Friday, January 04, 2019

Grey Park

Grey Park - Olic banquet
Hyster Tapes. Hyster26.

Its been a while but here’s another release from Grey Park on the ever reliable, open to trades, analogue only, recycled Finnish cassette label Hyster Tapes. I’ve just been perusing their rudimentary, two page, not changed since the year dot, perfectly formed website and most of the reviews on it appear to come from me and the Bearded Wonder with a smattering of Vital Weekly and Tape Gods thrown in for good measure. This made me realize that I write a load of old shit at times and repeat myself ad nauseum. Hey ho.

Grey Park releases have been passing through these hands for many years now and I’ve never heard one that disappointed me. Packaging has always been a highlight with one release arriving in an inside out coffee bean bag, the artwork stenciled in red onto the shiny once inner, now outer surface. Olic banquet arrives in a slip of white paper with the twelve track info typewritten in glorious not computer font old typewriter font. The cassette is of course recycled and runs through most of one side most of what is, I’m assuming, a C90 before the news in Finnish kicks in. The flip is still blank and there for you to use should you choose to.

We find Grey Park on the Experimental Industrial Ambience floor of the Sound Building of Life, their sound that of someone sweeping the floor of an abandoned factory while listening to a distant 1940’s German shortwave radio thats had its last working speaker kicked in. This is best captured on the second track, a ten minute live outing from 2013, a succinct and oddly beautiful trawl through dead frequencies but let Olic banquet wash over you and you will find yourself subjected to; Chinese language tapes being stretched over capstans, the neighing [and trotting] of a horse looped in to rhythmic structures, the click of a run-off groove buffeted by lo-fi rumblings as a female voice drifts in to the ether, the clang of a dead steel triangle hit metronomically as a record is spun backwards at a ridiculously fast BPM. And on and on. A veritable panoply of odd sounds, murk and delight.

Todays news revealed that cassettes sales have gone through the roof, mainly thanks to certain popular artists making cassettes part of their release schedule. From being the dominant format 27 years ago they now account for a paltry 1% of total physical sales. Tiny numbers that will no doubt stay tiny long after a new generation of people who cant quite believe two plastic shells holding sellotape with iron filings on them can actually carry sound, has long since worn off. A part of me still likes cassettes though. I have a great affection for them and despite their obvious flaws that will remain so. And while Kylie might shift a few of her latest on cassette I find pop music a total flirt capable of living quite happily on any format with mobile phone being perhaps the mode of choice these days. In contrast, I find experimental music thrives on cassette. Find a cassette player with automatic reverse play and you can listen on a loop, the gentle click of the tape swapping side your only reminder of the outside world. Let it ever be so.

Hyster Tapes 


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

See You Next Tuesday

See You Next Tuesday #2
A4 zine w/CDR
100 copies

See You Next Tuesday #3

A4 zine w/CDR
100 copies

In the strange days between Christmas and New Year I bought three Kate Bush CD’s in Oxfam in York which turned out to be the most played music over the 2019 festive period. Me and Mrs Fisher played them in the car while coming home from York and while coming back from Scarbados a few days later. At home we sang ‘rolling the ball’ to each other while rolling our ‘rrr’s’ and theatrically mimicking Kate’s rolling of the ball as seen on Top of the Pops circa some time in the 1980’s. Oh what fun. After the 2017 festive period was written off due to both of us coming down with the flu, all we hoped from 2018 was that we both stay lurgi and hangover free and enjoy what time we had reading, listening to music and making our way through the second series of the Handmaid’s Tale. And lo it came to pass. I read Anna Burns terrific novel Milkman over the first few days, not an easy ride but a novel that makes plenty of other contemporary novels appear mundane by comparison and then I started in on my William H. Gass ‘Reader’. A man for whom Finnegan’s Wake provides light reading.

Its back to work tomorrow so I might as well gird the loins and return to the coal face by relating what happens within the pages of the above. The above being the house organ of Loxley Tapes as found in Blyth in the North East of England. I think I recounted my drive though Blyth when issue one of the above landed earlier this year [or last, as it is now] and told of the joys to be found within the North East Vibe and how the North East of England has the best people and the best countryside and the best coast in England.

Of particular interest to readers of these pages will be the TNB bootleg recording of their Termite Club gig of 2003 as recorded by a certain Michael Gillham - which you will find in issue 3. The official release of this gig - 20th Antiversary Offensive - came via Hypnogogia and sounds very different to what we have here. Which is bereft of any nuance and sounds like it was actually recorded outside the venue with the recording device held deep within the inside pocket of someones duffel coat. This does not mean that this recording is without its merits for there is something to be said in the defence of the poorly recorded noise gig, the main one being that it recreates the feeling of having gone for a piss halfway through the set as you seek respite from the onslaught.  Issue 2 contains an interview with Richard Rupenus and an appreciation of TNB’s first release Changez Les Blockuers. Not something you come across everyday.

Issue 3 contains an interminably long interview with Manchester band Cabbage and more pertinently to these pages Xazzaz. Issue 2 contains an interview with the guitarist from original Sunderland punks The Rebels whose rare as rocking horse shit single is to be found on the accompanying CD alongside a single called Drunken Christmas by a band called Red Alert which actually isn’t that bad and is definitely going to be the last Christmas single I hear until around the end of November when no doubt the opening chimes of Slade’s So Here it is Merry Xmas once again chokes the airwaves. The highlight for me has to be the three tracks by Posset that shine like shiny baubles on a xmas tree bereft of needles. Alas, due to a big gouge on the disc I was only able to rip two of the three Dictaphonic mini-classics tracks to mon computer. Quelle horreur. The CD with issue 3 also has a number of tracks by Fowl who sound not entirely dissimilar to Idles.

Someone called Arthur Peverell contributes an endless supply of stories and poems to both issues all reproduced in his own handwriting as written on lined A4 notepaper. Here’s  an example:

I was taking a bath it was raining,
My bathroom tiles are creme
The radio was playing ‘doctor Feelgood’
I couldn’t decide ‘the colour of the steam’
‘undecided by the colour’
I was looking at a fanny magazine
There is a lot of this and a lot of Cabbage and a lot of photos of Cabbage on stage and back stage and in the pub. There’s also a photo of a shady character stood outside a menswear shop in Amble besides lots of other stuff that I may have passed by while flicking for truth be told I found these two issues a bit of a trawl. These are big fat things, a hundred pages or more, held together by a staple in the top left hand corner. 

Now here’s the weird bit; you can only buy them through eBay. I have no idea why this should be so. Search for eBay seller mich6greg though and you will find a page where you can buy both copies of these zines, that for some inexplicable reason come with a complimentary/compulsory box of tea bags, for £11.50 each plus £5 postage.

Happy New Year.

As an aside; although the TNB recording is a bootleg it does have official status.