Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Our cover version of Bjork's Army Of Me has finally been squeezed into 128kpbs of Mpeg and hurled at the Icelandic One's listening crew. I say 'crew' but I have no idea of how they'll be sifting through their - no doubt huge - stash of remixes and interpretations. I'd like to imagine some sort of towering Chris Cunningham-designed cyborg device, mass processing every single file and sorting them into relevant subcategories: Screaming seagull choirs in this folder. Low filtered, speaker-destroying double bass drums in that folder. Then, once its job is complete, it will roar to life, unplug itself from the ethernet connection and stomp across country like a twenty foot high Mechazilla stuffed full of TUNE, towards the hut deep in the forest where Bjork lives. The Cyborg will obviously have a terrible headache, so Bjork will make it some green tea and they will sit by the open fire, talking of campanology and screensavers, or perhaps just quietly contemplating the enormity of the task ahead.

Something like that.
Stop laughing at me.

Whatever the results, it's been immensely enjoyable doing Army Of Me. And healthy. The tiny amount of time we had to pull it together meant that its construction resembled word association: you're forced to trust your instincts in order for things to move quickly enough. If that was even partly the thinking behind giving remixers and musicians such a tight deadline on this project, then hats off.

It also meant that we finally had to implement our long-standing plan of sending each other mixes and ideas via the web, meaning text after text from yours truly every time a new arrangement was uploaded onto the server: "nu mix online now. gdnight" Which of course meant "3am. Bshng head agnst brk wall. Pls dn't h8 me. Does cello snd shit? I need a drink. Pubs shut. Fridge = no beer. Arse. gdnight."

Neil has a regular habit of working into the small hours. Don't know how he does it. At about 1 am my ears begin to pick up inordinate amounts of background noise, and the floor starts to slope around like a boat.

If working late I also invariably have music-related dreams during the night which are rarely pleasant: one of the worst involved playing a gig where the pieces of my drum kit were slowly moving away from me in various directions of their own accord...

These recurring nightmares are probably influenced by gigs we did at the LagerhoUSE in Freiburg, Germany. The first time we played there, it was done using borrowed equipment. The bass cab made Doug sound like he was playing a massive rubber band on a spade. I was presented with a drumkit consisting entirely of rototoms. Neil had a guitar amp with one huge illuminated red button on it and nothing else. Halfway through Weightless he thought, fuck it, I need a boost, and pressed the button. The resulting sonic boom, well... lots of people have asked Doug what prompted him to cut his hair short, having worn it long throughout his late teens. Answer: the blast of horrible scything noise from Neil’s amp when he hit that red button was to blame. It flattened Doug against the wall, and when the poor boy collapsed to the floor, his hair came away from his skull in one piece, floating calmly off the stage and into the audience like a little brunette jellyfish.

Satisfied? Now let us never speak of this again.

Anyway, cutting a long story short(ish)
Our version of Army Of Me ultimately proved to be a spindly, skeletal lullaby, with sinister undertones. Most of the sinister was provided by a gloriously dissonant ‘cello part from our first session musician in years: Chipper from North Sea Navigator, Money, Max Milton Quartet and various other eminent Bristol bands (Chipper’s real name is only available via a written request made under the Freedom Of Information act.) She is wise beyond her years and has more CDs than London has teeth. It’s great to be working with someone who enjoys chilled-out atonal string arrangements as much as she loves Grindcore, Speed Metal or “The Fucking Champs.” In fact, Chipper comes out with band names that were anyone else to mention, I’d be convinced were made up.

Am I getting old and ignorant? Or are bands breeding like rabbits?

Final thought for the day: “Blazing Squad.” This is what happens when E17 don’t use condoms.


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