Recorded by Richard Scott and Rex Casswell between December 1990 and February 1992 in a flat in Bark Walk, Hulme, Manchester this early “plunderphonic” album was an experimental project recorded using quite primitive means: turntables, CDs, radio, ansaphone, sound FX, documentary recordings and cassette tape players through a little Radio Shack disco mixer – everything “played” live to DAT. We didn’t play any instruments on this project and we didn’t have access to a sampler at that time. Instead, we arranged these recorded fragments live; a kind of DJ mix gone far too far. The pieces were conceived of as performance-montages and, apart from Piracy (made in a studio with an engineer and a real mixing desk) playback and mixing was executed on-the-fly without the use of any multi-tracking or processing of any kind.
The performed, cut and splice and channel-muting approach of the record was certainly connected with the Manchester group Stock, Hausen and Walkman, whichRex was a member of and whom we both played with a fair amount at that time (along with Bark!, Pool and other bands). However, whereas Stock, Hausen and Walkman’s music was pretty much remorselessly sarcastic, Magnificence of Stereo seems quite whimsical by comparison. One thing that inspired it was the fantasy that when we left the flat our records might get together and play themselves, creating new forms and combinations their original creators could never have conceived of. The CD featured on both Mixing It on BBC Radio 3 and on Pick of the Week on Radio 4. Most of the reviews it received at the time were uncomprehending either mildly negative, tending to see the CD as a conceptual project rather than as a musical one. Sigh… Of course it is a cheeky project, but as pure composition I think it still stands up. It also represents a rather different comment on the whole plunderphonic who-haa, most of which we didn’t feel very connected with or interested in. Even so many years later people still sometimes come up and tell me how much they love the record. I still like it too and in a lot of ways it represents the beginning of me thinking about composition, electroacoustic/acousmatic music as opposed to just “playing”, which is mostly what I’d done until that point.
I never felt quite right about selling this release. With the possibility of giving it away free on the Interweb it has is, no doubt, at last found its natural mode of distribution. We never made any money on it so there is not much point in suing us for copyright infringement. Feel free to spread it far and wide.
The last track entitled “…” is silent and was intended to act as a break when in CD random play mode.
1 Slug Talk 1:51
2 DB 2:02
3 Change Under Clouds 4:04
4 Piracy 4:56
5 Thorns That Sleep And Grow 4:52
6 Swarf 2:25
7 Art Of Floating 12:23
8 Idiot Tube 4:15
9 Rocks Or Pebbles Or Clouds Or Foliage 4:52
10 Forest Of Nerves 6:16
11 Plunder 5:26
12 The Day Has Gone 15:40
13 … 1:00
The album features samples from – Anthony Braxton, The Beatles, Brian Eno, Cecil Taylor, Charles Bukowski, Chet Baker, David Moss, Derek Bailey, Dick Harrison, Gavin Bryars , George Lewis, Bizet, Hans Reichel, Jimmy Giuffre, John Cage, John Oswald, Juan Hidalgo, Lee Perry, Lol Coxhill , Morgan Fischer, Ornette Coleman, Phil Minton, Public Enemy, Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Lacy, Tom Phillips, Tristan Honsinger and many, many more….
1992 sruti box