Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And An A – Ambition / Affirmation 12” (Cherrytop Records, 1985), Taken as Gospel / Haloes and Wings 12” (Square World Music, ???)




No trace of the Taken as Gospel / Haloes and Wings 12" is to be found on line. 
Readers will have to enjoy this pic of my own copy taken with my very own hand, 
using photographic skills that I optimistically describe as "modest".


And so it comes to pass that I must finally get around to inspecting a contribution from my own home town.

Ahh! Perth, Western Australia – home to countless bland indie-pop bands, embarrassing attempts at public art, and guys who fly in from the mines every Friday fresh from an intellectually stimulating week of digging stuff out of the ground.

Oddly enough, it’s also home to a surprisingly large Goth and Industrial scene.

The number of Goth/Industrial bands who have sprung out of this cultural backwater are almost legion. Some, like Janco’s Mask or the infamous Accelerated Men I might get round to reviewing at some point (I probably won’t though, ‘cause they do happen to be quite good friends of mine and I rather like getting invited to their soirees.),

And An A however, were something quite different. Much earlier for starters, and also one of the few Perth bands back then to actually release something more substantial than a demo tape.

When I saw them it was at what I suspect must have been their absolute final gig after a long absence at a party in Northbridge of dubious legality in the very early 90s. They were a two-piece then, and the Goth and Industrial scenes hadn’t yet fully crossed-over. It created a fairly unpleasant vibe – the Goth kids sitting and the more dancy Industrial crew trying to dance over the top of them, screaming “Fuckin’ boring Goths! Get the fuck out of the way!” as fingers, feet and knees were mercilessly, but rhythmically stomped upon.

At the time though, I had no idea at all how long they and their synth-driven goth-come-industrial stylings had actually been around for. Unfortunately, so little of their legacy has been documented anywhere, and such minimal information exists on their record sleeves that putting this entry together proved quite a chore, and many thanks are due to the help provided by my long-term partner in musical crime Mr Brad Smart esq.

Apparently starting up sometime around 1981, the artiness of And an A must have come as something of a shock to Perth at a time when only cover bands got gigs. The original band line-up seems to have actually employed real live drummers, sometimes to beat the crud out of a 44 gallon drum, much to the horror of uninitiated sound mixers. The drummers, for various reasons didn’t last and were ultimately replaced by a rather more reliable drum machine.

The comments on a Worst of Perth entry concerning The Red Parrot- a notorious Perth Nightclub from the 80s, are bizarrely probably the best source of information on And An A currently on the net, and it is largely from a pair of posters known only as 3am and Elroy that a number of amusing tales of the band can be found. This tale of knight-errant Paul Cumming, one of their former drummers, being a fine example:

“When holed up for the night in Mullawa, a racist spec 100 ks east of Geraldton, he had a conversation with the publican’s son that went something like this:
Red-haired Publican’s Son: Youse from the city, eh?
Paul Cumming: Um…yeah.
PRHS: I went there once. Went to a nightclub and everything.
PC: Oh…good for you.
PRHS: Yeah, saw a band.
PC: Oh. OK. Who were they?
PRHS: I dunno. They were fucking shithouse, but.
PC: You don’t remember what they were calle…
PRHS: Ah yeah. Andana
PC: Who?
PRHS: Andana. Fucking shithouse.
PC: Oh, And An A…yeah, um, I was in that band.
PRHS: Oh. (Pause). But you weren’t the drummer, eh? Fucking dickhead was using a ball-peen hammer on a 44-gallon drum!
PC: Um yeah, I was the drummer. That was me.
PRHS: Oh. (Long pause). Jeez, youse were fucking shithouse.”

Ah, Western Australia, how do I love thee, let me count the ways (This shouldn't take long)

Moving right along, and we arrive at the mid 80s with a much more refined outfit and two quite brilliant synth-driven 12”s, the first of which, “Affirmation / Ambition” is known thanks to Discogs.com to have been released in 1985, and a second, lesser known “Taken as Gospel / Haloes and Wings” which we must assume to have been released shortly thereafter. And An A may not have ever achieved world dominating fame, but even these days, both Affirmation and Haloes and Wings can occasionally be heard given a spin in Perth alternative venues, much to the delight of the old guard.

It does seem quite unreasonable to accept that all trace of these 12”s magnificence to be left forgotten, so for this once, I’m going to abandon this blog’s usual policy and actually provide a download. Both 12”s! Grab ‘em now you lucky lucky people and experience the long gone joy that was And An A!


Rumour has it that there may have been a third release, possibly an EP or possibly even a CD, depending on who you listen to. May have been titled something along the lines of “Earth am Flat, Sun do Move”, but apart from the rather vague link below, history appears to have erased all trace of it.
Such is…well….death.
Here’s to resurrection.

Lineup:Dave Kelsall, Tony Roncevic, and possibly Nigel Harford (bass)

15 comments:

  1. Great collection, but can one ask for a small favour? Distribute such music in a non-proprietary archive format that's platform independent. Best practise for the best music :)

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  2. there was a cd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in a tin :) :) earth am flat, sun do move. and there was a video clip for taken as gospel, which was actually played on rage once, but i didn't have a vcr in those days :( i keep checking youtube every so often just in case... david gerard used to have it on vhs but i don't know if he does anymore. and brett gillespie was on keys when the 12 inches came out & did the artwork on them

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  3. http://www.78records.com.au/local_release/256/and+an+a-earth+am+flat,+sun+do+move/ (they don't have it anymore :( )

    and there's another song here http://spill-label.org/FastForward/ff13/ff13-02.mp3

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  4. Ahh - useful information. I'll chase David up about the video.
    Thanks!

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  5. Give me an address and I will gladly send you a copy of the CD

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  6. Earth am Flat you mean?
    How about you upload it to mediafire and give us an address to download it from?
    That would be terrific. Thanks!

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  7. I have the VHS cassette in question! I have no equipment capable of playing a VHS tape ... And I'm in London. So I have no idea if it's even readable (more than once). It was also broadcast on the video show 96fm did on Channel 7, which is where I taped it.

    Man, someone should be able to track down David Kelsall.

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  8. Not sure if you'll read this in time David but I'm heading to London next week. I'm happy to bring it back to Perth with me and get it dubbed on to DVD where it can be shared (with permission of course) via You Tube or something. You can reach me via James, I'll be in London until Saturday the 9th of June.

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  9. Hi. Just found this post and wanted to say thanks for sharing. Been looking for Ambition / Affirmation for ages. Such great memories of Perth mid-80s

    Warren

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  10. Thanks for maintaining the rage. I brought Halos and Wings back in the 80's and lost the 12" during many moves. Coming across it today and listening to Gospel was a revelation. Heart felt thanks.

    Rockets redglare

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  11. hey Anonymous, are you David Kelsall lurking quietly in your black leather?!?

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  12. Hi. I am pretty certain the Perth artist Jurek Wybraneic was in one line up for And An A.

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  13. Well done, Jenny-Anne. Fine instinctual sleuthing. And the leather still fits.

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  14. BTW for the curious, I looked for the VHS and can't find it here ... bother.

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  15. I was the uninitiated sound engineer! That was one of the strangest funnest shows I ever did, setting up microphones on a 44 gallon drum put me in good stead for recording massive water tanks being bashed with a broom and oxygen cylinders hit with hammers. Everybody seemed very excited to be there, oh wait that was just the drugs.

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