Chris Phinney labouring at the typewriter
(ask your dad), back in the day...
Our second take on the
Covid-19 pandemic came courtesy of a very long standing friend from the
heyday of the cassette underground, Chris Phinney of Harsh Reality Music.
His was one of the first of the old tape labels to release one of the Magic
Moments At Twilight
Flashbax series, issuing Volume 1 as HR 239 way back in 1991! Chris
has made some pretty fine sounds himself over the years too, and we were
very pleased to have both Cancerous Growth and Viktimized Karcass in the M&E
catalogue, not to mention some of the albums he did with Messrs. McGee,
Henson and Moneymaker.
Flashbax Vol. 1 (Harsh Reality, 1991)
Chris tells us this
particular compilation project came about as the result of a conversation
between himself and Berlin based musician, Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt.
Crisis spawning creativity, as I'd mentioned previously in the article on
A Baneful Circle Of Light. He describes the idea behind it as
circling the wagons and going out with your boots on, being sure
to leave a mighty footprint behind. What you end up with is a phenomenal 98
track collection, running at 6 hours, 38 minutes and 13 seconds, (no, I
haven't counted, he did that), our contribution to which was Lacrimae
Angelis Dei, track no. 41. Although not done specifically with life
under the virus in mind, it suits the concept amazingly well. It started
life as a track Skit and I recorded during the Digitalis Sessions,
originally titled Sweet Voices Poison, but it was ultimately deemed a
misfit, a long way ahead of collating the finished album a year on.
Chris sent the invitation for this compilation, I remembered it immediately,
it has an appropriately deep and sorrowful quality, albeit quite discordant
in places. Whereas A Baneful Circle Of Light was a full on sensory
assault, an Aztec death whistle laden chunk of fear and anxiety, we realised
this track had the potential to work as a requiem for the dead, of which
there had already been many by this time. The samples were of synthesized
'sweet' female voices, 'poisoned' by our electronic box of tricks, then
married in various combinations, some of which deliberately create an
unpleasant harmonic resonance. We re-edited and remixed to take out some of
the harsher edges, being left with something Skit described as "like hearing
angels cry", which is an unusually beautiful comment from someone who
normally likens everything to a favourite power tool. The title is, of
course, Latin for "the tears of angels", my everlasting tribute to his one
single moment of human sensitivity.