Monday, June 7, 2010

The Microphones: Bass Drum Dream/The Storm/Where It's Hotter Parts 1, 2 & 3 7" (Up Records, 1998)

(7" cover front, back, vinyl inner label A, B)

The Microphones: Bass Drum Dream/The Storm/Where It's Hotter Parts 1, 2 & 3 7"

-The 7" says that this was "Produced by Phil Elvrum" so we must assume he did all the recording here. "Bass Drum Dream" was recorded at Dub Narcotic. Where it's Hotter was recorded at The Business. And there is something of a vagary concerning where "The Storm" was recorded.

-Released on Up Records (UP064) ( P.O. Box 21328 Seattle, WA 98111). In the "Song Islands" CD Phil writes that this was released in 1998, however, on the vinyl inner label the copyright information says 1999. In the FIB interview with Jimi Sharp (issue #8) Phil states that this 7" is in the works and is coming out in December of '98.

-Cover designed by Justyn Pogue, using elements we would see again on the nest 7" (Feedback) and on the first Microphones vinyl LP (Don't Wake Me Up).

-No idea how many were pressed. Up was a pretty well-established label by this time but I would still imagine that this 7" was in the 500 copies or less realm.

-Record plays at 45 rpms on both sides.

-Vinyl is black, as far as I know, on all copies.

-Inner groove features the generic label numbering (UP 064-A and B) as well as some other designation on both sides which I have no idea about (L-50999).

-These songs (same versions) would all later be collected, in order, on the "Song Islands" CD

-Other details of note:

This is the first Microphones release on vinyl.

As with the second 7" on the cover there is no "The" it is only referred to as "Microphones" however on the vinyl inner label there is a "The".

As with the second 7" the track list literally reads:
Bass Drum Dream then the Storm, Where it's Hotter Parts 1, 2, 3

"Where it's Hotter" sometimes picks up and loses the "&" symbol. On the back of the 7" it is absent, however on the vinyl inner label it appears. It is also present on the liner notes to the "Song Islands" CD but absent on the back cover. Also the "parts" in the name changes from time to time. On this 7" it is written out as "Parts" both on the back cover and on the vinyl inner label. It is, likewise, written out in the "Song Islands" liner notes, however it is abbreviated as "pts." on the back cover.

Phil's contact info is again, as on all early releases, listed as KNW-YR-OWN 1717 Commercial Ave Anacortes, WA 98221)

This is one of the only Phil releases that does not feature his distinctive hand-drawn inner labels (I need to look into this but we may go as far as the very recent "Black Wooden" EP released as part of the "Latitudes" Series on . Instead we have the generic Up Records template. Talk about coming full-circle...)

As with the second Microphone's 7", this one was discussed briefly with Jimi Sharp for his FIB zine (issue #8). In this interview Phil is talking about his plans for upcoming releases. He says that he is going to be putting out a 7" on Up Records, possible featuring the songs "Bass Drum Dream" and "In Sleep I Float Around" plus more. He says the second 7" in the works will possible feature the song "Where it's Hotter" and others. But, as we can see, that song would be bumped up the b-side of this first 7" for reasons none of us will ever know.


In a real coup for my cause this (the first ever Microphones 7") and "Feedback" (the second ever Microphones 7") were won from one single lovely seller on Ebay for a song. Getting these two were sort of an early Holy Grail (although there are since many, many more much holier grails in their place, sigh). The fact that these are the first 7"s by Phil is something but is actually made much less in light of the fact that there are copious amounts of earlier, more primitive, releases than these. In fact, in light of that, listening to these now, they seem far less rudimentary and primal than they once did to me. This was already Phil a few steps up the evolutionary ladder.

All of the early hallmarks are there, Phil singing about the actual, literal equipment involved in recording "a drum set in the sky..." "bass drum making the sound wave...", the percussion heavy (lets not forget the fascinating fact that Phil kind of got started as a drummer) arrangements, weird samples and so on. But the seeds of where he's going are clearly visible, the beginning riffs of "Bass Drum Dream" sound like they are just dying to turn into "I Lost My Wind", "The Storm" is practically an excerpt from "The Sun" from the last Microphones album proper, "Where It's Hotter" sounds like it could be an early run-through of the ideas that would become "The Glow", et al.

It seems worth noting that "The Storm" is not actually credited as a song on the 7" itself and, even on the cover, it is sort of added as an afterthought to "Bass Drum Dream" ("...then the storm" maybe to declassify it as a song and make it more of an interlude, though later it would achieve "actual song" status on the "Song Islands" collection CD.)

No insert, any info here is either gleaned from the cryptic cover, the music itself or purely extrapolated.
(--029, --125, -123)

Side A:

Bass Drum Dream
The Storm

Side B:

Where It's Hotter Pts. 1, 2, & 3


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