Last update: Mar. 17, 2017
• Old live show recently surfaced: The Dead C - Live (Super 8) Dunedin, 22 Jul 1994. The set kicks off with a brilliant version of "Hope," one of my favorite DC tracks ever, off of Harsh 70s Reality.
Flurry of new material from Michael Morley! There's an MM release with former Harry Pussy axe-mangler Bill Orcutt, Electric Guitar Duets, out as cassette on Land And Sea, and on LP (forthcoming) on Crystalline Morphologies. Also look for a 2xLP of acoustic 12 string compositions and another acoustic LP on Precious Metal (vinyl pressing, not lathe - a Precious Metal first!) later this year. Don't forget the the mind-bogglingly great Prince tribute from Gate, two great tastes that go great together. Titled PRN, this free Bandcamp download features a cover of "I Would Die 4 U" and a hypnagogic take on the guitar solo from "Purple Rain" and is a perfect companion to Gate's amazing Saturday Night Fever LP (ranked 11th on The Wire's top 100 LPs of 2016).
Michael Morley, Arcata, California, July 7, 2016
Details. Tiny Mix Tapes:
Legendary lo-fi art-rock trio The Dead C will be releasing their new double album, Trouble, on August 12. Trouble is the follow-up to 2013’s Armed Courage and was recorded at music venue Chick’s Hotel in the band’s native New Zealand, with a two person-audience that included the bartender.
Previous albums like Harsh 70s Reality and Trapdoor Fucking Exit, which date back more than 25 years, are paradigms of experimental, technically wonky rock. The Dead C abandon conventional song structure in favor of epic length, relentless guitar feedback, waves of fuzz, and disturbingly inhuman moaning. Their droning, crumbling soundscapes and long improvisational pieces turn each new album into a dark, engrossing experience.
Trouble is no different: meticulously crafted but dirty as hell. Fans will welcome this latest installment of relentless, pounding, mind-bending music, while newcomers will stretch their conception of what rock can be.
Trouble will be released on Ba Da Bing! (The Dead C is the label’s longest running artist), and it’s available now for pre-order. To satisfy your noise-rock hankerings until August, TMT has the pleasure of premiering a new song from the album, titled “5,” followed by dates for the group’s newly announced tour.
"Every time I hear their recordings, Im reminded that they are one of the greatest rock bands to ever pick up a guitar and attempt to play it wrong. Listening to The Dead C causes me to think differently. It brings up emotions with which Im otherwise unfamiliar. It strikes to the essence of my being and reveals what otherwise remains hidden. I take solace in knowing that one out of every thirty of you reading this know exactly what Im talking about. On the spectrum of The Dead Cs sound output, Trouble could very well be seen as springing from the same realm as the massive Driver UFO, one of the bands greatest tracks ever, off Harsh 70s Reality. Theres a youthful aggression here, a churning anger, deadened by pounding drone. Much like H70s, this record serves as a gateway drug -- if you were ever looking for an album to play to a newbie curious about experimental rock, this would be it. The visceral strength of their performance trembles out of the speakers. The magnificence of their stamina survives each album side." - Ben Goldberg, Ba Da Bing.
The Wire review
• The Wire issue 390 features Michael Morley on the power of tape loops.
• The Dead C: September 20, 2016 First Unitarian Congregational Society live show download. Robbie Yeats had visa trouble so this is MM & BR playing over a previously recorded drum track. Mind-boggling show, download a FLAC.
Gate - West Coast Tour 2016
7/3 - Los Angeles - Non Plus Ultra w/ Metal Rouge, Telcaves, and Peter Kolovos (Gate to play as a trio) • Facebook event link
7/5 - Oakland - Land and Sea Gallery w/Michael Morley (of Gate) duo with Bill Orcutt, and Sanaz performing Project Shiir • Facebook event link
7/6 - Los Altos - KFJC radio hosted by Black Horizons (2-6 pm) http://www.kfjc.org/
7/6 - San Francisco - Hemlock Tavern ( Gate to perform as a trio) w/ Meg Baird and Jim Haynes • Facebook event link
7/7- Arcata - the Miniplex (located in Richards Goat tavern) w/ Ghoulhand • Facebook event link
7/8 - Portland - S1 - with Grouper • Facebook event link
7/9 - Olympia - Dub Narcotic - w/ Malaikat dan Singa (Gabie Strong and Christopher Reid Martin performing as a duo) • Facebook event link
7/10 - Seattle - Hollow Earth Radio w/ Dialing In • Facebook event link
7/12 - Los Angeles - Club Pro - w/ Carla Bozulich's Bloody Claws, and Nick Malkin ( Gabie and Christopher to perform as a duo) • Facebook event link
• The Dead C - 2016 Tour
09.20.16 - Brooklyn, NY - Unitarian Church
09.21.16 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas
09.24.16 - Louisville, KY - Cropped Out Festival
09.25.16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
• I dug out a higher quality version of "Sky" than what's been floating around on YouTube. PAL VHS from Bruce Russell, converted to NTSC by Marc Masters, ripped to DVD by yours truly.
Download original .AVI file in full quality.
• New Michael Morley acoustic (!) LP hits the streets. "Kye is proud to announce the release of Moonrise, the brand new solo LP by Michael Morley. After a 30-odd year history cutting electric music with the likes of Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos, The Dead C, and Gate, Morley opens a new chapture with Moonrise, being the first readily available document of the man in solo acoustic mode. "Moonrise was recorded as an experiment in my newly established recording studio to see what might happen if I played acoustic instruments only, with an ear to some early Spanish guitar music and the Persian oud. After 30 years of playing the acoustic guitar in private for no good reason, I decide to record the activity." (Michael Morley). Moonrise arrives in a full color Morley designed matte stock sleeve, with complimentary inner bags, in an edition of 500 copies." - Kye. Order it from Fusetron.
Moonrise review from The Wire:
The Dead C’s Michael Morley typically records solo under the Gate moniker. To locate the first and only other album Morley has released under his own name you’d have to scroll all the way back through his extensive discography to 1996’s The Pavilion Of Fools. That album doesn’t sound a lot like Moonrise – and nor does much else Morley has produced over the past three decades. Bar a brief jolt of electric roughly halfway through, Moonrise is performed entirely on acoustic guitar. It’s dominated by “The River” and “Moonrise”, two 14 minute tracks which piece together passages of American primitive-style fingerpicking into fragmented discourses, whose chapter-like episodes are held together with the loosest of connective tissue. None of the repetitions and conclusions favoured by the genre’s more illustrious practitioners are available here, however. Melodic patterns and thematic motifs are alighted on, then abstracted through sidetracks or digressions, or impassively disintegrated, to be reshaped at a later point from a quite different perspective. Nestled around these two works are a trio of shorter pieces, whose closest but still distant relation is late 1980s Dead C, the detuned one-chord dirges on DR503 or the song remnants scattered across Eusa Kills. Morley’s vocals on each sound as disconnected and forlorn as ever, half-moaned and half-crooned, floating uneasily above some nimble fretwork. Song titles like “Night” and “The Storm” and the cover artwork – a blurry photograph of an early morning or late evening horizon view, as regarded through a heavily misted window or car windscreen – reference the landscape and natural elements. For Morley, these everyday physical and spatial environments seem both ineffably powerful and overfamiliar; the album’s regular doubling back and re-evaluation implies that one’s relationship to them is evolving and unfixed. This sense of indecision or reconsideration, and the ambivalence which underpins it, are Moonrise’s defining strengths. Its affective power is all the greater for its reluctance to clarify where it positions itself in relation to the musical traditions it evokes, and its consequent lack of certainty about its own identity and what it might be trying to communicate. - Nick Cain
• Gate's Saturday Night Fever LP is hot on the heels of Moonrise.
