WISHING ALL OF THE KYPP BROWSERS IN THE U.K AND ABROAD A SAFE CHRISTMAS DAY
Mark Mob remembers; The recording was done over two days in September 1981 at Southern Studios with Penny and John producing and engineering the session.
Various other folk including Crass members were milling around for those days, doing little jobs when needed, like changing leads, moving amps about, and more importantly making copious amounts of strong tea.
I recorded the vocals to both tracks on the second day, one word at a time for the recording. This was quite a change from the previous two releases (‘Crying Again’ and ‘Witch Hunt’ both released on All The Madmen Records) as the vocals on those records were recorded live.
As you can imagine this was rather frustrating and somewhat draining on the spirit, but we assumed Penny and John knew what they were doing so I carried on regardless, and the single turned out well, so good on them for pushing me to record the vocal track in this way.
I choose both the tracks, ‘No Doves’ because it did not sound like any obvious Crass label recording and ‘I Hear You Laughing’ which was a live favorite of the Mobs followers and supporters.
There was no pissing about in the studio, no drug use or anything.
There was though many pots of tea being supplied and I also have a memory of Churchman Counter Shag roll ups being smoked by Penny and The Mob (when offered to us). I believe this tobacco could only be obtained from around the Epping area, so I had never tried it before the session or indeed since.
On the second day, one of the studio hangers on was told to go out and hire a four foot diameter gong, bring it back to the studio and set it up to be recorded for the ‘No Doves’ track.
Most of the band had a go at trying to hit this gong correctly. Spent over an hour getting the gong sound right in the mix.
Whether Josef’s gong sound went onto the final mix is anyone’s guess. It may well have been rerecorded after the band had left the studio!
After over an hour of hearing just a gong sound it all sounded much the same and it could have been any of the recorded takes on the finished recording. Perhaps even my effort.
Around a month or so after the recording sessions I was sent a test pressing of the ‘No Doves’ 7” single.
This version had the gong, the drums, the bass and my vocals. The other track I Hear You Laughing had the baby crying added towards the end of the track.
In the package with the test pressing was a letter from Penny suggesting that more should be done with the recording of ‘No Doves’.
I agreed to let Penny work on the recording in the studio without my or the other members of The Mob’s interference.
I got sent a ‘finished’ copy of the release that would become the only Mob record released on Crass Records and got a bit of a shock when I heard the synths and the choir that had been added to the ‘No Doves’ track.
Josef Porta remembers; As I recall, Penny and Pete Wright were engineering with John Loder.
We were in Southern the day after Alvin Stardust had a recording session there!
The usual Crass approach in the studio was rigidly Stalinist – as I recall bands really had no say in what went on.
Not a bad idea really, as no one can fuck up a recording session like a bunch of musicians.
Mind you, we had a good laugh at the crying babies after we heard it.
We weren’t invited to the mixing, and it was presented to us as a finished recording – I don’t recall there being any ‘what do you think of this’ in the matter, not that it would have been any better for us being there.
I think we did it over two days. There was no fraternizing before or after, we came up on the bus from Hackney and went home again each day. I never went to Dial house with the Mob, and I presume Mark chose the tracks for the single.
I don’t recall it being discussed with Curtis and myself at the time.
Personally, I think the artwork is the best thing about it.
The tracks seemed flat. My drumming is clonky and inappropriate. Curtis’ bass is, as always, superb, but the overall sound is limp and apologetic.
The same I felt with the Zounds effort. I don’t think Penny really knew how to produce electric guitars – I’m not saying I do, but I know a man who does, and you can hear the difference.
The electric guitar is the essential element of any punk record in my personal opinion, and unless it sounds like the Sex Pistols on ‘Holidays in the Sun’ then it’s a waste of time.
Mind you, I’m happy to have been a small part of the whole Crass thing. I thought it was magnificent at the time.
Can’t say it changed my life significantly, but it was an experience not to forget.
Deeply indebted to Gordon.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
The third single from this Icelandic band. A 12″ E.P single.
Recorded in 1982, there is a slight Killing Joke feel to the sound on all these tracks, not surprisingly as Jaz Coleman and Geordie from Killing Joke were constant visitors to Iceland at this time, and early supporters of the Icelandic music scene.
