Tuesday 20 October 2015

Machines At Last - "Machines At Last" (Quick Stab ‎– PROD 17) 1982

Paul Shorthouse surfaced again on Quick Stab in 1982,collaborating with Rob Lawrence and chums(which included Dean Poole, of 'A Bagful of Angst' compilation fame), to produce a minimal synth classic to rival anything from 5XOD,or even The Dada Computer,surely not?

DOWNLOAD the digital version at last HERE!

Monday 19 October 2015

Paul Shorthouse - "Push Button Animal" (Quick Stab PROD 3) 1980

Another of the frequent contributors to the 5XOD family tree was Bristolian chum Paul Shorthouse;who's predeliction towards Jazzy guitar, proggy noodlings,and, even more disturbingly, Mike Oldfield style 'Double Speed Guitar', make this tape more Post-Prog rather than Post-Punk. The title, "Push Button Animal" must refer to pressing 'Play' and 'Record' on the cassette deck rather than buttons on a synthesiser. Very representative of the lost generation caught between 1973 and 1978, who still had long-ish hair,beards and bought the reformed Van Der Graaf Generator mark 2 albums (and why not?Brilliant records,but not bought by new wavers). The Mike Oldfield-isms can be overlooked, and one can focus on the ambient free experimentalism and improvisation revealing a thinly veiled taste for Ornette Coleman and the Free Jazz movement.
Being a Punk Outsider was a definite advantage,allowing a person to admit to his real tastes and influences.The real joy about Post-Punk was its lack of 'Punk Rock' which had become a musical version of 'The Village' from the cult TV series 'The Prisoner'. If you tried to escape, that Punk Rock Balloon thing would come and drag you back. Remember the uproar when Johnny Rotten did that Capital radio show, and admitted he liked Neil Young, Jethro Tull and van der Graaf?
Paul Shorthouse was one of those who stood up,albeit in an obscure understated way, and sang "I am Not a Number, I'm a Free Jazz man!"......Now bring on that Double speed Guitar.....and at LAST! TUBULAR BELLS*!
(*great album,by the way,and the second album i ever bought!?...after Slade's "Old,New,Borrowed and Blue"....i've always been an eclectic twat,sorry?)


A1Ear Opener 1/2
A3Home Run
A4Pete's Dilemma
A5C.W.C.P. (Christopher's Whipped Cream Profiteroles)
B1Plastic Surgery
B2Need Your Love
B3All The Poison
B4Push Button Animal
B5Chicken Wing
B75am Job
B9Wicked Wanda

DOWNLOAD paul to your house shortly HERE!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Suisse - "Alien Pulse" (MAP Tapes MAP9) 1982

After the 10 hours of the MAP 7 series, let us turn the spotlight on a frequent guest on those recordings, the mysterious female called 'Suisse' (Which I have mentioned before ,is the French word for Switzerland,but is probably a quirky way of spelling Suzie,akin to the the more famous Siouxsie?)
This reminds me of my early attempts at making a record while having no instruments. The short-wave station used brings back eerie memories of that same morse code call sign that we now know is a clandestine signal for some agent of espionage on one side of the Iron Curtain. ( V,V,V,B,B,K,is my translation of these dots and dashes ;what that meant would only be known by the spy with the decryption device.......check out my post on 'numbers stations', a truly weird music indeed.).
Instead of dots and dashes,this tape now comes to you as ones and zero's, and the decryption device is your brain;ironically transmitted to your home by one of the most useful inventions by the espionage network,...the Internet.
Mixed in with the recordings of ,I assume it was Suisse herself, walking in the street, and collages of radio reports from the 1981 riots,we are treated to Suisse and friend,singing some bizarre urban bluegrass tunes that are very reminiscent of The Shaggs second album.Also we have a couple of fine minimal synth moments, and a fine whispered 'hit' tune in 'Artificial Heart'. A murky and claustrophobically  intimate classic, which is best listened to while doing the washing up.....it says on the insert.

