Friday, February 7, 2014

Conglomerate Records

There once was a noise tape label from Lemont Furnace, later Connellsville, PA, named Conglomerate Records. (Also Conglomerate Anti-communications, among other title variations.) The late Paul Morrisey owned a collection of these recordings, which was bought up by Jerry's Records, and are now in my hands.

My first purchase was "TOARITECCG" by Rose Selavy and Kurt Vile, or "The Only Actual Record In The Entire Conglomerate CataloG". It's an edition of one, a composite record of seven records spliced together. It can actually be played on a turntable. I've tried it, though I don't want to do it often. I then bought "Conglomerate Multiformat A", an anti-record consisting of an LP with bits of a 78, CD, cassette, 8 track, electric buzzer, and other things attached to it. I hesitated to buy it at first (file under "things I could do"), but when I realized it came from the same people as the other record, I spent the money.

Today I bought a collection of Conglomerate least, most of them are cassettes. Some are anti-cassettes, if even that. I bought a carrier of sixty tapes, and also a bag with a variety of mangled and altered tapes additionally. The first I've listened to is a tape by The Donut Holes, "Gristlemania: The Jazz Funk Transformations". Its source material, according to the liner notes, was another Conglomerate cassette, Kurt Vile's "erased" version of TG's "Twenty Jazz Funk Greats" (a record that I like but haven't listened to in many years). So I'm going to have to make sure I listen to the original tape, which is in this same collection.

As for this tape? *Maybe* I heard a passage that reminded me of "Beachy Head", but otherwise, it's very abstracted from its original sources. And I'll say, as far as low-fi noise tapes go, its pretty good. Slowly undulating textures, lots of delay and reverb, somebody actually did put some care into this. And it's noisy, no question. Sacher-Pelz/MB fans would appreciate it.

Kurt Vile is most assuredly NOT the Kurt Vile who is the now nearly-famous folky singer. Rose Selavy is a reference to Duchamp, whose drag name was Rrose Selavy (or, Eros c'est la vie, or, Sex is life. Oh those wacky dadaists...). There are various modern art and music references throughout the tapes. Conglomerate tape 002 is by Stimmung (Stockhausen reference), one is by Kurt Schwitters Revisited (assuming it is the title and not that artist, I don't know), another is by Max Ernst Revisited, and so forth. For all I know this is two people, or even just one. Or a collective of twenty, but probably not. With that many people involved, at least one person would have posted some bragging rights online somewhere.

I intend to post images and perhaps even digital transcriptions of the tapes. At least, some time; I am rather busy these days. Paul may have taken pleasure in owning these little beauties and reveled in their obscurity, but I think the best of them should be shared with the world.

But please....if you anything at all about these things, contact me. I just want to find out more about the people behind these little mysteries.

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