- Bruce Licher
SOURCE: A Journey Through The Creative Musical Underground of IPR
The first release in IPR's 2021 re-launch was the SOURCE CD, a 19-track compilation which offers a fresh look at 40 years of the creative musical underground that IPR founder Bruce Licher has celebrated since his label’s inception in 1980. When Licher teamed up with fellow musician Jeffrey Clark to co-create a new era of IPR releases that more deeply explore this rich heritage they both began contacting artists they knew who they wanted to work with. Many of these artists appear on SOURCE, and it's a solid overview of what this 21st Century IPR is all about -- spanning the decades to bring attention to a wide range of what we feel is some of the most essential music from our era. SOURCE is a sampler of musicians determined to sound like no others, an expansive sonic experience of diverse musical genres that comes packaged in an oversized letterpress-printed die cut folder with 24-page descriptive booklet. SOURCE includes previously unreleased gems from DAVID J, BPEOPLE, FOR AGAINST, SHIVA BURLESQUE, SCENIC, THE OPHELIAS, WOO, JEFFREY CLARK AND THE RIVERS’ EDGE QUARTET, TORN BOYS, RED TEMPLE SPIRITS’ offshoot THE INVISIBLE OPERA COMPANY OF TIBET, and GREENLAND & CRAIG. Many of these previously unheard tracks are exclusive to SOURCE, which means we think it's an essential part of any serious music collection. SOURCE also includes tracks from HALF STRING, SAVAGE REPUBLIC, SPRINGHOUSE, LANTERNA, RED TEMPLE SPIRITS, AE DOWNS, EXPLORATORIUM, and A PRODUCE. Leading up to the release of source, Bruce Licher made daily posts on his Facebook page, sharing memories and his thoughts on each track, along with links to the promotional video clips we commissioned former Half String guitarist Matt Kruse to create for the release. We've compiled an edited version of all of these posts below, and we hope that you'll enjoy learning more about SOURCE. And if you haven't yet got a copy, we readily encourage you head on over to our IPR Web Shoppe.
1. Half String - The Apathy Parade
I'm excited to share the first of our promotional video clips we've made for all 19 songs on the Source compilation, releasing August 20th on Independent Project Records. We'll be rolling out one a day over the next 19 days, so this will be a great opportunity for you to get a feel for the music that Jeff Clark and I have gathered together for our debut release in the relaunch of IPR. All of the videos were crafted by Matt Kruse, who some may recognize as the 2nd guitarist from the group Half String, and we couldn't be more pleased with his work on these. This video clip went live this morning, and it's the first song on the compilation, The Apathy Parade by Half String, which is also featured on our upcoming expanded re-issue of their 1996 full-length release A Fascination With Heights. Enjoy!
2. Bpeople - You At Eight
This video clip went live this morning, and it's the second song on the compilation, an alternate, previously unreleased mix of the A-side of early 80's LA postpunk band Bpeople's debut 7" EP. Bpeople were one of the most exciting of the bands in LA's original postpunk movement, groups who were taking the power and energy of punk rock, but bringing a wider range of musical sensibilities into the mix to create new sounds that were all their own. Along with other early postpunk groups like Human Hands and Monitor, I always tried to catch Bpeople's gigs whenever I could, and appreciated their somewhat dark and driving blend of sounds. Bpeople had a solid rhythm section in Fredrik Nilsen and Tom Recchion (both involved in numerous groups associated with the Los Angeles Free Music Society), while singer/guitarist Alex Gibson brought a powerful melodic sense to his playing and singing. The band's fourth member was their secret weapon; Patrick Delaney added unique textures to Bpeople's music through his keyboard and saxophone playing, and is well-known from his contributions to numerous early LA arty punk bands like Deadbeats, Geza X and The Mommymen, Black Randy and the Metrosquad, and later with members of Monitor and Human Hands in The Romans. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to see all those bands play back in the day, and it's fun to see and hear how all of these connections come together in new and exciting ways. Independent Project Records is thrilled to be currently working with Bpeople to assemble a definitive retrospective of their music, which has been out of print for decades. Keep your ears peeled for news as we get closer to pulling together all of the pieces. In the meantime, enjoy this great song in an alternate mix from that used on their debut 7" from 1981.
