Thursday, 16 April 2020

Larry Wendt ‎– "Sound Poems For An Era Of Reduced Expectations" (Underwhich Editions ‎– Underwhich Audiographic Series – No. 5) 1979

You know what? I could listen to stuff like this all day long.Its got it all, abstract repetitive tape loops, disintegrating ambience, glitching 1970's computers,urban field recordings, lo-fi sound processing, drones, concréte poetry, a bloke with a beard sitting in room fiddling around with cassettes,a good pessimistic title, and tape hiss.Who needs instruments, in fact bin the instruments off,if I hear another guitar line, or 'phat' synth bass notes, I'll go as nuts as Larry Wendt obviously is.
The use of the adjective 'Sound-Poems' for this is rather tenuous, stretching the poetry part to an extreme.It has far more in common with Musique Concréte and old skool Industrial than Hugo Ball or even Jaap Blonk.Its basically the music I grew up with after glam and punk had burnt out and left me with UK DIY.There were legions of kids who would churn out tapes like this every week in 1979/80, mainly the wide ranging influence of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire rather than Larry Wendt, or even Hugo Ball.....although there is certainly a thread of distinct Dada influence by proxy that worked its way down from world war one era Germany into the bedrooms of Britains Youth......not that they were aware of this at all;but there were clearly many references in the works of The Instant Automatons and their various offshoots, like the Alien Brains, 391,and ,of course,Merz,which was a thinly veiled reference to Kurt Schwitters if ever there was one?
I'm figuring that the Dada influence on the North American continent was from a more intellectual angle,rather than fashion driven, as is mostly always the case in the UK,which exists as a mass consciousness as opposed to the individualism that US/Canadian culture is based on....its the vast distances involved in these north American countries that kills universal consciousness dead.
This is no longer the case however, as before the Internet the only way of meeting strangers from the other side of the continent was by snail mail,or telephone calls.Like communicating with an alien race,a conversation was impossible outside of your own town or star system,and that's where it stayed. In the UK anything good or bad, would invariably spread to the whole country within a month,generally stopping at the English Channel,and importing itself into the United States.The classic example being how American kids discovered UK Punk before they had even heard of the New York proto-punk groups from their own country.
Larry Wendt would not have heard of the UK Industrial Bands,but he was doing something very similar in Isolation.Naturally he wouldn't have stood a chance in Britain because he didn't 'look good'.You can't have one without the other 'inna inglan',as our jamaican sub-state would say,just like Americans would have never heard Reggae without it passing by 'Inglan' for the thumbs up first. Weird innit?
Welcome to a world of expanded expectations which expanded so much that it has destroyed entirely the thrill of the new.


A1 Actaeon
A2 Zoo
A3 Gasoline
B1 Bugs, Crashes, And The Trash-80
B2 My Computer's First Words
B3 Rooster Music
B4 Next Door

Link removed at the request of the it HERE if you're from a family of great expectations


Robin Rimbaud said...

This is fabulous. Not familiar with his work at all so thanks for the introduction!

parmalee said...

"I'm figuring that the Dada influence on the North American continent was from a more intellectual angle,rather than fashion driven, as is mostly always the case in the UK,which exists as a mass consciousness as opposed to the individualism that US/Canadian culture is based on." That's quite an astute observation. The UK doesn't produce many like John Cage or Henry Cowell, or even LaMonte Young. I always thought it had something to do with our stronger aversion to shared toilets and the like, but I like your explanation better.


@Mr. Rimbaud--Didn't you promise an early (82?) Camberwell Now gig some years ago? What ever became of that? The world on lockdown could use that now.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Indeed Parmalee, i was gomnna mention the Camberwell Now thing, but didn't wanna sound like a pain in the proverbial....i'll leave it to you to hassle him.

Also, the Individualism against the collective consciousness is true that the UK seldom produces an individual who moves things along,artistically anyway,unlike the USA...its in the genes of the Brit to rely on a mass consensus,rather than have some geezer telling us whats new.....i suppose its democratic,so it gets watered down and popularised...hence the sucess of the UK in popular music.Anything and everything gets absorbed,rehashed as something else. A Brit tradition is to steal something from somewhere else ans turn it into something to sell back to where it came from originally....very interesting.

parmalee said...

Back in '97, I stumbled upon the This Heat--La Scala '79 show on some crazy Japanese website that I took for some sort of record store. The site was entirely in Japanese--and this was before google and translators--except for This Heat--La Scala and a sequence of numbers that appeared to be about the right length for a phone number. Paying no mind to any time differences, I called immediately, gave some guy who barely spoke English my debit card number, and the CD was in my hands in under 48 hours. And, somehow, it only cost about $12 US.

I seem to have a unique talent for strong-arming This Heat-related material. Thankfully, I got to see (This is not) This Heat twice before all this lockdown nonsense. Here's their last show in it's entirety, filmed not by me:

As far as contemporary composers and serious sorts go, I really favor Americans. But with anything kinda "rock-ish," and everything else, probably 97 percent of my music is not American. It's as though true collaboration presents a serious challenge for Americans--and there's our weird, and almost ironic, tendency to intellectualize everything. Like Lou Reed canning Nico and John Cale--the two working class sorts who were, not coincidentally, Europeans.

