Pulp Production

Richard Rupenus continues what appears to be an ongoing reissue programme with the release of The Pulp Sessions (LH117), credited to The New Blockaders and released as a full-length album by Menstrual Recordings and pressed in clear vinyl. Limited to just 250 copies I would expect it’s selling fast to devoted followers of TNB. The story of this one is that R. Rupenus and P.D. Rupenus collaborated with David Jackman in 1984. The results of their labours was a 7-inch 45rpm record, credited to TNB and Organum, released on Jackman’s Aeroplane label. The two tracks ‘Pulp Pt. 1’ and ‘Pulp Pt. 2’ were in fact excerpts from a much longer session, but clearly editing down the noise to those short, punchy episodes had the desired effect.

That original 1984 release made a significant dent in noise “culture”, if we can call it that, and even though all the plaudits for it come from insiders and cognoscenti, i.e. people who were already convinced of the value of noise music and were probably making noise music themselves anyway, it’s hard to ignore the impact of that dent. The record label have provided a string of testimonials from these cognoscenti; one line of thought, that might be worth deliberating on, depends on a tension between English Noise and Japanese Noise. In the international noise stakes, it’s significant that three English guys can get together in 1984 and single-handedly make a record that carves out its own pathway down this contested avenue, and without apparently any need for vocal screaming, loud amplification, or feedback.

Original copies of this single are now highly collectible, of course, selling for as much as 100 smackeroos; some of this may be due to obsessive Jackman / Organum collectors who have to own copies of everything on his label and every piece of groanery associated with his talented mitts. I myself don’t have a copy, but I do have a CD called Pulp issued on Robot Records (RR-26) which came out in 2001 and is credited to Organum and The New Blockaders. This release contains five “versions” of ‘Pulp’, including the two sides of the single and three unreleased globules…along with tunes called ‘Wrack’ and ‘Raze’, which may or may not have been cut from the same concrete. Quite often I find records like this tend to remain very close-lipped – if not downright silent – about how the music was made and who did what when. For some I suppose that adds to the mysterious aura.

On today’s LP, Organum’s name doesn’t appear on the front cover at all, although Jackman is given thanks on the back and the lineage of the single is described. Presumably what we have here is the entire Pulp recording session from 1983 (if the copyright date can be interpreted to mean that), evidently performed by the Rupenus brothers alone. One might be tempted to regard this as the Let It Be…Naked of their back catalogue, retrospectively restoring the original sessions to how they were laid down, although there’s an additional credit to Michael Gillham, who did some editing and mixage. From 28 May 2019.

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