ISSUE 13   FALL 2002
page 11 of 16





Dude sent me 9 CD-Rs in the mail, half of them without covers. "It's the sounds that are important" he said in his e-mail, which I totally agree with. Covers do help somewhat when it comes to writing reviews, but I should be alright anyway....
       Dude in question is Paul Harrison, who I last heard of when some other zine editor sent me a letter written on the back of one of the one-sheet catalogs for Harrison's label. He lives in the UK and is in (and/or just plain is) the band Expose Your Eyes, who have been mentioned before in these pages. (on this page.) His letter to Blastitude was also written on the back of one of his one-sheet catalogs. (Reproduced below.)
       Before diving in, I expect some kind of weird slightly crusty slightly pagan-ish British thing, sort of like a more home-made Throbbing Gristle, with a big spoonful of Smell & Quim-like noise antics thrown in. He's from a town called Sowerby Bridge, which of course I've never heard of, so I can't get any read on him that way, as I could if he were part of the Leeds scene or the Stoke-on-Trent scene, as both were profiled in a "hot scenes" sidebar to a recent gossipy article on current underground music from Great Britain, in Jann Wenner's US Magazine. Oh well, need to just dive in...


Starts with a pretty huge noise-psych drone. Called "New Track," which is a good joke. For example, the first song on Rock & Soul Part One, the greatest hits album by Hall & Oates, is a new track, hit single "Say It Isn't So." The "New Track" by Expose Your Eyes is really good, not the lethargic amp-drone that we've heard too many times, but a higher piercing kind of thing that really does have that 'laser beam' effect. Very nicely augmented by ethereal chiming sounds too. This is already as good as anything I've heard from any Matthew Bower projects. Track two "Being a Monkey" is some spoken word thing. Foggy, British, spacy. I kinda like it. Really long. Track three is a disco track, right in line with (and in fact maybe a year or so ahead of) current developments in the Detroit scene (Mammal and Viki). A sampled woman announcer is very dystopian...I pick up snatches of what she's saying, like, "This chaos...complex distinctions...morality mutated into uncertainty...chaotic quantums....evolving levels...." and shit like that. "That Remarkably Ecstatic Chaos" is the title. Good track. Track four "Combat Recorder" is even harder, like gabber/drill techno hard. Bass line kills, though! This is a lot like Mammal -- I wonder if Expose Your Eyes and Mammal have even heard each other. What was I saying earlier about "Smell & Quim-ish"? Well, track eight, a choppy cut-up beaty/bouncy noise track, is called "Message For D. Walklett." After more foggy spoken word samples comes another beat-driven number, called "Gilch Trip." I'd like to see this get mixed in at a house club. Though I doubt it would make anyone leave the dance floor, I think it would have a noticeable effect. Track ten "Trepidation" is another drone piece that really couldn't be played in a house club at all; once again Eyes comes with a drone that is quite honestly beautiful and uncompromising. It's over 12 minutes long!
        I'd say about 9 out of every 10 CDs or CD-Rs are too long, and Expose Your Eyes Greatest Hits is yet another one of the 9's -- but everything on it is pretty good. I did turn the volume off for about 15 minutes halfway through because I wanted to play guitar and jam on "Marquee Moon" a little bit, so yeah, case in point: it's generally probably too much to listen to in one sitting.
       This really is a greatest hits collection, by the way. In fact, here's the discography information, which I will quote in its entirety because it really will make you think, "Man. What is going on here with this Paul Harrison guy and, verily, with Great Britain's entire post-punk landscape?". Here goes: "Variations of the retitled 'NEW TRACK' were originally recorded in about 3 or 4 different versions as 'ONE SIX AND THIRTEEN' and appeared on a variety of compilation cassettes. 'BEING A MONKEY' was originally released on the V/A compilation CD 'Art Apart' (EETapes). 'THAT REMARKABLY ECSTATIC CHAOS' was originally released on 'NYCC' cassette and then again on 'Z=z2+C' CD (both on Fiend). 'COMBAT RECORDER' originally released on 'Wasted Burn Out--Fuck You!' cassette & CD (Small Orange). 'FALLEN' was originally released on 'The Fallen' cassette (Succhiasega Ind.). 'MORE COFFEE BUCK HENRY'/'UNCLE PAUL'S WOOLLY VESTS' were originally an 8" vinyl release on Scum Records. 'MESSAGE FOR D. WALKLETT' was originally released as an 8" vinyl split with Smell & Quim on SHF. 'GILCH TRIP' was originally released on 'Harrison's Desk' cassette & CD (Fiend). 'TREPIDATION' was originally released on 'Resolution' CD (Umbababayee Records). 'HERE THERE EVERYWHERE' & 'DIMENSION THAT I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER BEEN IN BEFORE' were originally released on 'Stalks' cassette (Fiend)." Wha??? Lots of info. No wonder this guy sent me like 11 CD-Rs with titles/tracks scrawled on 'em in magic marker and no covers. It's so much that even he can barely keep track of it.