Track Listing:

01 Warning Systems

02 Sun Sacrifice
03 Salem
04 Knicker Two
05 Artificial Heart
06 The Apparition
07 I Went Walking
08 Pauline's Working at the Steam Press
09 Alien Pulse
10 News Flash on One
11 The Sweetest Gift
12 You Tell Me That I'm...
13 More Than Words Can Say
14 Live at Longbourn
15 Epilogue To Salem

DOWNLOAD  an aliens pulse HERE!

Saturday 17 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 no.10 (Monkeys,Bees and Cats)" - (Map Tapes MAP 7) 1981

At last, the final installment of the epic MAP 7 odyssey; the UK cassette culture equivalent of the Icelandic saga's,Tolstoy's War and Peace,the ten hour long 'Shoah' documentary or the Greek legends.
The difference being that "MAP 7" doesn't bore the shit out of you. Constantly inventive, while battling economic restraints; always moving into different but related sonic territory,never boring. The shear weight of material is an astounding feat of ruthless creativity; either that or he had nothing else better to do.Either way this work survives as monument to the UK DIY scene of the early 80's, albeit a very well hidden monument,in the shadows around several corners behind a hill.Like erecting the Statue of Liberty in a crater on the dark side of the Moon(Obviously made from cardboard,sticky tape,and spit), only occasionally spotted by the odd errant Russian Lunar surface surveying satellite (I suppose that's a metaphor for oneself,beaming back the info to you back at mission controlski in Kazakhstan?) 

Track Listing:

01 Endomorphine Test Batch
02 My Face
03 Chimetime
04 In the Monkey House
05 Stop / Intruder
06 Rhesus Rhesus
07 Churchscrape / Clockface
08 'Can Bees Hear Sound?' (A Soundtrack)
09 Reprise
10 Skin a Cat
11 Kill that Hero

Friday 16 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 no.9 (Sum [Over] Load Headphone Musik)" - (Map Tapes MAP 7) 1981

If your headphone musik of choice is the theme to Pac-man as played by Jandek,and remixed by Minoy, then you're in luck.That's the first track,followed by a the Theroretical Girls do Asteroids.Throbbing Gristle does Space invaders,The Residents weird up Donkey Kong, and Brian Eno does an ambient Super Mario.Some tracks even sound like an accurate field recording of someone playing 'pong'(the earliest video game) while Whitehouse rehearse in the apartment below. It really does sound like this! All in glorious lo-bit shit-fi.Can it really get any better than this?

Track Listing:

01 A.C.C.C.C.C.
02 Abbatoir
03 The Invisible Song
04 Daft Vacant Meets the Princess
05 Tangled Mind
06 Review
07 Probe Droidxalpha 1
08 Of The & The
09 'Q'
10 Saigon
11 11 TR
12 The Endless Tunnel
13 Cleaning Up
14 Some Testcard Music

Thursday 15 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.8 (Track one,side one is Dedicated To The U.S.A." (Map Tapes MAP7) 1981

This one's got three cover versions on it,including a rare cover version of one of Throbbing Gristle's greatest hits, "Hamburger Lady",here shortened to just "Hamburger. Instantly recogniseable for me was the Siouxsie and the Banshees album opener "Mirage", which i admit to knowing all the words, as one played "The Scream" to death in 1978; for me they broke up in '79, the reformed versions were bloody terrible! Roxy Music were the glam band that inspired everyone,albeit secretly in the punk and beyond era. Forget Richard Hell, Television,and The New York Dolls(Glam hangers on basically), it was Bowie, Glitter,and Roxy that made the kids open to Punk Rock and what followed it (with a fair smattering of Dr Feelgood too). Of all the american proto-punkers that held any real influence, only The Ramones contributed anything to the UK scene, that being the three and a half chord thrash template for '77 Punk, along with the biker jacket.....although thats nothing to be proud of. Bowie had a spikey haircut,dyed orange, while long haired Dickie Hell was still in reform school. Roxy prepared the kids for making music like this, on MAP 7,with their art school experimentation,due largely to patron saint of Non-Musicians,....Eno. There are few music type people who you only refer to by their sir names?....We got Mozart, Beethoven,Dylan,and...Eno? (I suppose there's Bendle too,but no-ones heard of him? Buy his book and find out more!)
This is why track one is dedicated to the U.S.A.?.....or is it because of the dumber than thou Redneck infested Bible Belt?
After droning on about where punk rock really came from,as everyone likes to philosophize at length about, lets talk about MAP 7 no.8....er.....it's fucking great! Nuff said.

