04 January 2005


Here's a little bit of fun for all you Suicide fans out there, who might remember that back in September I mentioned a Tribute CD-R made by myself and other members of the Revega Yahoo Group . Well, thanks to fellow contributor Terminus B's efforts, the contents of that project are now available to download here.

To give you an overview of the contents, below is the 'review' I wrote and posted at the group back last March, with direct links to the relevant tracks added:

Well, after all the talking and planning it's finally arrived: the
Revega group's own tribute CD-R. I can hardly believe I'm actually
holding this baby in my hand after so many false-starts and delays.
On behalf of all those involved I'd like to say a big thanks to
Stefen for putting this thing together. But was it worth it? I'd
say definitely!

As an object, it looks great. Jef's cover design looks beautiful
printed on the glossy card insert. The rear cover packs all the
necessary info in a clear, uncluttered design.

Although I had some reservations about Stefen's proposed running-
order, I think he got it right. It flows well, with the first half
being all the uptempo 'accessible' vocal-based tracks, followed by
the more cerebral noise-based tracks and then into more chilled-out
instrumentals....with a big surprise at the end (more later)

Although the collection kicks-off with a version of that much-
covered Suicide standard 'Ghost Rider', it's nice to see that the
majority of tunes are from the less-covered areas of Suicide's
catalogue, with several Rev & Vega solo tracks too.

The opening triad of tracks from our Canadian contributors are
great. Chernobyl Cha-Cha's 'Ghostrider' sets the scene nicely,
adhering to the Suicide aesthetic, but adding live rhythm guitar.
Jef L.'s update of 'Space Blue Bambo' wipes away the murky grime of
the original, transforming it into a bleepy synthpop stomper. Putra
Deluxe's version of 'Chewy Chewy' might actually be an improvement
on the original! Minimal electro with an excellent vocal from
Marlene, who sounds very sexy.

The next three tracks are by me. It's not really my place to
comment on the quality of my own work, but I will say I think I just
about acquitted myself in such vibrant company. Bear in mind that
only one of these tracks, the noise-improv. version of
Rev's 'Nineteen 86', was recorded specifically for this project.
The others were earlier pieces which I made purely for my own
amusement. 'Yours Tonight' is a reversal of the creative process
employed by Jef L, as it takes a modern 'digital' track and attempts
to re-interpret it in the style of 'The First Rehearsal Tapes'.
Very lo-fi, with all the music in one channel and the whispered,
reverb-soaked vocals in the other, recorded on a cassette four-track
with just an ancient drum machine and battered Farfisa organ for
maximum authenticity. The other track, a cover of 'Girl', was one
that I actually forget I'd made, until I came across it whilst
sorting through a bunch of CD-Rs a few months ago. It's really just
me playing around with a Roland MC-303 groovebox with some one-take
vocal and Farfisa overdubs. I'm gratified that Stefen thought it
was worthy of inclusion.

Next up, Alberto from Spain with an excellent version of
Vega's 'Love Cry'. The arrangements are very similar to the
original, but when Alberto adds his trademark distorted vocals and
nagging microphonic feedback, it takes the track into new
nightmarish realms.

Then three tracks from Stefen that explore Rev's early-mid '80's
solo work, kicking off with a functional, droning version 'Parade'.
Stefen's cover of 'Mari' is perhaps the most impressive. He
forsakes the adrenalin rush of the original for a mid-tempo 'ballad'
style that accentuates the romantic mood that Rev was no doubt
trying to convey. It's like an end-of-the-evening smoocher for
lovestruck electropunks. Then his version of 'Whisper' messes with
structure and time-signiture to the point that it's barely
recogisable as the track that would become Suicide's 'Surrender'.
Curious yet sublime...

But then we finish with a version of 'Rain Of Ruin' by our Tazmanian
representative Martin Blackwell, under his fabulous 'Elvis Christ'
alias. This has to be heard to be believed. It's more like a
bootleg mix, using pause-button edits to steal chunks of Suicide's
original track, over which Martin sings like a fucking madman. Add
in some crazy sound effects and glitchy edits of Vega joining him on
vocals and you've got a really wild track. It's very lo-fi but for
me it's the most subversive, avant garde track of the lot. I get
the impression Martin made this track with almost no equipment, but
the the sense of urgency and commitment really speaks to me.

So there you have it. A success! Stefen has sent me some spare
copies of the artwork and I'll be sending copies to a few of my
regular contacts at the Revega group. Anyone else interested in
obtaining a copy, e-mail me. But this is a very limited release, so
no promises....

Now seems as good a time as ever to mention that Suicide's third and fourth albums will be re-issued by Blast First at the end of this month, both with additional discs of unreleased concert recordings. 1988's "A Way Of Life" is well worth your time if you haven't heard it before, although I never much cared for 1992's "Why Be Blue". Despite the press-releases attempt to big it up, I still find this a weak, uninspiring blotch on Suicide's otherwise exemplary recorded legacy. According to someone at the Revega group who's heard an advance copy, Martin Rev has remastered it with lot's of additional signal processing and extreme fx, though the results are a bit patchy, apparently. I'm sort of curious to hear what Martin's done with it, although the thought of re-buying an album I already own and dislike is a bit of a hurdle for me, I'm afraid. I'd be interested to hear any other opinions on the album...maybe the 20 Jazz Funk Greats lads might get into it and inspire me to reassess?

One final note: check Loki's Martin Rev post at the Idiot's Guide....