It doesn’t matter
The ‘real’ album entitled “It doesn’t matter” was issued in December 1993 on the day I exchanged contracts on my first house. It was a collection of songs recorded over the previous six or more months and was a full eighty minutes of music, including one uncredited extra track. However the mastertape for that album has disappeared. Instead I have this C60 tape which was compiled in September ’93. Not all of these songs ended up on the real album, and one was completely rerecorded for the album. But in the absence of that tape – and gems like the industrial noisescape “Building the new arithmatic” and the breezy janglepop of “Hurt” – this will have to do.
Recorded April 93.
Instruments: Roland SH3a synth, Casio SK5, Casio SK1, Future Music sample CD, melodica.
This song goes right back…. The chorus of this song was originally written by me when I was 12 in a song called “I don’t want to hold your hand”. “When you see them night and day, what do you hear the people say? Do you really understand? That I don’t want to hold your hand…”. I never got around to finishing it. Then in April 93 I was trying to sample percussion loops into the SK5 from one of the early Future Music sample CDs and found the loop which is the basis of this song, and then manually played the loop for seven minutes or so onto my portastudio by hitting the little yellow sample pads on the SK5. From there I developed the music, sampling individual notes from the Roland into the Casios for polyphonic chords. I merged in the melody and chords from ’82 into the song and then did the long outro. The words were NOT ABOUT ANYONE. I’m stating that as there are / were people in Penarth who thought I wrote it about them. Apparently a girl I knew and liked was impressed by the song she heard and thought it was about her. She was wrong. The melodica at the end was bought in Abergavenny market in April of that year. I loved my melodica but someone borrowed it and never returned it. I finally got a replacement for it last Christmas.
Recorded July 93.
Instruments : Roland SH3a, Casios SK1 and SK5.
This is another old song. On the real “It doesn’t matter” album this was the uncredited extra track at the end of the album. The song was originally written and recorded in December ’88 for the “No happy endings” mini LP. Then it was uptempo with lots of jangling guitars and a loud rasping lead guitar part on the chorus. This time it’s just a slow crawl with lots of sampled chords, the Roland making funny whining noises, three vocals – one the original, one a mumble and one…oh I can’t remember. It’s a bit crap really. Hence it being an uncredited extra track because they’re usually a bit crap too.
Recorded August 93
Instruments: Roland SH3a (bass), Casio SK5 (drums), electric guitar.
Another old song! I should point out that “It doesn’t matter” was partly an exercise in recycling. In 1991 I had written around 30 songs which I recorded quickly in two days – just me and a guitar mostly. Only one person heard the whole tape so by recycling and filling out the arrangements I could make myself look prolific and clever, neither of which is true.
So “Throw it away”… This was written during the summer of 91 while I was working as a temp at BT. I was amongst a wonderful bunch of computer programmers who were regularly shat on by their management. As such I wrote a song from their viewpoint. By the time I rerecorded the song I was in the Stats Office as a programmer and was being regularly shat on by my own management. So it rang truer than ever. This was how it was always meant to be, arrangement-wise. I love the Boyracer style crashing guitar at the end, recorded very badly through a cheap and nasty 3W amp and with a lovely sustained feedback note which is actually in key. Moments like that are rare
Recorded June 93
Instruments: Casio SK5, Roland SH3a, acoustic guitar, melodica.
Another summer 91 song. There was a live review in Melody Maker of the shoegazing band Revolver and the reviewer said something like “This is OK but they should use this chord sequence”. So I used it as the basis of this song. The Casio plays a rolling sequence of the chords and I strum my brother’s acoustic guitar over the top and blow some melodica. There was an absolutely enormous cock up at the end of the last verse where I recorded over the rolling sequence and had to drop it in again which is why the sound changes. Again, lyrics not about anyone at all.
Recorded May 93
Instruments: Casio SK5 (drums), bass guitar, electric guitar.