DOWNLOAD the eighth commandment of map HERE!

Wednesday 14 October 2015

MAP - "Map 7 no.7 (There's A War Going On!)" (Map Tapes MAP7) 1981

By now i'm running out of adjectives,nouns and pronouns to describe this wonderful music,but i'll still give it a go,and I may run o'er old ground so please forgive me.
It can remind one of playing super mario, yes. It can, and does, sound like an inkjet printer cranking up ready to squirt its vile fluid, even if it was made in a dot-matrix epoch.Compared to modern electronic tech, this is the anti-matter sound equivalent of the Gang of Four switching back to Transistor powered amps from the tiresomely vaunted Valves. Which may seem strange from a person who detests the square waves of digital synthesis, but if one were to strive to replicate MAP's production values today, it would have much the same effect as Andy Gill's harsh staccato chopping through those harsh unforgiving transistors of the 1970's.
Well I tried!?

Track Listing:

01 Drowning / Lifeboat / Fear of Drowning
02 Process System 3
03 Johnny and the Two Bar Electric Fire
04 Don't Flirt with Fascism
05 Acid Burns
06 Let Me In
07 Process System 4
08 Stirs Eden
09 Rampant Rampton
10 Propaganda
11 Tranquility
12 Loving Avoid!
13 The Truth About Unemployment Pt.2
14 Let Me Out

DOWNLOAD a useful map at last HERE!

Tuesday 13 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.6 (Rock.n.Roll.......PHEW!)" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

Map continues his unstoppable 1981 output with No. 6,maintaining the high standards of inventiveness experienced on the previous five cassettes. Hand played cheapo keyboards, recorded in classic cassette quality, repetitive fizzing electronic riffs, with a smattering of guitar,over a tinny preset drum  pattern.
This one ends with the response interview of Suisse by Map, after he was interviewed by her on Map 7 no'5. The highlight of which.among several sexually suggestive questions, was when asked what would she do if she won half a million pounds on the football pools, she replies "Is that six hundred thousand pounds?".

Track Listing:

01 Welcome (Utopian Theme)
02 Dog
03 Sally and Johnny
04 A Rainy Night in Georgia
05 J8
06 Return of Antony
07 Tin
08 Johnny and Sally
09 Happy World
10 The Sheer Rush
11 K9
12 Interview

DOWNLOAD map 7 no.6 HERE!.......Phew!

Sunday 11 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.5 (Boogie on Down!)" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

The tape opens with what would make a very fine tune for my funeral as my cardboard coffin disappears behind the curtain,and the small audience shuffle out of the crematorium.
Death is the overriding theme here as there's a track called "Death" which dominate side two; ending on a lighter note with an amusing interview of mark Phillips performed by the enigmatic Suisse.
Musically its more of the same inventive lo-fi electronica interspersed with the occasional discordant guitar. 

Track Listing:

01 Accidental Death of a Resident
02 Glamour
03 I've Always Wanted To Call It This
04 The Gangrene Refugee
05 Process System 1
06 Dum
07 Death
08 Process System 2
09 The New Utopian
10 Interview


Saturday 10 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.4 (The Grand Finale?)" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

More sound fuck uppery that begins, appropriately with "Upfuck",which has vocals that sound as if they were recorded through the intercom system of a Lancaster Bomber on its way to the Ruhr valley to drop a bouncing bomb on Polydor records.(not that Polydor was ever based in this industrialised shithole in Germany,but it fits the background picture nicely.....the home of the late James Last ).
All this happens as the Casio VL tone cheapo keyboard on board rhythm unit  pounds a relentlessly Mickey Mouse smokeless beat.
Bizarrely, this is sub-titled 'the grand Finale',even though there's 6 more tapes to come of this Circuit frying sub-genius.There's even a cover of a Chrome tune thrown in on the deal!

