About: Action and Reaction, Audio Letter and Attrition


29 Apr 2007, 16:32

Audio Letter
Action and Reaction
Cityzens for Non-Linear Futures

Action and Reaction
(critique of leisure consumption)
Audio Letter / Attrition

A transatlantic tape collaboration between Attrition of Coventry UK and Audio Letter of Seattle WA. Recorded between fall 82' and spring 83'. Released as a cassette album on Cityzen for Non-Linear Futures.

Attrition is till going strong in the UK and has remixed and released this album on CD in 2002.

They can be reached at: www.attrition.co.uk
lastFM: http://www.last.fm/music/Attrition

tracks 1 - 4 were started by members of Audio Letter, Seattle

1) no ending
-- Bob Jenkins, guitar [AL]
-- Sue Ann Harkey, bass [AL]
-- Ashley, synthesizer [ATT]
-- Martin, synthesizer [ATT]
-- Sharon Gannon, vocals [AL]

2) casual nightmare
-- Paul Hoskin, bass clarinet [AL]
-- Jeff McGrath, trumpet [AL]
-- Chryss, bass [ATT]
-- Martin, synthesizer [ATT]
-- Sharon Gannon, violin [AL]

3) i might bite
-- Bob Jenkins, guitar [AL]
-- Sue Ann Harkey, bass, drums [AL]
-- Chryss, vocals [ATT]

4) critique of leisure consumption
-- Bob Jenkins, guitar, loop [AL]
-- Sue Ann Harkey, bass, drums [AL]
-- Chryss, bass, bongos [ATT]
-- Deran Ludd, vocals [AL]

tracks 5 - 8 were started by members of Attrition, Coventry

5) the christening
-- Ashley, sequencer [ATT]
-- Chryss, synthesizer [ATT]
-- Sue Ann Harkey, vocals, guitar [AL]

6) talk back
-- Chryss, synthesizer, bass [ATT]
-- Martin, drum machine [ATT]
-- Cri, sax [AL]
-- Deran Ludd, cut-up-tape [AL]

7) inside outside
-- Chryss, synthesizer, bass [ATT]
-- Martin, drum machine [ATT]
-- Jeff McGrath, trumpet [AL]

8) for the child
-- Chryss, voices, maracas [ATT]
-- Martin, drum machine [ATT]
-- Ashley, synthesizer [ATT]
-- Erik Muhs, bass [AL]

About those times and these times:

When this album was traveling through the post between continents Reagan and Thatcher were in power. The Iran Contra scandal was well underway. We were selling WMD to Saddam Hussein. And reading The Situationists and watching Spitting Image and Saturday Night Live. The sick, typically american, atrocity was the Tylenol poisonings in California, and Russia was in Afghanistan.

Twenty five years latter not much has changed. The same neu-conservatives are in the White House, and Blair in no. 10. The US and Britain are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is still on the agenda. Venezuela is now the new South American threat. The latest sick American atrocity is the massacre at Virginia Tech. And were watching Monkey Dust and Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.



no ending

things done before have no ending

it is fireproof
it grows so fast that any injury do to hear is re-paired at the same time

the nervous system converses with itself
begins to receive signals
from within the individual neurons
from the DNA-RNA dialogue

the Schrodinger cat paradox
asks whether our physical models describe
the uni-verse objectively
or just defines the limits of our own knowledge

they were curled up and did not seem to be either
glad nor sorry to be dead
they were there like a couple of chairs in the hallway

the motion quantities notion quantities

we cannot eliminate our-selves from 'the picture'
we are a-part of it
when we study it
it is studying itself

matter is momentary interaction
momentary interaction

of waves
of fields
of states
of grain

I'm glad to have met you
I'm trying to draw the clear light

things done before have no ending

--- SG Jan. 83'


the show is over. The Audience gets up to leave their seats. time to collect their coats and go home. They turn around. No more coats and no more homes.

--- V.V. Rosnov


( Again Since I wrote this 20 years ago not much has changes. Instead of cassettes and zines its CDs and the web. And boy am I glad for that!)