Since 1985 I had played – off and on – in various bands with a bass player by the name of Robin. We knew each other from my first band Final Ecstasy who I infiltrated and took over in ’85. Robin always called me “George” as in “George Michael of Wham!” (Which was his full name for me) as I was the songwriter and singer, like George was. Final Ecstasy fell apart in ’87 but Robin and I kept in touch, playing together from time to time. After one practice in May 93 I asked if I could borrow his bass guitar for a while and recorded this song and “For crying out loud” with it.
The song itself is another oldie. It was originally called “On my mind” and was written in May ’86, recorded in autumn 86 under a wall of noise and VL-tones on the “From zero to one hundred and the psychemistry of love” EP (the title came to me in a dream, honest) and played regularly by Final Ecstasy in 87. Then I forgot about it. In 93 I wrote a new lyric based on how I felt about someone (the same person who had “Candlelight Ecstasy Romance”), including a deliberate lyrical lift – “Show your colours” was the original title of “A morning odyssey” by The Sea Urchins. It also had one of my favourite lyrics – “I’m honest and worthless, lonely and free”. I ended up using “Honest and worthless” as the title of a three volume compilation album from 85 to 94. (Hi Paul, can you put these tapes onto MP3 at some point please?). So, it’s like indie pop. And what’s wrong with that? Faded early to avoid an enormous farting noise my portastudio put onto one of the guitar tracks.
Oh, and Paul told me that I’d unconsciously ripped off “Robert De Niro’s waiting” on this song. Thanks Paul.
Recorded May 93
Instruments: Casio SK5, Roland SH3a, bass guitar.
More oldies… Written and recorded in the summer of 86 for the “All is joy in the land of the mad” LP (sadly that title didn’t come to me in a dream), I just felt like rerecording it. The original was minimal – just a pulsing Roland synth and a vocal – so I just filled it out a bit. There’s tons of overdubs on this. Yeah this is OK. Just not very interesting.
Recorded July 93
Instruments: Casio MT45, Casio SK5, Roland SH3a, electric guitar.
A song with a story. In early July 93 I was sent on a week long management course by the Stats Office in Portsmouth at the Pavillion hotel. I sort of enjoyed it but didn’t like some of the people running the course, one of whom took it upon herself to analyse me and get inside my head. We really didn’t hit it off, and as a result of this I wrote this song about it all. The song has an odd chord sequence and a motorik kind of beat. It’s meant to be like early Stereolab in a cheap Casio way. And the guitar solo goes on a bit. But it’s fine enough. And at least it was written in ’93…
Recorded August 93
Instruments: Casio SK5, Roland SH3a.
Another new song. This was also about M. I went through an odd phase that summer of saying I’d seen God in a corridor. I quite like this lyric. There’s lots of references to things in the words – the third verse is true, she had a tantrum in her office. And if you’re thinking it sounds slightly familiar… I recycled the music and some lyrics for “Angry Angels”.
The direct result of this song was that a friend of mine heard it – probably on this tape – and said “Great song, crap arrangement” so I completely rerecorded it, sped it up, plastered it with samples and made it ten times better. This first version is like a pencil sketch compared to the full version.
Recorded August 93
Instruments: Casio SK5, Roland SH3a, electric guitar.
Another Summer ’91 song. This was from the five song “What happens next” EP for the barmaid at Luciano’s who I had a crush on. It’s about specific moments and thoughts about one particular weekend. It was also titled by Murray Walker – I was watching a Grand Prix that Sunday while writing the song and he said “And he’s putting time and distance between himself and the rest of the pack”. I don’t really know why I rerecorded this song. It didn’t end up on the real album.
Recorded September 93
Instruments: Casio SK5 (drums and bass), electric guitar.
This was a new song too. See, I did write songs that year. This isn’t about anything, but sounds good. It also has another great line by me – “I gave you an inch and you ran away”. I rerecorded the vocal on this later as I recorded this particular vocal while I was pissed on Elephant beer. I can hear it even if you can’t. More indie pop. I like this one. Again, Paul pointed out the similarity to “Deeply dippy”. Thanks Paul.
That’ll do. Another album tomorrow? Yeah, if you insist.