of Popul Vuh + Moebius and the first track on this "EP" (it's 25 minutes long) still leaves me in this frame of mind. There's lots of chords played by keyboards and guitars being held by feedback on the brink of destruction creating a swirling swamp of psychedelia that lifts and switches from ear to ear. (phew)!! It's good stuff - very cinematic. Track 2 begins like the Spelt/Lynch soundtrack to "Eraserhead" with factory ambiance and the sounds of escaping gas ... very good .. but soon switches back in to heavy Yamaha keyboard chords and swirling guitar feedback and a depressive vocal drone. It kind of veers into Skullflower territory but doesn't quite reach that self-indulgent level. Think Astral Social Club, think Culver ... It's OK.
What I like is the sound is obviously produced by "musical" instruments (No laptops were harmed during the making of this release) - I could be wrong, it will be funny if I arrive at the gig and see Plurals set up with three laptops - and recorded live.
I am looking forward to The Ivy House gig. (March 19 by the way). I shall be doing an improvised piece lasting 23 minutes of all new Muh material + sound......

Friday, 19 February 2010

Killing Joke

Just spent a pleasant while listening to Killing Joke's second and best LP "What's THIS for...". A classic LP and one I used to dance around and gesticulate to when it was released. I was never a big KJ fan though, never saw them live (although they were constantly playing nearby venues in Sheffield and Nottingham) and gave up with them after the "Chop Chop" 7" - after a poor showing with "Empire Song".
Back in the day (late seventies - maybe 1980) I was in Lincoln's premier indie record shop "Sanctuary Records" and the guy behind the counter (Nick Green - drummer with local heroes Sinking Ships) handed me a copy of the 1st Killing Joke LP with the words "'ere you'll like this". Nick Green gave me the 1st Killing Joke LP, and like I did. I whipped up the "Wardance" 7" and the not so good "Turn To Red" EP. Even bought Ski Patrol records because they were on the same label. The second LP was their climax though.
I found the LP for a pound not so long back + the "Tension" 10" for ten bob.
Now, nigh on 30 years later and Killing Joke still sound bloody fresh and exciting. I can hear the influence of The Glitter Band in their sound, and dub. There is also the sound of what was around in there too - Theatre of Hate, Public Image Limited springing immediately to mind. And now I can hear Ministry, Minister Of Noise and even Skullflower in Killing Joke. I'm going to have to buy the 1st LP now.

In the day Killing Joke were a very "secret" band. Not much known about the members and a manifesto wrapped in the occult/numerology/fascist politics etc - it went over my head at the time - I know they relocated to Iceland to await the end of the world and came out the other side with a bloody poor LP, but a lot was left in secrecy. Is there a book on/about Killing Joke? I'd buy it. I know they have reformed - was even tempted by a London show in 2008 but thought about a venue full of ex-Goths and Chicken Dancers put me off.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

England's Dreaming Tapes #2

A couple of people have E Mithered me to ask what was meant by the last sentence on the last "blog" ... "If it wasn't for The Fall"... Well, I wasn't trying to be cryptic or ought, but thanks for asking. Thanks, too, for reading, and these E Mithers weren't from my "followers" either. I don't know if I like having "followers" - I have always said: "Don't follow me...follow Satan" Ah well.
What I was trying to say was that the book seems to think that if it wasn't for the antics of a handful of folks in London in the Spring/Summer of 1976 then a lot of other groups/singers/artistes etc would never have existed, and I disagree with this. Certainly Mark E Smith was at the Sex Pistols gig in Manchester but he was already on the way to forming the Fall. Ultravox!. Pere Ubu, Devo, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire - all these existed before the Sex Pistols were formed and were producing evocative and original material.
When I heard the Sex Pistols they sounded like a tired rock band. Nothing special - it was their attitude, or that of John Lydon that made them stand out. Other than that they were a very poor "covers" band. McLaren caught the zeitgeist and when Glen Matlock left they ran out of songs because he was the main songwriter. from then on they were on a crash and burn mission. The Clash were just bloody awful. Awful bland pub rock. I got bought their "London Calling" LP for a birthday present and a ticket to see them in Leicester (Whirlwind support). Simply, bloody awful.
What the Sex Pistols did was shake the foundations. New groups who were starting around that time, bands like No Dice, Widowmaker and Burlesque just got exposed as talentless wastrels and opened the door for bands like....the bands that I liked.

