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Mannlicher Carcano: Trouble & Thensome



To celebrate Mannlicher Carcano’s 25th continuous year as an improvisational audio collage group, and the discovery of an unopened stack of recordable 3” mini CDs in a dumpster in Glendale, CA (artists rendering above), redacted records is pleased to announce the release of a numbered limited edition of 50 mp3 mini CDs containing over 3 ½ hours of Mannlicher Carcano recordings spanning 1987 to 2012, including many of Mannlicher’s most beloved recordings, various out-of-print rarities, and several previously unissued gems.


Trouble & Thensome (or T ‘n’ T) is an expansion of MC’s definitively unfinished career anthology Trouble Comes in Threes, which compiled recordings from their beginnings as a noise-leaning musique concrete performance group through the early years of their weekly multi-stream radio program, to their 2001 studio collage Hunt Down & Punish -- recorded and released within a week of the 9/11 controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, in an effort to rally the populace and forestall the military incursion into the middle east which nevertheless ensued.

Trouble & Thensome substitutes the long-unavailable full 17-minute version of Hunt Down & Punish for the more familiar single version, and sets several other tracks from the original Trouble aside in order to make room for a selection of subsequent single releases, including the hypnotic Cash Out, recorded and debuted the week of Johnny Cash’s death; Indian Ned’s Song from the soundtrack to Lee Lynch’s 2012 revisionist Western film The Death of Hi Good; and (It’s) Time to Smash Things Up (for Mike Kelley), excerpted from the Jan 31, 2012 radio broadcast -- the exact time the LA-based artist and noise musician was taking his own life.

Other material added to the expanded Trouble includes the first released audio fragment from their 2004 multimedia installation/performance Mannlicher Carcano vs Nanook of the North, the ensemble’s deconstructive multimedia mashup of the first feature-length cinematic documentary from 1921; individual tracks from their first CD release in 2001 Half Duplex Receive Only [roden quote] and their 2009 long player Crawl to Safety (with Mannlicher Carcano), as well as the previously unreleased Another Finite Monkey, a live mix of some of the 90 10-second loopable micro-compositions assembled as their groundbreaking 2002 work Infinite Monkeys, originally released on the CD accompanying the band’s cover story in the prestigious new music magazine Musicworks.

Several other tracks originate from the 11 self-released cassettes issued by MC between 1987 and 1999, from which much of the original Trouble derives. As participants in the first cassette culture underground, MC released such landmark collections as Level BestNext Best, and Honorable Mentions, but their 1994 concept cassette War Measures Act is widely regarded as their finest cassette moment.

Other excerpts on T ‘n’ T represent such experimental releases as the 1988 cassette Walpurgisnacht, each of which had a different dumpster-scavenged photograph featuring a bust of Hitler, a chunk of hash, and other objects in various arrangements as the j-card cover, and a different combination of recordings from a 6-hour live performance on April 30/May 1 that same year; and Fogwit, a 60-minute document of two specially designed turntables simultaneously playing identical funk 45s that had been meticulously distressed by the band members.

The members of Mannlicher Carcano are Porter Hall, Gogo Godot, and Really Happening -- plus more than 200 beloved adjunct band members -- including Kenneth Friendliness, The Missing Hyperlink, Christ, Pilot K9, Peas Porigiott, Lucky Breaks, Dr. Pityface, Darth Pitapants, Brudda Debuddah, Woodpity Pitywood, Mr. Supreme Neurotic, and so on to infinity -- many of whom play on this record!






Here's the rearranged notes from the original version of Trouble, we'll get it updated to include all the new material as everything unfolds.

01 (I’m Making) No Noise (1989) from Asleep on the Carts 


“Porter and Mrs. Hall were back in the ‘peg for the summer, living close to the bone, and Mannlicher played around a fair bit. We was all drinkin' hard in them days, and one night, over t’ the Halls’ illegal studio -cum-living-quarters, we was havin a go with a pile of old 78’s that had recently fallen through the cracks and into our hands, as well as the usual mess of sound makin' devices and what-have-you. Round about 2 am and the beer stores close and we scrounge together enough for a 6 pack and Porter does his Porter thing and on his way back runs into irate downstairs also-illegal neighbor goes by the name of Mr. Supreme Neurotic already, and he does his supreme neurotic thing. The rest is history. And it is recorded” 


02 Andrew’s Show Part One (T3 remix from original Ken Gregory mix) (1991/2003) from Honourable Mentions : Solid Brass Hits 


Really’s 4-year-old nephew Andrew was in town during the period when Mannlicher were appearing with some regularity on virtual audio realities, a radio art free-for-all piloted by Ken Gregory. On this occasion, we decided to turn the creative reins over to Andrew, and the results were predictably randomized. Ken later mixed down this show and a number of other MC VAR appearances into what was titled ‘Rhythm 12’ for inclusion as side two of the Honourable Mentions cassette. This cut, as well as track 3, further condenses Ken’s precis. Much of the early rhythmic elements in this selection were created by modifying a ‘bagfull of laughs’. Other sound sources include mouldy analogue drum machine, carefully miced blocks of wood to be hammered, digitally fragmented classical guitar, manipulated tape of a radio adaptation of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, exotica music, children’s records, field recordings, original songs, buskers, and what have you. 