Jaz Coleman decided to move to Iceland along with guitarist Geordie, with the ambition of resurrecting the Icelandic rock scene.
While there, Coleman and PEYR, formed a new band originally called Iceland, but later named Niceland.
After rehearsing for weeks Niceland was ready to record five songs in 1983, but two of them were never finished; the three songs recorded were: ‘Guess Again’, ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Take What’s Mine’.
But as PEYR decided to write their own songs, Jaz moved away and returned to England to reestablish Killing Joke.
The songs recorded by Niceland remain unpublished.
PEYR, toured Scandinavia.
With the tour, the band gained more popularity and even managed to appear on radio and television in Denmark, they also went to a studio and recorded a few songs which were released on the 12″ E.P single, ‘The Fourth Reich’, in memory of Wilhelm Reich whose books had been banned by the Nazi regime.
The sleeve depicts Wilhelm Reich, a psychiatrist, psycho-analyst and writer, who was labelled a Communist Jew by the Nazi Party, so he escaped from Germany in 1934 to settle briefly in Scandinavia.
During the Nazi period of German history all of Wilhelm Reich’s books were destroyed, and subsequently banned. The writer made it to the U.S. in 1939.
In 1947, following a series of critical articles about orgone in The New Republic and Harper’s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) began an investigation into his claims, and won an injunction against the interstate sale of orgone accumulators.
Charged with contempt of court for violating the injunction, Reich conducted his own defense, which involved sending the judge all his books to read. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August 1956, several tons of his publications were burned by the F.D.A.
He died of heart failure in jail just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole.
It must be noted that the PEYR sleeve artwork has not got a swastika on it. The armband shown on the cover contained the symbol of the orgone physics, which represented duality and its origins in unity, referred by Reich as functionalism.
On ‘The Fourth Reich’ the use of percussion and rhythmical efforts were far more important than in earlier works. In this respect, the song “Zen” was particularly important due to its marked rock style, but did not have the impact of earlier works because the music was less accessible.
The Icelandic version of this E.P was released by label MJOT which had been created by Magnus from PEYR.
PEYR had two albums and a handful of singles released during the band’s lifetime, these of course are no longer available.
All early Icelandic singles are very rare, this 12″ E.P single being no exception.
Two of the members, eventually formed KUKL with Bjork towards the end of 1983.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
Although Punk inspired us, we were never a punk band. In fact, I was openly suspicious of the punk movement at first. Protag, who has always had his ear closer to the ground on these matters, was keen to champion the likes of Stiff Records and Richard Hell and The Voidoids. I, on the other hand, felt that it was all probably a marketing ploy dreamed up by Malcolm McLaren.
Maybe it was, to begin with; that doesn’t really matter now because we all got caught up in the divine madness and the “rules” still got shattered. The landscape of popular music had changed forever, and the Automatons stepped forward along with all the other One-Chord-Wonders and Bored Teenagers to claim their rightful fifteen minutes of glory.
I sent for cassettes from Scunthorpe and in one was the plea for a guitarist. I couldn’t really play, but – fuck, I loved the weirdness that came from that Low Farm address. Many letters later and that fab meeting at Street Level; disgusting toilet, 8-track tape, Kif Kif, Steffi, Grant – who were they? If only I knew. Then, a gig. Playing live at the LMC in Camden Town – Lemon Kittens, The Door And The Window, Mark Perry. A big high-watt stack, rehearsal, sound check, C# major – what a chord! Scared me to death, but I did it. Got through it.
Then up to Low Farm: Protag’s mum – what a diamond. Funny house – up a bit, round a bit. Tight corners. Protag’s bedroom: microphones, mixers, tape machines, banks of cassettes, timer set to record John Peel’s show to listen to next morning. It was great.
We did gigs in the strangest of places and met the most amazing people. We did gigs with The Mob, Zounds, Chelsea, Here & Now – a fine pedigree.
That was a big buzz for me – playing guitar with me mates, not in the local but Doncaster, Retford, Notting Hill, Nenthead, Grimsby, Shepherd’s Bush, Scunthorpe, King’s Cross… I never thought I would play in a band and end up on a record – Deleted Records did that for me!
