Bletchley dread unit Bad Body debut on Tombed Visions with a specially re-mastered for tape reissue of the Do You Know I Live? LP first released on Fortissimo Records in 2013. Choosing to record in the decrepit and infamously oppressive Brunswick Mill Studios, Manchester over an even bleaker December weekend has instilled in records two long form pieces a markedly haunted and melancholia stained atmosphere. Sound-makers The Engineer and Patrick John Carney use a variety of samples, synths, found sounds and specifically ‘The Machine’; a large custom made Perspex noise generator that adorns the washed out front cover to chronicle front man Paul’s dark descent into personal ruin, relived trauma and resented ennui. The band could be understood as a re-imagination of the classic power-electronics set-up, with the snarling and chaotic noise/vocal delivery of seminal bands Whitehouse and Consumer Electronics dulled over age and with a tired acceptance but still maintaining embers of fury in their use of warped samples, naked vocals and stark melodies. Their productions actually share more in common with the opiate despair of Leyland Kirby’s Caretaker project and William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, pitted with snatches of wailing electronics and damaged industrial tones that aim to create the kind of sunken and gutted atmosphere prevalent in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. The central focus of the band has always been the poetic outpourings of Paul, who recalls with a brutal clarity several horrifying encounters from his past which include being stuffed into a Biffa Bin and hurled into the road by local bullies, an attempt to dissuade a pregnant mother from committing suicide, forced drug intake and a murderous rampage through a chicken coop fueled by peer pressure and boredom which he chilling states was the death of his innocence. There is a knowing naivety in Paul’s simplistic and rhyming spoken word that is refreshing in its directness and its honesty, guiding and interacting with the listener through the most terrifyingly beautiful release on the label born out of small town desperation and scathing self-examination.
"Bad Body's crushing 'Do You Know I Live' album is a bitter distillation of suburban ennui and drained-of-power noise. It's the latest salvo on David McLean's stubbornly wicked Tombed Visions label, here remastered and reissued on tape from a 2013 vinyl release on Fortissimo Records. Headed up by the mononymous Paul, and hailing from the rolling no-mans-lands of middle England's Bletchley Park, they share a dysphoric, sardonic sense of black humour with the Charcoal Owls/Pheromoans/Liberez axis as much as Leyland Kirby's strung-out despairs and even Consumer Electronics' tell-it-how-it-f**king-is tirades, albeit with a more muted delivery also reminding of Baron Mordant's heavily accented rants in eMMplekz or the mystic, slightly aloof tone of David Tibet. But, comparisons aside, they're not derivative; instead they simply share a bleak outlook shot thru with eldritch attitude. 'Do You Know I Live' breaks down to two long pieces employing patchworked samples meshed with curdled synths and damaged electronics, plus their very own Perspex noise generator, 'The Machine' which emits a shrill, filling-dislodging shriek, matching Paul's lyrics about Biffa bins, getting spiked, and the tedium of adolescent peer pressure with analogic empathy. Respect to Tombed Visions for bringing it to our attention; it's a bewt."
"Tombed Visions have been carrying on their 2015 in much the same way they left off 2014, by releasing a consistently brilliant trail of limited cassette and digital releases. The latest to emerge on the David McLean-founded label is Bletchley-based songwriter Bad Body, whose Do You Know I Live? consists of two sprawling, hissing pieces of lo-fi sound collage and experimentation, fitted together discordantly round a snarling, spat out vocal. What starts off as melancholic folk soon expands into modular drones, menacing synth lines and jutting found sounds. "
- Simon Catling, The Skinny
"‘Do You Know I Live?’ is the newest tape by Bad Body on Tombed Visions…and its a weird one. The good kind of weird. The kind of weird that spans two side lengths movements of late night vibratory drones, industrial scrapes and sing-song-spoken word vocal work that somehow manages to creep you out and win you over all at once. Fans of David Tibet, Alan Moore and that one odd Radiohead track about pigs and antibiotics should take note."
