Masters 1992

A couple of weeks ago I received a parcel with a bunch of LPs – this was the much longed for album on Djuring Phonogram! There is a special feeling holding this LP in my hands, plucking out the vinyl and putting it on the gramophone. When it starts to play, I get a surge in the stomach not unlike when we listened to the cassette for the very first time – like ‘I’ve been a part of this, this is our work’, even ‘this is me’.

When our old friend Zwarre at Börft Records called us the other year and said he was interested in re-releasing Masters 1992 – our 1985 music cassette – on LP, I got really excited; this is – I think – probably the most accomplished of our early recordings. It was recorded in a rather primitive way almost exactly 26 years ago and it still sounds intriguing and exciting today.

Just prior to these sessions half of the band quit and left us a two-man combo – the very core out of which the group once derived. The reasons for their departure seemed obscure to us at the time, and we even included a hate song for them on the cassette! Their leaving came out to be a chance of luck though. We rediscovered a playfulness and creativity we once had, when we first met and started to record together in 1981. Yes, I use the word record – rather than play – because that’s what we really did, experimenting with tape recorders and different sound sources. Some of these first recordings we had done together were even included on the cassette – not as a fill out – but because they fitted so well.

Hearing these recordings from early 1985 again, now on LP, is truly inspirational! The overall sound is a mixture of soft beautiful synthesizers and raw harsh synthesizers, clean acoustic sounds and distorted processed sounds, vocal arrangements deliberately out of tune and vocals sung through a mini-amplifier on top of its volume – giving a distortion out of this world – and then processed through effect boxes. This gives a sharp, crackling, yet obscure and distorted, sound on the vocals, that is totally mind stunning. Like a small explosion at the start of each line! Already at the time we were completing the recordings we realised their potential; they were aiming at a level we couldn’t ever have imagined when we started out.

I’m also awed by how we managed to do this with the rather simple equipment we used. Most of the recordings were made on a TEAC four-channel reel-to-reel tape recorder, with almost all vocals – as well as other instruments – added on mix down to two channel cassette tape! Probably we also ping ponged some channels; I’m not sure about that. The instruments used included a couple of synthesizers – if I remember it right, a Korg MS-10, a Roland SH-101 and the unique home built ‘Yellow Devil’ –, a drum machine – Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-110 – and some acoustic instruments – trumpet, drum kit, acoustic guitar, to mention some. The Yellow Devil was built by my older brother and was notoriously unpredictable. Suddenly the sound would drop, the note change or some filter alter! It contained (or contains – I’m not sure where that instrument is, or if it exists any more) two audio oscillators and different filters, among them ring modulator – which gave that scratchy, noisy sound – so typical for the Devil, and for us.

Just the two of us made most of the recordings, though we were visited in the ‘studio’ by some friends from time to time – sometimes helping out. These sessions took place in a basement recreation room, where we could work rather undisturbed, except for Realism – which was recorded at some friends’ rehearsal room. These friends played in a rock band called Galler and we also made a cover of one of their songs, Snurra Kuggarna, featured on the album.

It’s a great honour that these recordings has come onto vinyl – and I hope that you who listen will like it as much as I do!

squke

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