Swell Maps - Archive Recordings Volume 1: Wastrels And Whippersnappers [LP]

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''In the context of our hum-drum hometown, I think that it's safe to say that we were all
oddballs, and we gravitated to each other because we got our kicks by making sounds. It
was the only thing that seemed to help us to make sense of the world around us, and it was
also bloody good fun! Nikki and Phones started to play together in 1972, and Epic soon
joined in on percussion. I was a schoolmate with Nikki, and I was inspired by them to start
making music as well. I managed to buy a second-hand guitar from a rich kid at school in
1973, and we would all play together in various combinations of two or three, according to
who was around. Nikki was the only one of us into singing at this time, but he was
encouraging me and the others to vocalize as well. John started to play with us in 1975, I
think. He would invent some tunes with unusual riffs and time signatures. Richard joined our
little scene later in 1976. It was unusual for any four of us to play together at the same time,
but when we went to our first recording session in 1977, there were six of us in the studio,
but only four playing instruments. Richard was driving us in his mother's car and he ended
up singing on one of the songs, 'Ripped and Torn.' Phones did not want to play live on
stage, so with Richard we made up the four-piece version of the band which became our
regular line-up for gigs. In the studios, it was more flexible -- we were more of a co-operative,
with all six members coming along with tunes and ideas, and even confidently improvising
tracks on the spur-of-the-moment. Because we had no money for 'professional' equipment, we
would play various guitars though small amplifiers and old radio sets, plus an old army
surplus speaker cabinet that I had picked up. Epic saved up for a snare drum, then a hi-hat
and later a bass drum to gradually add to the options we had for making sounds. I got hold
of a ratty old bass guitar which I hacked up a bit in my dad's garage. I found a balalaika
which made a dreadful din, and bought a brand-new zither from Woolworths, of all places!
We also had some primitive electronic effects made by a friend, including a ring modulator,
a tremolo and a terrific fuzz box. We made good use of found objects, household objects
such as cushions, trays, kitchen utensils and a fire bellow. For one session we used some
items I found in a toy shop which were made for the strange noises used in teddy bears. We
also used radio sets to make random noise, and manipulated old records on turntables. Epic
devised a way of manipulating an air lock in the household plumbing to make a bizarre,
alarming random rhythm! Nikki set up our solitary microphone on a camera tripod. Phones
devised a guitar which could fold in half; I still cannot work that out! He also discovered that
headphones could be adapted to use as a microphone. We would often record on a variety
of portable cassette machines in mono, but John had a fancy reel-to-reel machine that he'd
bring along for special occasions. Most of our music was made in secret, like a fiendish
experiment, and we never had a notion at the time of a career in music until we made the
quantum leap of making a record, but that is another story.'' --Jowe Head
TRACKLISTING
A1. Intro/Sweet and Sour (Part 2)
A2. City Boys (Dresden Style)
A3. Pets' Corner
A4. Shubunkin
A5. Sahara
A6. Full Moon-Blam-Full Moon
A7. Instronaut
A8. Televisions
A9. Wireless
A10. Gramofonica
HIGHLIGHTS
* The early, wild and experimental home recordings of Swell Maps, released on vinyl for
the first time.
* This collection represents a fascinating insight into the adventurous learning period of one
of the most unique
UK bands from the punk and post-punk years -- at the time only teenagers enthralled by music
and its possibilities.
* Influences as varied as glam, Krautrock, prog and early punk can be heard on these
primitive recordings that actually defy genre categorization.
Press Contact: eric@forcedexposure.com
B1. Camouflage Attack
B2. Harvist
B3. Johnny Seven
B4. Sweet and Sour (Parts 2, 3 & 4)
B5. Sheep Police/Septipede
B6. Improv Number One
B7. Platinum Blind
B8. God Save the Queen
B9. Ratbag and Goblin (''Batman'' Theme)
B10. Vertical Slumber (Prototype Take 1)
B11. Below Number One
B12. Organism