Category Archives: Liner Notes

Liner notes – Flange Circus on Overexposed

Flange Circus combine all sorts of influences from post and space rock to the Radiophonic Workshop and, as it turns out, Greenland. This year they released the Overexposed EP, and mighty fine it was too. Colourhorizon caught up with Bon and Pete from the band to provide exclusive liner notes for the EP. Without further ado, but with some bickering, here’s what they had to say…

Listen while you read!

All the tracks were recorded in what we like to call The Flange Cave over a period of weeks, if not months. The Flange Cave is the name we have given to a basement of a house somewhere in North Manchester where, when the Universe permits, we gather in hooded cloaks to murmur incantations to the Gods of latency and multiple overdubs. The room is treated with acoustic foam, not to make a more balanced mixing environment, but because we’re worried about psychic interference and remote viewing by the Illuminati. Of course.

We often have tea and biscuits, but these are rarely allowed in the Cave in case we get crumbs in our oscillators.

flange circus

Fabric Lughole Systems:

(Click to watch the video)

Bon (Guitar, keyboards, programming): This is a chase and movement song. I wanted something upbeat and hectic to reflect passing through space in a hassled fashion. Ideally this would be the streets of a US city’s downtown – all neon and mist. In reality, it’s reflects a packed Metrolink on a dank November morning.

Pete (Bass, keyboards): After I heard Bon’s original demo, I struggled for weeks to find anything to play on this, and for a while considered that it didn’t need any bass at all because there was so much else going on. Then one day I was round at Bon’s to do some writing and arranging and the bass line just tumbled out of my head. We got it recorded that same afternoon! There is a deliberate mistake in there somewhere which makes me wince every time I hear it but I’m never telling anybody what it is.

Bon: I will find out where the mistake is by withholding your biscuit rations.

Pete: The video was a lot of fun to make. It’s made up of footage that Bon shot in Berlin and I recorded on a trip across America. We were really trying to get across the feeling of movement that I think you get with the song. There is also one shot of a tram on the coast of Belgium for our tram spotting fans out there. We’re good to you, we are. I made the video using OpenShot in Linux for those of you who like to know such things.

Bon: I don’t know such things, I do know that the title refers to my alleged inability, according to a friend I write a music blog with, to distinguish good and bad music. As a close friend I guess he should know, but for others this might be of some concern. Anyway, the title is spoken by a Miss S and was recorded in a disused railway tunnel somewhere in North Manc. I really enjoy getting my Acid on at the end of this.

FAT CRAB:

Pete: Adam (keyboards) came up with the song title after a startlingly hilarious rant about lobsters and their superiority complex. We knew we had to use it but we didn’t have a song to go with it!

Bon: We’re not sure how a rant about the failed elitism of lobsters became a slab of Space Rock, but it did.

Pete: After we’d worked out the structure we didn’t really have any idea how to end it. On the day I was recording my bass parts I just made up the end, but then went home without telling Bon what notes I’d been playing. Sorry Bon.

Bon: This often happens and your apologies are meaningless. Anyway, we let John T (keyboards and organ) become Jon Lord on this one and he does a fine job. As does, Adam with his UFO landing type noises. The title is shouted by all four of us. It was recorded with mirth and much LOLzing. My first take was performed in the style of Justin Hawkins – all falsetto like. This sounded shit and was quickly deleted.

Leopard Skin in Miniature:

Pete: This is one which I wrote at home and presented a demo to the rest of the band, who then thankfully suggested a bunch of things to make it much, much better! The genesis of this was a song I’d written called ‘Less Than Three’, which was frankly a bit crap, and this was my attempt to rewrite it. The drum beats came first, thankfully I quite like programming drums and they argue and fart less than a real drummer, and it came together really quickly – I had the whole demo done in about 6 hours. The samples of the geiger counter and the Russian words came from Freesound.com.

The title comes from the name of a chapter in the William Gibson novel Zero History, and the lyrics are some words I picked out from the chapter and rearranged. This may upset anyone who was looking for a deeper meaning. I am very sorry.

Bon: Like a mirror to Pete on ‘Fabric Lughole Systems’, I had no idea what the guitar line should be on this and spent weeks crafting it – yes, you wouldn’t believe it would you?

Pete: I did the vocals through a Roland VT3 (set to ‘Megaphone’, manipulated vocals fans). John tells me that it sounds like Ian Curtis, something I will continue to dispute forever.

Bon: Dispute all you like, your (zerodom) heritage is genetic.