Track Listing:

01 Upfuck
02 Vanity Theme / Onslaught
03 Soak My Head
04 Grapes
05 Electric Chair
06 Crisis One

DOWNLOAD the grand finale finally HERE!

Friday 9 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.3" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

This hopelessly obscure C-60 starts off splendidly with the first couple of tracks using (we'd say sampling nowadays) found voices,and clandestinely recorded conversations.The highlight being a little girl(who'll be in her late thirties now!) who comes up with the inspired nonsense phrase of "Punch the ceiling over alllll the people", which i admit,I've always wanted to do.
When the music kicks in proper, it can remind one of anything from the space and weirdness of classic period Residents, to a Bontempi organ version of Neu.
As far as these ears are concerned, you can't get better vibrations for your hammer and anvils than this endlessly inventive fizzing casiotone samplefest, buzzing round yer cochlea's.

Track Listing:

01 Nice Things In Tins
02 C.B. Voices
03 Chameleon
04 On Broadway
05 The Action
06 Parts of the Action
07 The Curse of the Cat People
08 Debauchery
09 Art Thugs
10 Disease

DOWNLOAD a map of how to make diy electronica HERE!

Thursday 8 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.2 (Synthsong pt.2?)" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

A Casio VL tone freak out,like your retro computer game had taken LSD and had just enough pocketmoney left to buy a cheap cassette to record itself in glorious Mono.The perfect antidote to the technological operating theatre we have today,where everyone and his granny has an all singing all dancing digital multitrack recording facility.Everyone can make Tubular Bells 2 in a spare hour of an evening,and its incredibly difficult to make it sound anything other than fantastic and polished. This is why this sounds so great now, compared with how bad it sounded in 1981. It takes real effort to achieve this overloaded, fuzzy, hissy, cheapo-ness today.....it was relatively easy in 1981,all helped by lack of public interest and lack of money. 'Twas a complicated chemical formula that evolved by glorious accident around 1979 to 1982,only now receiving cult appreciation 35 years hence. Revel in the human warmth of the sequencer-less,un-edited, real time finger playing, and the charming field recording feel capturing life in a DIY musicians bedroom in those obscure days of 1981.


01 The Day of the Driver
02 Artificial Church
03 S.T. Briavels
04 Warehouse
05 23 Black Girls in Stevenage
06 The Night of the Pedestrian

DOWNLOAD a map to show you the right direction HERE!

Tuesday 6 October 2015

MAP - "MAP 7 No.1 (Another Installment Of Hiss)" (MAP Tapes MAP7) 1981

MAP, what is 'MAP'? I hear you inquire.
MAP,as in map tapes, are the initials of Mark A. Phillips of 5XOD fame,yes one half of The Dada Computer with long time collaborator Robert Lawrence. All of this should be common knowledge to regular visitors to these unhallowed pages;but if it isn't, WHY NOT?!
Map Tapes have released a veritable ship containers worth of tapes over the preceding decades,and the most ambitious,if only in size was MAP 7.A work that came in 10 60 minute volumes,dwarfing Danny and the Dressmakers four and a half hour rock opera "200 Cancellations" by the small matter of five and a half hours!
Like the aforementioned Rock Opera,this voluminous epic has little to do with the coherent storyline of a Jesus Christ Superstar style, concept, and is more just a trawl through the impressive recorded legacy of Mark Phillips from the year 1981.
Don't expect the finely honed home computer music of 5XOD or The Dadacomputer. This is far more in the UK DIY tradition of improvised electronica,with healthy lashings of tape hiss bulking out the fizzy casio's and buzzing organs. We also encounter for the first time, the Radio four style 'play for today' voice of Suisse.Which i assume is pronounced as a version of Suzie; otherwise it is the French word for Switzerland.
The tape ends with a minimal synth version of the classic "You've Lost that Loving Feeling", which was also done, very craply, the year before, by the Human League;who also managed to destroy Glitter's immortal "Rock'n'Roll part 2".Not so here, as this is probably the best track on the tape.
Wonderful DIY electronica,full of warm fuzzy intimate strangeness,as if you were listening into someones private conversations through the wall of a neighbouring room.Its just that the other room is some 30 years in the future.

