Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #131

                  Chalkhills, Number 131

                 Sunday, 10 February 1991
Today's Topics:
                      beer and such
             XTC Producers and their "sound"
                   Re: Chalkhills #130
                   Re: Chalkhills #130
                 Chalkhills Survey Lyrics

Date: Fri, 8 Feb 91 19:08:18 PST
From: (Kevin Carhart)
Subject: beer and such

>>what about the place of hallucination?
>they are probably dry enough now, except for beer

He's got his BEER...flask of wine on my feather bedding...alcohol is an
easy key...we will drink and prepare for marriage...don't need a big
reduction in the price of beer...he's a drinker not a thinker...the bar is
crowded and bright...   any more?

and for that matter:
"Melt the guns"...all of a sudden, it's too late!

I bought the videotape "Studiosongs 1-11" tonight.  Well worth it!
The older ones are quite strange..does Andy ever drum, say on "This
is Pop"?  I am confused as to who is who, though I was under the
impression that they were easy to figure out.  Dave Gregory looks a bit
like A. Whitney Brown.  It was fun to see the stage setup, complete
with White Horse, for "Senses Working Overtime."  The visual style of
"All of a Sudden" was quite interesting.

There's a message title in the archives: "songs about comic characters"..
but he only mentions Sgt. Rock.  The others as far as I can tell, are
"That's Really Super Supergirl","Braniac's Daughter"(DoS)," and in
"Melt the Guns".... "i'm calling to the Justice League of America.."

Just to put all the little items I can think of in one message, someone
a while ago was comparing Skylarking to Shriekback's Big Night Music.
Is there a correlation?  Would I like BNM for the reasons I like Skylarking?


Date: Sat, 9 Feb 91 12:02:28 -0500
From: (Geoffrey Poole)
Subject: XTC Producers and their "sound"

	I too am heartened to hear about the return of Steve Lillywhite and
Hugh Padgham.  Strictly from a production standpoint, I think O&L is one of
the weakest albums in the XTC catalog.  This belief is only reinforced when
I listen to the fabulous Acoustic Radio Tour tape.  Without exception I
prefer the acoustic versions of the O&L tunes.  In fact, I think that that
would be a great way to do the new album.  Have all the tunes be live in
the studio, with a fake interview tying the whole thing together.  That
would allow the lads to be themselves, which I think could be one of the
best parts of the album.

	Also, I've gotta jump in here and defend Todd Rundgren.  All of Andy's
sniping aside, he's the best producer XTC ever had (although Hugh Padgham
is a closeish second for _English Settlement_).  I think the Lillywhite
albums are good because he had the good sense to just leave them alone.
However, Todd had a coherent vision of what the band should be, and used the
production of the album to further that vision.  As he said in a Tower Records
_Pulse!_ article about sequencing, he though that the band needed to alter the
quasi-confrontational approach of _Big Express_ and instead "seduce" the
listener.  And that's exactly what he did.  Paul Fox, by contrast, seemed to
want production for production's sake, and the result was an awful sounding
album full of good tunes (mostly).

	Also, although this isn't quite the right forum, I must take exception
to the unkind remark about the Beach Boys.  It is objectively true that Brian
Wilson is a genius.  Tunes from the _Smile_ album like "Heroes and Villains,"
"Surf's Up," and "Cabinessence" just completely blow XTC away.  Now that's not
to say that XTC are bad or anything.  I think that their stuff consistently
ranks a 9-9.75 on a scale of 1 to 10.  It's just that Brian is off the scale.

Geoff Poole  or  poole1@husc9.bitnet
All flames cheerfully accepted


Date:         Sat, 09 Feb 91 15:43:52 EST
From: Jfoote <>
Subject:      Re: Chalkhills #130

>I made a discovery a few months ago that doesn't strictly apply to XTC,
>but to all recorded music.  Listen to it with headphones, and pull the
>plug out partway, and it should turn into a very interesting sound...

what your'e hearing is probably the difference between the left and right
channels -- if you hit the "mono" switch on your stereo and the sound goes
away, that's what it is. Brian Eno i think was the first to experiment with
this; on the back of his "Discreet Music" LP he describes how to hook a third
speaker up between the two + terminals of a stereo amplifier to play the
difference signal seperately. It is possible, in the studio, to put a signal
out of phase in both channels so that you would only really hear it though a
setup like the above (or if your speakers are miswired -- test records have
out-of-phase tones to check for this). Back to XTC: This might be a good place
to look for subliminal stuff, though you'd probably have to be a bigger fanatic
than most to listen to the difference signal of your entire discography (:-).


Date: Sat, 9 Feb 91 20:09:18 PST
From: (Kevin Carhart)
Subject: "antheap"

A while ago, someone put up an excerpt from a book which highly
resembled the text of "Human Alchemy," talking about the slave trade and
how it destroyed souls..