Two tracks, free-flowing noise jams/drones/chips/punches/skrees/
squalls. Both longer than shit. Lots of good sounds and a nice, ultimately languid let-it-all-hang-out approach that is the only thing other than short, varied tracks that can make the Being Beat Up Again For 30 Minutes genre listenable for me. Still, as I say a few times in every issue, I don't have too much use for 30-minute noise tracks. At this point, I really just want to hear songs or song-length ideas. For example, given all the great but oft overlong raw jams on the Expose Your Eyes Greatest Hits CD, I would have edited two-to-five-minute excerpts from each one into a continuous collage like The Faust Tapes. But, of course, that's just me, and that's not even the album being reviewed. The album that is being reviewed isn't all that great in a sea of hundreds of releases like it.


(Note: review written without reviewer knowing whether record was by a single artist or various artists) With this Spintronics record, Fiend Records is sounding more and more like a straight techno label. This is one he sent without a cover, and all it says on the disc is "Spintronics," which is hand-written in magic marker, along with an un-numbered list of what look more like track titles than band names, so I tend to think it's not a comp, but an artist named Spintronics....let's see....have I heard of such a thing? It doesn't really seem to matter much in the Fiend Records stable. It's kind of unclear who the artist is, or what the difference is between Expose Your Eyes and Paul Harrison solo, or if Paul Harrison is or isn't Spintronics and Random Number and Superfuckers and Tollbridge Snakepoke etc. No matter who's who, most of this huge amount of music seems to end up being beat-driven underground techno. There is a refreshingly heavy influence from the Gristle and the whole crusty British noise scene, but in the end, at least half of these 11 Fiend Records titles could be taken to any DJ gig and dropped into the mix at any time during the night or into the playlist of the good anonymous techno shows I hear on small Chicago radio stations after midnight, driving to and from the loop to give my lady a ride home from work.
        I could be wrong. Maybe Fiend Records isn't even mostly techno. I got 11 of these suckers all at once, so who knows how long it'll take for me to actual start differentiating between them. Is there such a thing as being too prolific, even when everything you do is good? The example of Fiend Records would lead me to say "Yes." After all, people talk about how the marketplace of records is glutted. When you make as much music as Paul Harrison/Fiend Records does, maybe you shouldn't release it all. Some good things are just going to have to stay in the vaults. Take that guy Prince, and the legend about him having 300 songs (or was it 300 hours of songs) completely finished and recorded, ready for release, and every single one of them was a hit. Well, with all that material, he could've gone and released 80 records on his own label, but he didn't, did he? (I realize that Prince's recent career, with its surprising number of triple-CD releases, jeopardizes my argument somewhat.)
      Ah, track four throws a curveball -- it's a slightly more above-ground sounding song with a trip-hop beat and rather dusted-sounding female vocals. Might sound kinda trendy to you, like The Sneaker Pimps or someshit, but it's actually a really good song, which further proves my point about Fiend Records: even if they do too much, everything they do is pretty darn good.
     See, track five is farging great too, an electro track that is just plain funky. Thank you, Fiend! People say that electro and especially retro electro are played out, because they ARE, which is because no one is funky enough! And somehow Fiend Records is funky enough. Who else can be? Mammal? Viki Hott? Peaches? Magas? Is Adult. funky? Not really. About as funky as The Faint. Funk is hard to do (in fact it used to be a bad word), especially since these folks are white (though all named are from points on the perennially funky Great Lakes basin). (Except The Faint, who are from Nebraska, which, though not completely D'Void, is not a hotbed for the funk.)
       Anyway, I don't think I'm going to listen to the rest of this comp. Because it's a Fiend release, it's filled to the brim with like 20 fairly long tracks, and I just don't think I have time. That Andrew W.K. disc is callin' me back! But then, shit, track seven is another honestly excellent spacy-cool-chick trip-hop song, and track eight after that is really good too! So, whatever, the guy can release 80 CD-Rs, each of them with 74 minutes of music, if he wants. That's just somebody else's closet. None of us have any need to go all the way into it. He's just offering to sell us the key in case we're bored. If you are, you should go to and buy this Spintronics CD-R, the Superfuckers Live in Europe, and Expose Your Eyes Greatest Hits. (And, if you want something you can REALLY just mix into any club setting, throw in the not-groundbreaking but as-solid-as-anything-else Habitual Mastabreaker Dextrous Wave disc.)

