Roy K. Felps, former editor/publisher of The One True Dead Angel, purveyor of music heavy, noisy, and doomy, and former head of the sadly defunct Monotremata Records reanimates the label (sort-of) in a special mix he put together just for us. (Thanks Roy!)
Hi there. I’m RKF of the band Korperschwache. From 1998 to 2003, I ran a tiny record label in Austin, Texas called Monotremata Records, which released six CDs before going hopelessly broke. (Let this be a lesson to you, aspiring record-label doom childe; running a record label is most expensive.) These CDs are now all out of print (and in some cases, incredibly difficult to find), so Neddal Ayad, a frequent contributor to this blog, talked me into whipping up a digital mix tape featuring tracks from all six releases. How could I refuse? So here we go…!
Click here for the MONOTREMATA MIX – read Roy’s notes below.
MONOCDO1: Mason Jones — MIDNIGHT IN THE TWILIGHT FACTORY
Mason Jones is probably most familiar to listeners in the context of Subarachnoid Space, the tripped-out psych band he fronted for many years (and to a lesser extent Trance, his solo project at the time). He was also the head of Charnel Music, an early supporter of THE ONE TRUE DEAD ANGEL — the ezine I ran for 18 years– and my gateway to a lot of really strange music, especially from Japan. These two tracks are representative of the spaced-out, otherworldly improvisational vibe of his release for Monotremata.
01) “Stone Clouds”
02) “Twilight Fall”
MONOCD02: Autodidact — WELCOME TO THE DISSONANCE ENGINE
Autodidact was my own band at the time (running concurrent with Korperschwache until 2003, not to be confused with the French techno band of the same name), which released this CD, a handful of CDRs on Crucial Blast and Public Eyesore, plus around twenty C60 cassettes of extremely obscure vintage (meaning they were dubbed by hand and mainly passed around to a handful of friends). Influenced heavily by K. K. Null, Skullflower, Lull, various bands featuring Justin Broadrick, Sisters of Mercy, Band of Susans, and Pain Teens, Autodidact’s was essentially a muddled form of improv isolationism with beats for most of its existence. Nearly everything from this CD was taken from those original cassettes, including the two tracks featured here.
03) “The Seduction of Jet Girl”
04) “Descent from Mt. Fuji”
MONOCD03: Gravitar — YOU MUST FIRST LEARN TO DRAW THE REAL
I first discovered Gravitar when Mason Jones sent me their first Charnel Music release, CHINGA SU CORAZON, and they quickly become one of my favorite bands. (They also inadvertently kicked off my notorious Skullflower obsession, because when I asked Mason where I could hear more stuff like this, Skullflower was the first band he recommended, and after hearing IIIRD GATEKEEPER, I became so enamored of the band that I ended up with a totally ridiculous number of albums by the band and its related offshoots like Ramleh, JFK, and Consumer Electronics.) The tracks featured here were originally released on a couple of CDRs pressed by the band to sell at shows; the Monotremata version was essentially their version of REAL with two tracks from the GO-SONIC CDR. The version of “Rocket to Dearborn” featured here is an early four-track version of the finished studio version featured on EDIFIER.
05) “Rocket to Dearborn”
06) “McCoy (live)”
MONOCD04: Angel’in Heavy Syrup — IV (US version)
I got into this band via an early Charnel Music compilation of Japanese music; I was so hypnotized by their track “My Dream” that I ended up tracking down all of their albums (no mean feat at the time). To this day, their first album is my favorite album of all time. Thanks to an introduction by Mason Jones, I was able to convince Jojo Hiroshige (guitarist for Hijokaidan and owner of Alchemy Records, the band’s label in Japan) to let me issue a domestic version of their fourth album for American audiences. This turned out to be the label’s best-selling release; the band’s status in Japanese psych circles combined with the affordable domestic price meant that the CD pretty much sold itself. Tragically, this turned out to be the band’s last album.
07) “First Love”
08) “Adios in Those Days”
MONOCD05: DR:OP:FR:AM+E — THE RULE OF CAPTURE
This wonked-out quasi-techno band consisted of Tim Thompson (now head of audiovisual production company Hot Pixel Action) and Mike Schneider (now the Honorable Mike Schneider, Judge of the 315th District Court in Houston, Texas). I ended up in Tim’s orbit through his connection to the Pain Teens (whose semi-official site I was hosting at monotremata.com), and eventually ended up putting out this CD after hearing a lot of the work they were doing in The Keloid Clinic (studio, not a band). While this is a swell CD, due to my complete and total ignorance of the techno market (or, more accurately, how to market music in that genre), this release was a financial disaster for the label. Which is too bad, because it still holds up as a freaky mix of techno, baroque film samples, glitch electronica, and just plain weirdness. For the Pain Teens completists, it should be noted that it also has two tracks featuring vocals by Bliss Blood, and another featuring vocals and other stuff by Pain Teens drummer Frank Garymartin under the name Hundred.
09) “Radium” (with Bliss Blood)
10) “Doinz Afoot” (with Hundred aka Frank Garymartin)
MONOCD06: Southern Gun Culture — ROOM 65
Monotremata released one last CD before dissolving in a sea of red ink. (Trivia note: MONOCD07 was going to be Skullfower’s EXQUISITE FUCKING BOREDOM, which ended up on tUMULt when it became obvious that I didn’t have the finances to make the CD happen. I still have a master DAT of the original album with extra tracks floating around here somewhere. This was tentatively going to be followed by one of the earliest releases by Aidan Baker, pre-Nadja, but obviously that didn’t happen either.) The final CD by the label was by the Austin stoner-rock band Southern Gun Culture, a band I first saw when they opened for Sour Vein around 2000. As it happens, this ended up being the band’s only full-length release (although it was followed a split CD with Superheavygoatass on Arclight Records a year or two later). The second track here was recorded by myself on a TASCAM eight-track in their rehearsal room (the room referenced in the album title).
12) “The Art of War (Pillars of Hercules”)