3. Scenic - Above The Rim
This video clip is for the third song on the Source compilation, titled Above The Rim from my band Scenic, and it's perhaps my favorite Scenic song. The line-up on this piece is James Brenner on bass, Brock Wirtz on drums, Robert Loveless on keyboards, Mark Mastopietro on rhythm guitar, and Bruce Licher on the atmospheric lead guitar. This is a demo recording from the late 1990's, when the band was working on a group of songs for an album we had planned to record as a soundtrack for the Kaiparowits Plateau region of Southern Utah, just north of Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border. The album project was never completed, but we did record demos of four songs which were sort of released on a limited edition tour CDr in 2003 called The Nimbus EP. As it happened, we turned our attention to recording The Acid Gospel Experience album shortly after recording these demos, and never got back to them, with the band going on indefinite hiatus at the end of that 2003 West Coast tour with our friends in the UK group Breathless. The video incorporates some of the panoramic photos I took of the Kaiparowits Plateau area in the late 1990's, along with a couple of very cool images captured by Checko Salgado from a very interesting gig the band played in Las Vegas in 2000 thanks to the invitation of our good friend Joshua Abbey. IPR has plans for a Scenic singles and rarities compilation album in the near future, which will include all 4 of the songs from The Nimbus EP and a lot of other Scenic goodness. Enjoy!
4. Shiva Burlesque - Chrome Halo
This video clip is for the fourth song on the compilation, a demo recording of the song Chrome Halo by Shiva Burlesque. A studio recording of Chrome Halo was released as a bonus track on the CD version of the band's 2nd album Mercury Blues in 1990, but I remember being handed a cassette tape of a handful of songs a year earlier that included this 8-track demo recording, which, even though it's a bit more raw feels like it contains more of the essential essence of the song. So I'm really happy that it will finally be made available, more than 30 years down to road, as it's probably my favorite Shiva Burlesque song, and this is such a cool version of it. Chrome Halo features vocals by both singer Jeffrey Clark and guitarist Grant-Lee Phillips, who would of course go on to form Grant Lee Buffalo with SB bassist Paul Kimble and SB drummer Joey Peters a year or so after Mercury Blues was released. This demo recording of Chrome Halo, along with a whole 2nd album's worth of demos and previously unreleased recordings, will be released soon on Independent Project Records, as our expanded re-issue of Mercury Blues becomes our fourth new release on IPR after it's relaunch with the Source compilation. Enjoy!
5. Red Temple Spirits – The Soft Machine
Today's track is a classic piece of gothic postpunk psychedelia courtesy of our longtime friends in Red Temple Spirits. Bassist Dino Paredes began helping out in the IPR office and print shop in the mid-1980's, when we were still getting established in the Nate Starkman & Son Building. A couple of years later when he brought me a demo tape of the new band he had started with guitarist Dallas Taylor, vocalist William Faircloth and drummer Thomas Pierik, it was easy to hear that they had a future with IPR. A powerful and provocative live band, RTS quickly developed a unique blend of influences, somehow managing to bring together elements of The Cure, both the spacier and the punk end of late 60's Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and the 13th Floor Elevators (Floyd and the Elevators being two bands that they covered quite nicely on their two albums). Recording a double LP for their debut was an audacious move, but it worked, and brought their music to a wider international audience through the Nate Starkman & Son label's distribution deal with Fundamental Music. The Nate Starkman label was a late 80's collaboration I had with fellow original Savage Republic member Philip Drucker, and through the Fundamental deal allowed us to release music from a wider range of artists in our underground scene than I was able to do on my own through IPR at the time.
This track, The Soft Machine, is one of the finest songs the band recorded, and is featured on their second album with a mouthful of a title If Tomorrow I were Leaving For Lhasa, I Wouldn't Wait A Minute More... originally released in 1989. By the early 21st century both Red Temple Spirits albums were long out of print and fetching collectors prices on ebay, so with the support of a good friend in Arizona, a 3-CD retrospective was released on IPR in 2013. Copies are still available in the IPR Web Shoppe, so if you haven't yet procured one for your collection please do not hesitate to rectify that situation.
At the time the Red Temple Spirits retrospective was released I'd been looking for a way to package CD releases for IPR that were a bit more interesting than the cardboard Discfolios I'd been producing up to that point, and decided to bump the size up a bit, to 7" wide x 6" tall, and create a handsome letterpress-printed pocket folder that could hold several discs and a booklet or other inserts. Something that not only looked beautiful, but felt good in your hands, and the results were perfect. And that package has now become the template for most of the CD releases that the re-launched IPR will be producing going forward, including the freshly-minted Source CD compilation that you absolutely need a copy of.
6. The Ophelias – Capitol
The Ophelias were one of San Francisco's secret weapons during the latter half of the 1980's, recording three albums and an EP before their label took a nosedive and various band members went on to other endeavors. The liner notes in the Source booklet paint an excellent picture of what The Ophelias were all about:
"Brainchild of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leslie Medford, The Ophelias burst out of the indie rock scene of 1980’s San Francisco with their remarkable cover of Mr Rabbit, and a reputation for engaging, offbeat live performances. Melding an eccentric blend of Elizabethan lyricism, the moody intensity of early Van Der Graaf Generator, and blithely unrepentant rock and roll, The Ophelias released a string of impossible to pigeonhole LP’s, singles, and album tracks. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to include on the Source compilation a previously unreleased song called Capitol, "a showcase for the twin electric guitar attack they often employed live, with roiling caterwauls and shivers of shimmers from lead guitarist David Immerglück (later of Monks of Doom, Camper Van Beethoven, Counting Crows) that propel a lyric which, as rendered wryly by Medford, sounds like a passage torn from a lost short story by Nabokov. In other words, prime Ophelias!"