Track Listing:

01 Play For Today
02 Links the world
03 Dominate and Be Great
04 Oh! Soweto
05 Begin Begging
06 Enduring is Endearing
07 Anyone Can Be..
08 Siberian Swing
09 Images of Youth
10 'You're My Heaven'
11 Computershop
12 Play Again Tomorrow
13 Ralph Was Right!
14 Funtime
15 94 Days
16 Generator
17 Vanity Sluts
18 You've Lost That Loving Feeling

DOWNLOAD another digital installment of analogue hiss HERE!

Sunday 4 October 2015

Five Times Of Dust (5XOD) ‎– "Yum Yum Music" (Stichting Stopcontact ‎– CC9) 1984

More inventive minimal electronica from our fav minimal electronica act 5XOD. This time on a Dutch cassette label,which is slightly different to the UK version,which apparently included a program for the zx Spectrum.The Irony of this stuff is that around 1984 this would have been thought of as 'old fashioned' as the 'cutting edge' Electronic acts moved towards the digital era,forsaking actual 'electronic' sounds in favour of simulated trumpets,and other aural atrocities. In the second decade of the 21st century this now sounds, ironically, contemporary, if not still slightly futuristic. Retro-futurism at its zenith; an eighties computer game soundtrack that the kids dance to at the discothéque.If the kids actually interact with each other physically nowadays that is?

A1Can You See Me Now?
A2Negative Terminal
A4Plastische Taschen
A5The Mainframe
A6Yellow Luv
B1Computers Are In Control
B2The Lollipop Song
B3Wall Of Numbers
B4Estate Children
B5Girl With A Vdu (Part 2)

DOWNLOAD and make a yummy sound HERE!

Friday 2 October 2015

Five Times Of Dust (5XOD) ‎– "Befor The Beginning We Were Living" (Quick Stab ‎– PROD 18) 1982

Lo-Budget,Lo-Fi, Lo-Spec, Lo- Tech,1982 style,made to sound like something fresh from Today/the future. When I last looked it was 2015, and this tape is a testament against the art strangling nature of too much tech,of the endless possibilities of the 'modern' world. If you scan the instruments and non-instruments used in the creation of this fizzing fuzzy bleep fest , you will be surprised to see an unnerving lack of 'proper' synthesizers.Not that modern synth's can recreate this sound without an equal amount of inventiveness that was used by necessity to create it in 1982. The Human League were at the top of the charts, with a bank of top of the range Synth's,with a top producer (Martin Rushent) to program them ,and write the top pop hits for them. Of course The Human League used to sound like 5XOD in their earlier incarnations; more proof that being given endless possibilities produces turgid nonsense 9 times out of 10. 5XOD are a fine example of using creativity with improvised 'make do and mend' lo-tech to produce something with a life of its own.


A2Cruelty Without Beauty
A3Refugee Train
A5Pseudo Martyr (Dogchild Theme)
B1Computer Garden
B2Song For Louise
B3Love Cancer
B4I Can't Want (You Anymore)
B5Zero Rtn

DOWNLOAD befor you die HERE!

Thursday 1 October 2015

5ive Ximes Of Dust (5XOD) - "5XOD" (MAP Tapes- Amp002) 1982

Ok, What's the best Minimal Synth record ever?.......correct....."The Dada Computer" by The Dada Computer", who were Mark Phillips (aka MAP, Ampnoise) and Robert Lawrence (aka Robert Lawrence),who were also known as 5ive Ximes Of Dust, aka 5XOD.......is that clear?
I guess that this was their first outing as (i'll use the contracted form from now onwards) 5XOD, with this 9 track C-45. Packed with their trademark lo-budget fizzy solid state electronica, which produces some of the most beautiful analogue sine wave majesty ever captured on chrom-dioxide tape.
It has that ZX spectrum/Commodore C64 retro game soundtrack feel to it, but far more substantial,and doesn't get on your fucking nerves. I could listen to this all day long,and still want more.Can't rate this Bristolian duo highly enough (Even though Rob Lawrence was based in Cardiff;just a Toll Bridges ride away).

DOWNLOAD as many Ximes as you like HERE!