THE SLUDGEATHON

 

Sludge techno is a murky, gloopy, mid-tempo stomp. It drips, it’s dark, it’s slow. And it comes out of Detroit. We kept hearing it through friends passing links or playing it in their shows, in particular it had huge support in London from DJ Warlock. Stitch and I both loved it. It chimed completely with my Emily Davison/105 bpm vibe, and I was really inspired by how sludge originator Marshall Applewhite brought all these oldschool hardcore rave elements in – exactly what we had been aiming for with TR-33N’s live set; it fit perfectly with what we wanted to achieve musically.

At that time I still worked this crazy job transcribing legal proceedings using Stenotype.  I had exactly a week off that coincided with the kids’ half-term: we could all just hole up in the house, they could watch TV for 24 hours a day in front of the fire, whatever. I was absolutely determined to pull a sludge track from scratch out of the bag every day – written, recorded, mastered and posted to Soundcloud. We managed 8 tracks in 8 days. It became known as The Sludgeathon.

We used an RY30 and Dave’s TR-808 for the drums, all put through a distortion pedal and recorded live; same for the xoxbox, the Virus, Bass Station, TX7. The pièce de résistance was getting out the MKS50 [Alpha Juno] and getting some rave hoover noises, wavy bleeps and europhoric pads in the mix.

Unusually for us, we recorded vocals: some real words, some vocal tract noises, all put through a Roland VT-3 [still part of my solo live set-up]. The kids unintentionally recorded themselves talking into the mic, again with the VT-3 plugged in, so some of that went in [check the end of BAT]. At some point our eldest and her friend declared they were now in a band called The Little Things. We recorded them chanting the refrain “We are the little things / no time for big things / nur-nur-nur nur-nur / in your face big things” put through a vocoder and autotune to get the effect we were after.

At some point the title OFIS ANIMALS came about because thoughts of work were plaguing me. I was at that time an “office animal”. For the sake of expediency at the end of each long day we’d type the words “office animal” into Google image search and choose something to use as artwork for the upload; whatever creature appeared in the best image became the title of the track [spelled in Stenotype of course: SHAEUP, BAER, BAT, DOG, COU, KAT, SKWIRL, GOAT].

Four of the trax were picked up by YoSucka! and released as an EP in April 2016, under the name STENO ANIMALS Vol 1 which you can buy here. The cover art is by Dave Stitch and is part of his series of glitched-up photos of toys.

Listen to my sludge mix on Mixcloud here.

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