Thursday, September 08, 2005

about: the 10" lathes

(UFM 002 and 003)

(....being, perhaps, a study in the operational imperative at the the heart of the UFM soul; to just, please, DO SOMETHING, and SOON; or SOONISH; or be lost....)

In the beginning..... there was a gig in a basement. On the 29th of
august, 2003. The bill read -

- and the event in the newly opened/inhabited None Gallery on Stafford Street, Dunedin,
was the first performance of both the former and the latter.

Both groups shared a similar make-up. they each featured a member of the well-known combo Sandoz Lab Technicians, still extant but slowed down by James Kirk's exodus to Wellington. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Cornelius stood for the 'Forks; Nathan Thompson took up the electric guitar and took a swing at a fresh, pineal Eye. Also, both groups featured a musician whose prowess on their chosen instrument was legendary. Enter Peter Stapleton with his pipeband bass drum and nailgun hands in Eye; whilst Three Forks were grounded in the leather and lace of Donald McPherson's mastery of guitar forms. Finally, each one was rounded out by a relatively recent arrival in Dunedin, both of whom dragged a lengthy, but largely unknown pedigree behind him. Say hello to Eye guitarist Peter Porteous and 'Forks cellist James Currin.

Three Forks started the night and set the blueprint for their
subsequent career - unpredictable, shambolic, brilliant, clattering,
swooping, humourous, occasionally boring, but with striking, lengthy
sections of pure, improvised acoustic gorgeousity. They seemed to
alienate and amaze in equal measure. And Eye..... from the very first
chord of Porteous' slacktuned (and deafeningly loud) instrument
everybody knew that this was a train with moveable rails and no cow
catcher. Their drone - if we can give it such a paltry term - was like
a major key and a minor key who got married and gave birth to
a heavy-lidded man-cudgel.

After things having been pretty slow on the sounds front in Dunedin for some time, it became clear that something was going on. Cool bands were poking out of holes all over the place. So the idea...... the idea was to release a series - 5 or 6 - of 10" lathe records with a different DN band on each side. The first pairing was obvious: and, sometime early in 2004, there it was.

UFM 002 Eye / Three Forks 'Jawbone', 'Arabesque'/'Baby Ives' 10" lathe
OUT OF PRINT MP3 Three Forks 'Baby Ives' 10.8mb

The idea for the second disc, coming not long after, was also born in the None basement, where both acts played the inaugeral (and, to date, only) Nonefest, their completely conflicting styles sounding as natural as water next to each other.

I'm given to believe that the $100 Band actually started in the North Island town of Wanganui, where Alastair Galbraith was an artist-in-residence at the Polytechnic, and drummer Mike Dooley and guitarist/cellist Maxine Funke were members of Dunedin's own Snares, who were on tour at the time. Reconvening down south, their existence was short but intense, leaving behind some killer gigs and bugger-all recordings; Alastair and Maxine headed bush from whence they occasionally emerge playing short but very sweet duo dates.

Since Ryan Cockburn AKA Spit's CDR on this label is impending, I'll write more on him then; suffice to say that at the time of this record's release Ryan was everywhere, smashing up records, gluing 'em, and spinning 'em into maelstromic (no, that's not really a word) sonic bubonics that were, well, pretty sick. The tracks on this disc are with hindsight too nice by half.

UFM 003 $100 Band / Spit 'Old Chronicle'/"Keltic', 'Lament' 10" lathe

Now, there are a lot of folk out there who're big fans of the lathe-cut record, specifically, the Peter King of King Records lathe-cut record. And we all are too. But the amount you have to charge for them to be worth your while doing is kind of a bummer. So the whole series idea was abandoned. The next lathe was to have been Rory Storm & The Invaders / Pirhanarama - sorry dudes. There was a feeling in the air: there was a better way.......!


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