Capitol was recorded in June of 1989 on 4-track in the band’s rehearsal studio, and is exclusive to Source. The song was re-mastered in the year 2020 by Leslie Medford & Carl Salbacka. And, coming soon on IPR we're pleased to be releasing a retrospective compilation from The Ophelias called Bare Bodkin. Stay tuned for further details...
7. Springhouse - No More Yesterdays
I've known Springhouse drummer Jack Rabid since the early 80's, as he was always very supportive of IPR and many of the bands we've worked with in his Big Takeover 'zine, which debuted in 1980, the year IPR was born, and is still going strong. When Jack sent me a 6-song demo tape in the early 90's of his new band Springhouse I was immediately smitten, not only with the excellent songwriting, but also with their Anglophilic sound, melding the aesthetic of early 80's British bands like The Chameleons and The Sound with the late 80's/early 90's UK shoegaze scene. But Springhouse brought their own flavour to the sounds they were working with, as guitarist Mitch Friedland played a nylon-string acoustic guitar through a series of effects pedals, and bassist Larry Heinemann played Chapman Stick along with many other instruments to flesh out their sound. It was a perfect blend, and while we discussed the idea of an IPR release of a 6-song mini-album at the time, ultimately when Caroline Records expressed interest in releasing a full album it made more sense for the band to sign to Caroline, which they did. I did get a chance to work on the album cover and promotional materials for the band, though, and then when they were in the LA area in mid-1992 to record their follow-up album we invited them to come do a one-off performance in the IPP print shop in the Nate Starkman & Son building, which was a wonderful experience.
The band went on hiatus shortly after that 2nd album was released, but then in the early 21st Century started working on new material that Mitch had been writing, and in 2008 IPR collaborated with the band to release a CD version of their third album, titled From Now To OK. FNTO was a much more restrained release in a lot of ways, with more of an acoustic folk rock element on a number of the songs, but with a powerful punch on others, and influences from late 60's psychedelic Beatles to Nick Drake. It's a wonderful album, and we're looking at working with the band to pout together an expanded re-issue of the LP in the near future, and also making it available on vinyl for the first time. No More Yesterdays is one of this highlights of the album, and we're thrilled to be able to present the song as the 7th song on Source.
8. For Against - The Pennines
For Against were one of the most loved bands on IPR during the mid-to-late 80's, and we had the pleasure of working with Jeffrey Runnings, Harry Dingman III and Greg Hill on their first three extended releases, all still providing excellent listening pleasure decades later. I continued to work with Jeffrey Runnings on several releases in the later versions of the band, either by designing packaging or helping to release some of their music created in the 90's (like the wonderful Shelflife CD).
When Jeff Clark and I were conceptualizing the Source CD we both realized we needed to include something from For Against, so I checked in with Jeffrey and Harry to see if they had anything unique we could share on the release. What we were offered was our choice of songs from a "live in the studio" set that the band recorded between their first and second albums, as a way to test out the new material that they were then working on for December, their 2nd album on IPR. When we discovered there were two previously unheard songs on that set we realized that we needed to include one of them on Source. So here is The Pennines, a previously unavailable song from 1987 by the original line-up of For Against, which stands strongly with any of their other material from the era. Enjoy!
9. Savage Republic – First Siege
Today's clip is a rare 1983 demo from my 80's band Savage Republic. This was recorded in the summer following the departure of Jeff Long from the band, when Philip Drucker (Jackson Del Rey), Mark Erskine, Robert Loveless and I started working on a new batch of instrumental material. We'd had some interest from the US arm of the Rough Trade label, so convened in Robert's garage in Santa Monica to lay down 6 songs to send to RT for consideration of the new direction we were taking. This song, which I titled Siege, is the closest to some of the earlier material in sound, and features Mark on drums, Robert on the monotone guitar, and me on bass working off and adapting an original idea that Phil had for the bassline. Ultimately nothing happened with the Rough Trade connection, and we decided to go into a local recording studio to work on the 2nd album. We laid down a studio version of this song, but midway through the sessions there were disagreements about the direction of the album, so the band split, with Mark and I retaining the band name, and Phil and Robert taking the recordings and finishing the album, releasing it as the Jedda By The Sea LP by 17 Pygmies. This song was then re-titled Last Grave At Dimbaza, and after I brought in new members Ethan Port, Greg Grunke and Thom Fuhrmann, the new line-up of Savage Republic created another song we called Siege, which was released on the Trudge EP in 1985. This demo version of the song sat in the archives until late 2019 when I began assembling the Tape Excavation LP that was released in early 2020 as a companion piece to the Savage Impressions book published by the P22 Type Foundry. In order to not cause confusion I re-titled this version of the song First Siege, and so that's how it will be for the rest of recorded history.
