Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-153

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 153

                   Tuesday, 6 June 2000


                     Love Murderers!
                        151 proof
                       molly oh my
                   I'll love you for it
           Quotes from Andy Partridge (of XTC)
  Andy is not Sting, and vice versa, and I can prove it!
                    Molly Up On Poppy
            Kids dig XTC...& wOUNDED HORSE...
                   Oopsy and a reminder
              Wasp Star review in The Onion
               XTC on Music Choice/DirecTV
                  It's A Fair Cop, Guv!
                      look look,help
                 That thing called Irony
                 miscellaneous ponderings
             The cold box in warm vinyl pants


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Never heard her singing / now she's gently ringing.


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 13:04:59 -0500
From: "JH3" <>
Subject: Love Murderers!
Message-ID: <00d101bfcf18$90594f00$>

A while back Harrison S. challenged us all to guess the
"musical allusion" in ITMWML's arabesque guitar lead.

At first I assumed that it wasn't an allusion to another band at
all, but a foreshadowing of the "throw me in a dungeon" lyric.
Here in the West, in addition to using makeup veils, we have
a generalized cultural assumption that Middle Eastern countries
all have cruel & barbaric prison systems. So if you're trying to
provide a musical coda that suggests a dungeon, you probably
want something with an arabesque flavor to it. (Of course,
several Middle Eastern countries really *do* have barbaric
prison systems, but that's probably beside the point.)

But if it *has* to be an allusion to some old sixties band,
then I'll go out on a limb and say it's probably Love - as in
Arthur Lee and co. Ol' Arthur was quite fond of that sort of
thing. If you have "Forever Changes" you can sort of hear
what I'm referring to on a song called, interestingly enough,
"Live and Let Live." (If you have other Love albums, well,
you're a bigger fan of Love than me!)

Maybe Andy was talking with someone about bands that
inspired various Dukes of Stratosphear tunes, and in the
course of admitting that one of the songs was an homage
to Love, said, "yeah, we really murdered Love on that one,"
or something to that effect. Followed by, "Hey, what a great
song title!"

I'm probably about as wrong as anyone can possibly be,
but you never really know, do you? Sometimes guessing
is more fun than knowing.

Which reminds me: Why does hearing demo versions of
AV1 and WS songs in advance have to "ruin" the listening
experience once you have the finished albums? I heard the
demos, and I love(d) them. I'm listening to Wasp Star now,
and I love that too. All you folks who are having problems
with this should just listen to the album a few more times.
Keep listening until the problem goes away...

John Hedges


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 15:14:02 -0400
From: "Lippitt, Andy" <>
Subject: Video?
Message-ID: <B56537D6381AD411AEF600D0B73EB5AF14661E@SHREIK>

Haven't posted in years (hello again, all) but I wished to comment on a post
by one Travis Schulz:

>Granted MTV might only
>play an XTC video once, but couldn't TVT sell it on
>cassette to us fans?  Wouldn't they make jack n
>jillion bucks doing this? Dear God never got played a
>lot,  but today it's a cult classic.

The way I remember it, Travis, is that they played the heck out of the DG
video, and it was even nominated for Video of the Year or some such.
However, this was back when MTV played music videos and not dating game
shows and "in depth" interviews with the likes of Brittany and the

VH-1? Maybe.  I think they do program an occasional video.  Certainly M2
would play it (for those with satellite dishes only, I think).  Much Music
would certainly be on board, too, but that's a pretty limited audience.

Problem is-  Andy has never, by all accounts, enjoyed the videomaking
experience.  Couple that with the enormous expense and I'm guessing that we
will never see a WS vid.

As far as TVT making a profit on video sales, I don't think that would be
likely.  How many would they have to sell to offset production costs?  I'm
guessing that it would be a substantially higher number than the few
thousand us Chalkers would ever buy.

So not enough people would buy it and almost nobody would broadcast it.
Wish it weren't so, but it looks kinda grim for a video, Travis.

 -Another Guy Named Andy


Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 15:18:07 -0400
From: "Todd Bernhardt" <>
Subject: 151 proof
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Enterworks, Inc.


Marty Rappard pointed us to the Colin interview at:

Thanks Marty, great stuff. I especially liked Colin's explanation of
continuity and how it affects song order, and his examination of lyrics,
music, and his approach to songwriting. FWIW, the bit at the end --
under the heading "Meanwhile, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding talk
about the making of 'Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)'..." -- is the TVT
press release that went out with the promo CDs.

