black and white noise, part three: new from fuckin’ amateurs! / chump tapes

May 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 5 Comments
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Posset – “Ear Sungs Of Unfit Eyes” / Basillica – “Casual Curses” (Split vinyl LP, Fuckin’ Amateurs #66, or maybe #69, possibly an edition of 50)

posset – a  grimy minor remembering (CD-r, given away with the above, Chump Tapes #03/Fuckin’ Amateurs! #69(a), or maybe #66(a))

Fuckin’ Amateurs! are the punk-as-fuckest exponents of the photocopier aesthetic. Yeah, they use typewritten text and photo collages but, unlike Lee’s surgically precise efforts, these are created with gleeful abandon, augmented with anarchic scribble and, well, whatever else they have to hand. Attention to detail may not be their uppermost concern, as we shall see, but this quibble is unimportant (to me). Their bubbling and heartfelt enthusiasm is infectious and life-affirming.

The enormous Fuckin’ Amateurs back catalogue mainly documents the noise, psychedelia and improv scene in the North East of England. Unfortunately, much of this catalogue is not ‘available’ in any commonly used sense of the word. Most of these objects are just given away to their mates at gigs, often created without the band’s prior knowledge or, indeed, permission. However, being a vinyl record this might, just might, be something that you can exchange money for.

Yes, you heard: a vinyl record. A prestige, heritage format no doubt, but one I find unwieldy and rarely listen to nowadays. The problem is portability. I do most of my music appreciation via headphones whilst going about my business.  This is obviously not possible with vinyl – instead it feels like I have to make an appointment to hear it. I know it sounds perverse, but having to sit still to listen seems to dampen my critical faculties.  I am envious of Mark over at Idwal Fisher with his high-backed leather armchair, his might-as-well-leave-the-bottle glasses of wine and relay team of scribes, licking their nibs, ready to take down his thoughts on The New Blockaders.  I can’t concentrate in that manner myself.  Anyway, having used another obsolete technology to tape it for repeated walkman consumption I am now happy to attest to its qualities.

The Basillica side, ‘Casual Curses’, is edited with a sledgehammer and recorded with the settings on ‘bootleg’ but is still an undeniably high quality trip.  We begin with ‘Amour’, a single, simple riff repeated with a mesmerising, sunburnt torpor.  This acts as a mood-diverter and scene-setter for what is to follow.  In ‘Blood Servant’, the second and longest track, a beautiful, dreamlike refrain – synth?  pipes?  coo-ed by doves? – bobs semi-submerged in a sea of liquid metal.  Or perhaps it is like coming across an unexpected clearing in the jungle and finding a tribe of brightly painted natives worshipping an enormous jet engine from a crashed 747, its broken blades still whirring and grating despite there being no wind to propel them.  ‘Sans’ and ‘Try To Be Right’ extend the tropical vibe with a languid wah-solo, briefly lifting its head to chug into a riff only to fall back exhausted and stare up at the foliage, defocused into a green smear by the gauze of the mosquito net.

The Posset side, ‘Ear Sungs Of Unfit Eyes’ is a terrific engraving of the dictaphonist’s art.  Four tracks show the versatility of the miniature tape machine, especially when combined with Joe’s dada-magpie sensibility.  Just don’t expect phat bass.  Instead, you get a wheezing, antique iron lung, its mechanical bellows gasping like a bargeman’s knackered accordion.  You hear the chittering of a team of miniscule scientists shrunk by the explosion of a prototype raygun attempting to attract the attention of their colleagues by shouting and climbing onto a microscope slide.  You join a herd of Swiss cattle getting their funk on at a headphone disco.  Their cow bells jangling to a mash-up we can only infer from their dance steps.  Finally, we join Clan Posset as they gather round the camp fire and practice making their own entertainment for when decadent late period capitalism finally implodes and the lights go out.

Accompanying the vinyl LP is a bonus CD-r called ‘a grimy minor remembering’ which, to my delight, turns out to be a ‘greatest hits’ selection from the last few years of the Posset back catalogue.  This would be terrific enough on its own but as a bonus bonus the photocopied cover folds out to reveal an interview with Joe conducted by Scott McKeating (head honcho of Bells Hill and occasional writer for the The Quietus).  Our man explains his love of the Dictaphone, lists a few must-have dicta-oriented releases and gives his own account of the tracks on the vinyl LP.  Essential stuff.

This being a Fuckin’ Amateurs release it is unsurprising that there are a few quibbles one could make about the presentation: the centre labels on the record itself are on the wrong sides, the catalogue numbers are different depending on which insert you look at, ‘Basillica’ is spelt with only one ‘l’ and the following sentence from the liner notes…

had he any idea we were releasing this record, mike would’ve no doubt sent shouts.

…suggests that the thing is at least half-bootleg.  This suspicion was confirmed in a conversation with Mike himself – he was expecting maybe a tape or CD-r at best.  ‘Little tinkers’ was the description used, I think, and Hasan of Jazzfinger also remarked on F#A!’s fondness for trick-playing.  I’m sure that if it was my music that was being appropriated I might be less charmed but, as it is not, it is easy for me to say: ahh… fuck it, more power to the cheeky monkeys.  Also worth noting is that the covers pictured at Visual Volume feature a colour collage pasted on to a black sleeve whilst the copy I have (sent by Joe) came in a white sleeve with John-Bull-Printing-Set style Posseted adornments.  I’ll let discographers more obsessive than me sort it all out.

According to Mike’s Visual Volume blog this record can be had for £8 post paid worldwide which seems v. reasonable.  The email address for enquiries is:  You could also try Joe Posset via ‘cos even if the vinyl is sold out I reckon you could hit him up for the CD-r and dicta-centric interview.

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