The photos in the video were all taken by my good friend Daniel Voznick at the Mojave Exodus event put on by Stuart Swezey's Desolation Center in April of 1983. This turned out to be Jeff Long's last performance with Savage Republic, and if you haven't seen Stuart's feature-length documentary film yet, I encourage you to do so as it's an extremely compelling story that's very well told. It's on a number of streaming platforms, and if you need a physical copy, we have a few copies available in the IPR Bandcamp Shoppe as well. To connect a few more dots, Dan was the singer in early 80's band Afterimage, who will have an upcoming retrospective on IPR, and was my partner in early pre-Savage Republic band Bridge. Enjoy!
10. David J - (She’s Got) Chinatown in The Rain in Her Eyes (“Year Of The Monkey” mix by Tim Newman)
This latest clip went live this morning on the IPR YouTube channel, and Jeffrey Clark & I are so very pleased to have the opportunity to share this beautiful etherial piece from a longtime favorite musician of ours, David J (solo artist and bassist in Bauhaus / Love And Rockets), who collaborated with Tim Newman on this ambient remix of a song from David's 2017 album Vagabond Songs. Shortly after we announced the relaunch of IPR earlier this year I received a message from Brooke Raasch, an old friend who used to help out with occasional IPR tasks back in the Nate Starkman days in LA. Brooke is one of the backers on David J's Patreon account, and had heard this unique track, which David had only shared with his top Patreon backers at that point. Brooke wondered if IPR would be interested in working with him on a physical release of the track, and we thought it would be a perfect fit to complement the other songs on Source. Fortunately David agreed as well, and so that is how IPR has the privilege of sharing this beautiful piece by David and Tim.
It's always a thrill to connect with other musicians whose work we respect, and having the opportunity to work with David J is a great pleasure, especially as we are now starting to brainstorm on possible other projects for the future. Exciting, to say the least! So thank you Brooke, for thinking of IPR for release of this track, and thank you David and Tim, for allowing us to share it with the world. We are sure that the world is going to enjoy the sounds you've made!
11. Jeffrey Clark & The River's Edge Quintet – Swan
The first time I specifically remember meeting Jeffrey Clark was at the Radio Tokyo Studios in Venice, California sometime around late 1986-early 1987 I think. It's possible we may have run into each other earlier in a club or someplace, as Jeff has told me that when he and Grant-Lee Phillips relocated from their hometown of Stockton, CA to Los Angeles they were trying to figure out where they fit in with the LA music scene, as the hair-metal bands playing on Sunset Blvd. weren't quite it. Their first bass player Rich Robinson had recommended they check out Savage Republic and the little underground scene that IPR was starting to gather together, which seemed a much better fit for the dark psychedelic postpunk sounds they were exploring early on. I had known Rich from the days in the early 80's when he was bassist in Afterimage, then followed that up playing in the first incarnation of Perry Farrell's Psi-Com before he joined up with Jeff and Grant to work with them on the very early Shiva Burlesque material (none of which has ever been formally released, but then there's still some time to rectify that). Anyway, I had stopped by Radio Tokyo to pick up some tapes as we'd been re-mixing a few tracks for the UK re-issue of SR's Ceremonial LP on Fundamental, and Shiva B was just finishing up a session and we said hello and shook hands and I think we both knew that was the start of something good. SR and SB started doing some gigs together around town, and then as the Nate Starkman & Son label had been up and running for a bit we agreed to release the first self-titled Shiva Burlesque album on the Nate label. It's a gem of an album, and we're looking at getting an expanded re-issue of it into the hands of those who need it sometime in the near future. Another album followed called Mercury Blues, which had a bit of a more rockin' feel than the first one (check out the Chrome Halo demo, also on Source for a taste), and an expanded version of that LP is coming later this year on IPR.
After Mercury Blues hit the stores the band split, with Grant and the latter rhythm section of Paul Kimble and Joey Peters forming Grant Lee Buffalo, and Jeff starting to work on solo material. Jeff started sending me demo cassettes of some of the material he had been recording in James Brenner's Machine Elf Studio, and James had been sharing more of Jeff's solo material with me as well, as I'd picked him to be the Master of Low-Frequency Vibes in my instrumental band Scenic, after being impressed with his work on the first Shiva Burlesque album. So it all came together such that IPR gathered over an hour's worth of Jeff's solo material for his first solo album called Sheer Golden Hooks, released in 1996. It's a wonderful album filled with deep folk rock psychedelia that I compared to Scott Walker and Julian Cope at the time, and the whole CD still stands up extremely well. There are copies available in the IPR Web Shoppe, and if you don't have one yet you should definitely pick up a copy. It's great.