Enter (Joe) Easter, and he wrote a great post...

> Wasp Star's contrast to AV 1 is like a thumbs up for me. AV 1 can be a
> terrifying album, but WS says everything is alright. It is a sweet respite.
> It is diificult for me to say anything negative about it because it offers
> such happiness and positive energy.

Great point, and nice writin' thar, pardner. (Well, you *do* live in
Montana now, right?)

James Reimer pointed out:
> About "Standing In For Joe":  every time I hear this
> song I can't help but think that it's the prequel to
> Hendrix's "Hey Joe".

Hah! Another good point. And another FWIW: "Hey Joe" was written by
Billy Roberts and first recorded by The Leaves.

>From Rory Wilsher:
> My advice to Andy and Colin:
> Write some more songs. Record them in a studio or a
> shed. Make them available to the public via circular,
> shiny plastic/metallic thingies called "CDs". Do this
> in your own sweet time. Chances are, we'll like them.

Now *that's* good advice!

>From Our Mitch:
> Axis Mundi - "Axle of the World". Ancient cosmologies pictured the
> earth as a globe spinning on a shaft with the ends fastened at the
> celestial poles.  The axis mundi penetrated the earth at its center,
> hence it was usually associated with the cosmic lingam or male
> principle. Each nation placed this hub at the center of its own
> territory.

I'd like to point out that Cosmic Lingam would be an excellent name for
a band.
But you knew that.

-Todd "Isn't 'male principle' an oxymoron?" Bernhardt


Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 10:58:25 -0800
From: Patrick M Adamek <>
Subject: molly oh my
Message-ID: <>

>From Chalk #151:

I can't believe I'm reading this crap.  Wes, if you
have something personal against Mark take it off
e-mail okay.  I highly doubt Mark would just have a
site to get women.  Then why does he have all of XTC's
stuff if he doesn't like them, huh?  Maybe you're the
one who hates XTC.  Why don't you leave poor Mark


Is it possible that Molly bit that hard to this bit of sarcasm?  I hope
not for her sake.  Thanks Wes for your sense of humor, and the great
story about your daughter in the same (!) issue of Chalkhills.

Re: the new album.  I decided to rework the running order for the two
Apple Venus album (mixing and matching the two) and found several
1) I have no right to re-work the running order of the tracks
2) You and the Clouds and Harvest Festival are masterpieces
3) that crap I said before about being "dissapointed in AV1" (in regards
to how I felt that Wasp Star is the album I've been waiting for since
Skylarking) is a piece of crap.  AV1 is the most complete offering from
a Pop Rock -n- Roll band that I have heard in many years.  Better said
is that the AV duo are the albums that I'd been waiting for.

   The following is my older brother's response to getting Wasp Star.
He is largely responsible for my being a fan of XTC's as he owned every
album of theirs when I was young:

"Maypole" itself is worth the price of the CD including shipping and
handling.  it's like the best of English Settlement all balled into one
(or is it three?) song(s).  wonderful arrangement, change of key, and
the bass work at the end is on level with that of any famed jazzman.
just to listen to Colin thump away at that walking bass part in the
final section is enough to make my pants drop to the floor in ecstasy.

tracks 2,3 and 4 are sort of negligible, though, to my ears.  songs I'd
heard before : brown guitar (never
liked it, still don't: the lyrics seem weak to me); you and the
clouds... (still a bright spot, a real pleasure to listen to, and
successsfully altered and developed for the album); and church of women
(wonderful all-around except perhaps in the detail of Andy's
less-than-inspiring guitar solo.... we miss you Dave!).

about the lattermost, you've got to love the puns on
Christianity/Eroticism that weave throughout that hymn
to feminine greatness.  they're all subtle enough to be perfectly
tasteful and, should I say, pious!

"Standing in for Joe" is a pleasant surprise as far as subject matter,
coming from the demeure Colin.  Could
there be a more Revolver-esque song?  I esp. love the accompanying
guitar work during the line "softly,
softly, in the night..."  those few, discreetly plucked strings to
arpeggiate the vocal line... it gives me shivers of delight and makes me
fingers ache for an electric guitar of me own, bloody right does.

