Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #155

                  Chalkhills, Number 155

                    Friday, 3 May 1991
Today's Topics:
                   Re: Chalkhills #153
                       take on 154
           criticism, bitter wine of; avoidance
        Lyrics by Ernest Noyes Brookings, volume 2
                     Mattacks speaks
              Synchronicity (Chalkhills 154)
       More on _Skylarking_, chalkhills #153 & #154

Date: Thu, 2 May 91 11:27:40 PDT
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #153
Organisation: Chalkhills Anonymous

>Side note:  At the risk of overanalysing, has anyone thought of what
>"English Settlement" refers to?

Here's a quote from "XTC: A Conversation with Andy Partridge", by
Moira McCormick:

      Partridge says _English Settlement_ reflects XTC's
    growth, especially in light of several years of touring
    under their collective belt.  "We were very aware of
    England in general, and English things," he says of
    writing the album.  Up to that point, "we'd been touring
    so much that coming home was like visiting a foreign
    country.  But we knew we belonged there, and I think we
    suddenly became aware of lots of things that were going

      "I think it's our most English record.  That's why it
    has that title, you see.  It's kind of an ambiguous title.
    [In fact], the British cover is an embossed prehistoric
    hill carving of a horse -- literally a kind of Iron Age
    advertisement for an English settlement that was on top of
    the hill when the first settlers came to England.  And
    it's _us_ living here, settling here, and also the
    settling of viewpoints, when two people have a
    disagreement or a different view and they get something


From: Dances With Voles <>
Subject: take on 154
Date: Thu, 2 May 91 12:42:28 PDT

Andre de Koning:
>I guess Andy's problem is in the dynamics department: the album before
>_Skylarking_ (_The Big Express_) sounds "extrovert" and _Skylarking_ sounds
>"modest". It reminds me of Thomas Dolby's productions for Prefab Sprout (but
>that's a band that wants to sound like that).

Tangent time.  Are you saying Dolby's production for Prefab Sprout is
MODEST?  Their latest album is practically drowning in production, but
I like it that way...


>Also, Jon pointed out that Life Begins At The Hop is an A side.  I was under
>the impression that if it wasn't on the original lp that it was a B-side?  I
>don't own many of the original 7"'s or 12"'s so I'm not sure about this.

The reason it wasn't on the original LP is because it was a single.
Remember the Beatles?  They often used to put out singles that didn't
show up on the subsequent LPs...

>The quailty (and esp. quantity) of b-sides seems to be a bit down.  The World
>Is Full Of Angry Young Men is OK.  However, those tracks labeled as "home
>demos" are very good (I'm not about to try a musical analysis).  My Paint
>Heroes and Living In A Haunted Heart are both on par with any previous XTC

There really AREN'T any Oranges And Lemons b-sides, per se.  "Angry
Young Men" comes from the Mummer sessions, at least originally.

Elizabeth Stephens Gain <>

>	With the recent talk of demos and b-sides, there was no mention
>of "Living in a Haunted Heart."  When was it recorded?  From what album
>era?  What do you think of it?

It was recorded for Oranges And Lemons.  I like it bunches.


>I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but does anyone else
>think of the song "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her" when they
>see "The Little Mermaid"?  I have a roommate that is a Disney freak, and
>every time she plays the tape, and we get to the scene where the
>seagull and hermit crab are trying to get the prince to kiss Ariel,
>I can't help but hear the song.

Well, it happens to be a classic theme in life.  I don't know that I
would attach too much significance to it.  It's just one of those
situations that everybody finds themselves in eventually.

>(I also hear "Mermaid Smiles" when I think of "The Little Mermaid," but I
>think that's just my brain in hyper-association mode.  Anybody else
>have this problem?)

Lots of problems with my brain.  Hyper-association is just one of

Yuji `RUSHER' Chikahiro <>

>  No  matter  when I hear "This World Over", I cannot help associating
>  its last chorus with Sting. Drum's pattern, chorus voicing, effected
>  chorus  voices  themselves  of the song are similar to some tunes by
>  The  Police.   I supposed the producer(s) of `Big Express' caused me
>  to  be  confounded.  But I don't know of David Lord's works.
>  I would like to hear your comments.

David Lord has not worked with the Police.  I personally dislike This
World Over precisely because it reminds me of Sting.  Good song,

jon drukman              always note the sequencer:
sco docland wage slave      uunet!sco!jondr     this will never let us down


Subject: criticism, bitter wine of; avoidance
Date: Thu, 02 May 91 13:48:00 PDT

Ooooooooo, y'all are so hard on [production techniques][the band][each
other].  If you're ever bothered by such harsh words, you might try any or
all of the following:  buy black disks; eschew cd players; dub recordings
repeatedly; listen to XTC only on your $30.00 plus installation car tape deck
at an extremely loud volume while on the freeway; drive 70+ mph with the
windows open.

Other suggested avoidance techniques welcomed.