03 Andrew’s Show Part Two (T3 remix from original Ken Gregory mix) (1991/2003) from Honourable Mentions : Solid Brass Hits 


04 Another Finite Monkey (2003) from DJ only promo for Infinite Monkeys

Infinite Monkeys was a work commisioned by the new music magazine Musicworks for their winter 2003 cover story on mannlicher. IM consists of 90 10-second microcompositions excavated primarily from transcription recordings of the Mannlicher Carcano Radio Hour – 30 by each member of Mannlicher – which may be played singly, in order, on random repeat, or uploaded and played as loops. All are encouraged to incorporate these loops into their own improvisations, and a promotional CD sent only to college radio DJs included this example of a mix made entirely from these 10 second fragments. 


05 Broken Glass (Who Broke Glass?) (1988) from lost album It Only Laughs When I Hurts (version on Level Best called Not John’s Sampler

One of our first actual 4-track studio recordings (earlier multitracking having been achieved with multiple cassettes and stereo input fiddling), making use of new and previous improvisations, including performances on the spring-strung bass, sine-wave generator, jew’s harp, viola, cast aluminum cello, electric guitar, Ventor Device, toy instruments, turntable, samples from The Shadow, Mrs.Frost, altered Orff brats, and television coverage of the 1987 Miss Transcona contest 

06
Cash Out

07 Change Your Fuckin' Answering Machine (1988) from War Measures Act 


Most sound artists go through a period when it seems like a good idea to leave tech-specific works as their outgoing answering machine messages. Here’s why not. This piece is based on a message left by an anonymous, overzealous fan, and subsequently used as the outgoing answering machine message, which shut her up good. It was scary there for a while though. Live radio, tape and turntable manipulations, additional vocals by Porter. 


08 Condensed Cream of CRCA (1992) from War Measures Act 

Based on the success of their project no bodies for UCSD’s ‘In Bodies Festival’ (for which the group created their first telelinked improvisation performing a concert without any members being actually physically present), Mannlicher was invited to perform at UC San Diego’s prestigious Center for Research in Computers in the Arts, or CRCA. This time they all showed up, with extra performers including Minister Altair-5 and the Ex- Rev John Poo Poo Bleeding Bear Von Higham, and hundreds of sound and image producing devices (none of which had anything to do with computers). Several hours of the performance recordings were later reduced by Porter to this 2-minute blur. Mannlicher were not invited back.

09 Demonstrating Modern Music (1990) single, also from Honourable Mentions : Solid Brass Hits 

Shortly after returning from the legendary Thunder Bay Sessions, Mannlicher fell into a routine of daily performance, generating innumerable hours of material, which remain unlogged to this day. This selection was one exception, being immediately identified as the single. Duck calls, feedback, verispeed tapes of earlier performances, typewriter, and guest vocals by Prickles the Dinosaur... Or is it Bill Lee? 

10
Diamond Dust 

11 Farmer in the Dell/The Cheese Swings Solo (1994) from As Is 


A strange hybrid of tracks – the first part recorded by Porter Hall and Lucky Breaks in their San Diego studios, overdubbed with trumpet by Really Happening, which acts as a bridge to the sample-happy rhythmic extravaganza which follows, combining new studio work by RH with a number of earlier Mannlicher performances, including St. Vital Organisms and Thunder Bay Sessions. It is believed this is the direction Miles was going with early 70’s work such as Jack Johnson and Agharta, before being sidetracked by the disco midi nexus from Hell. 

12 Fogwit (excerpt) (1989) limited edition double single; limited edition cassette (alternate version on Next Best)


Porter Hall found a stash of an obscure funk single in a thrift store in san diego and mailed them to the other members of Mannlicher, still in Winnipeg. Gogo and Really retooled the grooves of each disc by hand, so that they would jump from point to point, get stuck, skip backwards, etc. without intervention, for hours at a time. Mannlicher packaged them in pairs in numbered homemade sleeves in an edition of 15, which sold out at their next live show. Artist Doug Harvey then designed the St. Sebastian Labianca Home Entertainment System, a sort of skeletal winged unicorn record player with forks, to be produced in pairs specifically for playing the pairs of Fogwit singles simultaneously. This recording was made at the only public demonstration of this artifact, at the Lenin’s Furniture show at Student Bolshevik Gallery. The tape, thought lost for years, was rediscovered in Gogo’s garage and issued in a limited edition in 1996. The version which had appeared earlier on the cassette Next Best was produced in studio on a regular turntable specifically for that release, as the previously mentioned cassette documentation was already missing. 