"we're all light" is ambitious and fun.

something a little bothersome... the sound of the guitar in tracks,
1,2,3 and in "we're all light".  Cf., if you will, the clean demo sound
to "I'm the man" with the bratted-up version we get on the album.  I
don't much like that ratty, raunchy, college-rock guitar sound that Andy
hasn't seem to use much of since he was last the sole guitarist (Go 2, I
believe).  I think he's playing a Les Paul.  I much prefer the bright
Rickenbacker sounds we get in, say,
"Maypole," esp. in the last section.  That's why the connection between
that song and English Settlement
comes to mind, I think.

much enjoyed the Colin demo "didn't hurt a bit".  It wouldn't have hurt
a bit to include it on the album,
eh?  it has an intimacy that we no longer get out of the increasingly
declamatory Partridge. (He's been on
his mount screaming for years now!)  Long gone are the seductively soft
and sullen days of "Ladybird" for
this self-realizing monster of modern pop!                      more
later, time to feast me ears once more

Well that was the end of his review, and the end of this post.  Good
Day  Patrick


Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 10:23:50 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: I'll love you for it
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper


"Which tune is your kid's favorite ?"

I decided to approach this scientifically. Well, not really.

I filled my van with 6 kids that ranged in ages from 4 to 10 and went
for a half hour drive to a birthday celebration. On the way I
subjected my unwitting guinea pigs to a loud dose of Wasp Star. I
skipped around a little when I felt like it.  The "winner" by far was
Stupidly Happy. These kids sang and clapped along with it on their
first hearing. Later, on the way home, when i played it again, they
reacted the same way. My faves, like Playground and Church of Women,
didn't do much for them. They liked We're All Light pretty well, but
not as well as I expected. I had been thinking "here we go, you little
gremlins, it's got a hip hop beat for chrissakes", but it left them
pretty cold. Except for one lad, my younger son (If Vee Tube is going
to call me "Notso", then I can call this particular son "Oso" to make
up for it), who spent hours afterwards going up to people's faces and
singing "don't you KNOW jack and jillion years ago" over and
over. Just that fragment. It was his birthday, so he could get away
with it.

They also liked I'm The Man Who Murdered Love, though I'm quite sure
they didn't get any of the lyrics. They "got" the hook, which is the
word "I'm" dragged out over a measure or more, repeated at all the
right places. They loved that.  Probably they thought the song was
called "Ah". And speaking of that bit, dies it remind anyone else of
the Beatles' recording of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love"?

And while I'm off on that tangent, the wonderful playground riff (I'm
still struggling to understand how anyone who reads these digests
cannot be totally impressed with this album) is like a modern equal to
the riff from Ticket To Ride. Both are in the key of A, even. But the
Beatles never had drums like THAT on a song's intro. They wish.

And to all of you twiddling and moaning over how great The Wheel and
the Maypole is in infinite detail, I say "YES YES YES! you are all
light, er, right.". What a song. What an album.

I'm to the point now where I really like all the songs on Wasp Star
(after about 40-50 listens), and don't skip any. Wounded Horse is
still my least favorite, but it's OK. It's like a Clash song. In fact,
if it were on London Calling, I'd probably love it, and say "Listen to
that! Those punks came up with those sophisticated chords and that
funny delivery." Instead, on an XTC album, it's a bit of a downer,
especially if you play the dreaded demo game, and know what could have
gone there instead. For me, Wasp Star has a shape like a W. It starts
and ends on a peak. There's another high in the middle, with a couple
of slightly saggy spots on either side of it.

OK, enough mister nice guy. Sarcasm alert. red lights flashing.

>It seems to me that this newsletter could better serve us....

 Are we not serving you?

>(other than rehash
>the same tired critiques or thoughts on what would make the best single.

Oops I did it again (How could she NOT get more stars than Wasp Star
from Rolling Stone with a *clever* title like that?). Here and I
thought that's one of the things this digest was for. Is it the
critiques that are tired, or....?

>Everyone remembers 120 minutes and the Dear God single.


>It was April 4, 1999, when Easter struck.

Ha ha ha ha!

Look, this is a diverse place. Ya get all sort 'o stuff here. That's
why I like it.


        [ It was a joke.  I got it.  So should you be too.  -- John ]

Yes, it was a joke, but not nearly as funny as Molly's reply. Now
*that* was funny! The one telling us what to do with our demos was
funny, but this one was on a new level.

Jim "still chuckling" Smart


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 15:51:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Radios In Motion <>
Subject: Quotes from Andy Partridge (of XTC)
Message-ID: <381266773.960234676738.JavaMail.root@web191-iw>

I took this and edited it from a chat at B&N.  Its mostly just qoutes from
the chat that I found interesting.  I am posting it here because I have seen
a lot of these questions circulating the list. By the way, as for what song
my kid likes, she (9 months old) loves the whole album but she dances the
most on Stupidly Happy.