Disko Bay:

Pete: Named after a place in Greenland (Qeqertarsuup tunua in Greenlandic). The idea came from John who likes to travel in cold places. He presented his original keyboard riff in rehearsals and we built it up from there, in two very distinct parts that we later combined. We jammed this out for a few weeks trying to decided on a structure, though I don’t think we really nailed exactly what we were going to do until we started recording it. John was very adamant that he wanted the sound of icebergs on it, which is what you can hear at the start and the every end. These presented Bon with some particular challenges in Ableton Live…

Bon: Yeah, in terms of producing, mixing and mastering this was a complete fucker. Everything about it was complicated. Like ‘PUBC (Paper Shoes Vibing on Cat’s Piss)’ from the first EP this was a massive time consumer. It’s made up of stupid amounts of tracks to get the swells and dips, and all manner of other things, drones and noises.

What I was particularly proud of with ‘Disko Bay’ is how John came with a very rough idea and we managed to realise it. And once again, John revealed that he’s the only properly talented one of us when he just rattled off the piano ending in one take.

Pete: The bass bit in the first half was really simple, I was echoing what John was playing on the keyboard really, although I did also add the arpeggiated keyboard line on a MicroKorg. This originally ran almost the full length of the track after the intro, but it really didn’t sound right with what was going on in the 2nd half so we cut it out of there.

We wanted a lot more ‘drone’ on it, I can’t remember whose idea it was to get Adam to pull his old Violin out but it worked beautifully.

We came up with the 2nd half with the drums and piano, much later. The genesis of this part started when I played the bass bit, and I am always expecting to get a stick for the time signature in which I decided to play it in! Bon then had to work programming the drums around that, which caused problems when we decided the originally recorded version needed to be expanded…

Bon: I’ve spend considerable money in sessions with my shrink in order to forget this process. As such, it would be psychic regression to unearth that time again. Proud of the results, though.

 Pete’s biscuit ration was never lifted…

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Liner Notes – Control Of The Going on ‘Wild Flower’

One of Manchester newest bands, the shoegaze & post-punk inspired Control Of The Going recently released ‘Wild Flower’. To provide us, the listeners with the inside track on writing and recording the song, the band has graciously provided exclusive liner notes…

You can listen (and more importantly buy!) ‘Wild Flower’ right here.

Watch a live performance right here.

cover - Control

(Liam Hart – Guitar/Vocals, Ashley Hart – 12 String Guitar, Alex Reid – Drums, Matt Byrne – Guitar, Tom Sillitoe – Bass, Minesh Mistry – Synth/Keys)

COTG 1

Inspired and encouraged with the release of our first EP, Epilepsy Bus Ride, and our recent show at Night and Day Cafe, we were excited to get back into the studio. ‘Wild Flower’ developed in this creative harmony.

On the 15th July, we were in the studio working on a track that wasn’t really going anywhere and we received a call from a close friend of the band, John Hall. John informed us that there may be an opportunity for us to provide a song for a documentary on wild flowers. On a hunch, he called us to see if we had anything in our repertoire. At that time, we had a few ideas, but nothing which would suite the floral sense which we were aiming for.

However, I had something in mind. From time to time, I wake up in the night with catchy guitar riffs in my head. I reached over for my phone, which I keep right next to my bed and mumbled the riff I had in my head, went back to sleep and forgot about it.

When John called us up in the studio, this riff reappeared, playing in my head. I checked my recordings to get it exactly how I imagined, sat down and began playing it. Matt picked it up right away and developed the rhythm. Alex gave us a nice little beat, while Minesh worked away in the background with the synth. Crucial to the main riff though, is what Ashley developed, the incessant backing riff which just seemed to hook everyone in. The guitar work is semi-inspired by ‘Fingertips’, a track from the Brian Jonestown Massacre demo, Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse. The floating, mesmeric guitar work is sheer genius; its musical bliss.

To add to this dreamy carefree sound, the synth in the background is equally important to the Control of the Going sound. Minesh explains:

‘Wild Flower’ leaves a never-ending feeling of being in a large field surrounded by free flowing flowers and rays of sunshine zipping through my mind as the drums and bass start to flow, this feeling is followed by the sharp lead rift from Liam and the strings start to pour down on the flowers along with the guitars that follow into a beautiful rhythm.

With us all hooked on this new song, all we needed was to get Tom in, finish the bass, for me to write this into a song and to record it. We arranged for us to record it 4 days later.