13 Grey Cup Symphony (excerpt) (1990) from Next Best 


In anticipation of the Blue Bombers victory in the 1990 CFL Grey Cup playoffs over Edmonton, the people of Winnipeg were invited via posted fliers to join Mannlicher in a live improvised sound event. The resulting Grey Cup Symphony was a 90-minute privately circulated sound ecology atrocity, from which this segment was lifted. 

14
Hey Doggie Doggie

15 
How to Peel Onions (Dear Listeners edit)

16 Hunt Down & Punish (long version) (9/13/2001) from HD&P CD single


Recorded and released within 2 days of the sept 11, 2001 suicide attack on the world trade center towers and debuted in its long form as a continuous soundtrack to the prophetically titled site-specific van exhibition Gas Grass or Ass: Nobody Rides for Free during the Los Angeles East Side Art Crawl Sept 21, HD&P isolates and foregrounds the philosophical meme that has characterized the subsequent actions of the one world government, equating it with a signet of popular culture cautioning skepticism regarding the official version of history put forth by same. Other cunning samples include Really’s dying father spontaneously bursting forth in pirate-style sing-along to a group of vietnemese folk musicians on cable access tv. If you can’t dance you can’t be part of our revolution.

17 I Know My Invisible Friends Are Real

18 
Indian Ned's Song


19 It Was Tuesday Night (with Ex- Rev John Poo Poo Bleeding Bear Von Higham) (1990) from Next Best 


Recorded at the home of the Ex-Reverend’s then-living father with all 3 Mannlicher members playing the same piano which, unbeknownst to any of us at the time, contained a treasure trove of hidden silverware secreted by the Ex- Rev’s sister in an attempt to hide her rightful inheritance from the grasping hands of their evil stepmother. The Ex- Rev supplied guitar, vocals and lyrics. 

20 Juli Carson Hates Relational Aesthetics and So Do I


21 Leave the Room Vera (1987) from Level Best

An early work recorded in the legendary dairy barn performance space, Canada, includes field recordings from the botanical gardens, live aerophones, cordophones, and other instruments and live radio and tapes. A telling portent of what was to follow. 


22 Living Creatures (from the Tidepool) (1992) from War Measures Act 


More dense racket from the war measures act sessions, recorded in gogo’s basement and the bolshevik studios, featuring stuck records, glockenspiel, gospel plunkett, spring reevaluator, dumstrucken, orbital synchronizer, dry christmas tree rattle, respun phallix. 


23 MC on 45 (1992) single, also from War Measures Act 


Mannlicher was concerned about their lack of commercial breakthrough, as well as the waning of public interest in the ‘on 45’ format of popular audio collage. Taking their cue from SPK, Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, and other difficult disco, they assembled this single at the beginning of the 90’s using only a beat up 4-track and borrowed cheeseball casio sampler, a hope and a prayer. The disc went gold in Belgium and Brazil, but due to an unfortunate business agreement, Mannlicher actually lost money on it. Their dreams shattered, they retreated back into their womb of sound to lick their wounds. 


24 Melt Me On the Me Me Me (2001) online-only release


Track created for Mannlicher’s 1st CD Half Duplex Receive Only but didn’t make the final cut, and was posted on the band’s mp3.com site. This is therefore an excerpt from the Mannlicher Carcano Radio Hour, and consists of a three-city long-distance telephone collaboration. There are turntables, radio, St. Vital Organisms, telephone answering machines, feedback-drenched electric guitar freakout, film soundtrack dialogue fragments - but most noteworthy is the presence of computer sampling and processing, which had, by the late 90s, trickled down far enough to become part of the band’s repetoire. 

25 Milgram's Golfballs 

26 Mr. Yongy Bongy Bo (1987) from Level Best


Excerpted from the very end of one of Mannlicher’s earliest public performances, this number shows the influence of Tibetan ritual music (really) and features glass percussion, a debate between Mannlicher groupies Candy Cane and the Queen of The Pas, as well as samples from Lady Macbeth and nonsense genius Edward Lear, from whose selfsame poem the title is derived. “You can applause now!” 


