My years at university weren’t particularly debauched. I didn’t meet many people there; that wasn’t why I was studying, and besides I already knew people, so I didn’t really need to meet more of them. I mostly encountered deities and archetypes: I became interested in Gnosticism and Hinduism. Although Alaric and I had already borrowed from Wyndham Lewis’s Blast in our manifestoes for Platform Five(5), I took the opportunity to study Eliot, Pound and Joyce. The hinge between pantheism and high modernism had replaced science fiction in my affections.
The cover of v4.0 Defenestration features a representation of the Kabbalistic tree of life as well as a curious triangular spiral glyph that would appear on telephone doodles, lecture notes and anywhere else that my unconscious might unload itself. It’s not the best designed cover and in many ways this cassette was attempting to live up to the revelations of its predecessor; a phenomenon that I have encountered several times since. When new ideas blossom and emerge as a fully formed and satisfying whole, they are often followed, like a younger sibling, by an attempt to grow out of their shadow and become something other.
Two pieces of new equipment which characterise this period are the Yamaha RX-5, another huge monster of a drum machine, and the Hohner G2T guitar, a licensed copy of the headless Steinberger guitar. The G2T was far more exact than the heavy Vox Standard 25 which I had been playing for many years, in some ways it feels more like a piece of sports equipment or a precision tool than a musical instrument. It also has a crazily bendy locking tremolo system.
The opening track of v4.0, Labyrinth, plays on the strengths of both of these instruments: the drums on the RX-5 can be reprogrammed at a quite deep level and the quality of sound is considerably better than the Casio RZ-1 that I had used for most of v3.0. There are also G2T tremolo dive bombs all over this track.
Some of the other tracks are more like the longform guitar squalls of v3.0 but with increasingly confident musicianship, playing with the unrelenting exactness of electronic drums tightens your rhythm up considerably, although there may be a feeling that I was perhaps a little bored. This has been a problem often since then when I am playing something that I am familar with. Attempts on v4.0 to break out into new ways of thinking are not entirely successful, on a track called Over His Shoulder(Shoulder(Shoulder))) I have tried to become more compositional in my programming and the result feels unenergetic.
As ever there are elements of Platform Five(5) here in ethos and in person. A field recording from Kwik Save in Chatham suggests that the cord between Kent and London still hadn’t been broken. The track Flat Batteries does what it says on the tin: drones wobble and falter played back on a tape recorder with dying batteries. It’s a characteristically Platform Five(5) cheap conceptual conceit. The closing track, Pluralizer, features Richard on bass and Seth on sax. It is also a noisy and not entirely unsuccessful attempt at using 3/4 time.
I didn’t distribute v4.0 very widely. I could tell that it was a stage on the route to somewhere rather than a destination. Perhaps some of my attention was elsewhere with my studies and new areas of interest.
Download or stream v4.0 from archive.org.
Next: Four Station DeLongii