"Saturday Night Fever" takes the concept of the movie of the same name and stretches the night a bit later, the fever a bit higher to the point where the party ends up blending into something much more sinister and wild. What starts out as a disco drumbeat with funky guitar swagger and melodic horns, may slowly deteriorate into some sort of corroded ambient loop that eventually morphs into melodic horn samples.. Basically every track is subverting it's own gestures, carving out a narrative of interruption and stretching the disco template in directions simultaneously embracing and mocking the form.. In a way, this album is a sequel to "A Republic of Sadness", embracing the criticisms people had of that album and expanding on those flaws. The resulting album sounds like Morley's pulling out some heaping doses of the hermit boogie and Otago funk and stretching it into some sort of Basinskian disintegration loop gone Bernard Bonnier zonked mutant scene.. There are so many moves within each of the four extended tracks, that it feels like that illuminated dance floor is always slipping beneath your feet. I promise it'll be worth the effort, twinkletoes..." - Pete Swanson
Review from The Wire:
What does it take to get a noise dude out on the floor? Why not ask Michael Morley, who has been trying to figure dance music out for some time. Known primarily as guitarist and vocalist for The Dead C, he cast a quizzical glance towards the genre on late 1990s albums like The Lavender Head. Listening back, they’re confusing, leftfield shots, with brutishly manipulated samples submerged in Morley’s characteristic smoky fug of anti-production. Morley picked up this thread on 2010’s A Republic Of Sadness, where crepuscular songs, loosely cast, were buffed to a surprising sheen. His vocals, as bleary-eyed as ever, were the constant. With Saturday Night Fever, things get weirder still – a seeming tribute to the titular phenomenon, down to the detourned logo on the front cover, it takes a while to settle in with these four extended songs and to figure out quite where Morley is going. That said, it’s not so hard to grasp what he’s up to structurally. The modus operandi with Saturday Night Fever, generally, is to set loops gnawing at each other, folding them in and out methodically, almost at odds with the gutsy roughness of the material itself. One big surprise comes when Morley lets recognisable instruments float atop the murk, like the odd violin reel that spindles out of “Licker”, or the horn riff that’s tattooed, awkwardly, over opening track “Asset”. The highlight, though, is in the nakedly bowdlerised grooves of “Caked”, where Morley somehow brilliantly turns classic disco moves into yet another mournful Gate song. The emotional tension here is thrilling even as it jars, particularly when Morley winds a ticker-tape shudder of analogue bliss over the song’s itchy funk. Saturday Night Fever’s weirdness now comes clear – working at right angles to itself, it never quite reaches conclusions about its functionality; yet it’s a queerly compelling listen. If he’s mocking disco, as Pete Swanson suggests in his accompanying notes, it’s a dumbass move, not least because disco’s always been a genre with canny selfawareness. It doesn’t need you, or anyone else, to mock it – it’s pretty good at laughing with itself. But certainly, by “embracing… the form” and trying to find a way through disco, Morley’s explorations are one hell of a blast – almost in spite of themselves. - Jon Dale
• Review of Michael Morley opening for Ramleh, Los Angeles:
"Dead C guitarist Michael Morley’s solo endeavour Gate offered the night’s lowest ebb in energy and volume. Perched wearily in a folding chair, he strummed and picked at an electric guitar, fumbling through a messy sprawl of improvised fuzz and half-songs, occasionally leaning forward to add some noncommittal vox. While not sonically unpleasant, the overall performance was so texturally similar to his main group it begged the question: why diverge at all, to stray so little? The latter portion of the set found Morley fussing more with his pedal board, twisting whooshes of wah and exaggerated reverb, before settling into a noodly, impressionistic coda of axe murk and mumble. Up near the ceiling a mirrorball spun slowly, comically at odds with the spirit of the room. " - Britt Brown
• New Dead C single released - "Palisades" on the Swedish label I Dischi Del Barone. “This single by New Zealands most overly-prolific trio is taken from the sessions for their upcoming double LP on Ba Da Bing. Forthcoming non-selections recorded live in an empty bar in Port Chalmers, and produced by the band as all their records are. Nothing much changes in the Dead Cs world, it just all happens again and again in the same way. Who could ask for more? 200 copies. Black vinyl, white cardboard sleeve with postcard attached, stamped white labels, insert. Plays at 45rpm.” - I Dischi Del Barone. Discogs link. Larger photo.
Order it from Fusetron. Sold out.
Review from The Wire:
"The sound of this handsome NZ trio playing in an empty bar in Port Chalmers. What could be nicer? The guitars and drums both sound like they're being unstrung, the drums offer compressed martial thrubs, and all's well with the world. There's something so fantastic about the way these guys sound on singles. The editing seems to compress their magic into the best of all possible forms." - Byron Coley
•Ass-paddling Dead C. live show at Naval Point Yacht Club, Lyttelton, 2014
• Bruce Russell's daughter Olive has released a documentary entitled 27 Minutes with Mr. Noisy available on Vimeo. "This is my short documentary, 27 minutes with Mr. Noisy - a documentary about my father, Bruce Russell. Bruce talks about his work with The Dead C, other projects, and life in the Dunedin scene. I made it for school, and did all the shooting myself; except for the live music shots, which I give credit to whoever owns them. I know its long, but I would really love to hear what you think :)"
• A music video for "Truth" (off of their 2003 release, The Damned), created by Morgan Oliver, is available on Vimeo.
• The Wire gave our heroes cover story status in a ridiculously comprehensive feature by David Keenan.
OLDER NEWS (Summer 2000)
• From the Bent Crayon forthcoming release list: "DEAD C, THE: 2CD (LANGUAGE POLITICS). "After four years of continual recording, The Dead C have conspired to put together the fruits of their labor into a double compact disc for general consumption. Starting at a point somewhere just after their last Siltbreeze release, Tusk from 1996, this eponymous recording reveals a band that continues to experiment with sound and the ways in which we engage with sound. Still inhabiting the outer edges of the real world, The Dead C continue to record and play music regardless of the fashion and trends which sweep over the low lying islands of the South Pacific in which they live. Never invited to raves, dances, chillout tents, or music festivals, The Dead C inhabit their own universe unknowingly standing their ground against an international culture that revels in homogeneity, globalization and mediocrity. Over two hours playing time."
• From Mr. Russell's H/Corp site: "The double Dead C. CD is 'being mastered', and the SubPop single is out (club members only). There's a Gate CD on Table of the Elements (The Wisher Table) which is currently missing in action, no one knows where this is at, so don't even ask me."
• A Dead C. SubPop 7" has hit the streets - here's the word from Mr. Russell: "The SubPop contract is signed. The two tracks were recorded in August 99 and are called 'Stealth' and 'The Factory'. I won't attempt to describe them other than to say punk rock they are not." A very good single, do try and track it down.
My review, posted to alt.music.dead-c
- "It was with great pleasure that I opened the package today and put this on the turntable (thanks, Rowan!)
Five listens later, I'd have to say it's a pretty nice item to have around the house... ambient stabs of guitar noise a la the 'Metalheart' 7" but with less 'urgency' - these pieces seem content to just drift, with no need to build to any sort of climax. Less sheet-metal racket than you'll find on the great _Tusk_ LP, there is plenty of space to get lost in on this single.
While I still prefer the more "song"-oriented Dead C. material, this is still a great single and, on the merits of this 7" preview, I'm anxiously awaiting the double CD slated for later this year.