I loved the Automatons. I didn’t mind one bit the travelling, the weird venues, getting mistaken for a Fulham fan in Huddersfield, kipping on people’s floors after gigs, the veggie food, the magic mushrooms…It was sad when Mark said “That’s enough” but I was hooked on making sounds, and so was Protag.
Keen students of the era will know, of course, of the pub rock boom which addressed the same concerns on at least certain levels. But, with my soldering iron and my copy of Practical Electronics, I somehow had the idea that we could make sounds that had never been heard before and headed off into uncharted territory.
Drum machines had hardly been invented but I’d heard The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire on John Peel and knew that was the way to go, for us. None of that Marshall stack nonsense, much as I loved noisy bands. We had to be tippy tappy, headphones on, pile on the echo and away you go…
So the drum machine kit came through the post and I soldered the bits together. Hurrah. Samba! Waltz! Bossa Nova! Nothing could stop us.
But stop us doing what? We’d figured, I think, that the reason the late 70’s dinosaur bands made such lamentable albums was the economic quagmire they’d blundered into. Taking the inevitable conclusion from this we determined to make the music we wanted to with zero regard to acceptability and, therefore, with no concern for profitability.
So it was made on the cheap, and, as far as possible, given away; to be disposed of or kept according to the whim of the recipient.
We had our own concerns about what was a satisfactory level of composition, performance and recording, of course, but they were snotty nosed teenage concerns and not manifest on our earliest recordings, and only barely evident later.
Tape hiss ahoy! Made with love for no real reason at all.
And like all first love, you never forget it.
Quotes care of the Instant Automations web page HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
Engineered by the hands of Grant Showbiz at Street Level Studios, and released ‘in house’ on Fuck Off Records, this non masterpiece still has a huge sackful of charm, and if you try hard enough, you can jump around the room to it ‘but only when yer mum’s gone out!’
A snippet of an Androids of Mu Interview (From No Class fanzine)
As the people from No Class landed in Shepherds Bush, London W12, the keys to the flat were thrown out of the window to us, ready to let an interview with Bess and Corrina from the Androids of Mu take place, which went like this:
NC: Why was the LP called ‘Blood Robots’?
C: By calling it Blood Robots we threw more light on what our name is about. I don’t wanna be too precise about that, because I wanna leave a bit more to the imagination. A lot of our stuff at the same time was about everyday people and situations, but through our minds, from a completely different point of view.
NC: So are your songs protest songs?
B: Yes, most of them.
C: We would like to change things if we could. Generally we are supporting change, of attitudes and for the better. But on the other hand, sometimes what we do is just observation. It’s more like making people think, rather than being opinionated and asking for people to accept our opinions.
NC: So you do benefit gigs?
C: Yeah, loads, cos we’re not playing for money. We aren’t making any money and even when we play ordinary commercial gigs we only get our expenses and when we play benefits we get our expenses.
NC: Did you lose money on the free tours?
C: Yes we did, because it cost us a lot to set it up in the first place, like posters and getting a vehicle in condition, so that we could do it. Our actual expenses on the road had been met but not the expenses that it cost us to prepare the whole thing.
B: But another idea why we started doing free tours was because we thought music is something so nice there shouldn’t be a packaged price on it. You get gigs at Rainbow, £3 or whatever, depends on the seats if you’re at the front or the back, but we thought music should be left to people: what they think it’s worth. Some people at the time thought it was 10p, others 50p. I think that’s great because people paid money what they think; they don’t feel ripped off.
NC: Didn’t you get people going along to try it out, because it was free?
B: Yeah, half of it was like that, they were really supporting us, but not other half.
C: Another thing was that usually they spent all their money on drinks, so that even if they wanted to give, they didn’t have any money left.
NC: And what about the ‘Blood Robots’ cover art?
C: Suzy who was with us at the time, she found this poster…
B: There was a big gallery, posters and poetry done by women. We saw this painting on a wall and she said that could be the cover, and we all went Wow! What a good idea. We did a coloured printing, but the colours didn’t come out right. It was too much contrast, black and brown.
NC: Is it the original that was used, the one in the gallery?
