Today’s submission is another delightful bootleg recording of an extremely early gig. We are treated to soundboard (or near soundboard) audio quality and a long set list packed with songs that would soon be permanently shelved. We also get a real insight into both the guitar and bass playing – stripped of the huge reverb and effects processing that characterised their later sound, it is a brutally honest document of a great band in their infancy. Although I use later output for production references, this is the kind of recording I would whack on the stereo before having a noodle on the guitar myself.
You also get a rather nice feel for the audience. Rather than indistinct cheering, we have a portrait of the kind of snakebite chugging, speed-bombing goth audience you can still expect to meet in a northern town today. The heckling starts right after the first song and, if you listen closely, you can hear Porl King breathing a heavy sigh as people begin screaming gibberish at him. You can also hear someone heckle “Adrenachrome!” right after Chapter And Verse which, if this wasn’t recorded four months before I was born, I’d swear was actually me.
This recording makes an excellent companion to the original trilogy of cassette EPs (Chapter And Verse, Retribution, and And How They Rejoice), although the sound is actually closer to the portastudio demo versions which we may or may not be sharing at a later date.
This bootleg originally came in a plain, coloured card cover with a hand written track list. A few of my original source tapes look like this, most have “© Quarrier Tapes” written on them. This leads me to suspect they are relatively close to an original source. The cover art presented here is my own design, from a photo by Andy Forster (or Andy Barra as he appears in some contemporary credits).
ROSETTA STONE : Milo’s, Liverpool, UK (22 March 1989)
Lineage: Type I Cassette > Nakamichi DR-10 > Asus Xonar U7 > Adobe Audition @ 24/96 > ALAC 16/44
- Six Before Dawn
- Chapter And Verse
- Hour By Hour
For a bootleg cassette of unknown generation (though, as mentioned above, the “© Quarrier Tapes” stamped on the original sparse sleeve gives us hope) the signal present was surprisingly strong and consistent throughout playback. The sound is clear – particularly the vocal – but the limitations of the taper’s recording set-up are present. Nevertheless, the tape is a perfectly acceptable document and and you do get a real sense of being “there”, surrounded by hecklers and clinking glasses, if you listen on headphones.
A handy aspect of archiving drum machine bands is that it’s possible to accurately speed correct transfers based on pre-existing digital sources. I used the excellent digital transfer of Chapter And Verse, featured on the On The Side Of Angels compilation, as my basis for speed correcting this recording. The speed difference was minuscule but noticeable in an A/B comparison. Having speed corrected this recording using a known correct source, it is now possible to use this transfer as a reliable source for other (i.e. demo) recordings of these early songs. I used Brian Davies’ DeNoise software to remove a heavy and steady hiss from the recording without removing any musical information. I’ll write in more detail about this application in a future post dedicated to analogue-to-digital preservation.
There is some tape damage which results in skipping during Relentless.