The 1926 Floor Polish Variations
UK Linear Obsessional Recordings LOR059 CD-R (2014)
I don’t know what the collective noun for improvisations is. A great gaggle of improvisations from Richard Sanderson on melodeon, Mark Browne on saxophone and objects and Daniel Thompson on guitar, released on Sanderson’s imprint. It’s not “gaggle”, is it? Answers on a postcard please.
What does strike me as unusual is the huge variety of sounds produced by a fairly small list of instruments employed in the creation of this music. I can imagine Brown, Thompson and Sanderson in a room surrounded by piles of the stuff, but I suspect this to be wildly inaccurate. The track titles have the commonplace air of casual observations of whoever of the trio was nearest the computer when it was time to design the sleeve.
‘The Nearest Emergency Phone’ has a saxophone wheezing; ‘Hole In The Floor’ features scratching teamed with melodeon. Restrained and quiet; a considered piece. ‘Two Keys’ is made up of bird noises; what could be duck calls or one of those little reeds you need to put in your mouth to be able to do Punch’s voice – a swazzle – plus triangles and bells and scratchy guitar. Dare I say a little predictable, this one, despite the presence of the unusual instrumentation? Prize for the best title goes to ‘The Right Foot In The Door’. This has some nice guitar phrasing around eleven minutes. Glorious gonging and bonging around the 16 minute mark. And some ominous pauses, which then open up to joyful free blowing.
The 1926 Floor Polish Variations has all the hallmarks of perhaps a Steve Beresford-like approach to ascetic to zaniness ratio or the anything goes-ness of an A Band gig or a Vitamin B12 session. There’s more than a hint of the homespun about it; pleasingly so. The session itself was recorded in a Guides Hall in Aylesbury; that fact in itself implies a semi-rural isolationist approach, perhaps.
The compact disc comes in one of those rubbery soft, plastic alternatives to the jewel case which grasps the disc so tightly I was afraid I’d break it just trying to get it out of the box. Is this a subtle comment or a statement about the consumerist society we live in? It’s hard to tell for sure. The photocopied front cover gives it a pleasingly amateurish look. Having said that, I am a great fan of home-made looking sleeves: so many people who are interested in music have tried their hand at writing/drawing/scrawling their own zines to publish via the nearest photocopier and I was no exception. That’s what this package reminds me of: passion, effort, goodwill and a resolution to communicate with others. Yes, it is hard to get the disc out, the cover is photocopied on puce green sugar paper, the contents (apart from the disc itself) are loose, so it all falls on the floor when you open the case and the additional black and white photograph (an actual photograph printed in the old fashioned way – in a dark-room with chemicals – the image possibly made on old-fashioned 35mm film stock) is folded in half, badly. I like it this way. A run of 50 units only; of which this is number 43.