(cover image from Shaped By Sound)
All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling is the first known album of the Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and it’s considered to be the Holy Grail of post-rock music (at least for GY!BE fans).
UPDATE New findings! May 2017
After all these years finally new informations have become available, thanks to the invaluable help of Kim Tucker and Reddit user /u/txdrmst, two wonderful guys that contacted me searching for other details about ALFOTHAD.
Kim Tuckers found most of the references of the booklet’s elements, whereas TXDRMST is currently re-creating an HD replica of the booklet.
But let’s go step by step:
We were able to identify different elements from the blurry photos of Casketjack’s copy. It seems that the booklet is composed from different pieces coming from various sources, here’s what we have figured to far (let us know in the comments if you found other things, please!). All pictures were processed by Kim Tucker (this involved lot of resizing, contrast, brightness and image corrections, props to him!)
- This page comes from Casketjack’s photos, and it’s not visible completely on the Constellation’s copy (you can only catch a glimpse of it in the final photo). The text is from a book called Kamikaze Biker, written by Ikuya Sato and published by The University of Chicago Press in 1991.
In this firsthand account of high-risk car and motorcycle racing in Japan, Ikuya Sato shows how affluence and consumerism have spawned various experimental and deviant life-styles among youth. Kamikaze Biker offers an intriguing look at a form of delinquency in a country traditionally thought to be devoid of social problems.
- It’s worth noticing that this theme is highly similar to the name of GY!BE themselves, coming from a documentary of the same name by director Mitsuo Yanagimachi depicting the life of a Japanese motorcycle gang, the Black Emperors.
Can you help us decipher the image over the text? Are those sound waves? Do you have any clue?
- This table comes from a scientific paper titled Constructing personality and social reality through music: Individual differences among fans of punk and heavy metal music, authored by Christine Hall Hansen, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Oakland University & Ranald D. Hansen, Professor of Psychology at Oakland University. It is contained into the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Volume 35, 1991 – Issue 3.
The Roland RE-201 Space Echo is truly a Vintage (1973) piece of music technology with lots of appeal even today. It’s not a synth, but a Tape-Echo machine for creating true analog echo effects. The RE-201 is a simple system in which a small loop of tape records an incoming signal and immediately plays the recorded sound back over a couple playback heads before being erased over by new incoming audio. A real analog system with warm, gritty and almost noiseless operation, the Space Echo can provide warm, unpredictable and highly tweak-able echo effects.
- The spiral text on the Constellation copy comes from chapter 6, verse 40 of the Bhagavad-Gita (“Song of the Lord“), one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. (text from The Gold Scales, there are different translations around but this one is very similar)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said; Son of Pritha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil. [6.40]
- This phrase looks very similar to the supposed introduction of The Blood of a Poet (Le sang d’un poète) (1930), an avant-garde movie by Jean Cocteau. It also resembles a title card from the early silent films.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen. The feature production we are about to present has the outstanding virtue of unparalleled novelty. There never has been a picture like this one before. There may never be another one like it.
- The quote is from this Spanish forum, but I was unable to find other sources confirming this. If you watch a complete copy of The Blood of a Poet there’s no sign of the quote (maybe it was in a different copy).
- Could the address may be 4885 rue Clark, Montreal, Quebec? If you search the postal code for that address it returns H2T 2T6, which may be compatible to the postal number in the photo (it’s too blurry to decide). H2T gave also the name to Hotel2Tango, the recording studio in Montreal associated with various members of GY!BE.
- Probably a reference cut from the God Speed You! Black Emperor documentary, although we cannot say that for sure. Anyone can translate the japanese text?
What we are still ignoring
- Where is this picture of the baby come from (was it cut from a magazine and glued only for this copy)?
- What is written in the Constellation Records’ scans and what pictures are there?
Below the original article.
The tape was released in December 1994, self-published by GY!BE themselves (the group was formed by Efrim Menuck, Mauro Pezzente and Mike Moya) and limited only to 33 copies. Given its mythical status, there are various fakes going around the Internet.
Let’s point out all the facts that we have about this record, I’ll try my best to update this post when new informations are available.
First of all, no one of the albums floating on the Internet has been confirmed real by the band members. One of them has been confirmed fake by Efrim Menuck.
Constellation Records Copy
These are the only known real images of All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling. They are from a page of Constellation Records’ old website (it can be retrieved thanks to Internet Archive), and unfortunately their quality is not very good. The original page also featured a brief description of the tape (note: the most recent GY!BE bio on the label’s website says that they were not a duo back in the early days):
This very out-of-print cassette is the only released document of the earliest days of godspeed. To even call it a release is a stretch as only 33 were ever dubbed. At the time, the ‘band’ was comprised of Efrim and Mauro only, and this cassette foretells where the current ensemble would ultimately go as regards seamless pieces interwoven with compelling field recordings, spoken-word, and strange soundings from who knows where.
