Four days later, Skit and I sat
down to look at our fourth musique concrète project, the theme for this was
flexi discs, as part of an IFAR series on the general theme of records,
hence the photo of Skit with an LP, my copy of Clinton Ford's "Fanlight
Fanny", which he thinks is very funny. I guess you'd have to be clocking on
a bit to remember flexis, very thin flexible (no shit) bits of vinyl, often
given away as promotional freebies in music mags. I still remember the first
such flexi disc I ever owned; it came with the New Musical Express on April
29th 1972 (the week after the issue in the image, prophetically promising it
'next week'!), a preview with excerpts from the forthcoming Rolling Stones
album, "Exile On Main Street", for which the title of this piece is a play
on. I did a bit of research online and found some photos, and while the
tracks all seem familiar, I didn't remember it being circular (I'm still
convinced it was square) or even that it had two sides (it did), featuring
Curved Air (I know because it was the reason I bought their really excellent
"Phantasmagoria" LP) and the unfortunately named Fanny on the flipside.
"I've got lots of Curved Air."
I excitedly told Skit.
"Bet you never had any Fanny,
"No," I confirmed, "I never
liked Fanny much. Why are you rolling around the floor in hysterics?"
Duly inspired, we went on a
hunt for those strange videos online where somebody goes "watch me putting a
flexi disc on my record player and pressing play." It wasn't the music on
these things we were interested in, it was the bits in between; the
mechanics of the tonearm lifting and dropping, the surface noise as the
stylus moves toward the recording at the beginning, and beyond it at the
end, the odd scratches and beats et al. And those are the sounds we built
this track with, Skit showing me the interesting effects you can get with
pitch-shifting, cross-phase and amplified beat-looping. Et voila!