Date: 01 Apr 91 12:42:15 EST
From: <>
Subject: Lyrics by Ernest Noyes Brookings, volume 2

	A bit of news for everyone (unless you've already heard): According
to ICE (the International CD Exchange), a various-artists CD called "Lyrics
by Ernest Noyes Brookings, volume 2" is due for release on May 21. ICE notes
that XTC contributed a track. I don't know what it is yet, but I'm looking
forward to it none-the-less.

	-- Owen


Date: Fri, 3 May 91 15:12:03 PDT
From: (Kevin Carhart)
Subject: sizzling!

Wow, Chalkhills is really sizzling and packed lately!  Maybe we're all
getting primed for a new album, and excited..
Legitimacy for this message:  (like I really need to do so,)
The UCSB library has no Alan Sillitoe book "Travels in Nihilon"...
but I'm sure anyone who finds it will rant and rave..


Date: Fri, 3 May 91 19:52:32 EDT
From: (Skinny Puppy)
Subject: Mattacks speaks

I had an opportunity to chat with Dave Mattacks last night at a local
pub after his band, Fairport Convention, had just played there.

Me:	So, is it true that you're the drum machine _du jour_ for XTC
	these days?

Dave:	Yeah, I'm playing live drums on their upcoming album.

Me:	How much work has progressed on it so far?

Dave:	We did two weeks of rehearsals, and recording will start when
	I get back to England.

Me:	Which should be in...?

Dave:	I'd say about mid-May or so.

Me:	What are the songs like, the ones that you've rehearsed?

Dave:	There's about 20 songs, all new. I can't remember them offhand.
	I mean, I can remember the songs, just not the names!


Joe Turner
"I'm definately feeling some odd effects."


From: Jon Allen <>
Subject: Synchronicity (Chalkhills 154)
Date: Fri, 3 May 91 13:47:50 EDT

Yow! My first contribution! Hang on, maybe I'll say something worthwhile...
In #154, Rusher talks about "This World Over" and how it reminds him of the
Police. I would guess a lot of other folks have noticed some commonality in
general between the two bands. Yesterday I came across a very near collision
(intersection?) of their different directions: I started humming 'Making Plans
for Nigel' in my head after reading #153, and after it rolled around up there
for awhile, the song turned into another one, and after a few minutes I
realized it was 'De Do Do Do De Da Da Da' (ever notice how silly you feel when
you have to say the name of that song?). Anyway, the verse of each song uses
an identical chord progression and a similar rhythm/feel. Maybe this weekend
I'll play them at the same time and let you know if anything mystical happens.

Jon Allen                                            
SAS Institute, Inc.                              or: ...!uunet!!jon


Date: Fri, 3 May 91 12:16:00 -0400
From: Larry W. Seals <>
Subject: More on _Skylarking_, chalkhills #153 & #154

More _Skylarking_ discussion:

In chalkhills #153 Joe Turner says:

> As for the quality on Skylarking.    UGH.   Thin sound, harsh
> production quality...
> Over-equalisation, over-compression, tinny and just not full at all..

Well while that's a good summation of Todd's usual production values
for most of his work, I think (and let's all remember that all of this
discussion is somewhat subjective ;-)  ) that maybe AP had a thing or
two to say about the recording.  I don't really think that they could
sit back and let Todd run completely amok - it _was_ their session
after all.  Anyway, I continue to find _Skylarking_ very listenable and
not harsh at all (and after two decades of playing amplified music, my
poor ears let me know when they don't like something - the Who syndrome)

Also in #153, there are John Relph's comments on Todd's studio.  I've
seen some photos of this place... I wouldn't want to try to make music
there (and I've performed and recorded in some off-the-wall places :-) ).

BTW, how (or more importantly, why) did the band get involved with
Todd?  I can't believe that AP and the rest were that enamored of
Todd's production abilities.  Did the record company push them into it
("Boys, we need a hit! I got just the guy in mind to give it to ya!")?

In #154, Jon Drukman and I continue our dialog on the evidences of
Todd's hand on _Skylarking_  :-)  :-)   :

> Well, I hate to be argumentative (HE'S LYING) but, piano, guitar, bass
> and drums is not exactly a Rundgren innovation - it's kind of a
> classic rock thing.  Again, I don't want to start a fight, but I think
> Earn Enough For Us is a fairly generic sounding rock tune (not that
> that's a bad thing at all) , at least in comparison to the more overtly
> Rundgren-esque pieces on that album.

I didn't mean to imply that the instrument lineup was any sort of
innovation on Todd's part.  What I'm getting at was the overall sound
and feel of that particular cut and how it harked back to Todd's roots
For example, one review I read on _Skylarking_ gushed about the
Beatle-esque sounds which echos comments I've read on some of Todd's
pre-Utopia work.  And the drums on "Earn Enough for Us" sound like
Todd's "Bang the Drum All Day" or "Hammer in my Heart" - flat snare
sound in your face with almost no kick bass.  But again, this is all
subjective opinion.  We can dispense with this business and get to the
larger question at hand:

When can we expect the new album?  Any clues anybody (John)?

Larry Seals @ Trailing Edge Software - "When it doesn't have to be
                                          the very best!"
"I didn't sell my soul, I just took out a loan..." - Bruce Hornsby


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