Jeff continued to record new material after relocating to Nevada City, CA in the Western Sierra foothills in the late 90's, and in 2009 self-released a second CD called if/is, which is filled with lovely orchestrated folk rock, and is also available in the IPR Web Shoppe. if/is features a song called Swan, a dreamy neo-psychedelic folk rock slow-burner of a meditation that was re-recorded in 2010 for a live video performance, the audio of which you can hear here on Source. At some point we'll get the video performance added to the IPR YouTube channel, but for now enjoy this singular performance of Swan, featuring exquisite musicianship courtesy of Noah Georgeson (who has produced recordings by Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart and others), Lee Bob Watson, Eric Potter, Thad Stoener and Sam Coe.
I also have to say that I'm so very happy to be collaborating with Jeffrey Clark on the re-launched Independent Project Records, as we are both bringing our creative energy and musical knowledge & contacts to the label going forward. The number of amazing projects we are looking at working with in the coming years is exciting to contemplate, as we begin to mine the rich musical heritage that we've grown up with and been a part of these past decades. We know that you'll enjoy seeing and hearing what's to come!
12. Lanterna – 1995
Henry Frayne has been a longtime friend and fellow traveler on the instrumental guitar highway, and we've had the opportunity to collaborate a number of times over the years. I was hired to design and print a CD package for the 1995 release of his first Lanterna album released on the Parasol Records label, and I remember playing the cassette tape I was sent of the recordings while driving home from the print shop the day it arrived in the mail. I was immediately taken with Henry's sense of melodic structure in the songs, and before I knew it I was humming my own complementary melodies along to what he had created. Though it was a number of years before we actually had the chance to play music together, I was happy to have the opportunity to design several more CD packages for subsequent releases.
It was the early 21st Century, when Henry was solo touring his Sands CD, that he asked if I would be able to set up a show for him in Sedona, where I was living at the time, and oh, by the way, would I like to play as well? We set up a gig for Henry and I in the New Territory Artspace, a collaborative art gallery/performance space that my wife Karen and several friends had set up in the small warehouse next to Independent Project Press, and I played a short solo set of some of my acoustic guitar songs, then sat in with Henry on several songs in his Lanterna set. A couple years later, when he was touring his Highways CD I set up a couple more gigs for Lanterna in Sedona, and spent more time working out some of those melodies I'd been hearing in my head almost 10 years prior. We played a lovely set in basement coffee house in West Sedona called Random Acts of Coffee to about 10 people, including some high school students playing pool at the table in the back of the room, hence the clacking of pool balls that are audible in the live recording I made of the set. While we had some technical difficulties with one of the mics, I was able to salvage the recording of the gig, and one song from that set was included on the Tape Excavation LP co-released last year by IPR and the P22 Type Foundry to accompany the Savage Impressions book that P22 has just published. If you haven't picked up a copy of Tape Excavation yet, please don't delay, as there aren't very many copies left, and you'll have a chance to hear what Henry generously allowed me to add to his song B Minor. Head on over to the IPR Web Shoppe if you are in need.
When Henry and Dylan Magierek of Badman Recording Company (Lanterna's label) hired me to design the package for Lanterna's 2015 album Backyards, Henry and I started talking about collaborating on a vinyl release of the album on IPR, which we pulled together later that year. While it doesn't sport a letterpress-printed cover, the package is still very nice, and you should definitely pick up a copy post haste if you haven't already got one (also available in the IPR Web Shoppe). This track, titled 1995, is one of the nicest pieces on Backyards to my ears, and we're so pleased that we have the chance to share it here on the Source compilation. Enjoy!
13. AE Downs – Goldmoon
Goldmoon is the 13th song on Source, and is a mysterious and haunting slice of bedroom folk merged with ambient electronic soundscapes from Andrew Downs, who recorded this in 2013 during his time living here in small town Bishop, California. I first met Andrew when he was working at the Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, just down the street from Independent Project Press. Black Sheep was having weekly open mic nights during the summer, and it was always a treat when Andrew brought out his uniquely-tuned-with-4-nylon-strings guitar and sang a few of his remarkably personal songs. When we decided to start offering letterpress workshops that fall, Andrew signed up as he wanted to create a CD package that was as unique as his music. During the class I helped him to produce 100 copies of a CDr release in a triangular chipboard package. Titled AE Downs, we sold a few copies through the shop and our mailorder, and Andrew probably gave away most of the rest to friends and acquaintances. It's been long out of print, and is one of the projects that IPR is looking to re-issue in the coming future, on all formats including, at Andrew's request, a short run of cassette tapes.
