whenever stephen tintin duffy is mentioned and given some press there is the whole duran duran issue, then the one hit wonder aspect with his electro dance pop of kiss me before his whole reinvention as some kind of 60s pastoral guitar toting hero. oh, and then there is the recent return with robbie williams of course.
but to me, there is one small 1986 based corner of his adventure that always gets criminally forgotten – dr calculus.
i originally picked up the album designer beatnik on cassette and played the fragger to death knowing little about it, as the detail on the cassette were non-existent. i have absolutely no idea why i bought the cassette, so i can’t provide any such insight, other than it was probably just a random purchase, or, more than likely, it was cheap.
of course there was no internet back in 1986 and i don’t recall any article in the nme about it, so i never found out any more about the history of the album.
i always assumed there was some of pigbag connection, but until i found a mint copy of the vinyl edition in a local charity shop last year did the full truth really come home. turns out that the album was a collaboration between roger freeman from aforementioned pigbag, and stephen tintin duffy, which makes sense with the use of the big fat trombone all over the 30 or so minutes.
the album is a wonderful selection of studio trickery of the day, lots of fairlight sonics (given stephens connections with the art of noise/ztt people was to be expected really) and excellent typically british samples adding a very welcome twisted sense of humour to the proceedings.
ranging from penguin cafe orchestra styled ambience to full on electro pop, to all weirdness (album opener blasted with ecstasy may be a clue to the mood of the day) the resultant record probably confounded any probable listeners and so the project was deemed worthy of just the one album.
and, other than a few tracks on a stephen duffy retrospective, the album has yet to be reissued on cd, but you never know now that the man is in demand once more as i reckon a little digital dusting could make this album a lost classic.
for me, the album is all about the closing track, perfume from spain. one of the tracks to not make it on the compilation despite being released as a single at the time ! however, a little net digging and i have managed to source a digital version of it, with genuine vinyl scratches for that authentic feel. ahem.
so please strap on your seatbelt, step into the virtual tardis and lets go back to 1986 for four and half minutes of cartoon samples, dubby production with the trombone and the rather timestamped rap
in other words, a glorious mess of a track with a groovy atmosphere.