When I got home that night, I began writing the lyrics for what was going to be ‘Wild Flower’. At the time though, I was planning on calling it ‘Freedom’. The lyrics of ‘Wild Flower’ explore life and death through the use of a metaphor. I began writing with how life begins, how it rises and grows in stature. This theme is followed through even in death. With death comes new life and all organisms come from the ground, when we die, we return to the ground and from that new life grows. It is a subject which people find it hard to talk about, but it is something we all have to deal with. When you look at it this way, it is sad yet beautiful in some aspects. The lyrics combined with the shimmering guitars and flowing rhythm section all contributed to a song which is romantically juxtaposed and poetic in its nature. It became something more than I ever imagined when I dreamt it.

COTG 2

Days later on the 19th we were in the studio, all 6 of us and we recorded it in one take. Unfortunately due to a faulty cable, recording was delayed for 3 hours. This led to Control of the Going taking an hour break at the local KFC. When it finally came to recording again, we did it again in one take. To go beside ‘Wild Flower’, we chose ‘In Line’ as the B side. We chose this as it was already a fan favourite and it was similar in nature to how ‘Wild Flower’ sounded. Ashley describes the development of ‘In Line’ as an attempt at capturing a Spacemen 3 style song with elements of the Dandy Warhols and Lush. Coincidently, ‘In Line’ is Tom’s favourite… He says he always gets a kick from it! ‘In Line’ was wrapped up in a manner of minutes and the days work was done.

We received the master back from Sam at Egg Studios a few days later on the 23rd and it was promptly put up for pre purchase, with an eventual full release on the 1st August. Immediately, people began downloading it and the positive reviews poured in. I am personally very proud of ‘Wild Flower’, and I am very happy that people on the whole feel the same way about it!

Click to visit Control Of The Going on Facebook

Click to visit Control Of The Going on twitter

The Inside Track with Chef Menteur Part 2: North Of Tomorrow & South Of Yesterday

Last time round, Chef Menteur were kind enough to begin to take us on a guided tour of their epic new collection, III. Without further ado, here is part 2 of this fascinating insight…

North of Tomorrow & South of Yesterday

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or 64 Slices Of American Cheese And Other Whipped Delights, a companion to East of the Sun & West of the Moon, and never before publicly available… these tracks were recorded at the same time as the tracks on East of the Sun and were originally offered only as a bonus to some upper-level Kickstarter supporters of the double vinyl.

Cover Alec CH

1. Ribbons…: a song we did a bunch live, and this is a live recording in the studio with our good friend Mike Mayfield (who has been in several incarnations of CM in the past) guesting on drums… It’s another one of Dan’s massive banjo riffs, Alec playing Persian-style Farfisa, Brian on bass.

2. Farfisa Duo Raga: Alec got a Farfisa Duo like Rick Wright, and it took awhile to get fixed, and recorded this meditative piece.

3. Omnilab: And now for something completely different! (Alec’s wife Christy got him an Omnichord as an anniversary present.)

4. Terpsichore: This song’s working title was “Jazzy Diano” because Dan played a jazzy riff on the Rhodes, and Alec and Brian joined in quickly with guitar and bass parts, and it just followed. Brian even laid down a 3-part trumpet part, facing the wall because Dan read something in Tape Op magazine about John Fischbach (who mastered this and our earlier albums) recorded Stevie Wonder’s horns that way. The vocal sounds you hear towards the end, were voices Alec surreptitiously recorded on the streetcar near his house, neighborhood ladies talking about buying soft-shell crabs. There are lots of overdubs on this one including an autoharp that we had to figure out how to retune to make the two chords work. We had to make this song shorter to fit on East of the Sun & West of the Moon, but we put the long version on North of Tomorrow & South of Yesterday. Terpsichore is the name of a street in New Orleans, and is also one of the nine Muses.

5. Where Wings Take Dream: An electronic gem straight out of the mind of Brian Abbott using samples of Falstaff speaking in Henry IV, part I or II.

6. [Pastranomy pastranomi]: Left as an exercise for the listener.

7. One Fret Beyond: a jam we played a lot to this Staxxy bassline Brian came up with. This is just a practice space recording and never got the full studio treatment.

[The band also confirmed that the title is a reference to Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’]

8. The Long Stand (Part I and II): Brian and Alec switch off on the electric sitar on this one. We usually played both parts of this track last on our live set, and was always a great ender no matter how things went before. The voices (heard in Part I) are the dispatcher from a well-known cab dispatcher that Alec recorded from the back seat of a taxi. The vibe of this song is more like older Chef Menteur, songs like “Gilgamesh” which was never released but also featured electric sitar. We had to cut the first part off to fit on East… but we wanted to have the full version on North…

Cover Dan CH

9. Lozenge Jazz Club: see #8 on East… a live practice space jam… very “Night Court”… exploring the boundaries of taste.

10. Sinks of Gandy: A dirgy folky demo on bass and banjo that Brian and Dan put together when Alec was on vacation.. named after a cave in West Virginia.

