Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Past Imperfect Repackaged

Limited Edition (Sept 2015)
Received this CD in the post today. It's a version of Andrew Cox's Past Imperfect compilation, originally released in May last year (during the few months when I paused my blog). It was possibly (?) the last in a series of re-released MFH and Pump-related albums on Plague Recordings and Forced Nostalgia, masterminded by the very wonderful Fre De Vos. 
But here's a limited edition (of 80) produced for the Experimental Music Record Fair in Brussels earlier this month by Editions Abscondita. Nicely packaged. Andrew would have liked it. 
Both the original and the limited edition collect tracks from the early 80s, together with two from a hard-to-find compilation and three previously unreleased tracks. Here are the sleeve notes:
Andrew Cox was the more talented half of MFH / Pump, releases of which are available elsewhere on this site. Alongside his recordings with David Elliott, he also released four cassette albums on YHR (Arioch, Methods, Hydra and Songs from the Earth) between 1980-83.
Original (May 2014)
Tracks from these, together with other rarities are now compiled on Past Imperfect. The opening excerpt from Arioch - a terrifying salvo of purpose-built oscillators (not dissimilar to Pete Shelley's Sky Yen which was released in the same year, 1980), is actually fairly atypical of Andrew's subsequent output - which could be described as dark ambient before anyone had thought of the term.
Andrew used motley instrumentation - piano, guitar, recorders, reed organ, an obscure synthesizer, pedals and other effects units - to create claustrophobic, crepuscular landscapes, often inspired by paintings or literature.
But what makes this compilation so intriguing are the extras: two tracks from the rare Integrated Circuit Records compilation from 1983, and three previously unreleased pieces from 2000 and 2001 which had ushered in a new, ultra-minimal style.
Sadly, Andrew died in 2009 before he could fully explore this new direction, but it is gratifying to see his music recognised, despite his absence.

For more info, see here and here.

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