Another interesting thing in the book. Captain Sensible gets a chapter to talk about the birth of The Damned and the "Anarchy" tour. He states that he cannot stand the second Damned LP "Music for Pleasure" - in fact, if he sees it in somebody's collection he will smash it up and pay the owner a tenner and be told to go and buy a better record. "Music For Pleasure" is my favourite The Damned album! I find this a lot in the books I read, my favourite seems to be the artistes albatross. Nurse With Wound "Insect + Individual Silenced" / XTC "Go+" 12"EP / Simple Minds "Reel To Real Cacophony". Last year I had Adi Newton round for a drink and a chat and I told him my favourite Clock DVA record was "Advantage", not only that but I have 2 versions of the "Breakdown" 12" - his wife said that was the worst DVA song ever recorded and she could not stand it! I bloody love it!!

Anyway. If it wasn't for The Fall.....

Monday, 15 February 2010

England Is Dreaming

Just finished reading my first book of 2010, the mammoth "England's Dreaming Tapes" by John Savage. A fascinating and "unputdownable" read that I have to thank my Mother and her Waterstones vouchers as Christmas present for. Nice one ma!
I love reading books about '76 / '77 / '78 etc. I read the "England's Dreaming" book back in 1992 and loved every page. I love reading books about the birth of punk / new wave (or whatever it is called - post punk et al). I read and collect. Books on Sex Pistols, The Roxy Club, autobiographies by Jah Wobble and John Lydon. "Scenes" like Sheffield, Manchester and the ever popular book to accompany the reformation: Gang Of Four, Throbbing Gristle, Magazine, Slits etc.... I'll buy 'em, I'll read 'em. John Savage I find a great and entertaining writer.
"Rip It Up And Start Again" though is an awful book and should be destroyed!!
Back to "England's Dreaming Tapes".
Punk Rock and its' "birth" means nothing to me. The Ramones, New York Dolls, Punk mag etc - through to Sex Pistols, The 101'ers, The Clash in London 1976. Interesting but nothing that I can relate to. Sex Pistols as an art movement / situationalist propaganda against Sex Pistols as an advert for Vivienne Westwoods' clothes shop - interesting. But at the time I never liked The Sex Pistols or The Clash. Sure, I bought "God Save The Queen" in 1977, who didn't, but that was my token buy.

I was 15 / 16 in 1977. Still at school, and along with a chap called Mark Collins, the only "punks" in school. 1977 and I was still listening to Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull - stuff that was deemed "Rock A-Z" in the racks of the local record shop. My sister-Julie-then brought home (from school) 2 records - firstly Sex Pistols "Anarchy" on EMI and then "Damned Damned Damned" LP by The Damned, it was this record that changed my life. The soundtrack of the road to Damascus. Punk 1976 never hit Lincoln, or its' cosy overspill town of North Hykeham. We had to wait until 1977 - and then it wasn't the great and the good that are written about in these books on "punk" that came and visited the frozen North (or East Midlands depending on your knowledge of geography) it was bands like The Stukas, The Depressions, Eater, The Adverts, The Vibrators...Bethnal for fucks sake that came to play for us all. And reading the books like "England's Dreaming Tapes" it sort of makes us parochials seem like second class citizens because we weren't there when the Pistols played Andrew Logan's party!
Back in 1977 Julie used to bring other albums in to the house. Albums by the likes of Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Ultravox! and The Jam, and it was these bands - along with the Damned that I got "in to".
The first "punk" band that I ever saw were The Secret. They were supporting XTC at Nottingham Uni in January 1978. Shrink on guitar, Bobby Henry on vocals. Classic gig. I went and bought their 7" "The Young Ones" (Yes the old Cliff Richard humdinger) on Arista Records. I would give £20 for that single today!!

So what I am trying to say here: The bibles, the books, that are written about punk and then disregard other groups that were going at the same time whether or not they be old pub rock groups (like Ian Dury or The Vibrators) or so called bandwagon jumpers (like The Depressions, The Stranglers or XTC) - they are wrong. These groups brought the "vibe" the "attitude" to the North. Punk Rock was still vibrant even though the press were trying to tell us it died when The Sex Pistols split.
If it wsan't for The Fall....

1: England's Dreaming tapes book cover.
2: Me and my big sister Julie. 1978.
3: Me and my mother (Mum). 1978. (North Hykeham).

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Schuster Game Innit?

