Some Principles of Sublight Speed Astrogation – 1992

6981685953_be1355b1f2_oThere were properly speaking two Entropy Circus cassettes in 1992. Both featuring some combinations of the same tracks. The concept of using version numbers for projects, borrowed from programming, was initially intended in something closer to the original sense, rather than as a catalogue number. The cassette v2.0 included the 45 minutes of v1.0 on the first side with an additional 45 minutes of new material on the second side, but this kept expanding and the previous year’s recordings were jettisoned for another cassette labelled v2.1 Some Principles of Sublight Speed Astrogation.

Parallel to the ongoing work on multitracking as the Entropy Circus, I started a project called Platform Five(5) with Alaric Pether and whoever else we could recruit, “music by any people in front of any tape recorder anywhere”. We tacitly annexed the entire history of recorded music and manifestoed widely. We listened to Stockhausen and Schoenberg. We hit burned out cars that we found in the woods with branches and recorded the result. We announced that “music doesn’t have to be good”.

1915869_143828756119_422239_nThis spirit of free play informed by Can’s studio technique fed into the Entropy Circus. My technology had improved slightly, I had acquired a Vesta Fire digital delay, and tracker software had become more sophisticated with Teijo Kinnunen’s MED and OctaMED programs.

After completing my last examination at Mid Kent College I embarked upon a series of new recordings the next day. The first track, Windmill, was my first attempt at composing in 3/4 time and was actually very bad. I also recorded a dub reggae requiem mass, or at least the principle parts of one; this was also very bad. Slightly less bad was a cosmic rock opera called Meltdown featuring the horrible couplet “I can see the sky on fire/ My celestial funeral pyre”. My songwriting remained definitively adolescent.

The instrumental material, such as a spryly melodic number called The 41st Flange Hussars and another which accidentally discovered parallel tonality, were more satisfying, and there were also a number of tracker based rhythmic experiments which I generically labelled as “armoured car reggae”. And perhaps this term suggests something of the siege mentality of the house in Elaine Avenue where I lived at the time.

At some time during this year I woke up hungover in a front garden after a party and found petals in the pockets of my jacket. I later discovered that this meant that I had a girlfriend. So in spite of my academic failures, I had walked away from Mid-Kent College with a single A level in English Literature, things were starting to improve for me.

Also, later in the year I moved to London, Stamford Hill specifically, where I expanded the Platform Five(5) franchise to include everyone I lived with and pretty much anyone I met. I bought a Fostex X-18 multitrack recorder, which sounded considerably better than Alaric’s Vesta Fire machine, and featured auxiliary returns, which allowed me to route effects over existing tracks in the final mix.

Regular jam sessions were initiated in my room, and new Entropy Circus recordings, as well as sessions from Platform Five(5) and Chunt, which featured Alaric Pether and Richard Fontenoy, and also Richard’s Drift of Signifieds, became a compilation called The Stamford Hill Noise Explosion. There are only single copies of each of the cassettes from this year, but all of these developments were crucial to the first truly satisfying set of recordings: v3.0.

Next: Structures