UT : 1st John Peel session - 15th May 1984 (Radio broadcast).

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Though I was already a regular listener to Peel's show by the time UT recorded their first session for him, I've no recollection of him broadcasting it & was probably in the pub arguing about Echo & The Bunnymen when I should've been at home listening to it. That said, I expect I may have still considered their aloof abstractions slightly too challenging at that point - & too great a stylistic leap from my (then) beloved New Order, Sisters Of Mercy, & Three Johns. Even The Fall would've sounded unusually orthodox by comparison I thnk? It would be another year or so, following my discovery of Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising LP & its radical re-wiring of the electric guitar, before UT & I finally crossed paths.

It appears that a lot of other ardent tapers were similarly nonchalant as I've never managed to find a complete recording of UT's set - I've pieced this one together from 3 different sources, so you can expect some minor sonic turbulence, but the important thing is that it's complete.

Amusingly, the session was produced by Radio 2's Mark Radcliffe, who you're more likely to hear pontificating about archaic Manchester punk or extolling the (questionable) virtues of Elbow from Salford's garish MediaCity - an imperious glass citadel for corporate luvvies riding the BBC's licence fee gravy train - nowadays.

Track-list: Confidential / Absent Farmer / Tell It (Atomic Energy Pattern) / Phoenix.


LEGOWELT : 9Tz Tapes & Unreleased 1992-2015 (Archival recordings).

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"Music itself is, of course, very mystic. It has always been used in mystic rites. If you look at house & techno music, it's a kind of occult - from a certain perspective. People try to get entranced or take certain substances to get into a higher dimension. Musical notes & frequencies work on your brain on a certain way. It's occult because people don't really know what's going on, but they're compelled by it. In the Western world - around the 9th century I believe - they started using polyphonic music in Christian churches. That music came from the East, & was used to influence you to the point of being in a trance-like state.

Medieval music was also very simple in rhythm. It was just one drum playing the same pattern all the time, so it's not that difficult to make a transition to a more modern-sounding thing. They're very similar. Techno music is a little bit faster, & it's made with electronic instruments, but in the end it's pretty much the same.

I like it when music is very... unclear. It's nice when you walk down the street & it's foggy. Your imagination works differently because you cannot see things clearly, only shadows & outlines. If you use a lot of misty, foggy effects - like old delays, reverbs, & filters - the music becomes more shadowy. You can still hear the melodies but they're a little more buried. I would hope it makes it more exciting to listen to. The listener can disover secret melodies, & their imagination can be tested. For me, it doesnt really matter what you use to make music because inside the hardware there's a chip too. The whole hardware vs. software, digital vs. analogue thing, it's completely not important for me. I think purism is a very bad thing, because then you confine yourself too much. Purism can be a dead end." - excerpts from an interview with Danny Wolfers by Lauren Martin, April 2014.

I've cherry-picked 9Tz Tapes & Unreleased's track-list from the extensive (& constantly expanding) selection of gratis add-ons, off-cuts, rejects & remnants that Legowelt's Danny Wolfers regularly deposits at his official online outpost - no doubt there will be stacks more up-for-grabs by the time you read this. Though I'm happy to bypass most contemporary house & techno these days (with a handful of notable exceptions), Wolfers' productions - released under a baffling multitude of preposterous nom de plumes - have maintained a stubborn foothold on the playlist at Chéz Rooksby. Channelling, to all intents & purposes, Blake Baxter & Vangelis on a Maplins budget, his murky tech-funk squints inscrutably through an amorphous pea-souper of undulating cassette hiss, cabalistic attic static, & forensic hardware thrum. It probably goes without saying that Wolfers' singularly warped productions have little in common with the banal cut-&-paste faux-house music that today's somnolent nappy-ravers wave their flaccid glow-sticks at as, skint & bewildered, they listlessly lurch 'round Europe's mangy flyer-littered dance-floors, clutching their £5 cans of Red Stripe & uploading photographs of their tacky trainers to Instagrim, before (inevitably) dropping their vomit-flecked iPhones down an overflowing crapper. Turn the flamethrower on 'em.

n.b. Cassette recorder depiction by Mees Zikijer.

