Friday, December 14, 2007

The Imperial Pompadours-Ersatz,LP,1982,UK

Visionary artist Barney Bubbles was the graphic designer and creator of such classic sleeves as Hawkwind’s “X In Search of Space,” “Doremi Fasol Latido” and “Space Ritual” as well as innumerable Stiff Records covers. But his vision also extended to light shows, choreography and this record, “Ersatz.” Collaborating with friend Nik Turner, Robert Calvert, Inner City Unit and whoever else was in the studio at the time, they produced a record under extreme economic conditions. Barney even designed the sleeve in affordable black and white, and kept the band (and himself, as was his wont) completely anonymous in the credits. Saving on the expense of studio time, they would record first-take versions of songs from a favourite mix tape of his after one play apiece. They would listen then record, listen then record twelve times in one quick session.
And the songs on Barney’s tape? “The Crusher” by The Novas, Little Black Egg” by The Nightcrawlers, “Brand New Cadillac”, “Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots” by The Cheers. But what wound up on the album were a string of versions rendered by a band that had little or no previous knowledge of these songs! “The Crusher” is slowed down as to render the vocals practically belching or vomiting, not sung, over spartan backing of pot’n’pan percussion, drill noises and dinky organ. “See You Soon Baboon” is all frantic LSD-rockabilly, heavy on the vocal reverbing. In fact, the reverb’s in the red on half the tracks here and if it’s not the vocals, it’s the damn guitar or some bicycle spokes being played with a knitting needle. From the “Pebbles” archive comes a classic freakout on The Fee-Fi-Fo-Plus Four’s “I Want To Come Back (From the World of LSD)” with its barked out chorus of “A-C-I-D! A-C-I-D! A-C-I-D!” over variable delay speeding. The whole thing reeks of low budget experimentalism at all times, especially when an egg timer is used as percussion on one track. “Light Show” is pure anarchy: an almost “Baba O’Reilly” type anthem synthesizer intro, but (“POW! POW!”) in breaks a buzzsaw Keith Levene riff -- sans backing -- then Nik Turner gives it some Hawkwind-styled intonation over a spare and tortured mini psycho-punk bombardment until it all degenerates into a woman shrieking over and over: “LIGHT SHOW! LIGHT SHOW! LIGHT SHOW!”
On the back cover legend “Play it LOUD you turkeynecks” the word “LOUD” takes up half the space of the jacket but you run a real risk if you make good on this suggestion and live adjacent to intolerable neighbours. Because one song can suddenly rocket into the stratosphere all noised-up after a real quiet passage. Side two is “Insolence Across The Nation” and is a surefire rent-breaker at any volume: An album side’s length of collaged sound effects, samples of Wagner and brief instrumentals backing a multi-perspective narration of the life of Adolf Hitler. It’s psychedelic/punk cabaret action, for sure and one of the narrators is most definitely Robert Calvert, slipping into “Captain Lockheed” meets “Steppenwolf” psychotic, Teutonic ranting and frothing at the mouth. The whole deal is just so twisted and unpolished, this album and the year it came out – 1982 -- are completely incongruous. An utterly twisted album of variety and creativity.
From :Julian Cope's Head Heritage
Here 's one of the rarest and most outrageous Hawkwind family LPs.Actually a result of NiK Turner's collaboration with visionary artist Barney Bubbles with the help of Bob Calvert.The album contains many cover versions of garage punk/surf classics in a glinchy synth driven quircky way while side 2 contains only a side long track (24 minutes) with space electronics and narration composed by the one and only Bob Calvert.A really "mutant" album!

***************NEW LINK POSTED SEPTEMBER 2012***************

Get it here  


Anonymous said...


ahaha i can't believe i now have YET ANOTHER version of the crusher (uszniewicztones, los shains, cramps...)

Jess Shambler said...

This is awesome. I heard "I Wanna Come Back" on WFMU this afternoon and I thought that I would die if I didn't get to hear the whole album. It's as good as Head Heritage says. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

AAAHHHHH thank you thank you i've have this fantastic strange record in vinyl & can't ear it (broken pickup)

Anonymous said...

This is one of the funniest albums I've ever heard. It's just crying out to be broadcast on Dr. Demento. Thank you thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered about this strangely listenable Lp I bought for a dollar. I liked it immediately. Many albums have come and gone in my collection but this one remains happily in my box marked SMEGMA / PORK DUKES records. Thanks for the info.

Joseph Hammer said...

Hi Y'all the link don't work and i gotta hear this! can you please repost or something. feel free to contact me, just go to my site and lemme know what you want.

you're the best! mutantsounds become tapeloops and then back to mutantsounds!!!

Anonymous said...

so joseph hammer from solid eye, steaming coils, dinosaurs with horns & swan trove is the only other person who'd like a re-up? well shit mang, i snoozed on this one too & hereby officially second the request. my dog makes three. incidentally the swan trove link is dead too. if you wouldn't mind somewhere down the road, it sure would be awesome to get the imperial pompadours & swan trove on the same day. best blog ever. enzo kreft cover being boiled! anyhoo, there aint a soul within miles from where i'm that would even understand what the hell i'm talking about so thanks mutantsounds for always being here no matter where i am.

mad scientist dave said...

I am a huge Hawkwind fan. On a dare, many years ago, I went to a used records store with the object being I would NOT buy a Hakwind (or related) album. Somehow I came across this one incorrectly filed under "E" (for Ersatz). I bought it, brought it home, and halfway through the second song realized... I had lost the dare. It's my all time prized possession to this day, dare or not!

mad scientist dave said...

This album is possibly my most prized possession. It's the second copy I've owned, the first (with back cover autographed by Nik Turner in the mid 90s) was lost in a storage space fiasco and I finally found it again online after years of searching. I have it ripped to CD if anyone is interested and unable to find it anywhere.