Hastings of Malawi; Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic GrowthSub Rosa
SR 428 LP
Long Playing Record
First reissue of Hastings Of Malawi's classic masterpiece Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth, originally released on the Papal Products label in 1981. Hastings Of Malawi were Heman Pathak, David Hodes and John Grieve. They recorded Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth in one night in 1981 with no plan and no idea of what they were doing.
They played drums, clarinet, synthesizer and piano but also made use of things that they found lying around the studio - old records, cook books, telephone directories and a telephone. The recordings were played down the phone to randomly dialed numbers with the reactions added to the recording. All three had been involved in the recording of the first Nurse With Wound album Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella (1979) and had contributed metal scrapings, piano, effects, clarinet and guitar during the session. The star of the record is Pat Simmons who was the voice of the UK speaking clock between 1963 and 1984.
In his book Lipstick Traces (1989) writer Greil Marcus seeks to draw a line from Dada through the Situationist International to punk rock. If this line exists, then Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth sits on the end of it. The only review that the album received was from Steve Stapleton who suggested that "nobody should miss this vinyl disaster" - good or bad are not concepts that can be applied to this recording. The record stands firmly in opposition to the now all pervading concepts of commercialization, celebrity culture and the commodification of creative activity.
Originally 1000 copies were pressed on orange/red vinyl. 120 copies were sold through Rough Trade and Virgin Records. 800 copies were bought and later destroyed by the United Dairies label, adding to the elusiveness of this record. This reissue is on red vinyl, just like the original pressing. File under: dada, underground, post-industrial, concrete music, DIY, punk.