ABSURD 1 - Blah Blah Blah - "In The Army" / "Why Diddle?" 1979
There are few records when you remember where you were when you first hear them, and for me this is one of them.
I was in bed in a room in the Angel Hotel in Whitby Yorkshire,aged 15 listening to the John Peel Show. when Peel played this, my impressionable 15 year old ears stood attentively and absorbed the madness eagerly.This record is still guaranteed to create some kind of reaction in the listener, and that is the definition of great art;Full Stop!...yes i know i put a semi-colon.(ps Thats "Period"! for our American readers out there).
Whitby is famous for featuring in Bram Stokers Dracula novel, which has nothing to do with this tune, but just to emphasise that this music has absolutely nothing in common with the awful "Dracula-fest" gothic metal festival that occurs in this town of a winter.
"We got guns down our socks,in our underpants..........we got guns in our toilets,guns in our cars.
We got bombs underneath the Stereo.......and we're coming to bash you in!"."
"We got Bombs underneath the stereo and we're coming to bash you in!", what a line! Obviously improvised in a first take, 'cus you just couldn't write stuff like that.
"Why Diddle?" is even insaner,but is lessened by its lack of shock value. A throbbing Electro-concrete improv piece, that deserves recognition amongst electronic music students everywhere.
ABSURD 2 - Eddie Fiction - "U.F.O. part2" / "U.F.O. part1" 1979
Northern comedy set to a minimal electronic backing is not normally my cup of beef dripping. But this strangely amuses, as it parodies yer average Mancunian on an alien world,and the moronic stuff they would miss, like the Telly, chips, darts, and,of course, the Pub. And don't forget U.F.O. does NOT stand for Unidentified Flying Object in this tune; its a double entendre alluding to a popular expletive suggesting that one leaves the area immediately.
(Sorry everyone I haven't got the b-side, but according to the etching on the vinyl,it hasn't got a b-side!...so you won't miss anything!)
ABSURD 3 - The 48 Chairs - " Snap it Around " / "Psycle Sluts " 1979
48 Chairs, who are these people?...This is a jolly tune, I can see Nick Kershaw dancing to this, or maybe Pepsi and Shirley. In fact I think I wanna dance to it too........er....maybe not.
The B-side is an instrumental version of the John Cooper Clarke poem by the same name. An instrumental version of a word poem has got to be a first. Clarke even has a writing credit!
Those mancunians are crazy!
ABSURD 4 - Gerry and the Holograms - " Meet the Dissidents" 1979
I have a feeling that all of the releases on Absurd, were made in one afternoon by the same people.
Again,its a minimalist electronic affair, without drums,electronic or acoustic, and some funny sounding vocals. Having said that, this is a good thing, for its not what you put in its ,what you leave out.......like Gerry and the Holograms' obvious influence, namely The residents.
Alas,this is still one of the superior Absurd singles.
|A||Gerry And The Holograms|
ABSURD 5 - Gerry and the Holograms - "The Emporers New Music" 1979
Pranksters,practical jokers, conceptual art,whatever you wanna call it; Gerry and the Holograms second single was.......A conceptual and unplayable record.
Each record was pasted with glue to the inside of the picture sleeve. Two variations of the sleeve exist: with or without the Rough Trade logo. In 1980 a few copies came in a third sleeve variation which was credited to "The Charlie Parkas". Absurd Records label boss (Lawrence Beedle) in quoted as saying "It took the best part of a week to paint and glue them into the bags". The numbers made are unknown but around 500 is the most likely number.
The music itself does not actually exist - rather the records were actually unsold singles from Rabid Records' catalog but with a paste-on Gerry & The Holograms label on one side to fool the buyer that the record actually exists.
What I want to know is,did anyone buy this?
ABSURD 6 - The Mothmen - "Does it matter Irene?" /"Please Let Go" 1979
The Mothmen were one of the few Absurd artists who went on to something of a career. They appeared on On-U Sound with an LP!....obviously due to the dub/reggae element that they had lurking in their music. And a series of singles and e.p.s on Do it Records, before disappearing in the mid eighties.