Andy on the demo's:

AP: "As for the backlog of songs, I don't think we're going to record any of
the material that didn't make either of these two volumes. We may release it
in a demo form in future, in the form that it was recorded, but we want to
move on to new pastures."

Andy on Stupidly Happy:

AP: "Stupidly Happy will be put forward as a radio single, so I'll just bide
my time."

Andy on videos:

AP: "We started a video for "Green Man," and it was made by an ads director
who had never made a pop video before. I thought this would give the imagery
a different edge, a different sensibility, but it was really crap, and we
had to pull the plug on it. It was never finished. So there is a
half-completed "Green Man" video in the vault, and there's no video for
anything on WASP STAR as of yet. I think videos always look better if you
shut your eyes, in any case."

Andy on his studio and Dave:

AP: "Hmmm. We're enjoying being senile delinquents. Our own studio helps. No
Dave Gregory saying "you can't do that" helped. Nick Davis and his up energy
helped. And I think that we just felt great to be recording again, after the
long legal layoff."

This one I included the question:

Geo Dee from Falls Church, VA: I thought your guitar work was very effective
in WASP STAR. How does Dave Gregory feel about how the album came out?

AP: "I don't know. He's never spoken to me since the day he left the band. I
guess I'm the Great Satan."

Andy on the Virgin box set:

AP: "We hope to record as regularly as we can. You have to be regular. To
get out of our contract, we had to agree to a box set, but at the moment I
have no idea what that will be comprised of. The only thing left at the
bottom of the Virgin barrel is splinters."

Andy on making money:

AP: "Basically, our record deals are much better by subleasing "Idea"
records to everyone else, which means instead of a pitiful crumb of cake, we
now get a sensible slice. Everyone should start their own record label and
sign themselves to it immediately."

Andy on creative juices:

AP: "I don't actually know what gets the creativity flowing. You can't buy
inspiration by the glass, unfortunately. What you have to do, I find, is
tune your head to blank and let your subconscious run riot. If the conscious
is in control, it's like a newspaper office full of editors. No story's
going to be allowed through the frontal lobes. You have to drift off and do
nothing. Drugs and drink are anti-creative."

Andy on life at home:

AP: "Exceedingly mundane. Today I mowed the lawn, copied some DATs in my
home studio, strummed the acoustic guitar a bit, went and got some
groceries, had a curry, and spoke to Terry Chambers, our original drummer,
by phone. (He's in England due to the death of his father.) So I don't lead
an art life, that's all."

Andy on Homespun II:

AP: "We weren't going to do HOMESPUN II, but the Japanese label I think has
convinced us to do it. Hopefully, there will be enough positive reaction to
these demos."

Andy on Fuzzy Warbles:

AP: "If we can negotiate with Virgin -- or bamboozle them enough -- we
intend to put out all of our home demos of recorded songs or unrecorded
songs in a series called FUZZY WARBLES. So "Ship Trapped in the Ice" may
well surface on one volume of the latter."

--So its not going to be a box set?--

Andy on Song Stories:

AP: "I was a little disappointed by SONG STORIES. Of all the interview
material that we did, logistically Neville Farmer could only include a
fraction of what we said. He seemed to go for the more banal, sweary quotes.
I think at least 75% of the book is Neville's own personality. So there are
much better books waiting to be written, but I think Neville did a pretty
good job."

Andy on Wheel and the Maypool.

AP: "They're two songs sewn together at the hip. (Or the un-hip, if you're
XTC.) The first half was originally a song called "If The Pop Won't Hold Our
Love" and was a loose bouquet of sexual innuendo, with a rustic slant. The
second song was originally called "Everything Decays" and was about the
cycle of birth, death, and renewal through the fertilization of decay. Decay
is very necessary to new life. I couldn't think of how to finish either song
up, so I tried smashing them together, and they fell in love with each other
quite easily. The end section, where the two songs lay over each other,
worked a treat."

Andy on being an entertainer:

AP: "I don't die when I get in front of audiences -- not in the comedic
sense, in any case -- but I still don't feel like I want to be a public
entertainer. I think to be a good public entertainer, you have to be an
actor. And you have to be good at lying with your emotions. I'm not a
convincing liar. So I'll leave the live gigs to those who...."

