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Out of print

Preparing For Power


CD album | gg371
Bourbonese Qualk were an experimental music group from England who where active from 1979 until 2003. The group were always obsessively and uncompromisingly focused on controlling their work – they ran their own record label, recording studio, tour organisation and music venue (the legendary ‘Ambulance Station’) – they refused to integrate into the commercial music racket turning down publishing deals from major labels – stubbornly opting for total independence. Bourbonese Qualk were also known for their political activism which was formed in the crucible of the 1980s Britain: The Miner’s Strike, Falklands/Malvinas war, Anti-fascism, Thatcherism, Moneterism, squatting/housing, local government corruption, anti-capitalism, and Anarchism – which was further re-enforced by touring Europe and meeting like-minded groups and organisations. They saw their music as a revolutionary cultural force – a belief that radical musical forms must be part of positive social change. Despite this position, the group avoided dogma, cliché and propaganda, preferring to let their audience come to their own conclusions – their work was often ambiguous and directly critical of cynical power-politics of any colour – often irritating members of the traditional ‘organised left’. In 1984 Bourbonese Qualk occupied a large empty building on the Old Kent Road in South London which they turned into a base for their activities and a co-operative for artists, musicians and writers as well as a centre for radical political activism – specifically as a co-ordinating centre for the ‘Stop The City’ anti-capitalist riots of 1984-1986. They never recorded in a ‘proper’ studio (not that they could ever afford to), choosing instead to work with their own extremely basic equipment (at a time when home studios were very unusual – the unique raw sound of these recordings is the result of their choice – which now, ironically, is in vodue due perhaps to the overwhelming obliquity of ‘clean’ audio digital production tools. If Bourbonese Qualk have a legacy, it is that ‘culture’ should be reclaimed, re-defined and owned by the people, wherever they are, however small and not by the state or the market and that ‘culture’ is a vital vehicle for debate and radical change .The Spike was the band's third album, and originally came out in 1985 in Germany on the Dossier label. It was recorded while the group were involved in organising the Berlin Atonal festival. This first ever CD edition has bonus tracks not on the original vinyl LP and was remastered. Full tracklist: 1. Shutdown 2. Suburb City 3. About This 4. New England 5. Preparing For Power 6. Pogrom 7. Call To Arms 8. Frontline 9. Spanner In The Works 10. In-Flux 11. Deadbeat 12. Papal Order 1 & 2 13. Drex. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.

The relative shortness of the songs is one of the strengths of The Spike. An album of moods and atmospheres as much as it is songs, it has a kind of organic flow so that somehow theres no jarring transition between the almost tribal percussion of New England and the piano-led, dub-flavoured Preparing for Power. (...) The Spike is about as far from the usual perception of 80s music as its possible to get, but it remains a fascinating and surprisingly listenable piece of work 30+ years after its original release.
(Spectrum Culture, July 2021)

Najwięcej na The Spike eksperymentalnych kompozycji: pozbawionych rytmu, wypełnionych syntezatorowymi preperacjami, dźwiękami akustycznych instrumentów (skrzypce) i dramatycznymi krzykami. To takie utwory, jak Suburb City czy Spanner In The Works. Zgodnie z duchem epoki nie brak tu jednak również czytelnych nawiązań do futurystycznego electro-funku w stylu Cabaret Voltaire: w bardziej (Shutdown) lub mniej (Deadbeat) dosłownej wersji. Bourbonese Qualk balansuje te hałaśliwe i rytmiczne kompozycje intrygującymi wycieczkami w stronę pastoralnej psychodelii z lat 60. To ilustracyjne utwory, skoncentrowane na sennych pasażach spogłosowanej gitary (About This).
(Nowa Muzyka, August 2021)

The album kicks off with the brooding slap bass-meets-ranted shouts and smarting-to-hissing beat work of Shutdown. We have the proto ethnic techno meets warbling and wondering blues-rock guitar soloing of About This. The spaced-yet-building ramshackle punk chant sampling meets rough throbbing bass toll and messy sonic rebel-rousing of Call To Arms. And the strip light totalitarian stomp of In-Flux which brings together snapping low-fi industrial textures, throbbing bass and building-up junk metal percussion hits.
(Musique Machine, September 2021)

The music has little guitar on the eponymous album, so it seems more electronics and samples are used in this album. The shouting of political slogans, a strong point of the band, is more present on The Spike than on the other album. It is attractive to see the development this group shows in a relatively short period and the excitement of continuous experimentation—still one of my favourite groups of all time.
(Vital Weekly, December 2022)