I still get a hearty chuckle about a has-been 'grunge' label like Sub Pop releasing a Dead C. 7"... ;-)"
• The long-awaited DR503c compilation is finally out. Here's the lowdown from popolice..."DR503c hit the New Zealand record stores a couple of days ago so I picked up a copy hoping for the typical re-release goodies - you know, articles written by enthusiasts about the recordings and what was going on at the time, etc... - kinda like the Geffen re-releases of Sonic Youth's older albums and, of course, Flying Nun's Eusa Kills CD. However, there wasn't even a booklet - just a card with the Perform Max Harris / DR503b cover art on the outside (Perform DR503c, this time) and, on the inside, a picture of the band as appears on the back of the Feel Good All Over re-release of DR503. The CD is a well put together compilation, however, and, although many of you will have most of the songs, it's a good listen and well mastered."
• The Dead C. are to make their first network TV appearance in NZ on a Friday night show called Ground Zero. One of the hosts is Graeme Humphries from the Abel Tasmans. Dead C. appear at 11.45 for four and a half minutes approx.
• Dead C. perform live on the Sat. night at the Kings Arms, Auckland 18 Sept. supported by Lovely Midget and White Saucer. This is the first show this year and the first in AK since the 1996 Repent show.
Here are reactions to this unexpected broadcast and the subsequent live show from the Dead C. mailing list:
- from Hamish Noonan "For the benefit of foreigners and people with better things to do on Friday nights: After sitting thru way too much of barely coherent young people playing video games and someone making racist comments about Brunei and finding out this girl i went to school with is with is now a pop star the C came on and played "sky". I don't think the mix did them justice nor did Bruces sunglasses but when they stopped rocking out to do their "free noise" thang they shone and it was the coolest two minutes you'd ever see on a music program. Afterwards the aforementioned young person looked a bit confused as if he'd never experienced anything unpredictable before and the old guy from the Tasmans seemed pretty excited and bounced around a bit. They had an "interview" later with Bruce being the consummate record collector talking about Suicide, Michael looking cynical and Robbie looking bewildered. For some reason one of the interviewers had a problem with Bruce using the word 'quintessential' - of course it was live so they couldn't beep it out or replace it with 'bitching'. The interviewer made some comment about them being the Colin McCahon of the music world which I guess is better than them being the Michael Morley of the music world but not as cool as being the Ralph Hotere of the music world."
- from popolice "Oh yeah! That was a fine experience. Hamish explained it well, although I thought the mix was pretty good for that particular song but, indeed, the sunglasses had to go. I still can't comprehend the C being on such a hideous show."
"First of all, I'd like to thank those, on the list, who gave me some advice on how to get into the concert seeing as I'm under-age. In the end I managed to get in without any problems.
There were three sets of performers, the first being a solo female artist by the name of Little Midget. Her performance was around 10 minutes and consisted of a short film from the 1980s (I don't remember the name of the film or the writer, unfortunately). Anyway, as was the case with the Tanaka / Nixon Meeting concert, she played along with the film as it progressed. Her choice of instrumentation was two turntables with which she made a sound collage of, what sounded like, guitar feedback textures. The samples, I think, were her own seeing as the vinyl was all lathe-cut. The set was very impressive and, it seemed as though, the crowd shared the same opinion.
The second act was a duo (drummer / guitarist) that goes by the name of White Saucer (which, I'm sure, many of you have heard of). I've only heard White Saucer once before on the radio which seemed to sound like the lo-fi guitar noise thing but their performance, for me, was very unexpected. The music they played seemed to border on many genres - the punk-like drumming and the guitar which seemed like a disjointed mix of heavy metal, death metal, punk, and pure noise. They played for about 30 minutes which consisted of about five 3-4 minute pieces (definitely composed as the drummer and guitarist had to communicate with each other before each piece). Then, as a finale, they played, what seemed like, a free set with lots of manipulated feedback and rolling drums, such as those on The Doors' The End. I didn't really get into this so much but I appreciate the fact that they were doing something farely adventurous
Then, at last, The Dead C set up and, maybe due to excessive enthusiasm, Bruce started playing while Michael and Robbie were still doing final checks. After Bruce had played about 5 minutes of solo guitar with some kind of delay effect, Robbie began assaulting the drums with the same enthusiasm that features on the likes of Sky and Helen Said This. Bruce kept doing his thing while Michael was strumming a few chords in time and began singing words that were hard to make out - the first line was "I had a dream." Michael's computer was also set up with which he used to play samples. During the piece, a sample kept blurting out something about a "church." Anyway, musically, this first piece was structured exactly like Outside. The beginning featured a lot of action, after which it died down and kept going with a, for want of a better word, transcandental sound. It lasted about 30 minutes.
The second piece, in my opinion, was a bit of a disaster. It was an instrumental piece, much shorter than the last due to Michael's guitar lead fucking up and a few other problems with wires. It was probably due to the euipment failing that this piece didn't come off too well, in my opinion anyway. It was rock 'n' rollish in a Dead C kind of way but, unfortunately, they simply didn't get the chance to develop it which I'm sure they would have done. Actually, I don't remember much about this piece at all - someone might want to elaborate.
So, there was a bit of an intermission while the euipment was being fixed, after which The Dead C began their final piece. This was very similar to the first piece, in structure and in quality. More exciting drumming from Robbie and Michael blurting out words about something that no one except himself probably new about while Bruce, of course, was in his little corner coungering up interesting sounds with his guitar and amp. This piece, unlike the first, had the computer taking a much more dominant role, with drones being looped over and over. As the piece died down, Michael was continually changing knobs on the computer and his amp to make little bleeps and blotches like those paintings, 'pointilism' or something like that - I don't really know anything about the visual arts.
Things of note were: Robbie also had an organ by his side with which he added to the dying down stages of the first and third piece; The Dead C, contrary to what they've said, are still a song based band but more in the style of songs like Head; The Dead C's sound IS progressing - After experiencing the concert, I predict the next album will be a cross between The Whitehouse and Tusk with added hypnotic-like effects from the computer. I asked Bruce what's going on with the C and he made a comment that, rescently, they've been recording staight to 2-track, without overdubs, sort of like Repent. The double CD of new material should be out near the end of this year or early next year. DR503c is out in a couple of weeks or so.
Over all, the concert was incredible and I'm not just saying that because it's The Dead C. When I listened to Repent this morning, I noticed how much better they've become as a live band. They're so much more innovative now. I heard one redneck behind me say something along the lines of "they're dicks and they can't play their instruments." A lot of people walked out after the first song. Basically, by the time the last piece had finished, most of the people remaining, wanted to be there and were absolutely stunned by what The Dead C can pull off."
- From: Brian King "I'll keep it short....it was great :-) Some may say the volume was too low but I through it was perfect....and I think the C are kidding themselves if they think they have moved away from HSR.... sounded just like it to me....just one sizzling guitar solo after another and long wind downs. and as for moving away from song.....I'd be more inclined to think maybe a redefinition of the song. I'd go along with songless from their side projects though....all up it was the best Dead C concert I've seen and I've seen all the auckland shows....four isn't it???? As for ground zero...I liked it....I think it has potential. The C played at their very best and I think Bruce looked great in those sunnies...a real rock star ;-) I was suprised to hear the comments at work the next day...like they looked wild and it would have been *something* to see (and it was)....."
