Eric Random started in the band The Tiller Boys, which included Buzzcocks's Pete Shelley, who played at some of those legendary Factory showcases at the end of the 1970s. Their last date was sharing the bill with Cabaret Voltaire on that night captured as Live at the YMCA on October 27th (yeah, you missed my birthday again this year) in 1979. Following the split, Random (who was only 18 in 1979) began working closer with the Cabs, recording at their Western Works studio in Sheffield with Stephen Mallinder at the desk, joining the Cabs following the departure of Chris Watson in 1981 and appearing on 2x45 and The Pressure Company, and even playing a one-off show billed as A Certain Random Cabaret which included members of A Certain Ratio.
Random's music fits in appropriately between contemporary music of 23 Skidoo and Cabaret Voltaire. Structured rhythms provide the backbone for songs which often push the ten-minute mark, never straying from the established tempo, while a bass line frequently remains fairly constant throughout each piece. On top are layers featuring tape manipulations, faint guitar, horns, melodica, and muted vocals, soaked in primitive echoes and delays found primarily on early recordings from the mightiest dubmasters.
Once again LTM's presentation is classy and respectful, including an informative booklet to accompany the music. Disc one captures singles and compilation tracks from 1980-1982 while disc two features the 1982 album Earthbound Ghost Need (a Burroughs reference from Naked Lunch) in its entirety.
Random's inclusion of a cover of "Bolero" by Ravel at the end of the Earthbound Ghost Need album is hardly a surprise, as the structure of that song is almost a blueprint to the main ideas of most of Eric Random's music: songs are very long and simply do not stray from their main theme. (It's a formula that shouldn't be unfamiliar to Cabaret Voltaire and Richard H. Kirk fans.) Songs like this work well in clubs and in other social settings but two discs of long cuts is a lot more to ask of a listener as opposed to an extended 12" single here and there. The four songs from the That's What I Like About Me EP open the first disc and the muddy footprints left by Stephen Mallinder and Western Works are all over it. (It's not a bad thing, honest.) The length of these four songs is an album in nearly anybody's book, which makes it somewhat unbalanced when compared to the following six tracks, which average around 4 minutes each.
There is plenty more Eric Random yet to compile and reissue, as following these recordings Random traveled to India to study non-western musics, continued his friendship and alliance with Cabaret Voltaire, playing various concerts with them (including a show with Richard H. Kirk as recently as 2000), releasing music on their Doublevision imprint, and performing in other projects like The Free Agents, and The Faction (Nico's backing band in the 1980s). CV fans should especially be anxious to see the Mad As Mankind single released again but as this stuff was out around 1984, it simply wouldn't have quite fit in to the material collected on Subliminal 1980-1982. I'll wait patiently myself and take the time this material needs to settle in completely.
PRE ORDER HERE