Acid in my fridge


THE NIGHTINGALES : Idiot Strength (Vindaloo / Rough Trade 7", 1981).

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I posted the 'Gales debut 7" a while back but the files vamoosed back up the digital wizard's sleeve when Hotfile finally waved its white flag & discharged itself from active duty.

Released in 1981 (with a little financial assistance from Rough Trade), "Idiot Strength" hasn't dated in the slightest - it's angular, it's contentious, it's got a bone to pick, & if it was released tomorrow you'd probably buy a copy. How sad is it then that it's music of this ilk - 35 years old, I might add - that remains the focal point of the Beeb's default substitute for John Peel, i.e. the lamentably half-baked Radio 6? You'd naturally assume that an entire station's worth of meticulously coached DJs would compensate for the absence of one tubby middle-aged baldie in a Kenny Dalglish T-shirt but, as a large percentage of its playlist still appears to be gleaned from repeats of sessions Peel commissioned or records he used to play, apparently not. The words "missed opportunity" spring to mind (as do "short" & "sighted").

Anyway... The Nightingales were made up entirely of ex-Prefects at this early juncture: Joe Crow (guitar), Eamonn Duffy (bass), Paul Apperley (drums) & Robert Lloyd (cakehole) - though half of them had departed before the year was out. Immediately hereafter, Cherry Red stepped in & began releasing a string of scrappily exceptional 45s, en route to the barbed & rambunctious Pigs On Purpose LP. Neither side of "Idiot Strength" was included on Cherry Red's otherwise comprehensive rash of Nightingales' CD reissues. Tsk.

Truculently provincial, The Nightingales remain one of the UK's finest live bands - establishing a revivified quinquagenarian vanguard alongside Vic Godard's Subway Sect, Davey Henderson's Sexual Objects, the intermittent Blue Orchids, & the perennial Monochrome Set - & have recently been confirmed as part of Stewart Lee's All Tomorrow's Parties line-up: slobbering broadsheet write-ups to follow, etc (providing ATP don't flick the "abort" switch at the eleventh hour again). Which is some sort of vindication I suppose?


RAINY DAY WOMEN : Frauen Für Schlechte Tage (Monogam 7", 1980).

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Apparently, back in the late 1970s, West Berlin's governing Senate operated a generous policy of offering super-cheap loans of several thousand Deutsch Marks to vermählten frish (newly wed) settlers. Realising it was too good an opportunity to ignore, Monogam Records' founders Michael Voigt & Elisabeth Recker entered into a literal marriage of convenience to finance the pressing of their initial brace of releases, a sequence of excellent NDW/post-punk 7"s that included Rainy Day Women's eponymous debut. Rainy Day Women was Michael & Elisabeth's own project - frigid synths, scratchy guitar, numb vocals - that's them on the sleeve. Definitely not to be confused with the sapless Australian indie featherweights of the same name.

Though it existed for less than 2 years, Monogam found both the time & money to shepherd records by the emerging Einstürzende Neubauten (their debut single in fact), Mania D., Die Haut, Mark Reeder's Die Unbekannten, P1/E, & Rudolph Dietrich (an early member of Kleenex), as well as Rainy Day Women's only other release - an impossible-to-find untitled 4-song cassette with little-to-no packaging or extraneous information.

By the mid '80s, having retired their joint imprint, the Voigts were both moving within Nick Cave's caliginous circle: Michael's People's Records financed the recording of Honeymoon In Red - The Birthday Party's troubled collaboration with Lydia Lunch - but ran out of money before it was completed (the tapes were subsequently mislaid for several years), while Elisabeth dated the (cough) "Black Crow King" for a time following his split with his long-term partner Anita Lane.