From: Cam Bennett Dead C on tv - I have a MP3 of this (2.8 Megs) if anyone has a suggestion for where I could upload it - highly wonderful performance - squealing and incandescent and surprisingly not completely fucked up by the tv mix - the vocals rang out "rented my ass to see the sky, you dumb fucks don't mean very much, I've got more important things to worry about" clearly this is late night tv.
it won't be the same without the visuals, the hysterical extreme camera work, swooping and zooming, around the state of the art hand held tv lightshow flashing green and red, and Bruce going bananas in sunglasses, giving it everything in 60 seconds, playing the guitar with a hand held fan, then two metal bars
probably the greatest bit is the way the crowd went apeshit at the end - the sort of reception usually reserved for True Bliss
then they sat on the couch and plugged their forthcoming Fnun cd.
The Dead C are SERIOUS too, it was only funny because it was on tv,
the intensity of the performance in this whole Monsters Of Rock thing, Shihad and the Dead C both have immense pride in their work combined with an attitude that isn't diffident so much as humble, like they're lucky to be making the noise - it is, after all, a glorious noise - but fuck, it's not brain surgery, it's rock and roll, lighten up
it's a dead heat - they're both Monsters but they both make you work real hard for it
ps don't dis Ground Zero - in between the 75% product placement Randy Campbell from Back Of The Y is the TRUE Monster Of Rock, Graeme who used to be an Able Tasman plugs Snapper, Suicide and the Stooges, and they had the Dead C on - this is a show that doesn't make you work hard at all
- From Peter Porteous I did see the dead c on TV - 3 1/2 minutes of fucking beauty - Sky - 1 1/2 minutes of ragged glorious pop followed by 2 minutes of beautiful noise. It was life-affirming, and a HUGE contrast with the rest of the product-placement show, which was indeed excruciating to sit through - we were reduced to having the sound off, and playing Pere Ubu on the stereo to make things bearable.
Saturday night was wonderful, but then I am biased. Lovely Midget played her film which was shown at Soliton the other night, accompanied by lowlevel soundscape rumblings, which set the tone nicely for the evening. White Saucer had 2 or 3 rocky pieces which were pretty good, but the last one got a lot more improvised and was the best thing they did. Dead C did two sets, and played for 1 - 1 1/2 hours (? time seemed to be a bit meaningless), and were the least "rock" I have seen them - some very long pieces often quite quiet, with beautiful loops courtesy of Michael Morley's laptop - I kept thinking of Air (on Operation of the Sonne), and the last Gate album The Lavender Head - no techno beats (yet?), but lots of space. I think some people wanted more abrasive noise (which was there sometimes but not as much as before), but that is past history, and they continue to explore sound and noises in new and beautiful ways. A treat as always."
- From: Paul Hirst "Howdy all, got back from Auckland last night and straight to work,so here are my scrambled thoughts about the weekend's events. I haven't watched my video of Dead C from Friday night yet, only having the ability to stomach 5 minutes at a time of the atrocious Ground Zero, but I've already had a great viewing moment which I have not yet seen mentioned in this forum. Two members of the Skeptics society (the myth-shattering ones, not the great old Palmy band) were given the task of introducing "stuff coming-up" before an ad break, and the woman annouced that Dead Clive will be playing. She was corrected by the other one - David Lange(ex-NZ prime minister)'s brother if that obnoxious arrogant racist guy from the Able Tasmans is to be believed. Dead C live was something more exciting to look forward to, but there must be a band called Dead Clive somewhere I'm sure. I'll try and get through some more TV crap tonight and maybe get to see the band themself. I was thinking of converting it to an AVI or something with decent sound and entering the Dead CD tree that way if anyone is interested in a digital version - I also taped the Auckland show and could perhaps make it a double CD if the tape turned out alright. Or maybe video tape format is a better idea anyway, but I thought it might be a bit bulky and get expensive with international post.
Anyway... the show...
Lovely Midget was, I believe, Rachel Shearer solo DJing 2 acetates of Lovely Midget material as Marc had already assumed. She played accompanied by a short film that recently travelled the film festival circuit in NZ but it made a lot more sense to me as a backing to some beautiful sweeping drones, rather than the other way around in a movie theatre where the music took an undeserved secondary importance.
White Saucer was Alan Holt on guitar and Stella Corkery playing drums. The first few tracks were loosely structured and very funny, but the last piece transcended the comedy/mixed up genre by producing an amazing swirl of feedback powered along by the drums and the best extended use of cymbals I've ever heard. I think this piece was the highlight of my night. I'm not sure if my tape caught their whole performance, but I sure hope so - I'll be checking it out tonight.
The Dead C. At the risk of being roasted alive in this forum I must say that I was a little disappointed. No more than 2 of the 3 members ever seemed to be mentally or spiritually (whatever the X factor is) in tune with each other at a time. There were some brilliant duo pieces, but the 3 of them never seemed to click, apart from some amazing rock moments when they actually played songs.
The first part built up beautifully from nothing and had some great intertwining guitar noises and then nicely combining guitar/drum rock-out. As well as his guitar, Bruce Russell also played a weird knobbed box which seemed to be receiving radio signals and produced bursts of white noise. A gradually constructed cacophony which would've made a beautiful (although short) set in itself.
I concur with Marc that the second part of the first set was indeed disastrous and led to my ultimately deflated mood. Nothing seemed to tie in, and the players either looked like they didn't want to be there or were desparately trying different things to salvage the performance. It was here that Michael Morley's powerbook made it's first appearance with loops that tied the sound down rather than allowing it to shift and evolve.
After this piece, they didn't look too happy, and Bruce Russell announced that "We're just going to have a bit of a sit down". I turned to a friend and wondered whether they should go and have a smoke before coming back. "Oh do you think that's the problem" he replied " I thought they must have had too much to smoke before and they need to wait or have a coffee so that it wears off a bit". Either way, things weren't gelling. A few minutes later they stepped back on-stage and played an absolutely powerhouse version of Angel, which was so rock I couldn;t believe it. They should've stopped there in my opinion, cos after what appeared to be some confused communication they proceeded to improvise in a similar vein to the piece before the break. The computer took a more prominent role in restricting the progression of the piece.
Perhaps I'd built it up too much, but it certainly wasn't a show of the same calibre as the mind-opening experience of seeing them support Sonic Youth some years ago."
- from Shaun Jury "Didn't see it either, but heard from a reliable source that they performed 'Sky' and it ROCKED. Last nights Kings Arms show was pretty fine, too - less rock tho' but in the middle they even got quite 'pretty' sounding! Kind of in a FSA/popol vuh kind of way....huge sweaty crowd etc etc - and White Saucer were damn fine - certainly more rock than what i expected - and Lovely Midget was all good too."
• Bruce Russell appears solo in Christchurch with Sleep and the CM Trio on 30 Sept. at the Dux de Lux, and in late October A Handful of Dust play in Melbourne at the Corner in Richmond (Thurs 21 Oct) and the Punters Club in Fitzroy (Sat 23 Oct). Either Alastair Galbraith or BR will also perform solo at one show each.
• The next H/corp release is Warm Planes by RST which should be out by the end of October. The UK LP reissue of Dust's Anabase cassette is also near, on Blue Silver, and after that will come the Maximalist Mantra Music CD by BR on Crank Automotive. There will be one more mail order catalogue this year, in early November.
• From the Flying Nun WWW site: "We are in discussions with the Dead C about a special CD reissue of their early material which includes the legendary DR503b cassette and The Sun Stabbed EP." More details from the H/Corp mailing list arrived in mid-May: "Currently under negotiation and the with a probable but as of yet uncertain outcome: The Dead C. are very near to a deal with Flying Nun for a compilation of DC material 1987-89, to be called DR503c, slated for July release. This will feature previously unheard material and stuff from various out of print releases." Here's the word from Bruce Russell: "We are still settling the contract details, but I have band agreement to this lineup. Max Harris is the other side to the 'Perform Max Harris' cassette from the track included with the Feel Good All Over DR503 CD. The unreleased Crazy is from the same session that produced the track included with that CD, and has the same wild sound."
