Rhine

Rhine is a new album for the first quarter of 2015. It’s the first singing album since Under Gail Succubus in 2006. Not nine years in the making, instead I have struggled with identity, which only recently allowed this to happen.

It’s a ‘Tom Ellard’ thing, but I usually cover releases here in more detail. You’re right to ask what difference between that and ‘Severed Heads’ – the latter has more baggage and is happier in a nursing home.

Recording started in 2012 when we were invited to play the Adelaide Festival early in 2013. The idea was to make a special item for that show, but the workload on the HH game made that impossible. Nevertheless there were some sketches done and an album seemed plausible, although not as a release as much as a nice thing to do. It’s around this time that the old Terse Tapes studio started to regrow with many “new old” synthesisers and tape machines coming back into use. Whatever the studio had lost in the great dying of 1998, it was made right.

Most of the sounds on Rhine are from hardware and magnetic tape. That makes little difference in the quality of the sound, but has focussed the music in some ways that’s been helpful and interesting.

The bigger it got the more it needed some kind of resolution. For a little while I thought it could be released by ‘Kaspar Stangassinger’ as a joke. But in 2014, the old Eighties Cheesecake LP was re-issued and some kind words said about it. It has been difficult to reconcile my day job (middle aged guy in university admin) with singing, and I don’t enjoy the same timeless visage as John Foxx, but you know, fuck, just get over it.

It’s a pop album somewhat like Cheesecake meets Gail. I have other ‘experimental’ albums available (for free!) so I don’t see the need to justify that. For two years it was called My Puppydog Face, and then that track got taken off* and I just stole the name Rhine from another project that is being absorbed into H3H. (You are keeping up with all these projects aren’t you?)

Although I’ve done very well out of music downloads I think it needs some kind of celebratory package and form, a fetish. A thumb drive seems to be the best format and I’m pricing this, with download as an instant gratification bonus. I understand that some are worried by this, but I will make sure that you get the best of each.

Currently the album is in mastering hell. One interesting thing about older hardware is that it creates vastly different textures that really don’t sit well together – that is, one track can be happily loud, while the one you wanted next to it sounds awful at a similar volume. One problem is screeching. The older machines are like parrots.

As more news comes, I will bring it here.

* But rumour has it that you might find that on the thumb drive somehow.

Terse Tapes then and now.

You’ve seen all the old pictures. How about some new pictures? TERSE TAPES was brutally murdered around 1998. But it rises again, starting right where it was stopped, as if the war never happened.

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The famous BOOFHEAD as seen on stages all over North America. Like all Ensoniq equipment of that period it is built out of pure brick shithouse. It still holds patches from Rotund For Success, and will punch you if you dare erase them.

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There underneath the ReVox is a Roland Luxury Yacht, which was too cool in about 2000. No sound is too chorused for this opulent box. Note the authentic SCSI drive. Beneath is a very battered S612 sampler, not the same battered sampler as was used on Big Bigot. A near relative with the same neurosis. The mixer is sitting on an Alesis ADAT which hasn’t seen the sun for many years.

korgs

When they do a Star Trek reboot reboot, they are welcome to film ‘Mount Knobs’. Here are all the twiddles a man could desire. From front to rear – the Roland SH32 will never win prizes for looks, but certainly for bloops. The KORG Radias is the slick silver grandchild of the old MS years and a great Xmas decoration. The blue box is a JP8080 and yes, supersaw but not always. And a virtual PolySix, which (it should not surprise you) recognises the knobs on the Radias.

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A small part of the post modern world sneaks into frame, as a Blofeld sits atop of ‘Yamaha Peak’. The two groove boxes below house faux Prophet-5 and faux DX-7 cards. Prop them up on decorative plate holders and voilĂ  – the knobs are in reach of the engine driver. The Blofeld is about to get a nasty shock when a V-Synth XT rack gets plunked above. Like a Mopho hidden at back, it’s driven from elsewhere.

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And here is the nerve centre of the whole enterprise. Tiny keys for tiny fingers. A Micron is caged under a MiniNova, it too is run from elsewhere and will have to put up with being second fiddle. The scary thing is that there is more than this, too high or deep to see.

All of it is being used right now to make a new recording…