This one's TOTAL techno music. Just club music, really. It's become normal for people to send me fucked-up techno that skips and glitches its way in fits and starts to no kind of groove whatsoever, and now this music, because it could actually be used as a background on MTV shows, is what really sounds shocking.


Finally, a break from all the techno beats! "Live in Europe" refers to this group just travelling around the European continent recording various sounds in various locales. With Fiend Records you're usually going to get either hard-beat techno or freaky noise, but if you're a fan of that sort of CGT/SCG on-location cultural drift, with an extra appetite for some pretty striking noise shenanigans thanks to "quick mix and manipulation back in England (no additional sounds added)," you might wanna pick this one out of the hundreds. Track six, a field recording of a waterfall in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, is especially intense. (The Superfuckers are not to be confused with the Starfuckers, from Italy, who've put out a CD or two and are pretty incredible in a completely different way.)





Didn't know what this was when it started with a nice whipporwill-drone effect from a hard-to-peg instrument. Nice, but could go into either Post Rock or New Age, neither of which it does, when after a couple minutes a rather tough Hip-hop beat comes in. Eventually I figure out that it's probably a Fiend release. The beat is tough, and it has just the right amount of occasional prog flourishes; mixed with the whipporwill-drone effect it's like an improvised jazz duet I've been wanting to hear for years. Subsequent tracks go pleasantly back and forth between freenoise and hardcore beats. Track 5 is even something of a landmark, where a suave hip-hop feel is dismantled by queasy tape edits that resemble a CD skipping. There's a remix of track one, and an electroacoustic jam that reminds me of early Spykes, and more hardbeat madness that you could easily slap "early AFX" on and fool every trainspotter in the world. For probably the sixth time on this page, I'm amazed that even when the seemingly hundreds of Fiend releases seem to be at their samiest and overlong, all of the material -- track after track after track -- is really damn good. It's crazy.

TOLLBRIDGE SNAKEPOKE: the gribules of kc's brow CD-R
More of a classic noise record, this is two long extended tracks of... classic noise. That is, track one is 16 odd minutes of infernal buzzing, with some sort of motivational speaker sample going on through most of it. Though the sounds are fine, the juxtaposition doesn't have any special connotation, and as cliches, neither ingredient is even in the "recent" file anymore. Track two is a marked improvement. Though still nothing startling, it sort of sounds like a Wolf Eyes jam without any beats


Again, generic is good when it comes to Fiend Records. I don't even know who I'm writing about right now, but it's a good nameless harsh noise record. The sounds are excellent, and what's better, a lot of approach-changing and post-prod collaging is going on. In a previous review on this very page, I wrote, "As I say a few times in every issue, I don't have too much use for 30-minute noise tracks. At this point, I really just want to hear songs or song-length ideas." Well, this record answers that very prayer. (And it's still too damn long -- the tracks may be a series of "song-length ideas," but they're all 10 or 15 minutes long, and there's six of them. Any two of these tracks would've been enough to make a great album, no joke.)