These images purpotedly come from a copy owned by an unknown member of the band, others claim that the copy is owned by the label itself.
There are few interviews in which Efrim Menuck was asked about the lost album, and he shared various details on the tape. Here’s a passage from an interview with thefourohfive.com (dated February 2010):
Although I had told myself I wouldn’t spend too much time asking about a band that has been on hiatus for around seven years, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask about something that I have wanted to know more about for so many years. The All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling cassette tape was the first recording to bear the name Godspeed You Black Emperor! in 1994, and only 33 copies of the tape were ever made.
Not a great deal is known about the tape, but I once heard a (probably completely unsubstantiated) rumour that it sounded like Black Flag, so I ask if this is true.
“No, it doesn’t sound like Black Flag!” replies Efrim, seemingly a little surprised at the suggestion. So what does it sound like? “I don’t know man, I haven’t listened to it in a long time. There’s not much to say about it, it was recorded before there were 9 people in Godspeed, and it’s only really related by name. We made that cassette and out of that came the bigger band. I don’t know why it hasn’t turned up on the internet yet. I’ve been looking. I thought I’d found it once, and after a maddeningly exciting wait for the thing to download, it turned out to be the band’s Peel Session hidden in a misleading zip file. That’s funny,” he says, and clearly he hasn’t read his own Wikipedia pages.”I keep expecting it’s gonna pop up but it never does.”
I decide to be annoying and push the issue, commenting that it really is something there’s an interest in. “It’s tricky. Because it doesn’t bear any relation to what Godspeed did, it would be hard to put it out without people feeling ripped off. I wouldn’t want someone buying it thinking they were getting a Godspeed record only to find out it’s something completely different.” That’s only going to add to the already existing mythology around the thing, in my eyes.
“I think it’s interesting, but I don’t think it’s that great!” he says, laughing. “It’s pretty good, but it’s not great! I think it’s mostly interesting because it’s a product of its time, and that was a weird time for music back then. There was nothing going on. So it’s interesting on that level. But musically, I don’t know how much value it has. I mean, there’s singing on it!” He starts laughing again.
“There’s tons of singing on it! So there you go.” I suggest that he leaks it himself and gets it over with, but he says he doesn’t have a copy. When I tell him I was kind of expecting him to say that, he mentions that he does have the master copy, just not a playable copy. So who knows if it will ever appear again? Releasing things online doesn’t seem to be something Efrim holds much store in. Although the band are perfectly fine with people taping their shows. “Just cause it seems a silly thing to stop people from doing,” Efrim explains.
In another interview with the e-zine Splendid, Efrim stated:
Splendid: I noticed that with your first, cassette-only album, All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling, there are a lot more pieces, which presumably are shorter…
Splendid: I assume that was more of an exploratory stage…
Efrim: Well, yeah. That was a long time ago…
Splendid: And each piece kind of…dovetailed into the next?
Efrim: Yeah, there were a lot of crossfades and rapid cuts. That’s a four track thing, and it wasn’t really a full band thing.
Splendid: And now, your works are longer, but they have distinct movements and discrete elements — the same degree of variation under a single name. Is that ultimately just an evolution of naming conventions? Or styles?
Efrim: You gotta understand that the band that came out of this tape, that made the four-track recordings, wasn’t a live band. And then three of us played a show, and the idea was to play one note for an hour, and that was Godspeed You Black Emperor for about a year, this band that played one note for an hour. And then it sort of became two notes, and three notes. It started this narrow, and then got that wide…and then we’ve kind of shrunk from there, in terms of the length of songs. The movement stuff was sort of a natural outgrowth of this thing of playing one note for an hour. Or that’s how it seems to me.
The tracklist, taken directly from the Constellation Records’ page:
drifting intro open / shot thru tubes / three three three / when all the furnaces exploded / beep / hush / son of a diplomat, daughter of a politician / glencairn 14 / $13.13 / loose the idiot dogs / diminishing shine / random luvly moncton blue(s) / dadmomdaddy
333 frames per second / revisionist alternatif wounds to the hair-cut hit head / ditty for moya / buried ton / and the hairy guts shine / hoarding / deterior 23 / all angels gone / deterior 17 / deterior three / devil’s in the church / no job / dress like shit / perfumed pink corpses from the lips of ms. celine dion
Sadly, these are the only informations available from official sources.