Then there's that whole colonialism thing--you're not supposed to _kill_ all the natives! And it's not like we needed all the space.

Jonny Zchivago said...

I have to agree,i'm not really a fan of american rock groups,which basically means Metal these days, but the US does have a talent in producing really terrible punk bands that i like a lot.There seems to be no middle ground of Dumb mixed with intelligence that the UK in particular had lots of. The serious stuff, indeed is an American speciality.
America seemed to have an inability to make decent Industrial music either,there was something missing in the many attempts to be Industrial,probably taking it too seriously?.
Hardcore 100% american,the UK version was rather accidently weirder...i mean look at Discharge,where did that come from?..then Naplam Death.....its almost avant garde as far as I can hear, but played by Hooligans..this is what John Zorn heard i guess...Rudimentary Peni!?'d be pushed to find a more unique rock group anywhere,they even transcend their Genre....anarcho punk?/other!
I blame it on the wide open spaces in the US,which may even save them from the pandemic,'cus the govt won't. The UK is like just one huge city,a breeding grund for all kinds of stuff...including diseases.

The British also only killed the natives to induce terror.Who else was gonna do the work? It was all done for their own good of course.
A very interesting discourse anyhow innit?

Vaykorus said...


ROOKSBY said...

Thanks for the Larry Wendt uploads, I wasn't familiar with his work until now but I'm really enjoying all of it, particularly this singularly excellent cassette. "Ta, duck", as they say around here.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Cheers me duck, don't forget i'm from Lestoh (Leicester)....of course you noticed that these Wendt posts got me onto that Vinyl on Demand geezers shitlist?

Mørk said...

Veamos qué tal, excelente blog

Anonymous said...

Yes, and you are on my shitlist as well. I wish you had the curtesy to try to get in touch with me before you did this. I could have given you some other material as well. It is one thing putting samples of my work up as examples of what it was/is, but the whole cassettes? When I did these things I could barely get anyone to even listen to them, much less sell them. Now that I am getting to the point of my return to dust, people can download my work for free and I don’t even know about it. What kind of waste is that? The VOD people were kind enough to make a really nice, high-quality, 4 lp box set with a wonderful booklet — indeed “a work of art” in itself and not cheap in any way. But he isn’t making any profit that he can pocket on such a production. Give me a break — who could make a living doing this sort of thing in the first place? But the sale of this set will allow him to publish more of my own work as well as that of other artists whose hand made works would just end up lost as the ferric oxide flakes off and the whole deal thrown away in the trash by the kids when the old geezers finally croak off and quit their bitching about being ignored. So check out Vinyl on Demand at and there is more copies of the my anthology available here: and there is also a more recent and long interview of me available here:
Have a Nice Day!
Larry Wendt

Jonny Zchivago said...

Oh Ok, as its you asking,and polite, and not Fat Frank, i'll take the links down and replace them with VD on demand links(retch vomit coff).If that's what you want?
But far more people will get to actually hear your work through this portal than a few hundred rich geezers dotted over the planet. Its likely that these posts will have even generated some sales?(I know someone who woun't agree but...) Your profile's also been raised by this silly spat with VD OD.
So at the least you're not being ignored anymore.
It's all on youTube as well y'know.
Please accept my humble apologies.
Have a nice day yerself.

Jonny Zchivago said...

I fact i've reverted the other two tapes to draft(ie not there no more ahhh!) as their write ups were a bit too topical just this one remains with a link to (_______).
But at least ,as you see in the comments above, some people have been turned on to your work for the first time.Including renowned celebrity samplist 'Scanner' listen out for you on his next album.

L. Borgia Rossetti said...

I never heard of your work before this. I live in Brasil where economy is always shit and VOD releases equals 2 months of my work (and I'm not that poor compared to many here). I really appreciated your music. Before Mr. Frank started that topic saying this blog have fucked up morals, when I know the owner and he is a real music lover, I even tought "someday when I had enough money I would get VOD releases", cuz I'm a collector and they offer beautiful box sets. But seeing all that, it made me sick, I prefer getting a single piece of each artist I like second hand by discogs than paying for that guy and that bunch of upper class people in his comments showing off their european privileged homes full of LPs and joking like "I'm a burgoise then" in response to the thread. No thanks. I loved your work, Mr. Wendt, but I'm also the most prolific avantgarde artist in south america, they call my project the south american Residents (wich you probably never heard of but this blog showed my work to many people and got me actual money to produce more with that) and I have a hard daily job to keep my art running and get a few titles each month to my collection - mainly buy from artists who are needing too, to support and make more, many artists I found about here, though since 2018 things got even more terrible here and I couldn't add anything to my collection. So, if I ever get something from your work, it is thanks to this blog, but sorry, I will skip the VOD release, wich is beautiful I agree, but hope you understand my point.
- L. Borgia Rossetti (Esmectatons)

NightShiftElephants said...

Esmectatons stuff is all for free download in bandcamp, feel free to try it if you don't know and have no cash to buy their DIY releases.