Have a listen to Andrew's singular vision, and be prepared for more of his sound to be made available as IPR moves forward with it's release schedule. The photo of Andrew that appears in the video was one I took of him performing in the Independent Project Press print shop during one of our gallery art openings in 2013.
14. The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet – Engines of The World
Engines of The World is a haunting piece of neo-folk psychedelia created by former Red Temple Spirits members William Faircloth and Dallas Taylor in collaboration with vocalist Betsy Martin, singer in late 80's/early 90's band Caterwaul, a song and recording which was almost completely lost to the world (read on for the details).
William and Dallas had moved to Sedona, AZ around the same time that Karen & I did in 1992, and they began to work with local musicians on a new body of music that took some of the elements of what they did in RTS, but giving it a bit more of an acoustic hippie folk spin. They called themselves The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, a codename and musical concept created by Daevid Allen from the band Gong. There have been several IOCOT groups around the world, all doing their own thing but supposedly somehow loosely connected by the concept of the band. The Sedona-based IOCOT was invited to perform at the first Beautiful Noise music festival in Scottsdale, AZ, organized by Half String's Brandon Capps in 1993. To generate interest in the event, which was the first of it's kind in the area, and to showcase the new types of sounds that were coming out of a select group of Arizona-based bands, Brandon asked each band to contribute a song for a promotional cassette tape that he then sent out to local press and radio, and several copies were also given to the bands involved. William and Dallas had recorded Engines of The World with their friend Betsy Martin contributing lyrics and vocals to the third verse (each of them took one verse of the song, and the fourth verse consists of all three previous verses mixed on top of each other to interesting effect). No one seems to remember how many of these promotional cassette tapes were made, but it can't have been more than 50 or so, and Brandon sent me a copy, which after listening promptly went into a box with many other tapes and filed away in storage.
William and Dallas then spent the next year or so recording a full album's worth of material at a small recording studio in Sedona, and in 1996 self-released a limited run of The Alien Host on cassette tape. William hand-letterpress printed a 4-color J-card for the release at Independent Project Press, as he was working for me as my main pressman at the time. Engines of The World was not on that release, and it seems that everyone had pretty much forgotten about the song, as somewhere along the way the master tapes were lost (no one who was involved with the project seems to have them or know what happened to them).
Several years back I ran across the promotional tape as I was sorting through the box of cassettes while looking for something else, and noticing the song title, which was not familiar to me, so I decided to pull it out to give it another listen. What a revelation it was to hear this song again after so long being forgotten, and since my tape had a few glitches in it I started asking around to see if I could find anyone else who still had a copy so we could make a better digital transfer of the song. To date, no one has been able to locate another copy, though there must still be a few out there somewhere. So the song appears on Source as is, with a warble or two in the middle from my glitchy cassette copy, and yet somehow it all seems like an appropriate aspect of this long-lost archival document. We're very pleased to be able to offer the first commercial release of the song, and if anyone out there does have a better copy of the first Beautiful Noise promotional cassette tape (titled Beautiful Noise sample on the spine) please do get in touch, as we'd love to be able to get a higher quality transfer of the song for possible future use.
The photos used in our promotional video, as well as in the booklet for Source, were taken at that first Beautiful Noise event by Phoenix-based photographer Ted Skinner. We're grateful to him for their use, and also for Brandon Capps digitizing and offering them to us.
15. WOO - Dobbin’s Lost His Coconuts
Back around 1983 or so, I was in San Francisco visiting with a couple friends who worked at the US branch of Rough Trade Records, and they let me poke around in the back of the warehouse where they had a bunch of unsold inventory that they hadn't yet figured out what to do with. I remember finding a lot of cool imports, like the debut single and LP from Pulp, and in my pile ended up a copy of a strange-looking album called Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong by someone called WOO. It really didn't look like anything else released at the time, with a pale purple background and a what looked like a Victorian-era cartoon on the cover, and it was part of The Sunshine Series, whatever that was, so I figured I ought to take it home and investigate it further. What came out of the speakers was a sound I'd never heard before, sort of an easy-on-the-ears blend of electronics, jazz (clarinet, anyone?), and sort of an exotic world music that sounded like it had been recorded in a bedroom or an attic (it was), and took the listener on an exploration of a truly singular universe. I loved it, and after a few plays decided to write to the address in Wimbledon that was printed on the back side of the LP to see if there was any more of this intoxicating music to be had (this was, of course, in the days before computers and internets and all, when people actually had to send letters through the mail because that was the most efficient way we had to communicate with people inhabiting the other side of the planet). Several weeks went by, and lo and behold a small package arrives from the Brothers Ives (otherwise known as WOO), with an enthusiastic letter and a cassette tape letting me know that no, they didn't have any other albums for sale, but might I possibly be interested in releasing their next album, titled It's Cosy Inside, on my record label? Well, of course after one listen to said cassette I had to say YES, and so with my recently-minted distribution deal with the Chameleon Music Group, both albums received a US release in 1987 and 1988 respectively.
Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the world wasn't quite ready for WOO in the late 80's and while I and some others loved what we heard, sales were not brisk, and when Chameleon folded a year or so later, I ended up with a large inventory of unsold LPs, CDs and cassette tapes of It's Cosy Inside. I did my best to help spread the word about WOO, but eventually I got tired of paying to store all of the inventory and sold it to a cut-out dealer on the East Coast. Fast forward another 15 years or so, and I come to find that WOO had been discovered by a new generation, and all of that inventory I sold off at five cents on the dollar were now fetching collector's prices, and thanks to Douglas McGowan (currently working A&R with The Numero Group) and his Yoga Records label, a re-issue of Cosy was arranged through the Drag City label in 2012, and sales are still strong for that material.
Backing up to the early 90's, when Mark Ives traveled to Los Angeles for a visit, he left me with a couple of DAT tapes of more recent material, including a very unique and compelling track called Dobbin's Lost His Coconuts. I always loved Dobbin's, and thought it had never been released when we started conceptualizing the Source CD earlier this year, so I figured it was perfect to include. It turns out, however, that the Ives' had released an edited version on a digital album through their Bandcamp page a few years back, and when I re-connected with Clive earlier this year and told him I had an extended version of the song we'd like to release he enthusiastically answered in the positive, thanking me for reminding him of this earlier mix, which adds about a minute to the beginning of the song. So that's the long-winded story about how this extended version of Dobbin's Lost His Coconuts ended up on our Source compilation. We're really pleased to be working once again with The Brothers Ives,and are in discussions to get more of their prolific output released into the physical world very soon. Enjoy!
16. Torn Boys – Fountain of Blood
One of the earliest songs on the compilation, this previously unreleased track was recorded live at the KDVS college radio station in Davis, California in June of 1983. As per the liner notes in the Source booklet, the "Torn Boys formed in the fall of 1982 by Stockton, California natives Jeffrey Clark (vocals, electric guitar) and Kelly Foley (vocals, acoustic guitar). Duncan Atkinson came onboard to add synth-bass and a Roland drum machine as well as backing vocals, and in the Spring of 1983, 19 year old Grant-Lee Phillips (formerly of local group Bloody Holly) was recruited as lead guitarist. Performing mostly at cafes, parties, and occasional nearby college gigs, the Torn Boys developed an avid local following, soon replacing covers of Velvet Underground and Television songs in their sets with originals; a handful of which they recorded in home studios on 4-track and 8-track machines. This version of Fountain of Blood (cribbed from a thrift store collection of poems by Charles Baudelaire) was recorded live in-studio at the UC Davis college radio station."
I remember being handed a cassette tape of a number of Torn Boys recordings by either Jeff or Grant in the late 80's, after we had started working together on their Shiva Burlesque albums, and I always thought there was something very special about the raw sounds that emanated from the tape. At one point I had considered the possibility of a Torn Boys release in the IPR Archive Series of 10" vinyl but ultimately it was one of many projects that were left unreleased at the time due to lack of time and budget. Things are a bit different now, though, and with this re-launch of IPR a full Torn Boys album is being prepared for release in the first half of 2023, featuring these earliest recordings from Jeffrey Clark, Kelly Foley, Duncan Atkinson and Grant-Lee Phillips. There's a studio version of this song, Fountain of Blood, on the album, which means that this live on the radio version will remain unique to the Source compilation. Both versions feature stellar lead guitar work from Grant, and this work once again proves that you didn't need to be living in one of the major metro areas to create a special contribution to our shared musical history.
17. Greenland & Craig – The Flame
Today's track is the debut from a long lost project involving an old friend of ours who passed away suddenly almost ten years ago. Barry Craig was better known as A Produce, who first came to our attention as guitarist in early 80's LA postpunk band Afterimage, which featured another good friend in singer Daniel Voznick (who was involved in several early IPR projects), along with bassist Rich Robinson, who became the first bass player in Jeff's band Shiva Burlesque in the mid-80's. By the late 1980's Barry had re-envisioned his musical direction by diving deep into ambient electronics, and self-released on his Trance Port label a beautiful body of work over the next two decades, including some of the most meditative and melodic ambient soundscapes we've had the pleasure of hearing.