Collaboration Tapes
by Sue Ann Harkey

From: Robin James, The Cassette Mythos, Autonomedia 1990

Collaboration tapes can develop the communication necessary for the furtherance of the alternative music network. Such cooperative and participatory endeavors between mail contacts can extend relationships as well as add a creative dimension to existing long-distance friendships.

There are two contemporary factors which inspire the possibilities of making collaborative tapes with bands and individuals who do not live in your immediate area. The latest contribution to the independent music network is the availability of portable multi-track cassette recording equipment, which enables widespread access to high-quality machines in a convenient medium, and for a feasibly inexpensive price. I feel, however, that the formation of resource magazines and fanzines was crucial in fostering the dialogue and informing us about the decentralized music renaissance taking place around the world. Such revolutionary developments can be expanded on a more intimate level by participating with other musicians on collaborative tapes.

The first collaboration tape our band Audio Letter made was with a group from England called Attrition. The project took over one year to complete. We came in contact with Attrition in 1981 by sending a Patio Table publication to Alan of the English magazine Adventures in Reality. Alan reviewed our publication in his magazine and sent us a copy. We proceeded by sending Alan copies of Audio Leter tapes; he reviewed them and later passed them on to Attrition, who then wrote us directly requesting a trade of tapes. Alan set up an interview with Audio Letter after these correspondences had begun, and when we realized that we both had Tascam Portastudios, Attrition proposed doing a tape together. Though we had different models (144 and 244) with slightly different noise reduction systems, we found that they were functionally compatible. (I received very hot signals from the tracks Attrition recorded on a 144, which made mixing difficult but not impossible. Also the channels are inverted on either machine, so that channel one on the 244 reads channel four on the 144 and vice versa.)

We decided on a format where each group would start the first tracks for four cuts on a blank master tape. After each group had contributed to each other's original tracks, we sent the masters back to have the third dub added, then back again to be finished up with the fourth dub where necessary. Each band then mixed and produced their own version of the tape to be distributed in their own country.

You can imagine the suspense and surprise every time the masters were mailed back with new tracks added to them. It was somewhat like making an Exquisite Corpse drawing (a collaborative figurative drawing game--a piece of paper is folded so that parts of the drawing can be added without revealing the whole until the completion of the drawing). Improvisation played a big part in inspiring new methods of responding to the challenging opportunity of working with one another's styles and instrumentation. This cooperative exchange between two bands is an exercise in adaptability. The overdubbing creates a learning environment in the building of songs, like in any composition, but collaboration tapes offer a refreshing variety of elements just by sharing the construction with another group whose technique you may know very little about.

Last summer I was able to meet Alan and Attrition personally in London. I was also fortunate enough to meet several other people in Belgium and the UK whom I have been corresponding with for some time now. This is one of the great advantages of mail networking, which can personalize some of your contacts. Our working correspondence with Alan and Attrition has kept us in close communication. They have set up their own distribution system, Terminal Kaleidoscope, which carries our most recent Cityzens For Non-Linear Futures tape releases. Our relationship strengthens at a consistent pace with future projects pending. The tape we made together, Action and Reaction (Critique of Leisure Consumption), is doing well in the European market, with sales of over three hundred. The Last Supper compilation tape produced by Adventures in Reality has done even better, helping to expose Audio Leter to the European audience. (Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the American market; this is principally due to the apathetic attitude toward independent cassettes in the States.)

I feel that because the cassette medium is so accessible, the public has become hesitant to accept cassette releases as a serious source of original music. The American audience (and I question if there is much of one outside of the independent music scene itself) is overwhelmed by the number of cassette releases, and too conditioned to the media superstar mentality to venture into the independent music network. Cassette makers naturally rebel against the corporate music industry's censor machine. For every record that reaches the market through the industry and media there are thousands of equivalent groups that don't achieve such mass exposure. I see an economic struggle in this phenomenon as well. Since records take more money to produce, a "worthiness" is established along with the economic status that records represent.

I have observed that the tape and mail networking movement is rather insular, so by pursuing projects like collaboration tapes we can familiarize ourselves more with one another, and at least reach each other's audiences. I hope to encourage tactics that can reinforce our community of correspondences on a more intimate level and turn some of our contacts into friendships.



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