Now, let’s analyze the downloads circulating on the Internet. It’s not easy when it comes to GY!BE music. Since the band’s policy against reproduction is sort of relaxed, there are many fan-mades bootlegs coming from various concerts featuring slightly different songs from the studio albums. If you are sharing one of these downloads with the ALFOTHAD title you are only contributing to the fake’s circulation, which it’s not good.
Six Tracks Fake
Six tracks usually found under the name of ALFOTHAD, the tracklist:
- Sunshine & Gasoline
- Split 7 – Fly Pan Am
- World Police
- Hung Over as the Oven in Maida
- Sunshine & Gasoline
Some version feature five songs rather than six, removing the other Sunshine & Gasoline track (they are identical). This download is quickly dismissed: the tracklist features no resemblances whatsoever with the official tracklist, and a person that knows GY!BE music can’t be fooled by these names.
- Sunshine & Gasoline is basically Sunshine+Gasoline from the aMAZEzine! single, which came free with Montreal based aMAZEzine!, issue 4.
- Split 7 – Fly Pan Am is L’espace Au Sol Est Redessiné Par D’immenses Panneaux Bleus, also coming from the same aMAZEzine! single. Fly Pan Am are a project of GY!BE previous guitarist Roger Tellier-Craig. They formed in 1996, well after ALFOTHAD release.
- World Police is the part World Police and Friendly Fire on the track Static in Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven! (although it seems a little bit different)
- Moya is from Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada.
- Hung Over as the Oven in Maida is the track Hung Over as the Oven in Maida Vale from GY!BE John Peel Session in 1999.
John Peel used to run a radio program on BBC Radio 1 in which artists, both mainstream and obscure, would pass by to deliver a live studio session. Most of the time the band would record 4 tracks off their latest album for promotion of that album or tour. When Godspeed dropped by Mr. Peel’s famed studio in 1999 the 9 man collective recorded only one track, ‘Hungover As The Queen at Maida Vale.’ […]
As expected, the band chose to play 2 movements off the upcoming Skinny Fists (Movement ii of ‘Sleep’ – ‘Monheim’ and Movement iii of ‘Static’ – ‘Chart #3’) and one unreleased movement entitled ‘Steve Reich’ (named after the composer of the same name.) All three movements are squished into one long track that clocks in at just under 20 minutes.
Pirate Bay Fake
This download originated from the torrent tracker The Pirate Bay in 2008, and it features a tracklist coherent with the official one. I was not able to identify side one (I’m 90% sure that it’s not GY!BE, if you know what is about drop me a comment!), side two is a poor mash-up of different artists:
- Drifting Intro Open *unknown*
- Shot Thru Tubes *unknown*
- Three Three Three *unknown*
- When All The Furnaces Exploded *unknown*
- Beep *silent*
- Hush *silent*
- Son Of A Diplomat, Daughter Of A Politician *unknown*
- Glencairn 14 *unknown*
- $13.13 *unknown*
- Loose The Idiot Dogs *unknown*
- Diminishing Shine *unknown*
- Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s) *unknown*
- Dadmomdaddy *unknown*
- 333 Frames Per Second is Untitled #2 by Tarentel
- Revisionist Alternatif Wounds To The Hair-Cut Hit Head is Luna Park by Esmerine
- Ditty For Moya is Your Guts are Like Mine by Set Fires To Flames
- Buried Ton is Jesus/Pop by Set Fires To Flames
- And The Hairy Guts Shine is Sunshine+Gasoline by GY!BE
- Hoarding is Une infinité de trous en forme d’homme by Hrsta
- Deterior 23 is Phantom Channel Crossing by Labradford
- All Angels Gone is Popol Vuh II by Flying Saucer Attack
- Deterior 17 is a part of Novi Beograd by Hrsta
- Deterior Three is a part of Novi Beograd by Hrsta
- Devil’s In The Church is The Gutter by Heroin And Your Veins
- No Job *unknown*
- Dress Like Shit is untitled 1 by Hood
- Perfumed Pink Corpses From The Lips Of Ms. Celine Dion is This Thing Between Us Is a Rickety Bridge of Impossible Crossing/Bonfires for Nobody… by Set Fires To Flames
There are variations of side two, featuring different songs (they can easily be spotted using some music identification software like Shazam).