DR503c, Final track listing, June 1999
1. Crazy I Know [unreleased version] 2.75 mins
2. Speed Kills [DR503] 4.5 mins
3. The Wheel [DR503] 5 mins
4. Polio [DR503] 9 mins
5. Sun Stabbed [Live Dead See TC] 4.5 mins
6. Fire [DR503b TC] 4 mins
7. Bad Pols [Sun St.7"] 2 mins
8. 3 Years [DR503b TC] 6 mins
9. I Love This [DR503] 3 mins
10. Max Harris [A side of first cassette] 14mins
11. Angel [Sun St. 7"] 3.75 mins
Looks like a welcome addition to the discography - even though the Shock CD World Peace Hope et. al. culled some of the same bits from the DR503b cassette, that CD has been out of print for at least two years. Talk of this release provoked a few amusing ripostes on the NZ-POP list... "This must be a joke, a best of Dead C. Just buy all the LPs. I can see the TV ads now, "If you buy one compilation this year, it has be The Dead C.'s Greatest Hits. Remastered with remixes from DJ Hotshit.", "Why the surprise? Coming onto the Dead C rather late, I am yet to hear DR503b or the other early recordings... Anyhow I think MC Hotshit is remixing the latest Clean rarities album... i think the Dead C could only end up getting Gate to remix a track or two."
• My longstanding joke/threat about starting up a Dead C. Usenet newsgroup has seen the light of day - as of June 4, 1999, alt.music.dead-c exists. I sent out the control message, and it should be appearing on Usenet servers this weekend. Ask your ISP to carry it if they don't automatically add it.
• First a newsgroup, now a mailing list: aside from the H/Corp and NZ-POP lists, there is a mailing list devoted to Dead C. - started by Mr. McDonald and Mr.Baker, subscription details are available here
• A worthwhile DC-centric radio broadcast for Australians:
Caught In The Act - live recordings
PBS 106.7 FM Melbourne Australia
Thursday 1Jul99 10pm-12am
Bruce Russell/Dead C
"This week we explore the musical output of New Zealand noisemeister Bruce Russell by airing one of the 2 live solo shows he performed in Melbourne in May, along with the Dead C recorded in Dunedin NZ in March 1996 during Flying Nun's 15th anniversary live music extravaganza. Also included will be some live recordings released on Bruce's record label Corpus Hermeticum, including another project of his A Handful Of Dust.
This is a blatant attempt to steal ratings and live music fans away from Channel 9 who will be broadcasting John Farnham's 50th birthday party concert live at the same time. To fully appreciate how good Bruce Russell is (and how bad John Farnham is) we recommend cranking up your radio tuned to PBS and muting your television tuned to Channel 9, and smoking a cigar.
The 1st of July is the anniversary of a Birthday Party live show in Bremen Germany in 1982 featured on the recent "Live 1981 - 1982" release, so time permitting we'll also play something from that."
• From the NZ-POP mailing list: "New Zealand noise-meister Bruce Russell is playing two shows in Melbourne this month: Sat 22 May (at Public Bar with Chris Smith and Solids) and Sun 23 May (Punters Club with Chris Smith and Dworzec). These are his only Australian shows. Bruce runs noise/prog label Corpus Hermeticum, and plays in bands such as the Dead C. The tour is being organized by Avalanche Express, whose press release I've put on the web here."
More information about these gigs arrives via a post in alt.music.sonic-youth: "Just in case anyone doesn't know, Bruce Russell from the Dead C will be playing in Melbourne at the public bar on sat. night and at the punters club on sunday nite . Both nights it is $8. Apparently he made some tapes during the week and it will just be him playing the guitar along with the tapes. he is also going to be interviewed on mouse trap (3RRR) on sat afternoon." Word from an Australian contact is that "Bruce Russell did say that the 2 shows would be taped and released, as well as a Dead C "best of" later on in the year...." A review is in: "good stuff both nights: controlled feedback using gtr (plucked tapped with metal tubing, small hammer, knuckles etc), amp, pedals, ring modulator, improvised to prerecorded loops (c. 3m diameter) of sparse gongy sounds."
• Bruce Russell's take on the Australian solo gigs (taken from the H/Corp mailing list):"The gigs were immaculately organised and promoted by Bianca Cranwell of Avalanche Express. There was good press in advance, and I did i/v's on PBS and 3RRR which went well. In addition I did an interview for an 'art' magazine called Axe, which was one of the better ones I've done, with a guy called Marc Fusinato.The Saturday gig at the Public Bar drew 130 punters, who were entertained by Solids, Chris Smith, then me. All went off well. I was very relaxed and felt I played well. The set ran to 55 minutes, in three pieces, two loop-based things and one with a pre-recorded 15 min backing tape. I played ring modulator and guitar both nights, and had tapes 'live' on stage with a portable Uher two track I took over. The three pieces are called 'With Rimbaud in Abyssinia', 'Bells' and 'Black Flies'. I did essentially the same set the next night at the Punters Club, where about 70 turned up and the sets were Dworzec, Chris Smith with Justin Fuller, and me. Chris was great both nights, essentially doing prolonged drone pieces with slowly evolving harmonics, very tasty. Solids were very tight, furious and off the wall, at times almost techno in their rhythm approach, but with synth and guitar always derailing stuff before it got too straight. Dworzec were playing as a trio, less rhythm-oriented, their set was like some sort of nightmare nature documentary theme. I could readily imagine them on Metonymic, if that provides any clues as to context. I was more nervous for the second gig, for some reason. I am very eager to go back and am talking with Alastair Galbraith about doing some Dust dates in November. I hope to be fostering trans-Tasman relations more actively in the future."
• From a feature in the Dominion, 27 May 1999 "Blood dripped from the hands and feet of models and left grisly footprints on the catwalk when models wearing Dunedin designer Nick Blanchet's creations took to the stage during Australian Fashion Week. The accompanying music was by Dunedin composer Michael Morley and was described by one commentator as sounding like nails being scratched on a blackboard."
• The long-awaited follow-up to 1995's great Last Glass from the trio of Bruce Russell, Kim Pieters and Peter Stapleton has arrived (I remember getting Last Glass and The White House on the same day way back when, and I thought Last Glass was the better disk of the two...) Here's the lowdown on the new disk, Sex/Machine (MET 005). "Only the second release in four years by this meeting of New Zealand free-noise like minds. Sex/Machine was recorded at Purakaunui through 1996-8 and is more sonically diverse than their 1995 Corpus Hermeticum debut; it features Bruce Russell's saturating guitar in layered interaction with Kim Pieters's articulate bass and Peter Stapleton's percussion and radio sorties. Bruce Russell is well known as a member of the Dead C, A Handful of Dust and as a solo artist with involvement in numerous collaborations. He runs the Corpus Hermeticum label and formerly was the man behind Xpressway. Kim Pieters is a visual artist and responsible for Metonymic art design. As a bassist/vocalist she is also a member of Sleep, Rain, Flies Inside the Sun and formerly Doramaar. Peter Stapleton is also a member of Sleep, Rain, Flies Inside the Sun, Terminals and at times A Handful of Dust. He runs the Metonymic and Medication labels."