B: Yes, the woman who done that (Monica Sjoo), we wrote to her. We haven’t met her. She said of course you can use it.
NC: Can you tell us about your deal with Crass?
B: Two years ago, when they wanted to do a single with us, they didn’t want our drummer to play on it cos she was playing out of time. They wanted their own drummer, and we all thought it would sound like Crass again, so we refused it straight away.
Suzie was a member of Planet Gong, along with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and the rest of Here And Now in 1977.
Planet Gong completed a European tour in November /December 1977, and released the Album ‘Floating Anarchy 1977’ and the single: ‘Opium for the People’ early in 1978.
Suzie joined Here And Now and left the band in January 1979.
By 1980 she had formed all girl band The Androids of Mu with Corrina, Cozzie and Birsen.
Although a collaborative project, Suzie shared lead vocals with Corrina and wrote much of their material. The Androids were well received by all, including the music press of the day.
They were an integral part of the post punk scene and released one album ‘Blood Robots’, with one music paper headline proclaiming it as “Android Genius”.
The Androids often performed with other West London squat land heroes including The Mob and toured in Britain and Europe until about 1983.
DOWNLOAD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SIDE 2 HERE
Uploaded tonight is the debut Webcore cassette tape, released on A Real Kavoom from Cornwall in 1984. I liked this band very much and saw them perform many times in and around the capital in many squatted venues including the 121 Railton Road bookshop in Brixton, the old Jungle Records building in Islington, the Mankind Club in Hackney Central and others. There were plenty of great nights at the Club Dog venues in Wood Green and Finsbury Park that should also be mentioned. I also saw them support Psychic TV on a couple of occasions…
Below is a snippet of an interview with the Webcore keyboardist Paul Chousmer ripped for the aural-innovations.com site.
DS: How would you describe Webcore?
PC: Webcore were often described as way ahead of their time (at the time, if you can see what I mean.) I sort of took the roll of manager as nobody else would and we played everywhere. I (and Ed ‘Ozric’ Wynne) took the same view that the best way to publicize ourselves was to play wherever we could. So we often found ourselves at the same dodgy benefit gigs. All sorts of squats, free festivals, you name it. So we got a reputation for playing together all of the time. I’ve always thought our music was completely different. I felt there was a common psychedelic thread and we were always up for a party. Then Club Dog started (by Mike Dog, who later had the Ultimate Record label with groups like Eat Static and Senser) Webcore, the Ozric Tentacles and Another Green World all became regulars. And we grew with it.
DS: I agree that Webcore’s music was ahead of its time at the time. What would you say were the musical influences of the group?
PC: Our influences at the time inevitably included ENO, but also Psychic TV, Siouxsie and the Banshees, it’s difficult to say now from this distance in time. I would say we brought lots of different things together. Mick was a poet not a singer, so that was his approach. Trying to make his words fit. My idea was to create atmospheres behind the songs. Setting the scene. We were all experimenting. Just trying out ideas and if they felt good. It’s funny now that I’m teaching I see loads of young bands coming together. They all seem to want to sound like somebody else. The A&R mentality of copying whatever the last big hit was! We didn’t think that way at all back then!
DS: Webcore’s music also seems quite different from much of the other free fest bands like the Ozrics and Psi. How do you feel that Webcore fit into this scene?
PC: You’d have to ask this one of the audience really. I find it very hard to be objective. I would say that I was always surprised that Webcore’s audience danced a lot. I didn’t think of our music as dance music. This was fairly unusual in the free fest scene. Our music was also quite structured. Not totally, there was some room for improvisation. But there were definite maps to follow. The other bands seemed to be more into long wibble solos etc…
DS: What are your feelings on the festival scene of the eighties?
PC: You have to remember there was a right wing government ruling here at the time, with that bitch Thatcher at the helm. Lots of unemployment, kids on the dole, etc… Punk had run its course. We were all getting politicized. Stonehenge free festival was banned and suppressed by the police with a heavy hand. So free festivals were often a way to protest. We were all squatting, traveling. I have fond memories of that time. People were thinking of the world around them. I look at the kids now. They have no idea about politics. Nothing to protest about I suppose. The legacy of the Thatcher years is that everyone is out for themselves. Make as much money for yourself as you can and screw everyone else. I think that Reagan and his cronies did the same sort of thing over there.
