Thursday, 23 October 2014

Andrew Cox - Past Imperfect (2014)

To get the usual disclaimer out of the way, I used to know Andrew Cox fairly well, or at least as well as it was probably possible to know him. Back when I was living in Chatham in Kent, Glenn Wallis of Konstruktivists gave me a large carrier bag full of cassettes which people had sent to him, and the best of these were Vice Versa's eight track demo - a damaged copy as individually stamped upon by an irritable member of Cabaret Voltaire after some show in Sheffield - and Andrew's Methods C60. I had vaguely heard of MFH, the band Andrew formed with his friend David Elliott, as a name from the fanzines, but Andrew Cox himself was unknown to me. Several years later shortly after moving to London, I found that by unlikely coincidence, Andrew Cox and David Elliott lived around the corner and so I introduced myself. Andrew and I became good friends, but he died in 2009 which was incredibly shit, all things considered.

David Elliott's efforts to get the work he recorded with Andrew as both MFH and Pump heard have been commendable, as is this latest release gathering a selection of Andrew's solo work harvested from old tapes, not least because the poor old bugger deserves wider recognition even if it's unfortunately posthumous, and because Andrew recorded some great stuff in his time.

Much of what is gathered here was ground out on primitive equipment, some of it home-made, but is of such quietly inventive composition as to render concerns about sound quality entirely superfluous. It has that stressed quality of those very early instrumental Throbbing Gristle jams with Albrecht D - at least prior to the member of that particular group most resembling Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served? deciding he wanted to be Lou Reed; so Past Imperfect is too abrasive to be considered entirely ambient without being necessarily harsh, or being as limited in terms of mood as anything which might ordinarily be labelled industrial or - God forbid - dark ambient. My friend Carl described this disc as the Forbidden Planet soundtrack as recorded by Nurse With Wound, a comparison which works quite well and which I believe Andrew would have enjoyed. If - I suppose - lacking sophistication in certain respects, this is music which nevertheless could not have been made with more modern digital technology. It's all about getting the most evocative atmospheric effects out of that which is to hand, and in this capacity Andrew worked some real magic.

Lordy - how I miss him.

Available from Forced Nostalgia.

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