11. Phallus Marinarus: another practice space jam that we don’t remember playing but people seem to like a lot.

12. The Mamluk Qalandars: a practice song, with Brian on drums (!), Dan on electric banjo and Alec on Moog.

13. Don’t Invite a Centaur To Your Wedding: Brian recorded this through a pair of cheap headphones that he deconstructed and put in the inside of a ukulele

14. Sorry For the Delay: another jam in the practice space, that we joking called “Shiny Happy People” because it was way more upbeat and major key than any other CM song. Mike Mayfield guesting again (he was helping us with live shows at the time), this time on synth. Alec on guitar, Brian on bass, Dan on drums. The title of this song was waiting to be used for an album title (and maybe still will someday), but got attached to this song.

15. Kenny G Goes To Guantanamo Bay: Another song recorded while Alec was on vacation. Dan had the idea that he and Brian would take turns recording tracks, not having heard what was recorded before, and picking the name of the instrument out of a hat. The result was not too different from some Plastic Ono Band tracks.

Force Majeure

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Force Majeure — previously only available on cassette, lovingly remastered for CD by Josh Warren.

Personnel on this was Alec, Brian and Dan again, but Phil had joined the band in support of live shows dealing with the previous album release and had begun contributing to songwriting new material. On all these songs Brian is on bass, Dan on drums, Phil on guitar, and Alec on guitar and Farfisa. Songs 2-4 were recorded live in 1 or 2 takes at the Living Room, a studio run by Chris George and Daniel Majorie across the river in Algiers, part of New Orleans. All of these songs were part of the live set we came up with in support of East of the Sun….

Cover Phil CH

1. Faeroe: Originally written as an intro to the next song, there’s some melodica, airy vocals a la “I’m Not In Love”…. Nordic and other ambient tones….

2. Pyrymyd Scheme: This song was originally called “Pharaoh”. A lot of people were shocked when they heard this song, … “This is Chef Menteur?” But they weren’t shocked in a bad way. Alec had recorded Phil’s band the Gubernatorial Candidates and Phil had started out playing with us on live shows, then he started working with us on live shows. We definitely moved into a more 1980’s direction, with some Talking Heads guitar and Fela organ influences along with the Clash and the Fall at this point. It also has Brian’s best bass fill of all time, which always makes us smile, especially knowing the situation under which he recorded it. Wait for it!

3. Death Wraith 2000: In rehearsals we called this song “God Fucks Everyone” because the chord progression was GFE. Dan says this is his favorite Chef Menteur song.

Watch Death Wraith 2000

4. Surface Tension: A seaworthy sound, riding the waves…. The evening was damp with reverb.

5. This song [Immense Dimension] is 3 in one, in classic prog rock tradition, and Alec wanted it to have three names, like something from Tales from Topographic Oceans. On the recording, as live, Alec switched from guitar to organ and back in one take — the organ part is due to his listening to too many Ethiopian records… Synth drone part is simultaneous overdub with Alec on Korg and Dan on Moog at the Living Room.

III is available to buy here

& visit Chef Menteur on Bandcamp 

Huge thanks to Chef Menteur for providing such an in-depth companion!!

The Inside Track with Chef Menteur Part 1: East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon

To cut a long story short, Chef Menteur are a band that denies genre boundaries. Their latest release, an epic 3 disc set comprises new album East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon along with its ‘brother’ North Of Tomorrow & South Of Yesterday and the remastered Force Majeure. Such a dense, sprawling journey through music (from ambient to funk to post rock)  would benefit from a map to aid the plucky traveller. So, track by track, Chef Menteur will take us by the hand and provide us with an exclusive guided tour…

East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon 

CM-III-EWcvrs_

These tracks were generally recorded in our studio with everyone switching instruments a lot, but more often than not Brian [Abbott] is on bass and Dan [Haugh] is on drums, and Alec [Vance] is on keyboards or guitar. Some songs are jams, but most were recorded one track at a time. Lots of overdubs and other instruments played, and sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly who played what or why.

