Obscure Independent Classics, Volume 2

(Various Artists)
Cordelia (UK) ERICAT 012 (1986)
Side One (22:15) Side Two (20:46)



This is the second L.P. in a series which is supposed to contain many small segments of bizarre, undiscovered genius; where musical boundaries are altered while no-one's looking and sound quality and other decent professional standards are stabbed in the neck and left bleeding in the gutter to be spat upon by rabid dogs.

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Possibly the best independent record label in the universe is Hamster Records of Ipswich - responsible for L.P.s by THE JUNG ANALYSTS, Push Button Pleasure, Enski Boski and one of the world's leading obscure genii R. Stevie Moore (must remember to ask him for a track for Vol. 3). JACKIE CHARLTON SAID is the most famous track (because it's the only one they've had played on the radio) by THE JUNG ANALYSTS. Behind this band (and Hamster) is Terry Burrows, a man with a bedroom full of recording gear (I think its his bedroom). There are about 1 1/2 ANALYSTS L.P.s out on Hamster and another one on Cordelia. This track disapproves of killing animals for fun.
Eg. the only record release so far by LEVEN SIGNS, the L.P. "Hemp is Here" which was poached from its original cassette version on Robert Cox's Unlikely Records - because it was so good. Peter Karkut and Maggi Turner do this stuff in London. They use percussive rythms and an organ but nobody has yet been able to put a name to what kind of music it is. I don't know... Turkish Gothic... no... erm...
Chris Sievey and THE FRESHIEShave made something like 15 singles since what? 1978? but they haven't quite made it big in show business yet. (The nearest they came must have been the Virgin Megastore single... and Wrap up the Rockets must have shifted a few units.) What people don't realise is that behind almost all of these slick, 3 minute, power pop classics lie absolutely excellent songs. MY TAPES GONE, one of their early, not too slick, singles has got a fascinating surreal tape  recorder metaphor in it... "I wanna rewind to the bit whin I very first saw you... zero it... edit it... and make a continuous loop..." Chris Sievey is currently appearing in Frank Sidebottom.
CHRIS GROSS makes cassettes and puts them out on his Utility Recording label. He lives in New Jersey, USA. He says that he tries to avoid sounding futuristic and he's influenced by the culture of the late 18th century. Would you know from listening to the record though? He's also a cartoonist/illustrator and his work has appeared in various publications including the New York Times.
FRANK BROWN'S real name is Frank Borman and he was born in Austria in 1948. The Brownmen, probably the hottest avant-guard blues band, are the best known exponents of this particular obscure musical form. FRANK BROWN is a huge cult figure within the movement which is based in Vienna. AGB developed in Vienna 200 years ago as an antithesis to the popular Strauss waltzes of the period; disident chamber orchestras would introduce radical and unexpected changes of tempo into dances at public functions. The genre was revived in the fifties as a reaction against rock and roll. THE PERSIAN CAT DANCE was recorded live in Austria and is the only known recording of the ensemble.
KENNEDY SAYS makes fun of the silly American tendency to canonise JFK in lieu of our ancient European heros they seem to be jealous of over there. TERRY AND GERRY deflate it by casually mentioning the Bay of Pigs and generally being mildly ironic. (I hope that's right). This group is very nearly too famous to be on this L.P. They've made lots of records for In Tape (to whom: thanks)
THE COUCH by MILOVAN SRDENOVIC and LOOKING AT THE WORLD THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF A GLASS by DAVY WALKLETT are two tips of one creative iceberg which have arisen in Huddersfield. Yes, it's one of those eccentric geniuses who pretend to be nine groups at once. WALKLETT alias SRDENOVIC (anagram?) alias the genitals alias Eva Perouk alias the Golden Testicle of God (correct me if I'm wrong Davy) has this big Beefheart / country and western voice, and makes tapes under all the above names. Many of these are very good; I recommend Soap Opera and Seven Deadly Songs.