This single is sort of a Psychedelic pop meets Dub inside a senile old drunkard females brain. Is quite good in fact.
But,to these ears, the b-side is better. Another falling down classic of stoned sounding free-pop.Include's a section where an almost free-jazz style syncopation enters through the side door of the mental Hospital. Where all normal time signatures fear to tread; this is musical sophistication of the highest commendation. To the untuned ear it sounds like a total mess, but that ear is in a wrong place.Tune your ears please,and train the brain.
Guitar – David Rowbotham Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals – Bob Harding, Tony Bowers
ABSURD 7 - Cairo - "I Like Bluebeat." / "Version" 1979
Was this a cynical attempt to cash in the Two Tone phenomenon? Its a bluebeat style tune, with a hint of nightboat to cairo era Madness ; is this where they lifted the band name?...er...yes.
I can't stand ska(I hate the irritating you're gonna have fun vibe to it, the forced jollity of it all), and i don't like this,and especially since there's one of those irritating versions on the reverse side......version meaning an instrumental version of the a-side,but with effects added,and the odd tape of gun fire etc. But someone out there might like it.
NO!...I don't like Blue beat.
ABSURD 8 - Naafi Sandwich - "Slice 1 / Slice 2 " 1979
Now this is more like it, two slices of barely logical dementia from the appallingly named Naafi Sandwich.But any group with someone called Sir Freddie Viaduct in it has to be half good.
They also released several cassettes,one of which is included in the download called "Run 1".
'Experimental' is an adequate adjective for this group(?)
Naafi Sandwich – Rum 1 (Cassette 1980):
Lee Street Bounce
Sir Freddie Viaduct, vocals, bass, guitar, trumpet) and Brenda Kenny (a.k.a. Poly Rhythm, vocals, percussion, drums, keyboards)
ABSURD 10 - Bet Lynch's Legs - " The Good,The Bad, and the Indifferent " 1979
To the citizens of the planet who live outside of the UK, Bet Lynch was a character in a television soap with a predeliction for fake animal skin coats and peroxide blonde hair.We very rarely saw her legs because they were always behind the bar of the local pub; she was the bar maid.
Now that slice of UK cultural history over with, we can turn our attention to the group,which contained one of the Smirks,and John Scott from the 48 Chairs. They had a minor hit with the next single.
This record is basically a home made version of "Ghost Riders In The Sky", complete with home organ rhythm box, and "good,The Bad and The Ugly" impressions in the background. Were they drunk when they made this?
The B-side is more of the same, sort of a Joe Meek meets elevator music in some obvious tongue in cheek lounge moment, in a pub full of Ennio Morricone nuts whistling along, clinking beer mugs together, with plenty of man love going on.
|A||Riders In The Sky|
ABSURD 11 - Bet Lynch's Legs - "Some Like it Hot / Some Don't " 1980
The Follow up single, which was the minor hit!
Its like the other single never finished, this is "The Good,The Bad and the Indifferent" parts three and four!
"Some like it Hot" is an underwater version of ennio morricone's theme to 'The Good,The bad,and the Ugly', very pointless, but maybe that's the point.
"Some Don't" is a further underwater version of the same track; even more pointless. Maybe it's a parable about the meaninglessness of existence? Or maybe its just a pile of shite? I'll leave that up to you.
|A||Some Like It Hot|
More annoying trend following ska from Cairo, backed by the even worse musical genre, Ragtime Pastische......awful.
This was the final nail in the Absurd coffin,shortly afterwards the label went tits up. But what did you expect for a totally non-commercial enterprise such as this? It started with some timelessly great singles,then petered out into some kind of unfunny genre satire loungecore pointlessness.
But the concept was good,and the artwork was great.
DOWNLOAD THE INSTANT ABSURD RECORDS COLLECTION HERE!