Hi Folks !! If you tuned in to my previous post on Wednesday you will be fully aware of the Nurse With Wound list . If your here for the first time I suggest you scroll down this page to find out what its all about.
A little while ago I came across the Nurse With Wound list .Thisis a list of obscure outsider & avant garde musicians and bands that were printed on the front cover of ‘Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella’, the first album by experimental band Nurse with Wound in 1979.
I’ve begun working my way through the list over the past week and there is some amazing stuff to discover on it as well as a few old favorites.
I know that I’m certainly not the first to post about this and there is a lot of information out there on the web regarding the list & Nurse With Wound but if you’d like to join me on my own personal journey through the music I’ve provided a list of the A’s below and links to the albums to make each of them easier to listen to.
I’ll post further links as I move through the alphabet so keep popping back here if your interested in discovering some truly diverse and irregular music!
Many years ago I read a book by William Burroughs & Brion Gysin called The Third Mind. It is a collection of essays & poems showcasing their ideas of cut up and collage poetry. Cut-ups involve taking texts, cutting the pages, and then rearranging and combining the pieces to form new narratives.
The idea of using cut & paste and collage in musical composition isn’t new either. In fact I believe that Pavement used cut ups to generate lyrics and musical sections as did Cabaret Voltaire but the concept is also something that’s interested me for years too.
Combined with a love of found sound and field recording many of these elements have found their way into my own tunes over the years. If I’m recording a guitar why not have the TV on in the background and the kids shouting downstairs, a dog barking outside or the sound of a passing car. All of these things make a recording infinitely more interesting in my mind. Very often I grab lyrics at random from the first book or magazine I find. I’m cutting up in real time.
As an example of how I approach composing music with all of these various elements in mind here is the process I have used to begin writing the first song for the next Pulco album.
I started with three separate abstract guitar riffs played to a click track to which I added bass and a 2nd guitar. After creating a rhythm loop to make a frame for the piece to work around I copied and moved about these three sections to create an arrangement for the song. Finally I put in some random bits including a recording of my daughter Myfi playing piano with her teacher. It sounds like a piece that could have been recorded all the way through in that structure (like some bastard son of Beefhearts Trout Mask Replica) when in fact it was shuffled around and constructed in my iPad.
Simon Jeffes from the Penguin Café Orchestra once explained the need for experimentation and innovation in music and it has always rung true with how I feel about it as well. He stated that the qualities of randomness, spontaneity, surprise, unexpectedness and irrationality in music are a very precious thing. If you suppress that to have a nice orderly commercially acceptable approach to music making then you kill off what’s most important.
I’ve often spoken about Pulco music being a kind of sonic autobiography. I listen to my own music when I want to remember a certain period or event in my life and I know which albums represent each part of that life journey. It gives me a context for my life and comforts me in the fact that I can return to the past through sound.
Constructing songs in this way is also an attempt to establish a new form of readability to the experience of hearing compositions that are still essentially pop or folk music.
I think that using a cut-up/found sound technique as a basis for writing music helps the listener create new connections to musical themes and the world around them and naturally as a consequence the range of vision and interpretation of our understanding of sound also expands.
The new Pulco album Innovation In The Trade is now available to buy.
I’m not going to say much about the album except that it has now consumed my life for over a year and despite various attempts to fine a way to release it in the glorious technicolor fashion that it deserves it has sat unheard on my computer.Therefore I have decided to just get the album out to you all and if an opportunity presents itself then these songs may find themselves appearing on triple gate fold vinyl at some point in the future ;0)
Until that happens you can now download Innovation In The Trade for free at the link below. All I ask is that if you like the album please tell your friends.
This post is something of an update for those of you that may be wondered whats happening with the new Pulco album. Innovation In The Trade has been revamped and is now complete. More details on it’s release to come in the next month or so but for now here is a little bit of info about the album.
It’s funny how songs come together
I’d started with an idea of recording a number of abstract live drum loops as a basis for each song after being inspired again by the awesome rhythms on Captain Beefhearts’ Trout Mask Replica.
I knew I’d end up with a set of gnarly off the wall guitar songs and I also made a decision not to use any acoustic guitar either.
I found myself exploring the idea of monologues and short stories and was determined to find a way to include some of these on the album.
During my summer holidays I bought a book of poetry by Adrian Henri in a small bookshop in Aberaeron. His words were perfect for the edgy verbal approach that I had in mind and I’ve actually used loads of his poems for lyrics on the album.
On a musical level a chance thought lead me back to listen again to a Fall CD that I’d never really taken much notice of before. My thoughts also drifted back to the cut & paste approach of Pavement. I think that the sounds of both bands had a big part in the making of Innovation In The Trade.
I terms of an overall direction for the album, the final bridge that I crossed was to immerse myself in a growing love of all things DADA. Part of the Dadaist manifesto says – ‘ Reject reason and logic. Prize nonsense, irrationality and intuition’. That makes perfect sense to me.
Recently I had had the pleasure of meeting up with and filming a session for the mighty Alun Jones ! We fought off the mountain rain to record a version of my current single ‘Hardships’ through Al’s 9 Volt PA. I was also supported by battery powered beat loops courtesy of my iPad.
In Jan 2012 I recorded a BBC Wales radio session for Bethan Elfyn in Cardiff. The producer Darren Broome and I stayed in touch and worked on a track together for the Pulco album (The Mapleson Cylinders) that I was beginning to make at the time. I was also in the process of putting together ‘The Man Of Lists’ for release that year so I sort of stopped working on the new album while I got that finished.
I was recording on a hand help Zoom H4 recorder at the time which I found difficult to work with so when I received iPad for my birthday I decided to put the Mapleson album on hold and start Clay Cutlery instead. The Mapleson songs just weren’t coming together either so I thought it best to leave them and do something else.
Having had a years or so away from the songs I decided to have a listen to them again recently and they didn’t actually sound that bad so my plan is to release them bit by bit as free singles over the coming months, the first of which is Hardships & Kings.
Click the link below to hear the tracks and get your free download