Graveyard Cafe – Fresh Ground

Graveyard Cafe
Fresh Ground
1992 Corpqii Productions
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Marc Plainguet

Side 1:

  1. Oblivion
  2. The Church of Holy Profits
  3. Godzilla vs. The World

Side 2:

  1. Barbie’s Lament
  2. Afterlifestyles
  3. 100% Pure Beef

This is another Marc Plainguet project. I think this is all Marc, but there aren’t any real credits on this tape other than all songs were performed by Graveyard Café. The sound on this tape would have probably fit in with the Slava artists back in the day. There is an industrial vibe on these songs that is not just from the electronic instruments. But there are also many trippy elements on here – like the rap vocals on the first track. It’s all part of the weird coolness that is Marc Plainguet. Even the ways I would describe it don’t fully capture the sound. This tape seems a bit more accessible than other Plainguet projects, even though that aspect is probably countered by the comfort-level pushing lyrics.

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Secret Archives of the Vatican – Whiteflower of the Blackberry (Chapter Three)

Secret Archives of the Vatican
Whiteflower of the Blackberry (Chapter Three)
1991 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Heart’s Desire
  2. The Wind Among the Reeds
  3. Torc of Twisted Gold
  4. Craneskin Bag
  5. Trembling Mist of Peaches

Side 2:

  1. The Lost Tribes of Albion
  2. Eclipse Over Golgotha
  3. Whiteflower of the Blackberry
  4. The Yellow Leaves of Endseason

This demos continues the evolution of Secret Archives of the Vatican. While it is still less techno/electronica than later albums would become, it also still finds them experimenting with many different world music styles from various countries. I say “them” because I believe there were two people involved in the project at this time, but I need to go back and check some articles to be sure. At this time they also put out a side project called The Shockin’ Holy Saints, although I am not totally sure if this demo or that project came out first. I love eclectic world fusion music like this, so it is always a treat to see SAotV in the tape stacks I get. The last track on here seems to get the closest to the electronic world fusion music they grow into later.

Marc Plainguet – Amebas in Love

Marc Plainguet
Amebas in Love
1986 Corpqii Music (CM-1)
Los Angeles, California, USA

All music and text was written, produced, and performed by Marc Plainguet

Side 1:

  1. Amebas in Love
  2. This Science
  3. Afterlifestyles
  4. Barbie’s Lament
  5. Gaia
  6. The Mountain

Side 2:

  1. Binary Life
  2. Cubist
  3. Chemical Dreams
  4. The Plumber’s Nightmare
  5. The Desert
  6. The Uncle Sammy Show

This is where is all started for Marc Plainguet and Corpqii Music. Well, as far as I can tell. The sound is what you would expect from Plainguet – quirky, trippy experimental electronic music that takes a sarcastic look at the ironies of modern life (as of 1986) through a Christian lens. Many people felt Marc was outside of mainstream Christianity in his lyrics. Sometimes that is true, but at many other times this is not the case. It all depends on where your beliefs fall, of course. This tape seemed to set the standard and style for dozens of future experimental underground electronic Christian releases to follow.

La Voix Celeste – La Voix Celeste

La Voix Celeste
La Voix Celeste
1984 (no label)
England?

Side 1:

  1. Superstition
  2. A Nation Cries
  3. Epic

Side 2:

  1. Phases
  2. Superstition
  3. Epic
  4. Untitled
  5. A Nation Cries

So you may be wonder why there are 3 songs listed on the left of the cover above, but 8 songs listed above, and then another list of 5 songs added to the cover in handwriting? It seems that side one (labeled just “La Voix Celeste“) was recorded in 1983. Then, those three songs were remixed and two more were added in 1984, and those five songs were placed on side 2 (labeled “LA VOIX CELESTE 1984”) while the cover was changed by hand. At some point, it also seems that there was just a 5 song 1984 version released as well. Not much info on this tape, but it is some interesting electronic/new wave music. I can’t tell if this is a one person project or a group, but this person or people were good at writing music. There are either two different vocalists, or one person that can sing in different registers. My guess is that this is from England, as there is a “British” sound to it, a import sticker on the inside of the cover, and Corndon House comes up in England.

