"We've had a mutual admiration society going for years. I wanted them involved in the recording," singer David Thomas said. "For awhile the album was going to be titled This Moment In Blackness."
TMIBH was kept in touch with the album's progress through demo tapes and works-in-progress downloads.
"I wanted to feel a rival group's eyes on us as we worked," Thomas said. "As Pere Ubu became increasingly globalized, I worked with different methods of keeping it grounded in a specific geography. Originally, I intended to incorporate TMIBH into a Pere Ubu record but Carnival Of Souls went off in its direction and RFTT inherited the idea."
TMIBH guitarist Buddy Akita is a member of RFTT.
All songs written by Akita - Bell - Mehlman - Siperko - Thomas and published by Fire Songs, except 'Read It And Weep' written by Bell and published by Hearpen Music, 'Strychnine' written by G. Roslie and published by Valet Publishing Company, and 'Sonic Reducer' written by O'Connor - Thomas and published by Larry Spier Music.
Rocket From The Tombs is:
Crocus Behemoth vocals, musette, duotron
Gary Siperko guitar, vocals
Buddy Akita guitar
Craig Bell bass, vocals
Steve Mehlman drums, vocals
This Moment In Black History is:
Lamont Thomas vocals on Hawk Full Of Soul, backing vocals, tambourine
Lawrence Caswell backing vocals
Chris Kulcsar synthesizer on Welcome To The New Dark Ages, backing vocal
and Buddy Akita.
The first pressing of 'Black Record' is only available on silver vinyl. The front cover of the LP was given an extra coating of silver ink. Subsequent pressings will be on black vinyl.
All vinyl produces surface noise. It's the nature of the beast. The stylus being dragged through the vinyl grooves produces a noise baseline. It can be heard in the gaps between songs. If you hear nothing, great, but it's still there. If your turntable costs $1000s or $50, it transmits surface noise.
The pressing plant that manufactured 'Black Record' offers only a limited palette of color vinyls, chosen according to the chemical compositions that yield the lowest surface noise.
The surface noise of a black vinyl copy of RFTT's 'Black Record' is measured as approximately -45db. The silver vinyl produces a level at approximately -35db. It is a significant increase, but how significant?
Paul Hamann has been the engineer for nearly every Ubu Projex studio recording since 1979. His father, Ken, engineered Pere Ubu from 1976 to 1979 before retiring. Ken had been an engineer since the 40s. He recorded The Cleveland Orchestra during the exacting George Szell years. He engineered most of the Terry Knight productions, most of James Gang, 'Nobody But Me,' 'Time Won't Let Me,' 'Green Tambourine,' and 'Play That Funky Music, White Boy,' among others. He was a pioneer of digital technology and designed and built a hardware Analog-to-Digital converter still used by another audiophile studio. In the conversion to cd audio for the Elitism For The People box set, Ken's 20-30 year old converter, The Sumex Brown Box, performed as well as, if not arguably better, than the latest state-of-the-art software or hardware.
Paul was raised to be an engineer. He has impeccable hearing. He has never had a speeding ticket - he can sense police radar guns. He is also a cutting engineer and a musician and, though he plays bass in local traditional folk groups, his favorite band is Blue Cheer. Paul is old school. He is a part of the machine. To drag an opinion out of him requires determination and the repetition of ever more precise questions. When he gives an answer it is unvarnished.
These questions were put to him:
1. Does the additional surface noise of the silver vinyl spoil your listening enjoyment? "No."
2. Is it something that you, as an engineer, are bummed out about? "No."
He, uncharacteristically, volunteered the following: the art of the packaging with silver vinyl outweighs any concern about additional surface noise.
He is happy, as a consumer and as an engineer, to have the silver vinyl. "It's cool."
With the purchase of any cd or vinyl lp from Fire Records, the consumer is given codes for free downloads of any and all of the following: two lossless audio formats (FLAC and Apple Lossless), high quality AAC (iTunes) format, high quality VBR MP3 format and high quality CBR MP3 format. These conversions are produced and/or overseen by David Thomas, often in consultation with Paul.
Fire Records is dedicated to quality. (As well, their boss, evidently, once told his staff, "We are now in the business of David Thomas.") They use the range of technology and delivery methods to make available a wide spectrum of audio formats. Consequently, each format can be used a little differently to drive home Meaning. And even stop for a burger along the way.
Every recording that leaves the studio is a compromise. Every. Recording. That. Leaves. The. Studio. From that point of view it's all flawed. It's all a failure. The best option, then, is to be deaf. Only the deaf hear the world as it is. Silent.