The real (!) deal
It all started on a thread on Reddit simply titled “Godspeed you black Emperor Question…”, where user Casketjack told us a story:
Okay, A little back story first. Sometime between 1990 and 1995 I was hanging out at this little place called Room 201 records in Moncton, New Brunswick. I always went there because I used to collect demo tapes from the local bands of every city I went to. Anyway, I was in there going through the tapes (Wow, Cassettes eh?) and I started talking to some guy, If I remember correctly he told me he wasn’t local but had a tape I should check out. I brought it home and listened to it, didn’t really like it, and stashed it away with all the other demos I had picked up. Fast forward to this week, I’m cleaning out my music room closet and I stumble across my bin of old demos. The tape I got from the guy in Moncton is sitting on top of the pile, I pull it out and decide to google the name. Anyway, this is it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Lights_Fucked_on_the_Hairy_Amp_Drooling According to wikipedia, it was limited to 33 copies and no copies are known to still exist. This is kind of cool. Anyway, I guess I’m just looking for some advice, what would you guys do with it?
The thread caused a storm, with all the redditors going absolutely crazy, begging Casketjack to rip the tape and distribute it on the net. Others questioned the authenticity of the claim, asking for more evidences. Casketjack uploaded these images of the cassette and this music rip of the last two tracks of the first side, Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s) and Dadmomdaddy.
However, the Internet Hate Machine turned on, and many users began labeling Casketjack as a troll, because he didn’t seem to understand the importance of the discovery. Casketjack eventually deleted his account, after explaining that he was considering to sell the tape on eBay:
One last update for the time being. I may have been a bit of dick walking away from this yesterday. For all the people being rude there are a good portion of you who seem to understand the dilemma I find myself in (For that I am grateful) This is what I’ve done. I’ve spoken to a friend who I trust and he’s agreed to sell the cassette on ebay for me. Before It comes to that though, I’ve also emailed Constellation records and explained how I came into possession of the cassette. I’ve also explained that there is a rabid fanbase that would like nothing more than for me to post my rip of the cassette. I’ve asked them for permission to do so. I will not auction off the tape or post a rip of it until I hear from them one way or another. Perhaps I should have just posted the thing for sale but I want to do right by my family, the band, and for some reason…you guys too. I don’t imagine I will get a response from them on the weekend but I’m hoping to hear back from them soon. When I do, you guys will too.
As of today, nothing surfaced. In December they will be 20 years since the release of ALFOTHAD and Casketjack could take the chance to rip the tape and let us enjoy the record, because let’s face it: I think it’s the real deal. Why? There are few elements that make me a believer:
- Read the beginning of the article to read recent findings confirming that this tape was real!
- The artwork on the cover. It’s entirely new. Why bothering to create new graphics when the original cover features only a black space? If I had the time I will do a research and contact the artist of the first GY!BE albums and ask him if the artwork is one of his creations.
- Dadmomdaddy features lyrics compatibles to Efrim’s youth (thanks to KimTuckerFr for the lyrics).
Mommy is my daddy
Daddy’s not very nice
My mommy is my daddy
And daddy’s not very nice
Don’t take any
Of that fucker’s advice
Daddy raised me stupid
Mommy grow me scared
From my dad, from daddy
But still I got my mommy’s hair
I am my daddy’s daughter
And I’m my mommy’s son
I pay, my daddy was hateful
I draw my mommy’s ugliest son
- We know that Efrim grew up with his father only, and he ran away from home at the age of 17 (interview).
Then I hit adolescence, and that was clearly not the case. I had a rough period from about the age of 17 to 23…. I was homeless, broke and fucked up, and everyone I knew was homeless, broke and fucked up. […]
My childhood was an apocalypse, but it had nothing to do with the world outside. […]
Did you have siblings?
No, it was just me and my dad. I had friends who had older brothers or sisters—people who would pass down records and joint-rolling techniques….
- And last, the folding signs on the cover differ from the official cover. The other photos of the booklet are too detailed, I bet it requires an enormous effort to recreate them using the low-quality images on Constellation Records’ website. Everything seems genuine to me.
If you are reading down here you are probably a proud GY!BE fan like myself, so I’ll share a story with you. When I was hanging around the Entertainment Crew forum back in 2006 I was fifteen years old and completely ignorant of all the music universe. People like Ness, Rosa and Yota were sharing tons of albums with strange names (Portishead? Hella? Joanna Newsom?) and I began reading threads and downloading their suggestions. It was the turning point of my musical tastes.
GY!BE were one of my first love, and since then they have a special place in my heart. Ness was a huge fan and shared with me F♯ A♯ ∞ and Yanqui U.X.O. Videos like this made a huge impact on my young mind:
Ness graduated in 2007 with a thesis on uncoventional marketing. For one of his projects he disguised a Sparrows Swarm and Sing record as a GY!BE album. I can’t stop to think that if he had disguised it as All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling his viral project could have made him REALLY famous back in the day :)