Received this box today, from Germany, released by a tape label called Darkness Shall Rise. The box contains all survived recordings by my first ‘serious’ band, Thergothon, from 1991-1992. Recording-wise, there’s no surprises to those who’ve followed the vinyl reissues of the recent years, except for the fact they’ve been remastered for the tape format and sound as good they can on this magnetic media.
Of more interest to completists is the included 80-page booklet featuring lots of photos and press clips from my archive – old interviews published in zines at the time and such.
And the most meaningful to me personally is the lengthy piece of text I wrote for the box set, collecting all my memories related to Thergothon from the period of 1990–1993. It includes quite a bit of trivia previously unsaid as well as some awkward things I’d rather have forgotten… but it’s all there for the sake completion. Everything I can say about the subject matter is in that box. So in the future if someone still has some questions I’ll just refer to this text. Mission accomplished on that front!
There were no photos or recordings from the event. I only had some memories. Like the ceiling above stage constantly rumbling to low end frequencies. People in the audience sitting on the floor, eyes closed. Someone telling me it sounded like Op:l Bastards; a compliment although very misguided.
And then I had the source tapes (and minidiscs) I had prepared for the gig.
According to some research we unconsciously modify our memories and possibly create false memories over time. Now, I’ve deliberately made a false memory of sorts. Here’s a live recording from October 2018, made using those source tapes prepared 20 years ago.
I’m sharing this to whoever has some 40+ minutes to focus on sound alone – preferably on the floor, with eyes closed. Rumbling ceiling optional.
20 years ago today, I released my debut solo album. I called it Grey Bloom [xero vol zero] and put it out on 12″ vinyl on my own small underground label Some Place Else. Always thinking bigger than my resources allow, it was supposed to be followed shortly by another LP with a related theme and tracks recorded at the same period. The album’s subtitle was supposed to refer to that, though in retrospect it seems like a planned one-off… “vol zero” ? Anyways, plans changed, other things came up and the follow-up got buried and forgotten.
Grey Bloom was a rather bleak and minimal album recorded with a very lo-fi setup that included a 486 PC computer (for some basic sound generation), a delay pedal, a bass guitar, some cheap keyboard, fm radio etc, recorded with a 4-tracker and mixed down to a minidisc (which I had just acquired to ‘upgrade’ from C-cassette masters).
The pinnacle of the album’s success for me happened when Jukka Mikkola played it on his radio show Avaruusromua, the legendary Finnish show for experimental and ambient music through which I had learned about the likes of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and more, back in the early 1990’s. It was absolutely the greatest honour that could have happened to the album, I was so happy about that!
This summer I’ve looked back and spent a few days with my old tape archive, going through master tapes and original 4-track recordings, to refresh my memory on past deeds a bit, and to transfer everything to digital. There are plenty of recordings that never ended up on a release, and to my surprise I found some of them a lot more interesting than what I chose to release back then. It’s all lo-fi sound collage type experiments recorded on a 4-track, so there’s a particular charm of tape hiss and other artifacts involved. Selected bits may come out in some form in the future, those interested should stay tuned on this frequency.