27 Nanook Sketch 01 

28 Never Walk Alone

29 Noodle Ring Agai(1998) from abandoned album Noodle Ring Again


Guitar, accordion and electronics underscore a subtle contextual jibe from MTM, courtesy the King’s last theatrical release. I saw this one night, late at night as a young teenager. It turns out sometimes things are as weird as they seemed at the time. 

30 Not in Kansas

31 Oenophilia (T3 remix) (1996/2003) from Never Jam Today 


From side one of Never Jam Today, the first cassette in a series of compiled exquisite corpse compositions created on cassette 4-track through the mails from the early-90’s on. The series was intended to consist of 3 cassettes, each containing two mixdowns of various singular corpses. Each of the 3 members of Mannlicher was to oversee one of the cassettes. Never Jam Today was mixed down by Really Happening. The second volume, compiled by Gogo Godot, remains unreleased. 
          
32 One to the Earthquak(1995) from As Is 


An unedited section of the March 14, 1993 performance at CRCA in San Diego that resulted in distilled sound work included as track 8 of this anthology. From the program notes, composed anagramattically from letters in the group’s name: 
Mannlicher Carcano’s economical harmonic chroma are a holier amino, an oneiric lace corona, an anarchic alcaholic mariachi choir. No ear in hell can roar nearer or reach a more cranial home. In a one-in-a- million hole-in-one, an oracle can hear Mannlicher Carcano, an oracle can learn Carcano lore, an oracle can remain alone. All lie: no omen. 
33 Oovveerr tthhee Rraaiinnbbooww

34 Suzanne (L. Cohen) (1988) from Honourable Mentions : Solid Brass Hits 


At the nadir of Leonard’s public visibility, when Various Positions was released only in Canada, Mannlicher resolved to re-energize his career with an album of cover versions, tentatively entitled LEONARD COHEN’S GREATEST HITS as performed by Mannlicher Carcano. Several tracks were begun, but only Suzanne found release, as Jennifer Warnes, who had been sniffing around the Mannlicher camp for some time, working as a waitress at Salisbury House and illegally listening in on private conversations, hightailed it to the USA and beat us to the punch with an inferior selection of treacly retreads that hit the saccharine-clogged palates of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Consumer Fetishism right where they liked it. Oooh baby, give it to me! Fuckin ho. Sounds include guitar & vox by Really, typewriter, vacuum, sound effects records, and alphabet pasta sliding back and forth in a slide carousel box. 

35 Thunder Bay Dreamtime 2 - coda

36 (It's) Time to Smash Things Up(for Mike Kelley)

37 War Measures Act (T3 remix) (1993/2003) from War Measures Act


Generally considered Mannlicher’s most difficult album, WMA alternated abrasive electronics and noisy improvisations with more soothing instrumental passages and occasional non- sequitors, such as the MC on 45 single. This remix begins with Advice for Teenagers and includes a doubled reverse loop of Really’s sister singing Oh Mary Don’t You Weep as a young girl, as well as a slowed down example of the Ventor Device in action, and a defective cassette transcription in homage to Madonna’s Truth or Dare, an important cultural milestone for all the boys. 


38 What the Arthur Fuck (1988) from Level Best 


We filled a 90-minute cassette with this loop and would sometimes let it play for hours uninterupted. Try it. A chance collaboration between Mannlicher and an apparent shut-in with the handle ‘Popeye’ who was illegally using citizen’s band frequencies for frivolous banter. His frequent rants first surfaced during the cassette dubbing of a microtonal piano composition by Really Happening, as heard here, but recurred sporadically for several months. Gogo believed he was able to communicate back through the stereo speakers to this phantom - “No, you’re the fucking clown!” I recall him opining. 


 39 Why Are We Taping This? (1992) from As Is 


A deeper and more lingering question re: any improvisational music would be hard to imagine. We just try to cover as many bases as we can, so that there may be some excuse in retrospect, when we are held to account. In this particular instance, Mannlicher resorts to throbbing electronics, a Treasure Island children’s record, ghost radio voices, sampled bells, heavy breathing, mouldy analogue drum machine, feedback, duck calls, jaunty organisms, a field recording from Thunder Bay, a melted tape of african drumming, live drum stylings by Ross “Rod” Taylor, mixed applause and rain effects, and more. Then again, why not? 

 40 You Can Start Again (1989) from Next Best 

After 49 hours of continuous audio collage improvisation, Mannlicher wound down their longest epic to date with this startlingly unpremeditated dénouement, which provided conceptual and melodic closure to the now legendary
Thunder Bay Sessions performances. Turntable, typewriter, and a loaner organ from the former cult members that wound up coming home with us. That’s a lot of winding up for such a delicate mechanism as Mannlicher Carcano. But rest assured, they are guaranteed for the life of the watch!

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