I rediscovered a video recently that was produced by a film-maker friend around 2003, featuring a song I’d written in the 1980s. My creative aesthetic, such as it was then, largely involved being autonomous and independent, creating the strange sounds I wanted with enthusiastic amateur collaborators, mostly in the studio, though occasionally in live settings. I worked with guitars, basses, synths, found percussion, and all sorts of weird analog equipment and non-musical elements, most of it used incorrectly. There was no such thing as too much signal processing in my world. We dubbed our milieu “industrial folk music,” seeing to merge the lyrical and song-structure elements of traditional folk styles with the emergent noisiness of the then-nascent industrial genre.
It’s weirdly invigorating, thirty-plus years later, to be able to listen to the musical weirdness of my youth. I must admit to flinching at how bad some of the lyrics I wrote in the late 1970s and early 1980s were, but without those baby steps at the beginning, I may never have blossomed into my current creative persona, such as it is.
Want to hear some of those baby steps? If so, the links below provide some representative songs for you, written as far back as the late 1970s, and mostly recorded in the early/mid-1980s. Collectively, they provide a little peek into the misdirected energy of my oblivious youth, some of them lifted raw from boards, some of them demos with a little studio gloss applied. I’m sort of proud that some of the things I was doing way back then that weren’t of interest to anybody but me actually now sound like some other things that came later, by other people, and that garnered more critical credibility than I would have imagined possible as I tweaked my machines to make the noises that amused me, however horrible they were.