Friday, December 28, 2012


I read an article on the Beatles one time, I think it was Greil Marcus, but may be wrong, where the writer made the case that the Beatles were actually their own antecedents: that the band playing in Hamburg in the late 50s, writing their own songs as callow teenagers, long before they'd met Brian Epstein, were actually peers of the early rock and rollers. He's a little right and a little wrong, I think. There's a fast transmission mechanism in music; and if you're around at the right time with the right influences - say, rockabilly quiff in 1957, a stash of LSD in 1967 or a battered guitar and an attitude in 1977 - then there's not a long distance from seeing the Pistols, say, and becoming the Pistols.

I first wrote/recorded a song in 1982, when I was 15, though I'd probably had tunes in my head and lyrics in my school book for years before. The music I liked - electronic music such as Kraftwerk, OMD, Soft Cell and Human League - was way beyond my suburban imagination, I don't think anyone in my class realised that some of these bands had been plugging away for years. But more important than the influences was the availability of cheap equipment. From the Casio VL-Tone which appeared on Top of the Pops (Trio's "Da Da Da") almost as soon as it appeared in the Kays Catalogue; to proper fully featured synthesizers. But I wasn't the only entranced by both the sounds and the possibilities of the cheap synth. It appears that in bedroom's the country long, people were swapping guitar aspiration for synth love and then with a quick press of the record button and a smidgin of imagination creating their own electronica.

Fast forward 30 years and the internet makes eveything available. So I was both surprised and not when a guy called Simon Holland approached me with the idea of an internet album consisting of electronica from that era. I contributed a track called "Exit to Maya" from 1987 to what has now evolved into a beautifully presented compilation called "Bedroom Cassette Masters." 

In the excellent download insert, he talks about what Simon Reynolds - in his book "Retromania" - has referred to as "hauntology" - a music that has a ghostly imprint of the music from the past. So though some of the tracks on BCM are originals uploaded from compact cassettes, others have the sound of that era. Listen and download, its a lovely selection.

Thinking of my own music and how it fits in, I'm not sure I've ever been as close to the zeitgeist as I am now - which is kind of weird given that I've been recording music for around 30 years. To celebrate this "milestone" during 2012, I set myself a task to record a monthly cassette single - and with December coming to a close I'm just finishing off the 12th in the set, featuring the Christmas song "Christmas in Siberia"

2012's cassette singles from Jan-Nov. December coming soon.

.Its been a fascinating project recording over 40 tracks in a year; taking inspiration from stuff I've done before or hearing sounds around me that I've tried to emulate. All of this would be recognisable to my 15 year old self, I think, perhaps inevitable when I'm using a very similar instrument set up as all those years ago. Yet listening to my favourite albums of 2012 - I hear a familiar electronic palate in Grimes or Chromatics - and wonder where those thirty years have gone. In the New Year I'll be "releasing" an album featuring the "best" tracks from the cassette singles series.

One thought is that I might look at some more collaborative stuff in 2013 - as I very much enjoyed a few "live" events during 2012 where my poetry and music lives began to merge a little. There's some interest in Manchester for a joint electronic "jam" session - putting together an album in a day. We'll see what happens. If interested leave a comment or email me at adrian dot slatcher at gmail dot com.

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