I was just reading back this issue's Abruptum review while listening to this album and it occurred to me that the Abruptum album is all about saying its evil while this one is all about sounding evil. As per usual with Fiend Records, this is good noise. Unlike the Superfuckers' Live In Europe, which was all field recordings, Robbed is good old electronic tone terror. The first track is 16 or so minutes, starting with soft fuzz and some ironic 'dirty word' soundbites, and really building up to a full head of psychedelic steam. Recommended. But see, track one was 15 minutes, track two is 15 minutes, the whole thing is 74 minutes -- it's too much music!!! I'd have to be on a long car trip by myself to listen to this whole thing. (That's what it took for me to listen to all of Ashtray Navigations' equally excellent and equally overlong Tristes Tropiques for the first time.)


"Collect all 769!!!" The Fiend Records catalog.


An interview with Paul "Fiend" Harrison

So what's your biographical background? What led you to play the music you play? Well, it is LITERALLY a continuation of PLAY that has never stopped since childhood -- the first sort of play I remember specifically connected with SOUND was in my early teens -- me & a friend would create fake radio shows (playing our records & speaking on a microphone inbetween & just being
daft -- speeding things up/messing about) -- we would record it all onto tape & then listen back to it.....then a bit later I got into Super 8 & making my own little films on video tape and used to enjoy dubbing sounds onto the images....then I just began playing around with sounds & realized that they could create their own images (which could be much richer & sort of open to interpretation than some PARTICULAR image on a screen)....

I think that We Are All Fucking Each Other In Heaven should be reissued by Astralwerks because it's the best techno album I've heard in three years. What do you think of it? Why is it by Paul Harrison instead of Expose Your Eyes, or some other moniker? It is techno, right? Well, yes -- I think it's techno -- it's sort of my noisy tribute to the original 'rave' scene that occured in the UK at the end of the 1980's (there were a lot of extremely energetic/raw/wild sounds being created then by all sorts of unknowns -- moving away from the often stilted 'house' sound into more crazed bursts of primal energy & stipped down forceful stuff -- to me, this was the REAL 'rave' music -- something truly new, fresh & vivacious -- it did have a similar feel to when punk happened in the 70s -- some people have maintained a playful & experimental approach to making dance/techno music (whatever you want to call it) but too many FORMULA approaches have evolved and the whole scene has since been watered down & commercialized to a large extent). On 'We Are All Fucking...' I sampled some parts from a couple of my favourite old rave tracks (which, unfortunately I only have a poor tape copy of & I don't even know what they're called or who made 'em!) -- I used my own name basically because it seemed to me that Expose Your Eyes as a 'project' & a name had sort of run it's natural course -- it was basically a NOISE project I'd been doing for a good few years all tied up with a period of, not really INTENSE (compared to some people!) but quite FREQUENT use of psychedelics....I was getting to a point where I wasn't doing psychedelics so often, I wasn't that interested in NOISE anymore (getting back into beats & sometimes tunes even!)....just seemed like I should be ME instead of E.Y.E (although I do still use other silly names sometimes & find it a good release/therapy to MAKE some noise every once in a while!!). What do I think of 'We Are All Fucking...'? Well -- i think it has a great ENERGY to it (I wanted to capture some of that feeling from the early rave stuff & I think it does that) -- it's probably a bit TOO RAW in places & probably does ramble on a bit too long!

