duration: 73'46" compilation
Aspects Of Urban Decay 5'07"
at Dark Star & Tachyon Studios (1983-1984).
Alan & Steve Freeman: synths, keys, guitars, collage, effects, loops, electronics, harmonica, voice.
Working as Holy Atheist attempts at extreme sonic mutilation resulted in three cassette releases that gained very mixed reviews in the independent press. Thankfully, these barely listenable excursions will never be reissued! Later, attempting a more cohesive music, whilst unemployed (and with all the time in the world) explorations in sonic collage, electronics, etc., resulted in numerous cassette releases under the name Vrije (a Dutch word meaning "Free men") and experimental solo works under various guises. It was all a self-taught learning curve in sonic exploration.
Re-examination and revaluation of recent work meant that a new start was needed, a new group name and a new label name. Thus Vrije became Alto Stratus (the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere, with Alto featuring the first two letters of Alan, Stratus the first two letters of Steven) and the label became Dark Star (inspired by John Carpenter's film of the same name, not from the Grateful Dead track). From Autumn 1983 and through 1984 (being amongst Thatcher's millions of unemployed without the hope of a job) a wealth of material was recorded, some remarkable, some not so. Numerous cassettes were released, although only the "classics" were kept available when another revamp was undertaken in 1986 with the start of Audion Magazine and the Auricle cassette label, which went on to release cassettes by other artists like Conrad Schnitzler, Robert Rich, Günter Schickert, Asmus Tietchens, Djam Karet, etc.
The 1983-84 period of deleted Alto Stratus cassettes form the basis of this CD release. It shows many aspects of sound exploration, developments on the Vrije experiments largely using the Yamaha CS5 monophonic analogue synthesizer and a cheap Casio keyboard along with primitive sound collage and home-made cassette tape loops. One track "Tomorrow" was made without any instruments whatsoever. This involved putting a microphone into a flexible vacuum cleaner tube which was inserted at the other end into the drainage pipe at the front of the house. The wind, traffic and unknowing public that passed by all added to the sounds recorded, which was then reprocessed with several layers of echo remodulation. Similar techniques were used on some tracks on the cassette release "Svet Ozveny". The 7 tracks from "Liquid Sky" compliment the bonus track "A Hole In The Head" featured on the "Tachyon" CD release, adding up to all the best material from that release. "Pôle" came from a session recorded live as you hear it, entirely on synthesizers, now with added reverb and effects for a richer palette of sound. Finally, the stochastic "A Cat In Kew Gardens" only ever saw release on the compilation "1984 - The End Of All Songs" (DSC13) issued June 1985 (a collection of recordings largely compiled from the "Gods" series of unreleased recordings, now documented as the CD "Pantheon 1984"), it's a remarkably intense improvisation and an excellent way to end the disc.
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