It wasn't until early 1993 that Stock, Hausen & Walkman finally managed to save up the necessary English Pounds to release their "improvised industrial cartoon skiffle" on the newly popular Compact Disc format. Perhaps the fact that none of them had CD players and that production of 500 discs in those days cost upwards of £2000 had something to do with it. On the up side, the previous 3 years of activity meant they had plenty of recordings to choose from, plus you can hear the first symptoms of their schizophrenic split between the live anarchic noisy improvising and some forms of sequenced sampling experiment. No Atari or Cubase here, of course, sequencing was done using drum machines triggering delay pedal loopers into a 4 track recorder, then backwinding and re-recording track by track with another sample in the pedal and pause edit cassette tapes manipulated and over-dubbed live. What a Palaver! You kids... you don't know how L--- ..... well scratch that.. perhaps we were the lucky ones.
A certain Mr E. Baxter wrote that " ..what SH&W lack in skill they make up for in post-modern ability to construct surprises artificially ". well maybe, I think what he was noticing was our rampant desire to sidestep all the 'improvisers' musical habits and schtick that was beginning to make that form of music so predictable at the time. The Cut & Paste randomness in, for example, Mr Wands tape switchboard and other aspects of the band members techniques disrupted the conscious direction of a typical improvisation and perhaps upset a good many people who had a vested interest in the 'heroic' star musician led ensemble sounds of the time. One could almost suggest that SH&W were trying to bring democracy back to improv.... but really!..Let's not be that foolish :) Mr Baxter also pointed out that the refreshing thing about SH&W was that... " They didn't know what they were doing ", I think he shot the grouse from the sky very accurately there.
Please enjoy this marvellous artefact from a distant age of turmoil and accept 'on trust' that there really was NOT very much like it around at the time. The Original CD had 60 ID points deliberately inserted in the middle of a lot of the tracks so that random play would cut the music up and present the listener with a new and unique 'remix' version if desired. A few years later the band were surprised to hear talented Australian improvisers Machine for Making Sense released a CD which was essentially themselves improvising over a copy of Giving UP played on random!! If only we'd thought of that!! Of course we weren't credited for our collaborative guest appearance, which just goes to show.. Cannibalize yourselves Kids! Before others do it for you..
For more of "This Kind of Thing" head to the Hot Air label Bandcamp index: hot-air.bandcamp.com