SP | Volume Three: Data 70 was a more than regular entry in Letraset catalogues in times past, no pun intended. A computer-like typeface in the days of transferable lettering, it was designed by Bob Newman and can be found, in all its glory, on the cover of Stereolab’s The First of the Microbe Hunters album. I never had cause to use it during my time as a graphic artist, I guess that the local clientele – masonic institutions, butchers, bakers, etc, might’ve shied away from its cool, futuristic lines.
Synthesists Jon Chambers, also of Sunray, and Bob Bhamra of West Norwood Cassette Library, are the more recent claimants to the name and have reached the giddy heights of Volume Three of their well-received Space Loops series. A double vinyl set, it comprises of 24 one-minute tracks, a concept that harks back to Morgan Fisher’s Miniatures and The Residents’ Commercial Album, in which an eclectic batch of micro-genres like lava lamp gloop and skewed testcard transmissions allude to a glistening, now sadly-deferred futureworld, where gull-winged hovercars, tinfoil jumpsuits and moon colonies would’ve been the order of the day.
A collection of capsule-form electronica that slots in nicely with a recent regime of mine where the ‘Orgelvark’ and ‘Minimal Wave’ comps have been given regular needletime.
SH | Volumes One and Two: This is Stockhausen, the Radiophonics Workshop, John Baker and Delia Derbyshire particularly. But it’s also William Burroughs and Brion Gysin in Tangiers, and Bhamra and Chambers were responsible for three wonderful mixes of re-imagined Dream Machine Music, and in this there’s something of Cabaret Voltaire’s Three Mantras, which itself reverberates across Renegade Soundwave’s wasteland, without ever becoming anything more than a reverberation.
This takes me back to the moment I read Burroughs for the first time in the late 1980s, and then that moment in 1992, buying Small Faces reissues on CD, listening to the title track from Nut Gone repeatedly, in between Primal Scream remixes and The Orb. Then Windy & Carl and Kawabata Makoto. These tracks somehow manage to straddle that whole timeline, the acceleration from high modernism to postmodernity, all smashed in the ultimate particle collider of drone, in order to not only find out what it consists of, but hopefully to discover new dimensions too. And of course there is something occult about this kind of doing, and here we’re thrown forward to Coil.
The last line, however, is Volume One, Side Four > Repeat > All.