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Biting Tongues

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Biting Tongues was formed when Tony Wilson’s Factory Club in Manchester offered an open invitation to experiment, which was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

Sources for texts included overheard or taped conversations, news reports, lines from old movies, the enthused writings of criminals, occultists and political theorists… There was an openness, an acceptance of experimentation, in the way Biting Tongues approached things that allowed them to try out new procedures, new ideas.

The first album Don’t Heal was recorded in two short sessions, played straight through without a break between tracks. The ‘Dark Room Skin Transfers’ took place at Drone Studios in Chorlton in August 1980 and suffers from a very dry sound, thanks to a 1970s studio vogue for dead rooms. The walls were completely clad in denim. It was recorded and mixed in a single afternoon, with very few overdubs. ‘The White Valise’ side from January 1981 benefited from the more upmarket sounds of Pennine studios in Rochdale, even down to the noises made by the coffee machine in the hall, which can be heard at the start of Heart Disease. Don’t Heal was the first release on Situation 2 but sales were fairly modest.

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