DS: Through your music as Another Green World, you as an individual have moved quite easily from the scene in the eighties right into the club scene of the nineties and on. How do you feel about the club sound and what are you writing these days?
PC: I really like the music I hear in clubs these days. But it only sounds good in the clubs! In that atmosphere and loud. Most of it doesn’t seem to work when I put it on at home. However loud! In that sense I don’t really understand how I fit in. I actively try to make music that transports you from your armchair at home to some other place, without necessarily being really loud. This is important to me. So I keep in contact with these clubs, send them what I am doing. I just do what I do and they book me if they like it. This is probably quite old-fashioned these days. Everything is high sell, throwaway.
DOWNLOAD FIRST RECORD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD FIRST RECORD SIDE 2 HERE
DOWNLOAD SECOND RECORD SIDE 1 HERE
DOWNLOAD SECOND RECORD SIDE 2 HERE
The first release on Hasting’s Unnormality imprint, two tracks from the Good Missionaries recorded live at Manchester University and St Andrew’s University during The Pop Groups ‘Animal Instincts’ tour Summer of 1979, and studio recordings for the second release on Unnormality Records, engineered by Grant Showbiz at Streetlevel Studios in 1981.
A little surprise these tracks, as they are relatively normal ‘pop’ songs for Good Missionaries standards.
“I rejected punk’s restrictive format and took A.T.V into a direction that was more like free form jazz than the three chord thrash. Some critics despised the change, a few applauded it. I didn’t give a shit. As far as I was concerned, it was my band and I could do what I wanted with it. Miles Copeland (my manager at the time) still talks about the day that I first played him ‘Vibing Up The Senile Man’. He sat there aghast thinking it was some sort of joke until he realised that I was deadly serious”.
“I think after what we did on ‘The Image is Cracked’, I knew that I didn’t want to make another out and out rock album. A big influence in that period, middle ’78 I think, was the tour we did that summer with Here and Now. They were a hippie band that had come out of Gong and that crowd. They invited us to play Stonehenge with them for a festival. It was really for the English type of hippy, living in a bus, huddled together around a lentil stew. That impressed me. They said ‘Why don’t you come on this tour ’cause we like what you’re doing.’ So I thought ‘why don’t we try that?’ My manager didn’t like that but I tried to convince him in an economic way that it would be a big audience. Why should punk put off all these people? It’s potentially a really big audience out there who want to listen to good music”.
“So we went on tour and that was a big change for me. Being around people who were from a different angle and really opened my mind up. There were different aspects and possibilities. We played around the country, at universities, all for free. We traveled in this big bus. For someone like me, from a working class background, it was really refreshing. Scary at first… I’d come out of my tent ask where the bathroom was. Everybody’d laugh at me. I’d have to use a ditch over there! No organization at all, just a generator and a stage and a couple of veggie burgers. Very primitive. I came off that tour and I was thinking ‘we got to do something new.’ I’d been listening to jazz and other stuff. I said ‘let’s get rid of the rock and roll drums.’ That was sort of way of changing it. Trying to just experiment really. We did a couple of songs for John Peel sessions, before ‘Vibing…’ was done, and released as the Good Missionaries. We got a really good response from them. They said it was interesting stuff and blah, blah, blah. I didn’t think they represented how extreme ‘Vibing…’ was going to be”.
“‘Vibing …’ had, and still has, a clarity that I could never achieve within the confines or the traditional rock sound. Punk inspired me but I could never let it constrain me. ‘Vibing …’ is all about me and my life – weird, stark and sometimes even embarrassing. I wanted people to like the album because I guess I wanted them to like me. The real me, not Mark P punk prophet, but me that lurks behind all the bullshit. I thought that people would appreciate my honesty but most rejected it, preferring the safe world of pop-punk. I still think that ‘Vibing …’ is a classic punk album because it takes it into truly chaotic territory – witness the brooding ‘The Radio Story’ for proof. To me, punks only boundaries are the ones that have been set up in peoples closed minds. Punk became the new rock music.”