• According to the latest H/Corp catalog (March 1999) there is "stuff going on concerning possible Dead C re-issues, but nothing yet finalised. The Dead C have been working towards new material over the summer, but nothing yet finished." Plus, "In the next few months there will be a major article in The Wire magazine about the Dead C/Gate/Handful of Dust/Hermes Corp... keep an eye out." This article will appear in the June 1999 issue (Stockhausen on the cover). I heard from a UK contact that this issue hit the stands in England in late May, and Dead C. received a nice four-page article! Can't wait to see it; long-overdue... From the H/Corp mailing list: "The latest edition of the Wire (June) carries a Dead C article, apparently it's got a few facts wrong but is the biggest "aboveground" article on the band in 12 years...the group seem happy with it." BTW, Corpus Hermeticum now has their own email address - email@example.com
• Somewhat increased media coverage of our favorite Southern Hemisphere trio lately - The Wire mag in particular has been giving the C. plenty of ink (see the above paragraph, plus Trapdoor Fucking Exit ranked in their '100 Records that Set the World on Fire', along with a nice photo.) And when they're not praising twaddle like Kula Shaker and Reef to the high heavens, the NME and Melody Maker give both solo/DC proper releases praise here and there... "Right now, alongside Tokyo's FUSHITSUSHA, THE DEAD C are the most important rock band on the planet. No question". -MELODY MAKER
• Plenty of Dead C. discussion on the NZ-POP list lately; here are some choice bits.
"You need to check out some NZ music - Bruce Russell - Flying Nun history. I thought that Expressway was set up by Bruce as a big "fuck you" to Flying Nun. Am I right or wrong?"
"re Claire's comment that bruce set (e)xpressway up as a big fuck-you to flying nun, maybe a LITTLE fuck-you to flying nun would be closer. the two labels did cross over a bit after all, and altho there WERE artists on the xpressway label who uttered death threats against flying nun and cast curses upon that label's collective dick, from which i have been led to believe only mckessar, who has no dick to speak of, ever suffered, bruce himself drank their free beer in a spirit of genuine friendship at nun's tenth and fifteenth celebrations."
"Er.. come on you're being so fucking idealistic. I think things have changed regarding the position of Flying Nun... to be honest, a Dead C album on FN would be probably the biggest selling thing they've released for some time. That may not have been the case a few years back, but things have changed. eusa kills was released on FN eventually. xpressway was well underway by the time that happened. with the state of nz music "industry" ($$) now, true bliss, the feelers etc and regarding the fact FN haven't released anything good for some time, they are hardly the power to be rallied against."
"At my old radio station, after we listed the David Mitchell "Dead Dog In Port Chalmers" 7" as being from Flying Nun, not Xpressway, on our playlist, we got a handwritten postcard from Mr. Russell saying that our mistake "gives the opposition more credit than I for one think they deserve" (or something like that). Pretty clever and pretty inspirational for a young kid just getting into the Dead C and getting out of the Chills..."
"Back when i was just a little too interested in this kind of stuff I interviewed Bruce Russell about his childhood in the New Zealand music scene. He got the idea to start Xpressway when working for Flying Nun on one of those legendary govt. PEP schemes. The archivist trapped in bruce's body started doing radical things like sorting through (and reading) the hundreds of fanzines and magazines that were being sent to FN. In these wonderous and foreign pages bruce discovered that all the FN music he liked was getting great reviews, this was the music that was no longer being released by the label (eg and esp. TKP). I think it was sometime during the hours of reading that Bruce decided the Bats weren't such a great band afterall. So anyways definitely a fuck you of sorts to FN."
"YES Dead C are doing an album with FLYING NUN & we did get from the horse's (it should of been obvious due to the lack of comment from both parties) the reason we were told was MONEY ! But after tons of digging, we know the real reason & it's not ; ..A colour sleeve, ...or the fact that as we fly into the new millennium, they have put their difference's aside for a group hug, ..or the fact Rupert Murdoch's favourite song is 'Bad Politics' ...it's because, after the phenomenal success of True Bliss, the Dead C have said, "Bugger, if they can do it, why can't we. Our own TV series & a number 1 hit" And I hear, the thing that clinched the deal is (like Carly Bliss's demand to wear boots) Bruce can wear his brown tasselled jacket !woot ! Gonz"
• The upstart US label Hell's Half Halo has reissued a double LP from Michael Morley's Gate project. Initially "released" in a Geraldine edition of twenty, The Lavender Head is now available to the average punter. Billed as his "techno," LP, here's what a recent post on the DroneOn mailing list had to say... "The presentation level is quite great. gatefold sleeve, clear minimal art. it's very nice. expensive too boot. I'm not too sure about the record itself. the flip side on the first record wasn't at all that great, but track three is quite great. I haven't given it much of a listen. i was told that it was Morley's attempt at doing techno, however, only one track seems to go up that alley (and that's track 3). It is quite interesting to note that this stuff was recorded in '96." My thoughts? Finally tracked down a copy a few months ago, and it's pretty "dope." Track 4 is the standout in my eyes. Combine The Lavender Head with the greatness of the tape of M. Morley, R. Yeats and Macintosh opening for Keiji Haino in New Zealand from November 6, 1997 (quite stunning - the electronics are perfectly implemented) which I procured last year, and you've got a few great new pieces to the Gate/solo Morley puzzle.
Here's the first of two reviews for the gig I mentioned above from the NZ-POP list: "Kind of weird to see this sort of thing at Bath St, local techno/dance club, but kind of appropriate (at least the cats at Bath St don't mind searing volume now and then....). Funnily enough, lots of people turned up, the usual cast as well as many interested smaller parties. At the very end, just before DJ Downtown Brown was about to start his set of Hip Hop/Funk, we experienced a small crossover of 'usual' Bath St patrons turning up only to witness the dying moments of Keiji Haino's earsplitting set; what they witness will probably haunt them till the end of time. So me and a few chums turned up early, probably too early, and waited impatiently for someone to start doing something; eventually Paul Sutherland, he of Into the Void started scratching some vinyl; best described as a deconstuction/mutilation of popular music. Kind of Psychic TV ala 'Themes' period....particularly delicious was the gradual destruction of a U2 song. Fine, fine set. Soon, it was Gate's turn (this time Michael Morley, his computer, and Robbie Yeats). An extremely bizarre reaction; the usual ear-splitting Morley clang, some 'tasteful' techno beats, kind of ambient trance...he played Dead C hits 'Sea is Violet', 'Scarey Nest' and a few others. So you can mix the two....should hopefully educate some cunts who are either: completely ignorant about rock and roll; that trance is the only valid form of dance music and anyone who disagrees it to be bad-vibed (I have met a few of these people: they should be shot on sight); or: those who believe that technology is a music killer. Morley and Yeats ploughed through some truly visionary, though deafening material; look for the Gate techno album soon. And now the man from Japan, Keiji Haino (might I add that the crowd size had increased - people keen to catch a glimpse of the mystery man in black). If you can imagine the loudest performance you've ever witnessed, amplified ten times, then you can get a feel for how loud he was. From start to finish it did NOT let up, just the most insanely brutally extreme violent guitar rapings ever. Boy, did it fuck over the audience. Most of them stayed though...those guys right at the front....MASOCHISTS!!!! Think of brains turned to cream cheese. Those cigarette filters I was using as ear plugs did their job OK, I guess; though my ears are STILL ringing even now...and some people weren't wearing them! This was indeed devastation of the highest order. This sheer brutality lasted the entire set, punctuated by blasts of screamed vocal. But was it good? Sure was. Are Morley and Haino (and Tony Conrad) deaf as posts yet? An interesting question."