Missing Information: who played on this, location

Engrave – Benediction

Engrave
Benediction
1996 (no label)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Nathan Morris – all instruments and noises

Silver Side:

  1. Lebensgefahr
  2. Euro-Span

Gold Side:

  1. Soul Probe
  2. Intercession

This tape is ambient noise electronic instrumental music that is quite mellow, but also good background music when you are in the right mood for it. Of course, it is not all mellow music, as “Soul Probe” has a nice beat to it. Nathan Morris was apparently the person, or one of the people, behind Velvet Empire Music (which often put out releases with Flaming Fish Music). Engrave had a CD after this demo called Polaris, which had these four songs on it. The interesting thing about this tape itself is that the “Silver Side” is spray painted with metallic silver paint, and the “Gold Side” is spray painted with metallic gold paint. I know these demos didn’t sell huge numbers, but still a nice (but time-consuming) touch for small numbers. But that was often the interesting thing about underground tape scene – details like that would set some demos apart.

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican
Secret Archives of the Vatican (aka “1”)
1989 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Chanctonbury Ring
  2. The Balcony of Endless Days
  3. High Spires Have Fallen

Side 2:

  1. The Book of Hours
  2. Albannaich
  3. The Wall of the Three Whispers

This is where it all started for Secret Archives of the Vatican. They are still going strong today, so they must be doing something right. I personally love world and electronic music, so I always try to check out what they are doing. Their current music is much more electronic in nature – call it club or techno or whatever to show your age. Their early music was more ambient, with the world instruments taking a more prominent role in the music. They are still there, it is just that the beat and keyboards are more prominent in their current music. You can see by the song titles that they do not go for the typical concepts you see in most music. Definitely an act worth checking out.

Access – There Will be Dancing!

Access
There Will be Dancing!
1985 (no label)
United Kingdom

Mark Pennells – Vocals, guitars, bass, brass
Zarc Porter – Keyboards, computer & rhythm programming

Side 1:

  1. You Look Inside Us
  2. Easy Life
  3. Patient
  4. Never Make It on My Own
  5. The Way

Side 2:

  1. The Day
  2. Talk Through a Wall
  3. Tomorrow Never Knows
  4. Lead Me On
  5. There Will Be Dancing

No, this is not the Access that used to be Restricted Access and then became The Swoon. This is actually an early demo from Mark Pennells and Zarc Porter – the duo that eventually went on to form World Wide Message Tribe. Yep, you read the right. They were also involved with all kinds of electronic bands, from 65dba to Rhythmsaints. After this demo, they changed names to Except for Access and released two more demos (Give Me Another World in 1987 and Made Perfect in 1989) as well as a “solo” demo for Mark Pennells called One of These Days in 1990 before forming WWMT. All of this and more is chronicled well in this article at CrossRhythms. Here is what that article says about the recording of this demo:

“We had what I think was the very first music computer which was called a Yamaha CX5, and it could only record one note at a time. You had to enter everything in step time by typing it in, telling it whether you wanted a crotchet or a quaver, and then enter all the rests, manually. This is why those recordings sound so robotic. It was really ancient technology, and we actually made the foolish decision to use it on stage live which proved to be scary because it kept crashing in the middle of gigs. So Mark would have to fill in for two minutes while we rebooted, bearing in mind we had to reboot it off data cassette. It took ages to reload it all up. That was back in the day, proper old school technology.”

So does this sound like WWMT? Not at all really. This is early 80s techno that flirts with 80s pop and new wave quite often. I mean, “Talk Through a Wall” is pure 80s that could have been on any radio station in 1985 – complete with 1999-ish synths and British vocals. The ballads do suffer a bit from being too slow and cheesy – not their best forte on this demo. But the upbeat numbers are where they shine. Hard to believe each note was programmed separately. Must have taken some time. Pretty much everything is electronic-sounding, so that may not be your thing. But this is like a nostalgia trip for me with a band I never knew existed until now!