2010 brings us the new album from Schuster : "Breaking Down Into His Own Oblivion" on Schuster's own label - Adeptsound.
Starting with the excellent "B.D.'s Lament" a piece that certainly unsettles and puts me in the (right) frame of mind for listening to this album. The mood is claustrophobic and dark. A disembodied female voice recites a poem, then we are in to the magnum opus of the album "I Am Living In My Own Corpse", there is no mood shift - we remain dark, the sound is very suffocating. Repeatedly a bell sounds. Death knell? Subterranean, definitely sub terrain. Rhythm breaks for track #3: "Your House Is Marked". More head rhythm than feet and very reminiscent of Aaron Dilloway's stuff from the past year, High end rhythm pattern distressed voices from either CB radio or Police response. Damn good stuff. The last two tracks: "Manasarover" and "Burdened" kind of melt in to one. Like a come down after the heavy head rush rhythm of "Your House".....
If you are a bloody freak and have been waiting over 20 years for the new Schuster LP then you will not be disappointed.
The packaging leaves a lot to be desired. After a couple of digipack releases from Zilverhill, I thought Schuster would get a better package - but......there is better to come. Of that I am sure.

So. Who is Schuster?
Schuster is Tim Bayes.
Tim and I (and a guy called Sean) were founder members of I.B.F.
Tim and I (and a guy called Dave) were founder members of Dieter Muh.

The Schuster sound of "Assumption" + "Persecution Of Mistakes" albums was more organic with saxophone, guitars and lyrics, damned good stuff. This album is more computer based, but that does not lessen the material.
Google Adeptsound

1: Breaking Down Into His Own Oblivion CD
2: Assumption cassette.
3: Persecution Of Mistakes cassette.
4: Even The Dead Have Fingerprints cassette.
5: Schuster in India.
6: Schuster and I "enjoying" a pint on the Babbacombe Downs. Torquay. 2003.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Crispy Ambulance In North Hykeham

I have been involved in many a strange gig during my "youth" but helping organise and subsequently support Crispy Ambulance as a drummer in a left-wing political power pop trio called Total Strangers at The Memorial Hall, North Hykeham has to be top 5, if not 3.
Mark Collins. An old schoolfriend called Mark Collins got me in to it. At school there were two people who liked "punk" (we are in 1977) and that was myself and Mark Collins. Mark was the first to form a punk band, called The Exitz. He played guitar. Vocalist was Radio Lincolnshire DJ and personality Shaun Peel - but he doesn't like to talk about it. Mark and The Exitz got a gig in 1979, Morton Hall near Swinderby in Lincolnshire. Morton Hall used to be a POW camp during the War but by 1979 was housing Vietnamese refugees and they were to be entertained by the Exitz. So important was this gig that Mark sold me his pink Woolworths buzzsaw guitar and amp for £25 and bought a big white Gibson thing that used to belong to Rob Smith of The Cigarettes. Shortly after the gig The Exitz split and I (with my Woolworths buzzsaw) formed my own band. E.S.P. Disk-rd. That's history.
Bandless but still wanting to be part of showbusiness Mark thought about being the Harvey Goldsmith of Lincoln and duly put on Crass, DIRT and Annie Anxiety at The Regency Ballroom. (we had seen 999 there in 1978). Mark lost money on the gig due to punks wrecking the toilets and smashing windows...but undeterred Mark wanted to do another show. A low key event to raise funds. Back then he really had his heart set on bringing The Fall to Lincoln, but back then The Fall were £250. I was there at Mark's house when he 'phoned Rough Trade Agency to see who he could get at a decent price - he was shouting names at me when all of a sudden he said "Crispy Ambulance Seventy Quid". YES!! We had The Crispies booked. £70 was a lot of money in 1981 - it was a months dole. Mark skimped on the venue and booked The Memorial Hall in North Hykeham - 5 miles south of Lincoln, but the town in which we both lived.
Parallel to this my ex-brother-in-law John was forming a band with ex-Pseudo Existors bass player John Loonam. They held auditions for a drummer and the drummer of E.S.P. Disk-rd passed the audition. Dave Uden. There were gigs lined up including Newark with Metamorphosis and headlining on a Sunday night at the Pyewipe Inn in Saxilby! It was because John had a 4K P.A. that Mark and I added his band "Total Strangers" to the bill. Also billed were a synth / new romantic band called "Sixth Sense". A few days after passing the audition Dave decided he did not want to drum anymore and sold me his drumkit for £100 (paid in monthly installments). I (by default) was the new Total Strangers drummer until they could find a permanent fixture.

