Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Black Love - Soundtrack For Black Power
Hertz-Lion. Cassette. HL-2.
On Saturday Morning, as is my habit, I set off on my hunter gathering duties. As I turned the key in the ignition the radio came to life and the speakers regaled me with that drippy hippy west coast anthem; America's 'Ventura Highway' [how the car radio came to be tuned to Radio 2 is a mystery I shall have to solve at a later date. What with me being permanently stuck in the R4/R3 ditch these days the sound of Anneka Rice's inane babblings towards the tracks end was enough to have me swerving all over the road desperately trying to hit the ‘4’ button on the display without crashing. Something I have no wish to repeat].
Having fulfilled my hunter gathering duties I returned home to find ‘Black Love - Soundtrack For Black Power’ awaiting me and there, stamped upon its return address, the words Ventura CA.
We were destined to like each other. I was going to smother this release in critical kisses from the off, adopt it as one of my own, take it to parties with me, introduce it to friends, give it a Buddhist name and register it with the Wine Society. We were going to be more than friends, we were going to be travelers through life. And then I discovered that the package contained a cassette and my love increased a thousand fold. I was floating on air. My eyes twirled in delight. My heart felt lighter. A skip came to my step and everything seemed covered in lovely dust. With a ‘Bank of Hell’ 20 note stuck to the inside of the case my love increased another thousandfold. When I discovered that it had a running time of 2.23 seconds I had all on not to involuntary ejaculate into my M&S boxers. And then, and then ... the climax … no web presence. No web presence. Can you handle that fact? Here we are again in 1992 and Bill Gates still hasn’t thought that a web browser would be a good idea. We’re in writing to each other territory folks. Just the return address on the jiffy bag and little ol’ me. I mean, even if it sounded like shit it was going to get ten thumbs up. Possibly more.
I read the press release, something about a performance at REDCAT in LA in 2008 involving Sarah Best, David Cotner and a Segovia. No, not that one. Transpires said cassette is actually the data for a 1981 Texas Instrument game called Strange Odyssey. This being a time in gaming pre-history when gamers needed to load data from cassettes to get their pixelated, simple beyond idiocy games to work.
You could of course play these data cassettes on Walkmans and boomboxes, the results being a constant stream of computer chatter. Noise in other words. What Cotner, Segovia and Best did [Best running point on logistics, it says here] is combine these sounds with those of other amplified tape sounds, these tapes being duct tape, Scotch tape and er ... 'magic tape'? Each being torn, ripped and no doubt used to strangle passers by with within the darkness of the venue, as a measuring tape twanged back in to its protective case from one end of the venue to the other for added effect.
I doubt whether these sounds are incorporated in to the sounds I'm hearing now though. This is code dissonance, a conceptual release and nothing else.
The cassette itself appears to be an original Texas Instrument release but this could be the work of Hertz-Lion industry. That is all I know.
The delight in such absurdist releases as this are multifarious and should be replicated in large doses so that we may venture in to the world of noise at more regular intervals. A case in point - I have three Pain Jerk CD's here that have remained virtually unlistened to since their arrival a couple of months back. A two and a half minute noise cassette, be it data chatter, Merzbow or The New Blockaders, in this format and at this running length, should be applauded. The best sub three minute noise cassette I've heard since Cock E.S.P.'s legendary 'You Know What They Say About Guy's With Short Sets'. And far better for the morale than Ventura Highway.
Post Office Box 1211