I also think thought We Are All Fucking Each Other In Heaven should have been shorter. It could've been two excellent albums or four excellent EPs instead of one excellent but overlong album. Why are all your releases 70 or more minutes long? Yes a lot of my releases go on too long I suppose -- I don't know -- it's probably down to having no money & not wanting to waste cd space! People could always listen to a bit of it one time & a different bit the next time... I have started thinking recently that maybe I put out too much stuff -- especially my own stuff -- often the whole PROCESS of what I'm doing (playing around etc.) will get documented in some form or another on an
actual release -- maybe it's too much (too self indulgent?) -- been thinking maybe I should just release stuff that I'm really TOTALLY satisfied with -- it's difficult because I've always done this for my own listening pleasure and never really had an 'audience' for many years -- now that there are a small amount of people interested in listening to my stuff I'm thinking this way about not burdening them with excess crap, but can I really judge which are the good pieces? They might not like the same bits as I do..!

Nice Julien Donkey-Boy sample. I already get that hard-partyin' Harmony Korine vibe from the vast grotty scope of your subterranean discography. Does hard partying play into the Fiend Recordings lifestyle? Julien Donkey-Boy was quite a good film -- Ewen Bremner is good in the role (he's also great in the film NAKED and in TRAINSPOTTING, although, personally I don't think TRAINSPOTTING is such a good film). Lovely to see
Werner Herzog in 'Julien...' too -- he's quite funny! Yeah , I also took samples from JESUS' SON which is pretty good and from an old (1970s) British children's show called RAINBOW. Not much hard partying in my life these I say I used to take
psychedelics quite often & drank quite a lot (always maintained respect for psychedelics & approached them in that way -- a space to go into to learn stuff/see things in different ways -- not really just into getting off my face for the sake of it -- that I would do more with booze..) -- what I think of as the Smell & Quim era (!) was probably the most intense period of partying for me -- used to be part of their extended gang of freaks! Lots of gatherings & alcoholic excess there... Generally, though, I've never been a very social person....and these days I'm in a very special relationship (with Candi Nook) -- been together for quite a few years -- travelling together, both making music, both really involved with Fiend right now & with serious thoughts about starting a family in the next couple of years -- don't have time for partying!

Do you ever play live? Do a weekly DJ night? What's it like in your town -- do you go to Manchester and Leeds a lot to play and hear music or do you just ignore it and stay home? I've played live with Smell & Quim quite a few times -- that was always good fun! And once, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I played alongside Prick Decay, Neil Campbell, Stewart Walden,
Sticky Foster & Richard Youngs -- I was only just getting to know some people on the NOISE scene at that point (having done it myself for years in isolation previously) -- that was quite exciting & Expose Your Eyes I only played once & it was pretty terrible -- there were lots of 'technical difficulties' and the whole thing was a bit of a fuck up....the last time I performed live was as part of the Candi Nook set for the Extreme Music From Women launch event in London. I enjoyed it , but performing live isn't really my thing -- I wouldn't say I'll never do it again but wouldn't be too bothered if I never did. Oh, I also did a duet with Rob Hayler of Fencing Flatworm Recordings at a Termite Club event in Leeds (we were doing duelling grooveboxes)... I used to go to Leeds events quite often -- not so much these days -- it's good that there are loads of people doing stuff in and around Leeds.

How many releases have you put out? Does the label bring in money? 52 cassette releases, 69 cdr releases so far, couple of lathe cut LPs...No, it's very much a labour of love! Generally we do each item to order (can't afford the risk of getting a certain amount done in advance & probably not being able to sell 'em!) -- on our PC or cassette deck -- do all the covers as well...we just cover the costs of the raw materials, postage etc. -- whatever might be left goes to pay the electricity bill! Maybe the odd drink for our efforts! Considering the amount of work we've both been putting into it recently (with setting up the website & a huge backlog of releases) we must be fucking crazy! But we have definite plans to slow down
and try to maintain it as the enjoyable hobby it SHOULD be rather than the daily grind it's turned into this last few months!

Future plans? Words of wisdom? Mission statement? A few of your favorite things? In closing? SLOW down. Learn to say NO to people who want to release something on Fiend. Learn to stop ASKING people if they want to release something on Fiend or do some kind of collaboration with me!! I won't go into words of wisdom, mission statement or fave things this time...I think I've said enough.


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