Another take on the Morley/Yeats/Macintosh gig... ">Keiji Haino played for one hour in virtual darkness. just one piece of music. he changed guitar from a Gibson SG to something else about halfway thru. he had about twenty pedals, some of them very old "
"Well, the only thing that woulda made that hour fun would have been a good hearty dose of "Baby Food". Marcus likened the experience to a game of chicken.."who can stay 'til he finishes"......Nathan Sandoz was wondering if there was someone waiting in the wings to "whop him over the head when his 45 minutes are up". Yes there was dissention in the house and a general agreement that you just need to take a stroll around a few likely Dunedin streets to catch this sorta stuff emanating from the bedrooms of mere mortals...anyway it was fun hearing Radio DJ's trying to pronounce his name over the preceeding few days..."is that "Cagey"....I'll say...... Then there was Robbie Yeats who was complaining that it wasn't loud enough.."it was louder this afternoon"...."WHAT!!!!??....can't hear ya!!"...WHAT???!!"...now we know whose cochlea hairs have fallen over in the wind (BTW..I heard that scientists were experimemting with hair regain formulas in an attempt to repair/grow these beasts...we live in hope) Anyone that's seen Robbie play the traps knows how hard he slams 'em and his preceeding set with Mike Morley was probably the real catalyst for this hearing loss. We've been hearing about MM's obsession with electronica over recent months and the revelation of his tinkerings was easily the highlight of the night. The Mac played the bed. MM overlaid guitar. Robbie thumped the traps. I particularly enjoyed the ambient stuff and the intermittent dubby basslines all very nicely recorded and extremely fat...then Robbie would start up with a double timebeat... jungle.. outavit!..MM's guitar sounds were all very fucked up. They'd then build the tempo and dynamics into a sonic furore... kinda like a cross between "the Whitey Album", Dead C and techstep....indie techstep??.... go chew that one over folks! The Yeats man claimed it was all put together hurredly but that he was into it...another click slave in the making."
• Bruce Russell's solo LP Project for a Revolution in New York has hit the streets, courtesy of Siltbreeze. Here's a recent posting on the NZ-POP listserv which sums it up nicely... "Bruce Russell has recently put out an LP on Siltbreeze which is a very fine piece of work. "Project For A Revolution In New York" is his first 'solo' record, although he is assisted by contributions on one track. On the first side 'The Erasers' (recorded live) he wrings a lengthy almost psychedelic solo improvisation from his guitar over the top of a drone/loop. The second side 'Recollections of the Golden Triangle', accompanied by Tom Lax (Siltbreeze head) on percussion - dismantling a piano? - and Paul Toohey (Gorgecop, Surface of the Earth, K-Group) on electronics, is a more relaxed affair where Russell gently plays off the motion created by his collaborators. This record is an assured coherent statement at a time when a lot of free music seems exactly the converse. I hope it is a statement of intent."
• BR's A Handful of Dust will be releasing their latest, Jerusalem, Street of Graves, in January 1999. Here's the Hermescorp blurb... "Latest offering from one of the planet's foremost exponents of free-form what-ever, antipodean New Thing, Dutch klezmer, call-it-what-you-will. Regardless of what its called, A Handful of Dust are resolutely in the forefront of pushing the boundaries of collective 'out' rock/noise improvisation to new limits. Still made up of the core duo of Bruce Russell and Alastair Galbraith, with the regular percussive under-pinning of Peter Stapleton, Dust here offer the world their sixth full-length album of head-cleaning sonic mental-floss. Recorded during two live performances in August 1996 and 1997, the recent material picks up in intensity from previous offerings, and expands the instrumental interplay of the participants to new psychic heights. While the rest of the world slowly moves to catch hold of the comet's tail trailed across the musical heavens by these intrepid explorers, they continue to forge ahead. Still refusing to rehearse, or to perform regularly enough to blunt the adventurous edge of their group dynamic, Dust are fast coming to occupy a firmly entrenched, if well hidden, niche in New Zealand music. If your 'bag' encompasses screaming arcs of toneless machine-squeal, underpinned by manic kettle drums and hydro-electric turbine hum, then this is surely for you."
• Corpus Hermeticum now has a mailing list - to subscribe, drop by Paul Collett's highly recommended Noise WWW site. Here's a recent missive from BR: "Pieters/Russell/Stapleton's second gig went well last Weds at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton (for those who've never been there the Wunderbar is a bar located on the mezzanine floor of a Lyttelton supermarket, bamboo interior, etc etc. Live shows of note take place occasionally...a good place to visit when in the Christchurch region.) Although Roy Montgomery organised the gig, he made us (ie Pieters/Russell/Stapleton) go on last, after Campbell Neale (Birchville Cat Motel) and Roy + Darren Mock (rhband) had well and truly laid waste to the audience. We did about 25 minutes of all out rockin' shit which left us exhausted. First gig for me (Bruce R) with Peter's new drumkit, built around a highland pipe band marching bass drum. Awesome. Roy's set was quite spacey, and featured a lot of e-bow work, no singing, and no Dadamah reunion, despite the rumours. Interlude music was courtesy of electronic/ambient/found sound dj John McCallum. A great night out."
• Another take on the above live outing...
Wunderbarrr: Unknown Punter/Pieters Russell Stapleton/RoyMontG. Date (y2kcomplaisant). 03 FEB 1999 AD. REUTERS/P/FLAG. Okay. 'f your reading this from o'seize you maybe don't know what Lyttelton is, but it's a place at the end of a tunnel and it's seperated from Christchurch (New Zealand) by a hill and a gondola and in Lyttelton is a bar called the Wunderbarrr which has been subject to self-invoked controversy over both the paint-job on the table-soccer-table and the number of "r"'s in it's name. there may actually only be one "r" at the end of Wunderbarrr, my notes are unclear on this point. BUT: However it's spelled, and me I'm leaving out the extra "r''s now, the Wunderbar is a pleauseant venue, NOT THE KIND OF PLACE you expect to see optimal free noise people soaking up the ambivalent nuances of such legendary notables as Unknown Punter/PRS/and Roy M (and his allstar bund). I missed the notable unknown punter because I was talking Willie Nelson with "the Godfather of Christchurch punk" (cf Strangled in Paradise page xx), but I thought (he, not Al Park) sounded like a synthesizer and someone said it was a guitar so ten/ten for that.
And they turned down the Amon Duul in the pool-bar while Unknown Punter was doing it, because it seemed like playing a record was out of place. Although it's entirely possible that they were playing a record and everything I listed n my notebook as noteworthy was done in the sixties/seventies on some obscure label, but people (plural) confirmed that no record was playing (record includes CD/tape/Edison Cylinder) So while they put Amon Duul (II) back on I went surreptitiously into the main bar to see the other acts, cause I decided that if I was taking notes I should confirm with my own ears the veracity of said notes (earwitnesses being unreliable under normal circumstances).
So I saw Pieters/Russell/Stapleton from pretty mch the start, and the guitar didn't go chingle- yangle, because the Russell is Bruce and he doesn't play guitar like guitarists do, he kneels on the floor with lighter fluid, like arsonists do, and makes his amplifier kinda dance in pain, while he (my notes say he was assisted, but I don't remember this) does staticy (s[p?) kind ob things with his amplifier the way noise people do. While this was being done the Pieters who was Kim climbed off the stage (in an implicit reversal of standardised rock choreography) and played bass that varied between European Son of DS (good) and ELP (Tarkus)(bad). And I guess any free-piece has to put up with either ELP comparisons or Jam comparisons. And I wasn'ae reminded of the Jam even once. (Not even late Jam). Oh Yeah, and Peter's (The Stapleton) got a new drumkit (ex Highland pipe-band) and the sound was good but the mallet's were distracting, the flourishes (visual rather than auditory) meant that I couldn't take (Damn. This is too long).