And in the spirit of that, "antheap" may be a term for a bustling city
>from more classic sources than this, but:

"Not cities in the old sense of grouped buildings occupied by families,
but swarming antheaps collapsing into ruin beneath the sledgehammer blows
of riot, armed robbery and pure directionless vandalism."

                                              From "Stand on Zanzibar"
                                                by John Brunner
But we always knew that Andy et al were literate and somewhat historical..
not too common even in the best rock bands.


Date: Sun, 10 Feb 1991 15:42:35 PST
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #130

Kevin Carhart <> says:

>I just reached #86 in my Chalkhills back-issue reading, with its
>mention of XTC Cassette Magazine, from March of last year.  That's
>tremendously exciting!  I haven't heard anyone mention it from
>#123 on... did one come out?  Are they annual?

The XTC Cassette Magazine was delayed for an undetermined period of
time because of the amount of effort Paul Wilde had to put into
organizing the XTC Music and Friends Convention '90.  The last I heard
was that Paul did not think he would be doing a '91 Convention so that
he could put more effort into the Cassette Magazine.  However, I have
not heard any more on that subject.  I await further news.

                                . . .

On the subject of producers, I thought that Dennis Herring, who has
worked with Camper Van Beethoven and Timbuk 3, would make a good one.
I really liked the overall sound of CVB's _Our Beloved Revolutionary
Sweetheart_ LP, especially the drums.  Or perhaps The Monks of Doom
and Jonathon Segel should do the producing.  Too bad Snakefinger
(Philip Lithman) bit the dust.  He did some wild stuff on his _Manual
of Errors_ LP.  Or perhaps Bill Krauss, producer of They Might Be
Giants' first two LPs, should do it.  Or perhaps Anton Sanko and
Suzanne Vega, self-proclaimed XTC fans, should give them direction.
I like the sparseness of Vega's _Days of open hand_ LP.  Sparse, but
rich and crisp.

        -- John


Date: Sun, 10 Feb 1991 15:43:22 PST
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: Chalkhills Survey Lyrics

Hello Fellow Chalkhillians!

Here are your favourite lyrical phrases from XTC, as collected during
the Second Chalkhills Survey.

For the second year in a row, the number one favourite phrase comes
>from the song "Snowman", from the _English Settlement_ LP:

    People will always be tempted to wipe their feet
    On anything with 'welcome' written on it

Five phrases tied for second place:

    And I don't know how many pounds make up a ton
    of all the Nobel Prizes that I've never won
    ("The Mayor of Simpleton")

    Life's like a jigsaw
    You get the straight bits
    But there's something missing in the middle
    ("All Of A Sudden (It's Too Late)")

    I would have made this instrumental but the words got in the way.
    ("No Language in Our Lungs")

    When you're near me I have difficulty standing upright
    When you're near me I have difficulty sleeping at night
    ("When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty")

    Senses working overtime
    ("Senses Working Overtime")

Many other songs got multiple votes but for different phrases:

    But nobody can say what they really mean to say and
    The impotency of speech came up and hit me that day and
    I would have made this an instrumental but the words got in the way
    ("No Language In Our Lungs")

    When you're near me I have difficulty respirating.
    When you're near me I have difficulty concentrating.
    When you're near me I have difficulty standing up right.
    When you're near me I have difficulty sleeping at night.
    ("When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty")

    She treats me far too frosty
    This hanging on has cost me years

    Can't have been there when brains were handed round ...
    . . .
    Never been near a university
    Never took a paper or a learned degree
    And some of your friends think that's stupid of me
    But it's nothing that I care about
    . . .
    When their logic grows cold and all thinking gets done,
    You'll be warm in the arms of the Mayor of Simpleton
    ("The Mayor of Simpleton")

    (A striking beauty)
    . . .
    And I've got one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    ("Senses Working Overtime")

    Just don't hurt nobody, less of course they ask you
    . . .
    Some can't stand the beauty, so they cut off one ear
    . . .
    (The lights, the lights, the lights, the lights!!!)
    ("Garden of Earthly Delights")

    From pools of xylophone clear
    . . .
    I was lucky to remain beguiled
    Grown to child since mermaid smiled
    ("Mermaid Smiled")

    Will you smile like any mother
    As you bathe your brand new twins?
    Will you sing about the missiles
    As you dry odd numbered limbs?
    . . .
    Ah well, that's this world over...
    Ah well, next one begins...
    ("This World Over")

    And just when I thought my vistas were golden in hue
    One thousand umbrellas opened to spoil the view
    . . .
    How can you smile and forecast weather's getting better,
    If you never let a girl rain all over you
    ("1000 Umbrellas")

Another twenty or so songs got single votes.  If you are interested in
seeing the list of songs that received one vote each, please send a
request to chalkhills-request.


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