Thursday, 8 October 2009

Son Of Pete : Silent Knight

Following on from Jonty Semper's field recording single of a commemorative silence, a seven-inch of complete silence, of nothing, dated 1976 - one of the more obscure releases on the label (Beserkley; number : B-5746) which brought us Jonathan Richman, Earth Quake, The Rubinoos and Greg Kihn. A U.S. issue I found in a charity shop years ago and bought for the Jonathan connection ("remix" was by Glen Kolotkin, Jonathan's producer), not suspecting it was silent. This 45, arranged by one R. Bimber and with production by Tom Lubin (http://tomlubin.blogspot.com), came in a b&w picture sleeve with the same image printed on both sides - an illustration of a knight (chess piece, i.e.) in the snow, with an icicle hanging from its snout. The lettering is seasonally snow-capped. I guess this was put out as a joke Christmas gift. Interestingly, the silent flipside, Disco Party, Part 2 clocks in at two seconds longer, at 3:01. (On the Marcel Marceao (sic) L.P., however, both sides are exactly the same - one can tell from the matrix number; the applause at the end of each otherwise silent side should have been different, really, to eliminate the possibility of the record's slightly shoddy feel.) Son Of Pete was Beserkley Records' founder, Matthew "King" Kaufman, who was also Rose Bimler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_King_Kaufman).
My copy of Silent Knight is in pretty nice condition - how often would its previous owner have needed to play it ? With numerous listens and the right degree of carelessness, neglect in sleeving the disc immediately after hearing it, the "silence" would eventually have scratches and scuff sounds superimposed upon it. The "silence" is already compromised a little by the pressing process, the inevitable bit of crackle which is usually drowned out by music but which is all too apparent on this record.
I'm not certain how many other singles of complete silence were made, though I've knowledge of one for use in conjunction with jukeboxes, to provide three (?) minutes' respite from constant sound (on Hush Records). There was a silent record on sale in the Grot shop (a business venture deliberately designed to fail spectacularly), in the BBC Television series The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin, though, alas, said record was never marketed as a cash-in.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Steve.
    It's nice when someone's work is recognized as as surviving the test of time. While you might appreciate that I only had $100 budget to produce Silent Knight, and its slightly longer disco version Disco Party Part II I none the less agonized over the final mix, and on several occasion went into the studio late at night to remix. On several instances on my late night drive home in my Porshe convertible I would crank it up, and take in the reaction of those in their beds.
    I recall the day we previewed it for Joel Selvin who was then (and may still be) the music critic og the San Francisco Chronicle. 30 seconds in all Joel could say was "amazing".
    I understand that the record was a hit in Iceland where it was played continuously for several days. It was only years later that I was told this was because the DJ died, and the station was snowed in and no one could get to him. N one the less it remain an Icelandic record.
    The record was a 6 pack of singles from those wild and crazy guys at Beserkley.
    The other recollection of some significance is the legend of Reverend Ike. He was a Berkley pastor that sold prayer clothes. He always ended his sermon by saying "people shouldn't begrudge another man his Cadillac just because he wants one of his own" One of the Reverend's prayer clothes was placed in the back of CBS Studio B the day the Beserkley got the distribution deal with Playboy records. It worked for them. Several years later when CBS was closed, on the last day I was there I took the prayer cloth and to this day it I have it. It's still working.
    Tom Lubin

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  2. wasn't this in the form of a set of singles from that company?
    pretty sure i have it in my collection
    maybe 4 or 5 singles in PVC clear sleeves?

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