J. Matthews – Electronic Music


The moment time travel will be made available to the general public, this is the kind of record I will be ordering, in retrospect, from 1965. Those who love vintage record oddities will agree this disc has a lot going for it. First, the very format is peculiar. It’s a 10″ microgroove record, but it plays at 78 rpm. I have no idea why records were manufactured like this, but many records that were released outside the consumer market – like this library one – were.

Looking at the titles of the tracks, you can safely assume the music will be quite something too, consisting of several permutations of the words “Electro”, “Twist”, “Exotic”, and “Suspense”, words that are among my favorites in the world of track titles. I can only guess how the music was actually made, but I think it is a combination of taped and manipulated sounds and vintage synthesizers. Apart from the suspense track, the music is very percussive and all are very well suited for, say, a documentary on the science of small particles.

I don’t know anything about the composer J. Matthews (which might of course be a pseudonym) but I’m very impressed by the man’s sense of timing, as well as his ability to conjure up original sounds as there are many here that I’ve never heard before. Especially the track Electro Twist has sounds that remind of tuned percussion or the sound of very heavy, tightly strung cables. To me it kind of foreshadows the sound of Kraftwerk, also because the beat is very rigid. The other stand out track is called Electro Exotic, which was featured on the library compilation The Barry’s 7 Connection years ago. Here the beat has more swing to it, with weird sounds boldly thrown in.

Anyone who has a clue why 78 rpm records like this one were used well into 1968, please let tell. Any information on J. Matthews would also be appreciated.

Listen to: J. Matthews – Electro Twist
Listen to: J. Matthews – Electro Exotic

89 Comments

  • Niiice piece. I can post more of these after I complete a move I’m making of my collection, progressively, from Scotland to France.

    I don’t know exactly why the 78 format was still in commercial use this late but in folk’s homes the players with a 78 function were still going strong well into the 80s, like the one in my house. I first started obsessing over vinyl on one of these players where you used to stack ’em up on the central pivot and the automatic button would drop them down one by one. Back then around 82 I started with Iron Maiden The Trooper but pretty soon, at that vulnerable age for a lad, switched to the homoerotic thrills of feeling Bono on U2 At Red Rocks Stadium, still gotta be classed as an opus…

    As for the above, I picked up a box of 78s on the same label a few years back (Ebay). I didn’t have the old player any more so you can imagine me trying to get an idea of the sound of these platters (some Roger Roger cuts in there) by playing at 45 + 8 on my SL 1200, then speeding it up with my hand! Sounded pretty freaky but still not as good as what you have here, and the box went into storage. I’ll get onto that and try to keep my posts shorter in future also.

    Respect,
    LL

  • Thanks Lloyd for the reply. I did the same thing, playing at 45 rpm with the pitch all up to get an idea of the sound, bit I bought a triotrack fleamarket player so now I’m fully equiped. Let us know when you get the box out of storage!

  • nice one!

    seriously great. i wonder what he made this on?

  • steeeel feeeeeelin it oooooooo yeh baba

  • wakka hoonie groove parlour – this gear izit

  • keep sayins it – this muffa is buffa an I wanna makka luvva (to it)

  • As far as I understand it, J Matthews was a pseudonym for John Baker of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. I understand there was at least one library LP of his stuff comprising Electro-5/4, Electro-Auto, Electro-Beat, Electro-Exotic, Electro-Fugue, Electro-Latin, Electro-Rhythm, Electro-Slow, Electro-Suspense, Electro-Twist, Electro-Waltz & Electro-Wierd (all very short pieces, so it might have been one side of an LP). If you listen to Baker’s work on the first Radiophonic Workshop LP (the 1968 one with the psychedelic pink sleeve), you’ll spot the similarities of style immediately – he even re-uses a number of the same loops.

  • As for what he made it on, probably the Radiophonic Workshop’s very basic equipment – some primitive oscillators and recordings of springs & suchlike on sped up and chopped-up tape loops!