"Challenging rituals of apocalyptic folk and ambient drone from Bad Body with Do You Know I Live? on Manchester based Tombed Visions. Sombre, purposely played and painstakingly sparse acoustic guitar. Basinski-esq choir music negotiating a deal with power electronics. Meandering vocals shambling about a dream state of consciousness recited in sing song delivery reminiscent of something like David Tibet with the straight ahead intensity of Albin Julius. There may be a narrative thread hidden within the wall of lyrics, but I’ve yet to sus that out. Just the same, I found myself rapturously bound by the mystery. What does this mean? Two full side tracks of converging light and dark. Grit and menace juxtaposed against austere beauty."
- Guide Me Little Tape
"This two-track spoken word and electronics cassette from Bletchley’s Bad Body is like a warped inversion of Sleaford Mods, that duo’s tin pot synth beats mulched into grainy, melancholic soundscapes, the rage of their splenetic tirades turned inwards to despairing autobiographical monologues.
Yet both groups, in their separate ways, hold a mirror up to the ruin that is everyday life – the Mods highlighting the banal and mediocre before machine-gunning it, while Bad Body enact the numbing psychic effect that the parade of endless injustices and humiliations that passes for austerity politics in this day and age enacts upon hard-working people [sic] throughout the land.
This is introverted, almost despairing music, the dense, scarred textures of its drones, static and wheezing electronics – courtesy of The Engineer and Patrick John Carney – resembling the cracked and corroded concrete of an abandoned municipal building, once a place that dispensed help and advice to the less fortunate, now a crumbling edifice earmarked for redevelopment in the coming storm of penthouses and pavements, atria and affluence.
Through all this weave the fatigued monologues of the band’s vocalist, known only as Paul. Expressed in a flat, affectless monotone, Paul mines his autobiographical traumas like a kind of Mike Skinner with PSTD, the ravey-davey banter replaced with stories of childhood bullying and efforts to stay sane in an increasingly unhinged world.
One section, towards the end of side 1’s Redway, narrates an encounter with a potential suicide, a pregnant woman poised to jump from a road bridge onto railway tracks below, is particularly affecting. While the woman’s attempts to end her life are thwarted, the ending seems anything but happy – perhaps because her self-harming (“her own self-inflicted Redways”), pregnancy (“the bun in the oven”) and mental health issues (“I couldn’t help but wonder what’s damaged her brain”) point to anything but a happier future.
Side 2’s Right is, if anything, even more desolate. A rubble-strewn field of hiss and distortion overlays a worn-out orchestral sample – or is the destroyed jingle of an ice-cream van? – its mournful tones like listening to the BBC Third Programme among the bombed out wreckage of a nameless city.
Paul’s words, meanwhile, seem even more collapsed and fragmented, a surreal, singsong collage, seeming to oscillate between detached whimsy and obsessive, hallucinatory paranoia. “My body is always aching / I want to be beautiful / I want to be alone,” he sings at one point, to the tune of Good King Wenceslas.
It’s fair to say that Do You Know I Live? isn’t exactly a laugh a minute collection of tunes. It is, however, darkly compelling, impressive and, at times, moving. It is also, arguably political music, but of a stripe that’s much harder to assimilate – and dismiss – than a typical protest song. Like the best novels and films it shows, rather than tells. And what it shows isn’t nice.
Scarred music for a scarred culture."
- Paul Margree, We Need No Swords
released March 16, 2015
Recorded by The Engineer - 22/12/2012, Brunswick Mill, Ancoats.
Mixed by The Engineer - 12/12 - 02/13, SAD, Bletchley Park
D112: Ryan Fitzsimmons
D112: Nick Fisher
SE4400A: Simon Turner
Adobe: Aleksandra Laika
Photography: Patrick John Carney, The Engineer
Artwork: Lewis McLean
Tombed Visions is a Manchester based cassette label specialising in sound art, ambient music, experimental electronics and
improvisation and aims to showcase the fringes of contemporary independent music. All releases are limited edition and packaged with care, combining a love of graphic design, photography, typography with the wondrous sounds released....more