Tuesday, 30 March 2010

It's D.A.R.K. at Night

Out of the blue I received a 'phone call from Mick. Mick McDaid. Sir Michael. I hadn't heard from Mick in quite a while....
Mick used to operate a record label called Outsider Records. Hearing Mick's voice made me think of Outsider Records and I dug out my 7" vinyl copy of the Project D.A.R.K. EP "It's D.A.R.K. at Night" (OUT 005. 1997). I honestly had not played it in roughly ten years. What surprised me was that this is an early (to me) example of "turntableism", something I had not noticed before - I just thought of it as "constructed noise" - but all the tracks are built from sampling D.A.R.K. 7"'s and lock grooves and even licking the turntable stylus (needle). It's brilliant. It's a work of bloody genius.
I was first exposed to the work of Project D.A.R.K. by a guy called John Everall. In the summer of 1997 I was crashing at his (and Theresa's) house in Nottingham. John was enthusiastic about most things - but he was (that summer) in love with the LP "Excited By Gramophones" by Project D.A.R.K. I can't remember whether he had the vinyl or a copy on cassette, but at that time he was predicting big things for them. When I moved from Nottingham (back) to Lincoln a few months later and shared a house with Mick he had loads of Project D.A.R.K. releases - tapes, singles, 12"'s etc...They were (or seemingly were) everywhere.
Project D.A.R.K. was a side project of Ashley Davies & Kirsten Reynolds from the group Headbutt. Headbutt to me can be classified/filed next to Splintered, or Dying Earth period Ramleh, or Skullflower when they made decent albums....I had a vinyl LP by Headbutt "Tiddles". Bought it cheap in York in 1997 - sold it for lots on EBay 10 years after.
So - what happened to Project D.A.R.K.? A quick google search shows them active until 2003 and then ... nothing. I met Ashley a couple of times in the early 00's. He came to some Dieter Muh gigs in London, but I thought he was just doing D.A.R.K. stuff. In the mid 00's turntableism became big. I went to two shows in Exeter with the likes of Martin Ng, Otomo Yoshida, Lepke Buckwater and Jin from the Homosexuals. Excellent stuff and I did not realise that Ashley and Kirsten were there years before....

Outsider Records only released a handful of 7"'s and one CD. The label was eclectic to say the least. The CD and first 7" was by Delphium. I am not (and never was) a big fan of Delphium. There was a 7" release by Lincoln project Cacophony '3.3' called "Kangorama", of which I thought I had but I seem to have mislaid. A split 7" of SR Meixner + Band Of Pain which is by far superior to the split 7" that Black Rose released a couple of years back and the final release by Contrastate, the 7" "Extract No.10".
By 2000 the label had finished and Mick and I went on to create the CDr label "The Mouth Label" with ultra limited releases by Column One, Government Alpha and (naturally) Dieter Muh. A few months later and I had moved to Devon.....

Important label Outsider Records. Thank You Mick.

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