Automatic writing in the sacred landscape. Established 1991. TC Lethbridge are Doggen, Kev Bales and Flinton Chalk.
Daniel James, Kev Bales, Tony Doggen Foster, Flinton Chalk at John Stewart Hall, Yatesbury, Wessex, where most of the tracks for Mina and 2000TC were recorded.
I was at Brian’s with Flint. He announced that he had a tape with him, and did we want to hear it? It was rough mixes of the 2000TC songs recorded in the Avebury hall, which he had pulled out of a box of cassettes under his stairs. I asked him recently what compelled him to take out this tape at that point, but he had no idea. He seemed to do it without thinking. It was just time. I was keen to hear it. I was a big fan of the Mina instrumentals although I recognised that, as music went, it was fairly niche and unlikely to gain a large audience. We settled down in Brian’s front room and put the tape on. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but it wasn’t the overwhelming sense of purpose that burst out of the speakers. I was reminded of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which I was not prepared for. This stuff was good, and it had broad appeal.
There is one particular section of 2000TC that for me crystallises everything that Flint, Kev and Doggen were doing. It is music that you will never hear, but by now you’ll find it on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you get your music. It is at the end of the sixth track, although I do not know what that song is called, because time is out of whack for me and I only have an mp3 named ‘track 6’. The song starts simply enough, with an understated bass groove and the line “It’s all down to you” sung over and over again. But Doggen’s playing becomes increasingly possessed by some musical spirit, the like of which I have never heard before. I don’t have the musical grammar to understand where he is taking that music, yet it always sounds perfect and right and Kev remains locked in with him wherever he goes. As the song progresses you get the strange sense that those musicians no longer exist, that they have been replaced. They have sunk a deep well and been swept away by the sound gushing out of them. This builds and builds and… stops, abruptly. The tape ran out. But back in that hall none of them noticed. They continued, utterly lost in what they were doing, unable to say how much longer that particular improvisation went on for, other than to say that it was a while. And this is maddening, frustrating. To hear where they were when just before the tape ended is a cruel tease indeed.
It is tempting to see this ‘track 6.mp3’ as a summation of everything TC Lethbridge are about. It exists now. It has been mixed and mastered and we can all hear it. But it also points to those lost moments we can never recover, of three musicians in Avebury who had left their egos far behind and were producing, as Brian Barritt put it, “automatic writing in the sacred landscape.” – John Higgs
TC Lethbridge – Moon Equipped (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)
‘Moon Equipped’ – 250 Vinyl 1994 self released. Recorded 1992 on board Judith, a Dutch barge on Thames at Battersea Bridge on 4 Track cassette.
TC Lethbridge – Mina (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)
TC Lethbridge – 2000 TC (Iron Man Records – 23rd Nov 2014)
Band Line up:
Formed 1991 (Laurel Canyon) named 1992 (Avebury).
Flinton Chalk – Vocs, Keys, Percussion, Engineer, Producer.
Tony ‘Doggen’ Foster – Guitars, Keys, Lead Vocs, Digital Remaster Engineer.
Kev Bales – Drums, Percussion, Vocs,
Daniel James – Bass on 1st album.
Last public performance:
The Cosmic Trigger Festival, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool, 22nd Nov 2014 around 10pm…..
Performance, Speakers, Art, Music Cinema, Rituals, Workshops, poetry, Quizzes, Stalls, Discordian Papal Ball. Prof. Robert Temple, Robin Ince, Nina Conti, Youth, Adam Gorightly, Johnny “Dolphin” Allen, C.J. Stone, John Higgs, Dr. David Luke, Greg Sams, Jeff young, Liverpool Impropriety, TC Lethbridge, DJ Kin, Michael Brunstrom, Dr. David Bramwell, John Constable, Salena Godden, Jacqueline Genie, Adrian reynolds, Jamie Reid, Jimmy Cauty. www.cosmictriggerplay.com
T.C. Lethbridge website: http://www.tclethbridge.com