  • bang that know-the-ledge on me Darrg baby

    you be the shiz and the nits

    respect and out

    x

  • I feel curiously touched by that …. :-)

  • Tanks Darrg, I’ll try to check it out. Anyone evere seen the electro- lp you talk about?

  • I’ve never seen it, but someone I once knew has it in whatever form it exists and did me a CD. I suppose it might be a 10″ LP, the above-listed tracks don’t last more than about 18 minutes in total.

  • i wanna see it
    i wanna touch it
    i wanna taste it
    i wanna be in it

  • always cummin backta these blip-blip-beepz
    wanna keep it real
    wanna kopp-a-feel
    it’s a library
    it’s a jibery
    baiting me with it’s obscurity
    never gonna beer parta me
    always cummin backta these blip-blip-beepz
    .
    .
    always cummin backta these blip-blip-beepz
    .
    .
    .
    .
    always cummin backta these blip-blip-beepz

  • great trax !
    we have moondog on electronics here !

  • always cummin backta these blip-blip-beepz

  • sometimes I feel like an ElectronicMusic-less child

  • .
    I wish I could fly
    .
    Right up to the sky
    .
    But I can’t
    .
    “YOU CAN”

    Oh yes…… I CAN!

  • I CAN’T tell you about the artist but the second i heard it, it brought back all the memories of watching the doors soft parade on a video i paid a guy $70 dollars to make for me out of la in about ’81 when that was the blog of today. i mean that was cuttin fuckin edge: let’s see i ordered him to put ig on dinah, live clash in london, still never seen it on utub, lene lovich video which i hadn’t seen yet cuz mtv was playin ruggles 34-7, what else/?

    oh, back to the doors. it was some pbs new york/ public access thing from the day and i had just read ‘noone hear get’s out alive’ and was obsessed. i mean, they were my, well, i don’t even know who to compare the doors to today even though i haven’t listend in years, can you think of a contemporary comp.? the point.

    so, yeah, and by the way, the reason i’m on here is cuz scott soriano blogged my ep from 81: our favorite band– and since then i’ve been on a nonstop quest tryin to find somebody with just the right taste like goldilocks, and today i found it, linkin’ off of somebody like e.c. brown or oddio by way of ubuweb and fmublog, etc. but that’s not namedropppin, that’s what you do when you’ve got weird taste and are old. anyway, oh, yeah the doors: fuckin great theme song for the show. and i’m gonna stick it on the myspace site which i can thank scott for the inspiration for after readin his review called the perfect american diy or some shit which i really thought was overthe top but made my day; but the problem with add is that by the time any of youse read this it will already be replaced by something i like more, although i gotta say, if it’s alright, i plan to suplement our sparse output of one ep and one album and one buddy holly tribute comp with lots of your stuff until one of us runs out of steam, if it’s ok? .

    yeah, i’ll put it in the blog along with my fave song ever that i dl’ed here too– that ‘twine time’ thing. jesus christ, could i have a beer with that motherfucker. i love pedal steel, especially jazzy pedal steel with distortion, a la sneaky pete.rip

    maybe next time i’ll have to tell you about the record i produced on linda gail lewis on new rose in 91 AT easley in memphis. i used the steel player from the highwaymen…and we were.

    m

  • Yes J.M. is John Baker of BBC R.W. fame and, in case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, 78rpm was used to achieve hi-fi sound from pre-stereo equipment, mainly in radio stations, theatre productions etc. where a lot of the Southern catalogue was distributed.

  • ewe nose it just don’t blowzit

  • 1965! A great year for music. I wonder if it got any needle-time on the radio. Good info from “tarantxon”.

  • Fans of John Baker & the BBC Radiophonic Workshop should find this of interest: A long lost radio show broadcast on BBC London in 1973,
    produced by John Baker & his brother, Richard:

    [url]http://www.nannytango.com/radio.html [url]

  • I’ve heard electrotwist on a 1960s British Pathe newsreel of a can production line.

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