When Barry passed away suddenly in 2011 I attended the memorial at his home in Los Angeles, and while there noticed a CDr sitting on the living room coffee table marked Greenland & Craig 1972-1994, which piqued my interest, to say the least. I asked Barry's wife Jane about it and she told me that it had been sent by his childhood friend David Greenland, and that it contained music that the two of them had made over the years. I asked if I could take it to listen to and she said “sure,” so I popped it in the CD player in the car as soon as I left. What came out of the speakers kind of blew my mind, as Barry had NEVER told any of his friends in LA that he'd been making music as far back as the mid-1960's, when he was in a teenage garage band in his hometown in Illinois, and then later started recording hours and hours of music with his best friend David. I only discovered all of this when I started digging through Barry & Jane's garage to help her deal with all of his music-related stuff, and then afterwards contacting David and started learning about this body of work that the two of them created starting in the late 60's. Needless to say there's a lot more archival work to be done to help the best of this material be heard, but we're starting out with thinking about a release of some of the recordings that the two of them made when they re-convened in L.A. in 1989 to work on a new album. This was after Barry had started his transition to an ambient electronic artist, and there are definitely some elements of his etherial electronics in some of the songs. But these are definitely "songs," heavily influenced by classic rock artists from the 60's and 70's -- I hear bits of Neil Young, some Beatles influence, and other classic folk rock singer-songwriters of the 70's throughout Greenland & Craig's work, though with their own homemade twist to the sound, which I find quite refreshing and real.
The Flame is a haunting and beautiful piece, and we're thrilled to be able to share this preview of the first official release from the Greenland & Craig oeuvre, and we're very much looking forward to sharing more of this unique body of work in the near future.
18. A Produce – Raga Riley
The second to last track on Source is this wonderful dronefest from the late ambient composer A Produce (Barry Craig), who recorded and released a handful of excellent ambient electronic CDs throughout the 90's and early 2000's. This rare track, inspired by the work of well-respected composer Terry Riley, was only previously released on a limited CDr re-issue of his debut solo album on the Trance Port Special Editions series in 2008. It's likely that fewer than 100 copies were made and sold of this CDr before Barry passed away unexpectedly in 2011, so we're very pleased to be able to make it more widely available, as it's a very special and unique piece of music. And yes, the crater in the desert that appears in the photo of Barry standing on top midway through the video is the same crater that is featured on the front cover of Scenic's Incident At Cima album.
You can hear more of Barry's music on Source, (check out the Greenland & Craig clip we posted above), and plans are underway for an Afterimage retrospective (the band that Barry played guitar in during the early 1980's). IPR is also looking at beginning a comprehensive re-issue program featuring more of the A Produce catalog in the coming years, including getting more of it on vinyl for the first time. Enjoy!
19. Exploratorium – The Penstemon Field
The final track on Source is a solo recording of mine from the late 90's, consisting of layered guitars, effects and bass, recorded on a cassette 4-track in the small den studio off the front balcony of Karen's and my Rain Tree House in Sedona, AZ. I had wanted to experiment a bit with creating some instrumental guitar-oriented tracks that were a bit more "ambient" and "shoegazey" than what Scenic had been doing at the time, and ended up with a nice EP's worth of material. Which then ended up sitting unreleased until 2006, when I asked Michael Krassner (from the group Boxhead Ensemble) to transfer and master it for me from the original cassette mix. I decided to call the project Exploratorium, after the science museum in San Francisco, and self-released a mini CDr edition of 300 signed and numbered copies, not on IPR, but as kind of a solo art project. It was at the time before vinyl had really made a comeback, but CDs were starting to go out of fashion as the kids were all excited about downloading music for free, so I figured I ought to make something unique, you know, in the spirit of IPR, "records as fine art" and all that. So I letterpress printed a 12" square piece of heavy chipboard (LP jacket sized) in quite a few colors, and mounted the mini-CDr in the center of the printed piece. I was pretty happy with it conceptually, the smallest form of commercially-available media attached to the largest style of packaging, and the music was as unique as the package.
We do still have a few copies left of the physical project in the IPR Web Shoppe, along with our recently-released expanded CD edition (with vinyl on the way), and it's also available in all the usual places for the kids as a download or for streaming purposes.
Of all the solo tracks I've recorded and released over the years I think The Penstemon Field is my favorite. It has a mournful yet majestic sound, and I described it in the description of the release as "sounding like something Ennio Morricone might have written for an Antarctic Western." Hence the very cold-looking imagery used in the video clip.
So thanks for listening to our Source clips, and if you like what you are hearing please be sure to grab yourself a copy of the release, as we think it's something really special and worth your attention. You can head over to the IPR Web Shoppe and grab a copy there, and while you're at it peruse the other cooool IPR merch in the shoppe. Thank You!