PPvXT revisited

"PPvXT" stood for "PEDANTIC PEDESTRIAN versus the XMAS TREES"...

Throughout the last few decades, I've collaborated on (or, at least, appeared on) a lot of music. Much of it was recorded. Not necessarily by me.

In 2008 I played with a 'band' called the CHRISTMAS TREES, recording an album called "Sniper @ the Gates Of Dave". I've forgotten what it sounded like, but I'm sure I've got a copy somewhere. The gentlemen with whom I collaborated have long maintained a sort of contrived Residents-like anonymity, opting to use a different 'band' name on nearly every project and appearing in public dressed as tigers or wearing comical masks. A counter-commercial policy, I think you'll agree, but what do I know? For video purposes, the Christmas Trees 'band' was deputised by various stuffed toys.

When we'd finished recording this little opus, I got to take away all the 'tapes' (i.e. digital sound files) so that I could mix my own version and/or reconstruct something else from the sessions. Thus began the "CHTHONIC BOOM" album.

In its original form, the soundfiles from the Xmas Trees sessions formed the basis of "Side 1", while "Side 2" was constructed from samples and clips taken from old tapes of the legendary Johnson's Gridling Band. But somewhere along the way, I decided to mix things up a little. I made the whole thing into one continuous fifty-minute sound collage. 'Merzklang', if you will. Or not.

At the time, I thought this 'album' was a neat summation of my entire 'musical' career. Listening back to it now, for the first time in yonks, I actually don't remember playing some of the instrumental parts and I've long forgotten how I achieved some of the sound treatments involved... but I certainly recognise 'me' when I hear 'me'. For better or worse, I do have a 'style' of my own! I also recognise everybody I've ever played with, popping up at various points in the proceedings.

Here's what the Zimpoon webpage had to say about it: "18 untitled tracks of complete cut-up spazmo remixes based on the "Sniper @ The Gates of Dave" CD-R, as demolished by Mr The Pedantic Pedestrian. In fact, there has been some (albeit limited) debate as to whether this anthology should be billed as 'PEDANTIC PEDESTRIAN vs THE CHRISTMAS TREES'. But you can argue until you're blue in the face that one of half of this odd coupling would not exist if the other wasn't invented. So there... and if you disagree then tuff titty, go sign up for a philosophy class! It's not only based on those prowling rascals T'Trees but also nearly four decades of interwoven fart splurge nonsense courtesy of Gosport's third most popular hair pie art folk nutters JOHNSON'S GRIDLING BAND. So if you like this kind of thing check it out!" And who am I to argue? But, as I say, I prefer to think of it not so much as a 'remix' as a 'collage'. It should be listened to as one continuous piece of music. Originally, for my convenience and yours, it was sub-divided into eighteen numerically-titled parts, but now you can stream it uninterrupted as nature intended.

The album was released as a lovingly-crafted CD-R by the Zimpoon concern and was streamed in its entirety on my Bandcamp site, where it resided unnoticed since July of 2008. I've now put it on 'That YouTube They Have Now' instead.

FROM THE "SLEEVENOTES" - I've been requested not to refer to the members of ThE ChRiStMaS TrEeS by name, in this or any other blogjournal, as B***Y wants to perpetuate the myth that the TrEeS' music has been performed by a rockin' beat combo consisting entirely of plastic or knitted toy animals (as a rule, I don't use 'real' names within these pages anyway). Which is apparently why, when being photographed pretending to play the saxophone, I have to wear an ape mask and there is an elephant at the keyboards. Nearly all of the music has been constructed from samples of ThE ChRiStMaS TrEeS playing their hit album "Sniper At The Gates Of Dave". Except for the bits that feature THE GRIDLERS OF YORE (Minty, Snilt, Shelfy, Janet, Rathbone, Mervyn, Rabbithole, Ken Dead, Gold Lamé, Dunx and probably lots of others that I failed to recognise). There are also some samples of an Arabian gentleman singing, taken from a library record, as well as some dialogue from a film which I don't recognise either... Just one more "CYRIL'S TROUSERS YELLOW THEY MAY BE BUT THEY ARE HIS" production, this time on behalf of the Zimpoon Discs concern.

A couple of years later, another Christmas Trees album was on the cards. I'm not entirely sure what that one was called, or if it ever came out. The anonymous cuddly toys got seriously into making videos instead and I lost interest. But in April 2010 I released another "PPvXT" project on my Bandcamp site, probably preempting the official album proper. The second release was less of a freeform collage, but it featured many of the same production anti-techniques that I'd employed on the previous album, plus a few new ones that I'd picked up along the way. This one had things on it that could almost be called 'songs', with words and titles and everything! There's a lot more guitars on this one too. I had an interesting time raiding the archives for duff poetry recitals and cutting the music to fit the speech patterns (Thank you Steve Reich!) and, as a special treat, there's a 'proper' remix of some old Trojan Lawyer jams tucked away at the end...

This album has also been 'retired' from my Bandcamp site (maybe to make room for a new CC:PP album? Teaser alert!) and I'm streaming it on YouTube instead, where (hopefully) it will more likely get heard. I happen to think that this one also works as one continuous piece of music... although in this case it's not hard to hear where one track ended and another began, if your mind still prefers to work that way.

FROM THE "SLEEVENOTES" - Titles: Audio Verité - Frightful Beastliness - Where Are You Tonight And Where Have I Known You Before? - Orange - The Many Voices Of Dub - Enrico's Residency - My Name Is Not Pooter - The Basement Tapirs - Polka Dot Scherzo I - Ampoules of Lawrencini - Polka Dot Scherzo II - Unirunt In Snowcem - Blinje Slegl - Haiku Without Words I - Does It Matter? - Haiku Without Words III - Rachel's Frocks - The Bob Event - Cutting The Heads Off Kingkongs - Alpine - Terrifying Drummer Babies - Frenchpolish - Onion Moon - Haiku Without Words II - Pale [Yet Somehow Definitive] Experiments - Brancasamba - Lucid Day - Mud Soup - Packdrill - Cadillac - Hootndong - Quartet For The End of Lunchtime - Static In Stasis (Edited Version) - TVUS '09 (The Return of the Vibrating Underpants Salesman)... The music on this album is almost entirely constructed from samples taken from the recording sessions for the most recent Christmas Trees album. Except the bits that aren't. In many cases however, the samples have been so thoroughly manipulated, using fiendish electronic processes (discovered by the Aztecs and believed lost since the dawn of time etc etc), that it is doubtful that their own mothers would even recognise them anymore. This is not really a "REMIX" in the usual sense. It's more like a "COLLAGE", in the true spirit of Kurt Schwitters, or like the "XENOCHRONY" of Frank Zappa. The 'art', if there is any, lies in the selection process - the juxtaposition of [musical] elements that probably didn't belong together but, somehow, 'work'. During the course of these pieces, you will hear 'performances' by the mysterious collection of stuffed toy animals that ARE The Xmas Trees, as well as featured guest appearances by Minty, Binky, Gregsy, Shelfy, Bunny, Mervy, Snilty, Soxy and Rabbitty Holey. Special Thanks to the Pathetic Entries Poetry Collective.

While I was poking around in the archives, preparing the material for upload, I came across the original unedited version of "Static In Stasis". It was over thirty minutes in duration and probably went absolutely nowhere very slowly, but I found it quite interesting to hear after all this time. I might do something else with it at some stage. The version here might be a slightly different edit to the one that appeared on the Bandcamp album, but I'm probably the only one who'd notice!

More about "XENOCHRONY", if you were wondering...

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