Reprint was originally released on cassette by Snatch Tapes in 1980 and was credited to an unknown duo called Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey.
A press release accompanying the cassette painted a picture of two pre-Raphaelite synthesizer knob-twiddlers who in between repatching their VCS3’s went for long walks in flowing robes on Blackheath. Intrigued, the record label Cherry Red included the duo on their compilation LP “Perspectives and Distortion” alongside such luminaries as Matt Johnson, Virgin Prunes, Lol Coxhill, Lemon Kittens, Eyeless in Gaza, Mark Perry, Ben Watt, Thomas Leer, Morgan-Fisher, Robert Fripp, and David Jackman. Cherry Red furthermore wanted to release an LP by Thomas & Vezey. Until they realized that all was not as it seemed. Claire and Susan were in fact a figment of Snatch Tapes founder Philip Sanderson’s imagination.
In addition to running the label, Philip was one half of the DIY electronic group Storm Bugs, and regularly collaborator with a then unknown musician by the name of David Jackman (one of these tracks they did together was recent issued on a 10″ by Die Stadt). “Reprint” was in effect one of his few solo recordings. The first track Bright Waves (an earlier version of the track on the Cherry red LP) with its fragile wispy vocals that blow in and out on a tape delay breeze certainly adds credence to the Claire and Susan subterfuge. However the rest of the music on the CD suggest that this was more than a Situationist prank. The description on the sleeve of the music as “a study in repetition and change using two different sources and two different treatments…” was a nod towards the materialist approaches being used during the 70’s in most (fine) art forms. “Reprint One” and “Reprint Two” use the loop formed by a tape delay to build up busy percussive patterns. Recorded live, the VCS3 triggered by a sequencer feeds in a set of constantly chattering rhythms. As the loops pass repeatedly over the tape heads the sound gradually degrades turning eventually into pure white noise. What starts out as a polyrhythmic perversity, somewhat akin to electronic tap dancing, builds into a wall of sound. Also here is the piece “Under Press of Sail” (which was featured on the compilation “Snatch 3” and the “0° North” tape by David Jackman and Philip Sanderson), and the secret bonus track “Nein Nein Nein”, which was only included a few copies of the original tape release of “Reprint”. Unlike the other tracks, this was done in collaboration with fellow Storm Bug Steven Ball. Using a low-tech five-minute answer-phone cassette loop with the erase head disabled, the two built up a montage of sounds which were fed through a home-made ring modulator.
The music of Reprint is a peculiar combination of academic rigor married to an inverted pop art aesthetic. For whereas pop art incorporated the cheap intoxication’s of consumer culture into the supposed lofty rooms of high art, here was an attempt to incorporate the form or perhaps just the smell high art into the low brutality of DIY electronics.