Andy on 90's recordings:

AP: "There was no material recorded between 1992 and 1997 because we were
legally held. So APPLE VENUS and WASP STAR were recorded over the last three
years. A busy old time. Actually, the last song I wrote was for a man who
makes beautiful guitars for us, and I wrote him a one-minute jingle for his
web site. If you want to hear the jingle, you have to go to"

I included the question on this one:

Arianna from West Covina, CA: Speaking of Terry Chambers, do you have any
intention of ever working with any of the old members of XTC again? Maybe
even Barry?

AP: Who was it that said, "Never go back"?

Andy on taking a break:

AP: "I don't know about the long, deserved nap -- Colin's a terrible snorer.
I think it will just be some more heads-down, no-nonsense, mindless, Godlike


Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2000 10:48:15 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: Andy is not Sting, and vice versa, and I can prove it!
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper

OK, looky here. When Sting sings 'mundi', he pronounces it "MOON-di",
as heard on the Synchronicity album, which I haven't heard in 15
years. I recall him singing "spiritus mundi" at one point. When Andy
sings it, he pronounces it "MUN-di", like the day of the
week. Undoubtedly there will be a Chalker who will know which
pronuciation is correct.



Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 16:48:44 EDT
Subject: Molly Up On Poppy
Message-ID: <>

Congratulations Molly, you've outdone yourself.

wes "I would, but it's just too easy" LONG


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 14:02:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kids dig XTC...& wOUNDED HORSE...
Message-ID: <>

Greetings and salutations...

A few things....

I was also watching the STARS vrs. DEVILS game but in
New Jersey...guess who I'm rooting for????  Swore I
heard XTC being played at REUNION Arena....wait.~..XTC
in TEXAS!!! and at a MAJOR event??? Damm!!! Pretty

Kids issue... being the father of 10 year old twin
girls I get to expose them to another world besides
BRITNEY & her Spheres...  They love XTC & alot of the
other music I'm into....thank god, no fight to ever
play the radio.!!
My kids simply adore AV1 ..they love every song but
get a big kick out of RIVER..they imagine the water
drops to be a mouse tiptoeing around in a castle..
Greenman is a big fave for them too...  They actually
asked for me to bring WASP STAR this weekend and made
me play it twice...  Now they are singing Y&The
Clouds! They also laugh at Andy's "turn to

WOUNDED HORSE...brilliant song...espescially for one
who has been mortally wounded in the heart and all of
your friends keep telling you to get over it!, Move
on! ect!  SEND THEM THESE LYRICS...maby then they will

Oh , at my parents this weekend I finally found a box
with some great 80's memories ..all of my
buttons/badges from the good old punk/new wave days!
located were at lease 5 XTC buttons.!!

I also have a mint imported copy of the NO THUGS IN
OUR HOUSE 45 ..came with a fold out sleve with cut out
paper puppets of the waspy headed wife & husband, a
judge, & a sleeping Graham ..according to SONG STORIES
, this is a coveted item...any one else have this???

Mark "now you can't stop me from posting' Elliott

Go Devils!



Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 14:06:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Molly Fanton <>
Subject: Oopsy and a reminder
Message-ID: <>

To wesLONG, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that thing
about Mark S. was a joke.  It didn't seem like a joke
when I read it, but John noted that it was.  It's just
hard sometimes online to tell whether a person's
telling a joke or not.  That's why smileys or *just
kidding* should be noted somewhere.
Okay, on to the reminder.  This Wednesday night there
will be a listening party for the album, Wasp Star.
For more info go to:


Molly's Pages:
My Tribute to Talk Talk & .O.Rang:


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 17:09:27 -0400
From: "Stig" <>
Subject: Wasp Star review in The Onion
Message-ID: <000d01bfcf32$567b5160$>

The Onion, ( the funniest site on the web imho, has this review
of WS in it's latest issue.  The reviewer seems to have missed the point in
a couple of places, but what the heck - he likes it!

    [ ]


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 17:40:04 -0400
From: "DuBray, Dan" <>
Subject: XTC on Music Choice/DirecTV
Message-ID: <>

Here's the link for the ongoing XTC feature on the digital music service
Music Choice.  It's an audio feature on DirecTV.  This link includes a
summary of WS:AV2, a discography and a link to the complete listing of times
when the service is transmitting a 30-minute special feature on the new


Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 00:57:13 +0200
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Subject: It's A Fair Cop, Guv!
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkers,

The inevitable Wes Long keeps pestering us:

> I just got off the phone with Mark Strijbos and he told me, and I
> quote: "XTC are the most abominable piece of crap band on this God
> forsaken planet!"  He actually HATES XTC!!!!!  I found out that he
> created his Little Lighthouse site only to attract women!

yes, i confess: Wes is telling the absolute truth. I just picked the
most popular unpopular band that came to mind so i could easily
draw attention from unsuspecting woman of the opposite sex.