1. Narconaut: The working title of this was “Interstellar Sandwich Artist”, and it has some backwards guitars and backwards haikus about pulp space heroes. This was also one of our best live tracks and we almost always played it first in the live set because the thunderous opening got everyone’s attention. The riff was something Alec got from a guy named Steve who was a roadie in Camper Van Beethoven. Our friend potpie played the second best sine wave solo in Rock History on this song.

Click to listen to ‘Narconaut’

2. Venus [Il obstrue ma vue de Venus] : Brian played the dirtiest part on this song on a cheap 335 copy that has since been disassembled for parts. This was probably the song we worked on the most because it had so many parts. The middle bridge, which sounds like a gypsy-folk string interlude, has our friend Court on mandolin but originally featured Brian doing a Van Halen type guitar solo. The ending part was difficult to nail because it has 2 alternating time signatures. 4/3/4 then 4/4/3 over the drums doing straight 4/4 doing triplets. Brian plays guitar and Alec plays bass on this song. Working title was “Crapamunga.”

3. Terpsichore: A shorter version of what’s on North of Tomorrow & South of Yesterday (see part 2), to fit on the LP.

4. Lozenge Club: this is a loop from a jam we did in practice, and the longer, actual jam (“Lozenge Jazz Club”) is on North of Tomorrow & South of Yesterday. Trying to sequence a double LP, this was the last track of side A — we used bits of longer recordings as interludes.

5. The Forest: This is essentially an electronic improv track: Dan looped the Moog Voyager through multiple looping pedals, and Alec made an 808 style drum kit in Reason and improvised along. We later added some overdubs including a guest bass from our friend Aubrey (who is now playing in Chef Menteur), and Brian added some free jazz horns. The sample is from a Smoky the Bear ad, that we stretched out slightly more each repetition. Check out the video Dan made of this song, he did it with old school home made liquids and trays like they did at psych shows in the 1960s and 70s instead of using digital effects. Working title was “Beards of Canada.”

Click to listen to ‘The Forest’

6. Oxen of the Sun: Dan had played this riff, solo, at a local thing called Noizefest on an electric banjo, for about 30 minutes, and his knuckles bled for the last half of it because that’s the kind of hardcore banjo player he is. The rest of the band called it “Danjo Bloody Danjo” after that. He refused to clean the blood off his banjo head. It later became a CM song, with the addition of other instruments and a vacuum cleaner intro. And of course it was the perfect song to inject a 2-minute Farfisa solo that starts out super-quiet and builds, then goes into noise-guitar over baroque bass, then resolves into a post-rock ballad. The main riff and the feedback throughout is the electric banjo going stereo through 2 amps but most people assume it’s a guitar.

7. Ganymede: Every CM album before this one had a ultra-long space opera drone on it named after a moon of Jupiter and this continues the tradition. It takes a specific and patient mindset to make this kind of music. It’s great stuff to zone out, go to sleep, meditate, write or read to…. because you can disregard it as background music if you need to, as Brian Eno said about ambient music, or you can pay attention to it and hear subtle, interesting things unfold.

8. Long Stand (Part II): shortened to fit on the LP, the whole track is on North of Tomorrow & South of Yesterday (part 2).

9. O.T.O. [Ordo Templi Orientis] : intro is Dan playing banjo through a wacky EH pedal and Alec playing lap steel. When the main song starts you hear a homemade tamboura that Dan made. Dan wrote the main riff on bass, and Brian added a guitar part, and Alec did a sitar solo before the song builds into a whirlwind of the song. The working title was “Crain” because Dan liked the bass tone’s similarity to John Cook’s from the band of that name.

Click to listen to ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’

10….Plateau: Based on a fingerpicking rhythm on guitar Alec came up with, the name comes from the translated name of a Mongolian folk song, that just seemed to fit, although the song builds and builds slowly. Brian plays lap steel, bass and other guitars, Dan plays banjo and drums, as usual. Other instruments include hammered dulcimer, mellotron, and more guitars… we always played this live in combination with the next track…

11. Lion: An open-tuned acoustic guitar loop Alec made and pitched down, that turned into a massive space rock jam, with Dan’s one-key Moog solo, then a pretty cool dirty solo that Brian did on guitar, leading into a Jethro Tull code that leads into…

12. King Richard: a comically medieval but beautiful Richard Thompson style outro that Brian played on a very badly intoned kid’s toy guitar. The perfect way to end a double album.

In Part 2 Chef Menteur will take us through North Of Tomorrow & South Of Yesterday and Force Majeure too… click here 

III is available to buy here… http://sunriseoceanbender.bigcartel.com/product/chef-menteur-iii

Or visit Chef Menteur’s Bandcamp page