Saturday, 19 September 2009


Just a quick one, then:
My partner Jessica and I have got into the habit of making CD-Rs with sketches, advances or previews of material that we have been working on with our group, Encounters. We take them to gigs and give them out to people. They are very DIY and always contain different versions, track listing and artwork courtesy of Jessica.
We recently went to a Dirty Projectors gig. They were ace, in case you were wondering. That's not the point. We didn't get a chance to give one of these CDs to anyone in the band, so I ended up giving it to out friend Laura (not our drummer) who came to the show with us. The thing is, the new version of one of the tracks was a bit longer, so it would not allow space for the last track, a ten minute pop song that goes by the working title of "Meek".
Jessica had already written down the track listing on the insert and it included this track which didn't fit in the CD, so I just scribbled "available as a free download in").
Of course the track had not been posted, so here it is.
It's not finished yet. We plan on recording some vocals and some other stuff on it. It was recorded nearly a year ago, or at least it seems that way. I was (again) going through a Joe Meek phase and this was my intent at trying to make a tune that approximated the general sound and vibe of some of his records. I'm not sure if I succeeded or not, but whatever, I think it's sounding good so far and maybe one day we'll finish it.
So here you go Laura, this is up here because of you. I hope you enjoy it.

Memo / Polle Van de Gash Stoned Mixtape

I know I've been away from the blogosphere (again) for quite some time. I just didn't find anything worth posting... ...until now!
My psychedelic, cosmic, red guru friend Paul has been hassling me for a while now to upload this, so that he can put it up on his fantastic blog as well, I suppose.
One time he came over. I'd just come back from Mexico, where I endured two months of casualties, legal issues, soul searching and generally trying to find myself. I had a broken arm from a car accident I was in whilst there. I was to play a gig with my mates in Austin, TX the following night. Some little shit was going the wrong way on a one way street. He was a minor, probably didn't even have a license and was driving recklessly. I was on my way to my mate's flat to go over the music we were performing the following night.
Long story short, I couldn't make it to the gig as I had to spend the week in hospital, which I was deeply frustrated about. It was sounding ace at rehearsals!
I flew back to London with two large suitcases, one of which was full of records I'd brought over from Mexico. That particular suitcase was heavy as fuck and I had to pay a ridiculous overweight fee to the airline to take it across the Atlantic. Screw you Continental! No, that's not fair. Other airlines are even shittier! Never fly with Air France! They basically guarantee they will loose your luggage and I certainly didn't want that with the luscious gems I was carrying.
Again, long story short: Paul came over to see me and was dumbfounded by the state I was in. Drunk and stoned, as per usual, with a thick cast covering the whole of my left arm... Anyway, we caught up and then did what we usually do: roll a few spliffs and spin some records. Only this time, we ever so carelessly recorded our fun on to a tape cassette (remember those?!?! TDK D-60 for life, bitches!). I'd recently found this big-arse case, akin to a coffin. It's got two turntables and a dual-tape deck, complete with an in-line mixer. It is in near-perfect working condition. Even the lamp works! That's a fucking good find if you ask me! Some stupid plank left it outside his/her flat for anyone to take. I guess they'd figured they'd get an ipod and get rid of this cumbersome but beautiful piece of gear.
As soon as I spotted it, I asked my neighbour Mario and his reluctant sister to help me carry it home (I've only got one working arm, so chivalry was not an issue).
This particular piece of machinery has been my best friend ever since. It's given me a new tool to record music: on to tape. It just gives it so much character, hiss, bass and tape compression. I have been making music on it. I shall soon post these tracks for your aural pleasure.
And I find myself rambling and droning on again, so to the point: we got high and freaked out to the records I'd brought over. We had a super groovy time and now it's here in all it's imperfect glory for you good, everloving sons of Jah!
It's (predictably) all over the place and it's got its fair share of fuck ups, record skips, clips and the like.
Most noticeably, it's got some absolute beacons of Mexican popular culture, rubbing shoulders with the usual psych/prog-cum-everything-else shizzle you know us for. We didn't realise at the time, but as I was playing it back I noticed we innocently followed "Je T'aime (Moi Non Plus)" by "Ave Maria": so, a secular piece that got a lot of shit for sounding almost church-like, with its organ motif juxtaposed with its infamous sexual content - followed by a religious piece of music. Then I believe there are some rain chants in there somewhere.
See you soon!