The Tenant: Sick Cure for Bomber’s Scapegoat
5 track CDR EP, 20 minutes, 2006.
1) My Medal
2) Derailed at True Crossing
3) Bruised Paul
4) Faculty Berk, 1880
Sick Cure for Bomber’s Scapegoat is a CDR EP presenting five songs recorded over five and a half years on analogue tape; a process resulting in simultaneous accretion and deterioration of sound. The point at which to stop recording is a race of the imagination against the poorly-spliced magnetic tape across the finish line.
‘My Medal’ is concerned with repetition, brutishness and folly. I approached the turret that is partially visible behind the trees in Clissold Park expecting to find a historic castle that would connect my present experience of North London with its mediaeval past. What a fool: the sign outside proclaims: ‘Indoor Climbing Centre’.
‘Derailed at True Crossing’ is both the oldest and the newest song on the EP — conceived in the final summer of the twentieth century, it was also the last to be completed. Its troubled gestation is unconsciously mirrored in its erratic structure. No musical idea is returned to throughout the course of the song, except the electronic drone. Melody is picked up and then discarded. Trains to the city from the south and east coasts triangulate its musical foundation. The peaceful gardens I sat in when I started the song were hazy recollections by its completion.
‘Bruised Paul’ concerns a number of walks. Before being ordained priest of St Paul’s, John Donne preached at Lincoln’s Inn. The cobbles are comparatively modern, but another world is glimpsed on the notice-board. Sample notice:
WIG AND GOWN
Must be in good condition
Will pay reasonable price
The song also includes a guitar solo.
‘Faculty Berk, 1880’ fails to resolve its opening thesis through the use of language, but contests it through the use of the most impudent of instruments: the kazoo. Despite this, it is not a comedy song; it is a tense battle: the mechanical rhythm resisted being turned to song for a good three years. Man triumphed over machine in the end, but the struggle is still evident in the tone of the verses.