It is now the day of the gig. 18th November 1981. I am 19 years old. I am the drummer in a band supporting Crispy Ambulance. At this point all they had released was the "Cradle To the Grave" 7", the "Live On A Hot August Night" 12" on Factory Benelux and the "Deaf" 10". No LP as yet, still Mark and I are #1 Crispy Ambulance fans. We'd seen them a couple of times at Retford Porterhouse - supporting New Order and Section 25. The Peel Session was to die for!!
John turned up at around 5pm to set up the PA and backline, then The Crispies turned up. 5 of them in a battered white Transit van. They had beards they had moustaches and flares and the drummer had an Adidas bag with the "YES" logo drawn on it in blue biro. Bizarre. Doors at 7:30, so while Mark manned the doors John and I took Crispy Ambulance for a pint in The Fox & Hounds. Alan (the singer) found it very hard to believe that he was playing a place where a: there was no record shop and b: the nearest City - Lincoln - had no shop that stocked Crispy Ambulance records.... It was a fun pint I can tell you. There I was bedecked in TG/SPK/23 Skidoo button badges and he said "Have you ever heard of Throbbing Gristle"? "Duh"!
We strolled the 50 yards back to the Memorial Hall to find an audience of about 10.
Sixth Sense never played - their singer (Simon) had a migraine. Total Strangers were OK I suppose, I haven't a cassette recording, but Crispy Ambulance were absolutely blinding. Last week I received a CDR of their set. Sat at the mixing desk at the time was arch bootlegger Tim Bayes, and he has dug out the tape - cleaned it up and mailed me a copy on CDR. It's beauty. At the time I was not that impressed and I think that was because (looking at the set list) they were experimenting with new (Plateau Phase) material. Sat at the back watching Total Strangers play in front of 10 people they thought what the fuck - let's try out some new stuff. The gig was unique.
Mark and I lost £ on the night and paid Crispy Ambulance £35. They didn't grumble - or at least not to us. Probably spotted we were fans (?).
I went to see Crispy Ambulance at The Band On The Wall, Manchester in 1998. their first gig in 17 years. I stood at the bar next to Alan the singer...I should've asked him about North Hykeham and his recollections but I was too scared.
I have not seen or know about the whereabouts of Mark Collins since 1983.

Astral Social Club

The first and most assuredly not the last Astral Social Club release of 2010 came to Hartop Towers this week. An untitled 2 track C30 tape limited to 50 copies released by Neon Blossom Records of Chicago. Track one is a very very lo-fi stereo recording of ASC live somewhere. This is not a mixing desk recording, this is a recording from the back of the room on to a (at a guess) binatone C60 cassette. It sounds very similar to what Neil performed in Exeter in 2007, but as the cassette carries NO INFORMATION whatsoever I am left blind. I hate no information. I love information. Getting information from the noisefanatics forum site I know the track is called "Capitals Collapsed"; maybe it was recorded in London, Paris, Stockholm? Or during the global credit crunch? If side two was a similar affair then this would have been a disappointing release - but - side two is the "studio" track "Stig Fucking Anderson". Neil's paen to the former ABBA manager/songwriter/guru. A Glitter Band drum pattern looped to a japanese girl's voice saying "Stig Anderson", over and over. After a few minutes of this I thought it wass going to break out in to something completely different, but it doesn't it just shifts loop points and echoes and introduces eerie and non-cognitive sounds to the drum loop/voice. A work of bloody genius.
The last ASC release I got was the split 7" on Krayon Recordings. The track "Space Crater #1" (when played at 33rpm) evoked Cabaret Voltaire's "Three Mantras" 12". This track does the same.

The Sound Of Lithuania

Just spent a pleasant while listening to two new arrivals at Hartop Towers.
A couple of weeks back I saw listed on the noisefanatics forum a split tape by Pogrom + Oorchach. I don't know why, but the titles of both projects appealed and with a handful of Dieter Muh 7"'s I still have for trade I mailed off to Lithuania for the cassette. Unbeknownst to me the chap who is selling the tape also owns the noise/PE magazine "Terror", and a review of the single will appear in the 'zine. Chance to shift a few more copies.
The cassette arrived as did a bonus CD of Lithuanian project Budrus.
Budrus are a two-piece who operate in the area known as dark ambient. Beautiful cinematic sound, full on guitar and synth layered drones very akin to Troum, Propergol and/or Inade. The sound of desolation and decay. Stirring stuff with titles like "Glow Of Nuclear Morning" and "Is The Reaping", you know they both wear black.
The split tape (limited to 98 copies) is a different barrel of fish. Oorchach sound like Soldnergeist and/or Genocide Organ did about ten years ago. Very Cold Meat. Luckily I love the sound of this brand of Power Electronics. A Whorle of noise to militaristic vocals. Pogrom sound more organic. Lots of distorted shortwave and interfering with metal springs, again with Lithuanian vocals.
I love discovering new sounds, and this package from Vilnius has not let me down. Oorchach and Budrus stuff will have to be found during 2010, I could do with hearing more.