NO IMAGE is another pop classic from the hit factory in Norwich, locally known as Le Jardin Electronique (c.f. Kamizake Pilots and Fire Hydrant Men on Vol. One). I don't actualy know very much about AL LEEDER because his biography is all about West Ham for some reason; what is this? a football program? Let me just conclude by insinuating that he's an internationally known rock star being enigmatic.
PAUL KELDAY is an anachronism from Brighton. He has a back catalogue going back 15 years some of which is apparently quite well known in electronic music circles. You can get cassettes called such things as "the plane of the inner-between" and "microcosmos". Kelday's music reminds me of Tangerine Dream before the technology evolved enough for them to become bland, back in 1971. He's probably the last person alive doing this kind of thing; actually it's quite refreshing. This track was created especially for this L.P.
The master tape of LADY FRIEND was only recently discovered in a cellar in San Francisco by archivists searching for clues to the location of David Crosby. Originally wrongly identified as a rare Byrds master, this track is now believed to be by the ultra-legendary PSYCHODELIC FILBERTS, possibly the most underground rock band in the world. The only reliable thing known about them is that they are very very very psychodelic indeed. There is only one other recording by the band known, and this is on a Yeah Yeah Noh record. What does it all mean ? ANDREW NICHOLL'S debut L.P. comes out soon on this label. His main ambition is to be as famous as John Coltrane for playing saxophones with his jazz group; but here we see him on his own, sitting at the piano in his little music room hammering out a not-beautiful Satiesque hymn tune of his own devising. He was in a group called The Sincere Americans in about '79 and he's played with the Deep Freeze Mice, the Metal Doughnut Band and Yeah Yeah Noh.
When Rob Grant and Phil Byrtles left the Sinatras (see Vol. 1) they formed (this early incarnation of) THE THREE SHARP PINS - with Mark Fowler and John Southgate. This unusual instrumental outfit never released anything except in odd places like this. Rob, otherwise known as Mr. Concept, has an L.P. out (on Cordelia), and Yeah Yeah Noh have recorded a cover version of this track (they called it Mr. Hammond is out to Lunch). This one was recorded back in about 1981. I think they are still going - must remember to ask Rob next time I see him.
C.W. VRTACEK'S latest L.P. "days and days" is on Recommended; they describe him, in their catalogue, as the president of the avant-guard. This previously unreleased track is an example of what he's been doing since. The line-up is CWV - guitar, synthesiser; Kimberly Gellatly - toy xylophone; Michael Gellatly - assistant to Emily; Emily - throat noises. I have specific instructions not to tell you anything else about Michael Gellatly and Emily. C.W. VRTACEK has made about 3 or 4 L.P.s but they're probably difficult to get hold of. THE WIMPS existed from '77 to '80 and were a bunch of 17 year old schoolboys. They were: Robert Metcalfe, J. Rog Eyams, Saul Rosenbery, Rick Marshall and Matthew Illegible. They made two records, the Hamburger Radio e.p. and a single called "At the Discoteque". The odd thing is that at least half of the songs on these were absolutely first rate (e.g. this one). Perhaps I should try to get another one for Volume 3. Time marches on inelluctably forwards, the past is blown away like Autumn leaves in a cold November wind... Rog is now an actor with the Royal Shakespeare company... J is a Kibbutznik in Israel... Saul is a jazz pianist... Rick is a biologist near Bristol... Robert went on to join the Wibbley Brothers... What? MODERN GIRLS was written about the woman who Matthew later married.   .....life....
See volume one of this L.P. for details about the dangerous lunatic known as JOHN TRUBEE and also the first half of this telephone conversation, of which one reviewer said "TRUBEE seriously upsets a complete stranger and calls it art". This sort of thing is likely to give him incalculable pleasure. TRUBEE has two L.P.s out on Enigma. You decide..... no... I'll decide... I say it's all good clean fun....

Alan Jenkins

January 1986

Other O.I.C.s in the Series