today, to some eyes, this piece of electrical equipment may look old (which it is) and primitive (which it is not) compared to the honking and bleeping items used currently in almost all walks of life to do everything and then some more. it is, in fact, the Tascam PE-20 Parametric Equaliser. not even a sexy name. and somewhat misleading as it is not, in technical terms, truly parametric, but semi-parametric. this is completely unimportant but included for those souls more interested in the niceties than myself.
that out of the way, why am I parading this item before your esteemed glazzies? several reasons, gentle reader.
this piece of 'stuff' has been the one constant item in the arsenal of sound discombobulating mechanisms used on Hafler Trio recordings almost since that entities' inception, so make that roughly 34 years, give or take. every time it was turned on, it worked instantly; no rebooting or tweaking necessary. it did basically one thing four times in the same unit, and did it perfectly. it was intended as part of a set of units that pieced together with noise reduction units and a multi-track and a mixer. I had been wrongly accused of stealing money when I worked for a time at Virgin Records in Eldon Square in Newcastle, and I was paid off, after having worked for a few weeks after being accused and the matter being dealt with to show my innocence. with the money I received, I bought what I could afford: a TEAC A-3440 4-track reel-to-reel tape recorder (donated a few years ago to the music academy in Riga, Latvia), a switcher box which took the four outputs of that machine and turned them into two, it being possible to assign any channel to either left, right or centre of a stereo output which then went into a cassette machine, and the present object of examination. this was used back and forth in the signal chain as 'bounces' were done, and on final recordings. this, for years, was all I had, apart from a second-hand Revox A77 stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder which was bought from the modest proceeds of the first Hafler Trio LP. I had no mixer, no effects; nothing of this sort. panning a track over the stereo picture meant duplicating a track, assigning one channel to left, another to the right, and manually raising the volume of one as that of the other was decreased. Chris Watson had access to equipment of his own and that which he borrowed from Tyne Tees Television where he worked at the time. the rest was all done with the aforementioned equipment and blatant misuse of anything else that could be purloined or press-ganged into service or perverted for 'interesting sounding' ends. very, very occasionally, we rented equipment. one occasion was when we obtained for a huge sum of money for two days a Quantec Room Simulator, which had just been used, we learned, for the sleigh bells on Wham's evergreen seasonal ditty, "Last Christmas." every time I hear that particular record being played in a supermarket or similar, I cannot help but think of this and that there are often unexpected and peculiar links under the surface of appearances.
and now, this faithful stalwart has gone, destroyed in the dampness of a basement in the middle of nowhere in Latvia. I pay homage to this 'lifeless' item, and am reminded of practices I encountered and carried out dealing with the life of so-called "inert" matter. this was in the order of a friend, this 'thing', and it never, ever let me down. it lies here, reeking of mould, with the inner workings coated with residue and dampness: speaking to another time, another period with so many things that are different not just in my silly life, but it just about everyone's life. it speaks to me of a simplicity and quality that seems to be if not gone, then doing a very great job of assuming invisibility in the present-day world.
it is not in the actuality of the physical loss that I wish to call attention to; things change, things are born and die. what I am reflecting on - and by extension hope that you, too, will reflect on this - is that impermanence is one thing, but the violence of willful neglect and the refusal to take responsibility for it is another. conscience is a very hard thing, and demands the best of everyone that possesses it, that is touched by it.
should anyone reading this, by any chance, know of any of the creators of this box, then please tell them that they served me in my life immeasurably, and I thank them from the very bottom of my heart.
rather incredibly or no, some people did not believe some of this post. here is evidence:
|the sacred cassette machine of Nezebul, as foretold in the book of Noodle.|
|the hallowed and forever worshipped switcher box of Ozmaiathon.|