Okay, quick wrap-up. Roy Montgomery played guitar which was reminiscent in feedback tone of Nazareth (on Morning Dew) and was good. While the other guitar made insect noises which were sort of okay, but not as good as a real insect, and John Chrisstoffels played the bass-line to War Pigs (Yeathe BlackSabbath song) and tried (with difficulty) not to smile. All in all a success. A soccer team is being formed. Will I seee Into the Void tomorrow.
• A newish studio LP - the long-awaited Tusk surfaced in the Fall of 1997, and track 2 ("Head") in particular is in the fine company of any DC 'classic' (y'know, "Constellation," "Electric," "The Marriage of Reason & Squalor") which you care to name.
• The mighty Harsh 70s Reality double LP has finally made its way onto digital drink coaster. Two tracks were snipped ("T is Never Over I & II" and "Shark"), sadly, but this monster is still great as ever.
• Here's some WSSOES trivia from the DroneOn list...
Subject: Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos
From: Hamish Noonan
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 17:45:58 +1300 >From: JonAbbey2:
"I have a somewhat related question to this whole thread. I'm a big fan of Michael Morley's side project, Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, although I've only heard the River Falling Love CD. I seem to remember reading somewhere that there were other records under this name though. Has anyone heard them, are they as good as RFL, and are there any plans to reissue them on those shiny silver things?"
Hamish responds: "I don't much about this but I saw a WSSOES 7" at the Dunedin Sound exhibition a while ago. Because I've been following this stuff for a while and this was the only copy I've ever seen, I'm assuming that there were very few of these made. However I think some of the songs (maybe all) were on the River Falling Love CD. There was a release (most likely that record but possibly a tape) called "In Tempora: IV Songs for" that featured "Rain". There has also been a huge number of cassettes; mostly self-released, some on Robert Scott's Every Secret Thing label and an excellent comp on Xpressway ("A Childs guide to..."). So I'm sure there's enough material for at least another CD.
Richard Ram writes in the major national computer magazine here. He was one of NZ's first internet consultants to businesses and would be frequently interviewed in magazines touting the wonders of this "miraculous new technology".
There was a rumour a few years ago started by a bored Flying Nun executive and reported in the biggest music paper in NZ that WSSOES had reformed and been signed to Geffen. No it wasn't true."
From Dan Vallor: 'Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos' were Michael Morley and Richard Ram back in the mid-80's, they released one EP on Flying Nun and a number of cassettes mostly on Robert Scott's EST label. They had a "best of" released on Xpressway, more information on them can be found in my Xpressway article in Popwatch #9.
I expect Morley would be unlikely to want these reissued as lately he seems to not take much interest in the past. I've heard it's unlikely that we'll ever see those early Dead C. cassettes reissued either. I've put a list of WSSOES releases below...
River Falling Love 12" EP (Flying Nun)
Over My Skull (EST)
Cave cassette (EST)
Worlds Fall Apart (EST)
My Blue Fairy God Mother (Wreck)
3VM (Wreck 20)
A Summer In Taradale (self released)
A Childs Guide To... (Xpressway)
• A thread found in alt.music.sonic-youth the other day...
Subject: Thurston recommended bands?
I read somewhere in an interview with Sonic Youth that thurston said the dead C were the best band around these days.
Does anyone else know any bands thurston recommended or.... maybe he can tell us himself.
I did a web search for the dead c, i found a really slow site and they seemed like a no wave kind of band, pretty much really.
>he's not kidding, the dead c are one of the best bands in the world.
>Yeah. There is a major article in the june issue of the Wire about the Dead C, so people check it out. also rumors of a reissue of early work on flying nun.
> the dead c are cool, because instead of putting bonus tracks on cd re-issues of the old records, they take songs off.
>Only in the case of CD reissue of the Harsh 70s Reality 2xLP, where they trimmed 2 tracks to squeeze it down to running time.
>yeh, SST did the same thing to the Minutemen's "Double Nickels On the Dime" to squeeze it onto one cd.
>They pruned the 2 tracks "T is Never Over I & II" and "Shark". Both are great tracks - find someone with the original Siltbreeze 2xLP and have them make you a tape.
>Oh why did they not get rid of that boring bass-riff track (Basshead I think it's called, which makes Public Enemy's "..Living Bassheads" a real brain-teaser by comparison) ? Or that awful (so-called) "Driver UFO", a one-listen bit of shit (name-dropping as only Dead C types can ..) ? Nice "concept" name, and the album has its harsh moments to be sure, but remember tht this is a band that thinks everything it does should be a matter of permanent public record.
>No they should've left off "Love", their I'm-trying-to-play "Hell is now love" but-I'm-too-stoned-to-even-stand-up-right-now-song.
>Maybe they should have faded out 'Driver UFO' halfway; I could never really "get into" that track. But "Baseheart" is one of my favorite tracks on the LP; totally stunning.
> remember tht this is a band that thinks everything it does should be a matter of permanent public record.
>that's why they do shit in editions of 50?
>Quit complaining. Most their releases go up into the thousands now. Naturally thier early stuff was limited because they didn't think people would buy them. It's all fairly easy to get now.
Their first records were in editions of 500 and were pretty easy to find. It was after they had a name for themselves that they released >"Trapdoor Fucking Exit" in an edition of 50 and to create some kind of noteriety. Later when Peter King started making records that actually played, they start doing records in small over-priced editions which I always thought was just a way of getting more money out of idiot >American collectors.
You're not the only one who feels that way: From an interview with Forced Exposure's Jimmy Johnson at http://home.att.net/~rtplante/fe.html "I've gotten to the point with this new catalog that I'm doing for mailorder purposes I'm not going to list any kind of limitation information just because I feel it's detrimental. I was distributing some of those Precious Metal records that Michael Morley was making in New Zealand and doing them in additions of fifty at a very costly price to himself and there were a lot of people where that was the only kind of stuff they would buy. When it gets to the point where you're actually promoting that kind of behavior, I find that pretty unappealing. The records are fine in and of themselves but they exist for people who already have everything else. When the last catalog came it was like selling crack or something to desperate people (laughs). Everybody that bought them would complain about the price and they couldn't really afford it but they had to do it. And admittedly it's stupid to pay $15 for a 7" pressed on some sort of chemical wood or this garbage waste plastic that they're made on, that sounds like gravel. It's just kind of a stupid movement in a lot of ways." Having said that, there's something kind of special about owning a handmade, silkscreened 7" done in a low run....Gate's '577 Crash' 7" was well worth the fifteen bux in my opinion.
>Well put - c'mon, early Dead C. wasn't pressed in small quantities to frustrate the punters, the low runs were because there wasn't much of an audience until Siltbreeze's Tom Lax (and the Forced Exposure 7") introduced the Dead C. to the US in 1991. Of course, they're still fond of occasional Geraldine micropressings for side projects (Gate, A Handful of Dust), but this stuff still gets released later down the road (examples: Gate's _Golden_ singles comp CD, _The Lavender Head_ US repressing, A Handful of Dust's _Spiritual Libertines_). Let's cut the hardest working band in show business a little slack, eh?
>The Runway tape is pretty good and hopefully it'll be reissued in its entirety on CD. The live dead see is pretty patchy in parts but has a fairly excellent vesion of Speed Kills and two songs from that era that were never recorded, This Land Is and the Sun Stabbed. I expect that these three songs will make it on to the DR503c CD on Flying Nun. I think DR503 is still available on Flying Nun on LP. The bonus track was released on the DR503b and Perform Max Harris cassettes which you shouldn't have too much trouble finding second-hand.
The Dead C represent three New Zealanders jamming on "soft drugs". That's New Zealand for you. Soft drugs and the sound of mush either from the band or the rugby field. - George Gosset