But it hasn't worked at all - i'm still looking for that needle in the
proverbial haystack: a woman who doesn't mind that i spend my
money on useless vinyl instead of a car or a new kitchen.
ah well, we can all dream, can't we?

yours in xtc,

Mark S. @ the Little Lighthouse


Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 00:21:05 +0100
Subject: look look,help
Message-ID: <>

what is available by the boys on vid otherthan the wonderful look look?

from abdul ali nuzzle and his bed of nails.......frog


Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 07:30:27 -0700
From: "Periwinkle" <>
Subject: That thing called Irony
Message-ID: <001801bfcfc3$d12b2020$da18a1d0@p8t0x1>

In regards to:

wesSOLong said:

I just got off the phone with Mark Strijbos and
he told me, and I quote:
"XTC are the most abominable piece of crap band
on this God forsaken
planet!"  He actually HATES XTC!!!!!>>

  Molly- I think you're missing something - it's called a sense of humor.
Sorry if I sound condescending.


Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 21:28:08 -0400
From: "Kate Burda" <>
Subject: miscellaneous ponderings
Message-ID: <002e01bfcf58$4acd3f60$>

To all those in the know- can a roundabout be something like a carnival
ride?  A merry-go-round or ferris wheel, perhaps?

Any Chicagoans heard Q101 play 'Murdered' yet?  I'm still waiting.  I'm
lucky enough to have a short commute (20 min!), but that probably means
I've missed it quite a few times.  Haven't heard XRT play it either.

I'm about four days behind on the digests, so this is probably a bit late.
I got the demos quite early on, listened to them once, and didn't touch them
again until right before AV1 came out (it got another go-round at that point
and hasn't seen my stereo since).  I was glad I had them, because it
convinced me that the next release wasn't going to get be the drum/heavy
guitar-based album that I wanted (at least the first half wasn't).  Had I
not had the demos, I think I would have been extremely disappointed with

Phil- will you be printing WS t-shirts?



Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 23:07:38 EDT
Subject: The cold box in warm vinyl pants
Message-ID: <>

    AJ mentioned something sonically amiss with WASP STAR and I thought I
might have some ideas why.

    First off I have read that XTC have recorded most of the guitars on this
album with a device called the POD.  I own one of these lovely devices and
was pretty sure it was what they were using when I heard the opening riff to
Playground.  It is a great tool that digitally recreates the sounds of many
of the famous tube amplifiers that have graced your favorite albums since the
Beatles. However brilliantly it does it's job, the POD is still just a
digital re-creation of these sound and not the sound of an actual amp itself.
 It does not have the same dynamics or physical reaction with the environment
that a real amplifier does.  Subliminally, this may effect your emotional
response to some degree.
    Secondly, many of the songs are created with the help of a process known
as "looping."  This is where a section of recorded music is cut out and
repeated over and over again.  This also erases to some degree the human
"feel" of a song because no human performance will repeat itself exactly the
same way twice.  That in turn may effect a person on some emotional level as
    Thirdly, rather than recording natural instruments, keyboards often use
"samples" of recordings of natural instruments and play them back at
different pitches to sound like anything you like.  (The theramin part in WAL
is a well-cited example of this.) Like the POD concept, you invariably lose a
little reality in the process of sampling and the emotions can be affected.
    Lastly, the whole thing is then placed onto a CD which is actually a
digital "sample" of the original recording.  As amazing as our technology is,
a little known fact is that they still don't quite hold up to the fidelity of
vinyl records.  Digital formats make music much like a projector makes
movies.  Pictures of the music (samples) are taken at very short intervals
and mathematically grafted together to give the illusion of continuous play.
The stuff you miss in-between these samples also takes an emotional toll on
the music.
    Having said all this, I think the disc sounds great.  I used to miss the
warmth and emotion of records, but I appreciate the practicality and clarity
of CD's. I don't know if any of the things I've mentioned are the reason you
are unhappy with some aspects of WASP STAR, but they are food for thought.
Less and less music is being made by "real" people on "real" instruments and
there are many good points and counterpoints in this issue.  Invariably some
emotion gets left out, but XTC can only afford an orchestra for one day.

Brett Reeves
"We thought you might prefer something not nature made"


End of Chalkhills Digest #6-153

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