Year: 1991
Original Format: cassette

Full title: Elements of Control: Radio Venus Vol. 2

Liner Notes:

CONTROL

May, 1991: As it continued to monitor the mysterious transmissions from Venus, Operation MOFO discovered that the transmissions did not in fact originate on Venus, but were merely being relayed from there. The signals were arriving at Venus from the direction of an undisclosed location in deep space. Which led them to ask: Is that location truly the origin, or just another relay station? How many levels would have to be traced to reach the source? Who is in control, and are these entities independent, or are they in turn controlled? Would all of MOFO’s work in the end reveal a consciousness, an intent behind the broadcasts, or would the point of origin evaporate as the investigation continued, like a long-dead star whose light is only now arriving in our solar system, but no longer exists in its own space?

And perhaps the most troubling question was the one that went unvoiced but lurked queasily under every step of the investigation: Could there in fact be said to be an agent, a will, behind the transmissions, or had they simply arisen, unbidden, from the random processes of the universe? What if they looked behind the curtain and nobody was there? What the hell would they do with themselves then?

Playlist:

We Will Control the Horizontal The Voice of Control

“Vic Perrin (born Victor Herbert Perrin; April 26, 1916 – July 4, 1989) was an American radio, film, and television actor, perhaps best remembered for providing the ‘Control Voice’ in the original version of the television series The Outer Limits (1963–1965). He was also a radio scriptwriter as well as a narrator in feature films and for special entertainment and educational projects, such as the original Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida…. He had voice and character roles in three classic 1967 Star Trek episodes. In the series’ first-season episode ‘Arena,’ he is the voice of the Metrons, an alien species. He appears as well in the second-season episode ‘Mirror, Mirror,’ portraying the head of the ruling council on Halka, a planet of pacifists. Also in the second season, in the episode ‘The Changeling,’ he is the voice of Nomad, a space probe.” —Wikipedia

UV Ray The Jesus and Mary Chain
“The Jesus and Mary Chain… was the musical project of Jim and William Reid, who were (a) Scottish, (b) brothers, and (c) the foremost technological and scientific innovators of the modern rock era. Before they came along, many people still assumed that in order to make aggressive, energetic noises, the members of rock bands had to actually move around, do guitar windmills, and look engaged. The JAMC did not like this situation, because those poses tended to be either uncool or boring, and often made one look like a complete twat. But after a brief scientific study of their equipment, it came to the JAMC’s attention that electric guitars, when paired with high amplifier volume and harmonic distortion, could create feedback, thereby producing aggressive noises mostly on their own, and freeing their actual players to stand around looking half dead, depressed, and generally too contemptuous and disgusted to really bother playing.” —Nitsuh Abebe, Pitchfork.com

Gnaw Mark That Petrol Emotion
Another underappreciated song from this underappreciated band’s most underappreciated album.

Control Needs Time William S. Burroughs
“Here again, we need to invoke Burroughs as the hold of control takes, for him, an exacerbated form through the biological representation that he was making of his operatory mode. For the writer, there is indeed no doubt that the flow of signs that makes the new information and communication technology proliferate aims literally at the incorporation of injunctions of behavior routines. His proposition to consider the word as a ‘virus’ is in no way a metaphor. Control is inseparable from language considered as ‘a separate organism attached to our nervous system.’” —Frédéric Claisse

Wise Blood King Swamp
“That morning Enoch Emery knew when he woke up that today the person he could show it to was going to come. He knew by his blood. He had wise blood like his daddy.” —Flannery O’Connor

Reverberation (Doubt) ZZ Top
“Anther massive Texas music legend – Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators… heavily inspired [Billy] Gibbons’ own artsy, psychedelic, concept band, the Moving Sidewalks. They and the 13th Floor Elevators played at the short-lived yet legendary Houston psychedelic venue, Love Street Light Circus at Allen’s Landing. The Elevators set was cut short by Houston Police who busted lead singer Roky Erickson for marijuana possession.” —Selvedgeyard.com

Devo Has Feelings Too Devo
Here we have that rarest of items, a good Devo song recorded after 1982. This one is from Smooth Noodle Maps, vintage 1990. The title, Wikipedia tells us, “refers to a kind of discrete mathematical system — a noodle map — which may exhibit chaotic behavior, similar to the standard map. The adjective smooth refers to the lack of kinks or discontinuities.”

Television Is Reality Prof. Brian O’Blivion
“Since I see technology as being an extension of the human body, it’s inevitable that it should come home to roost.” —David Cronenberg

TV Set The Cramps
“‘TV Set’ is quite possibly the most twisted song in The Cramps’ long, depraved catalog.” —Tinymixtapes.com

Peek-a-Boo Siouxsie & the Banshees
“A brightly unexpected mixture of black steel and pop disturbance.” —Melody Maker

Spies in the Wires Cabaret Voltaire

“In 1916, a young Romanian artist called Marcel Janco produced a painting depicting an evening in a Zurich nightclub. Now lost, but known through a photographic reproduction on a postcard, the picture presents a riotous scene in the fractured style of early Cubism. A group of performers, centre-stage, make strange, unnaturally angular shapes with their bodies. They seem to be responding to the music of a nearby pianist, who tips back his chair, while remaining hunched over his keyboard. The audience, meanwhile, is a raucous, drunken mob. Sitting at tables scattered around the auditorium, they laugh, yell, point, and jabber. Above them, over the stage, an ominous, skull-like visage – a mask possibly inspired by African tribal art – keeps watch. Next to it, like a banner placed prominently above the pianist, a single word – ‘Dada’ – is legible in the gloom. This, of course, is the name of the revolutionary cultural movement that electrified Europe a century ago. And it all began in this cramped nightclub, which hosted an ‘entertainment’ that lent its name to Janco’s painting – the Cabaret Voltaire.” —Alastair Sooke, BBC.com

Paranoia, Paranoia (excerpt) Bauhaus
“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.” —William S. Burroughs
“When everyone’s out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking.” —Dr. Johnny Fever

Telephone Thing The Fall
“Mark wrote the words to that after reading [Peter Wright’s] Spycatcher. He thought the secret service was listening in to his calls, because he had opinions. Maybe they were.” —Martin Bramah

911 Is a Joke Public Enemy
Bizarrely, Duran Duran covered this song in 1995. Even more bizarrely, it is not bad.

Something Fast The Sisters of Mercy
The album this is from, Vision Thing, is now 30 years old. And still Andrew Eldritch stubbornly refuses to make another, despite continuing to tour (the Sisters played in Nottingham on March 11 of this year, shortly before civilization ended) and write songs. It is possible that he will someday change his mind, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Grind The Church
Like the Sisters, the Church is still out there playing shows, with a spate of shows scheduled [optimistically] to celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. Also like the Sisters, they are down to one original member, but they continue to grind it out.

Gouge Away Pixies
“Not a lot of listeners realized it at the time, but ‘Gouge Away’ – the final track on Doolittle – is a retelling of the biblical story of Samson and Delilah. For those unfamiliar with the story, Delilah was a woman hired by the Philistines to find the source of Samson’s great strength. In exchange for silver, she seduced him and discovered he drew his powers from his hair, which she cut while he slept. In the Pixies’ version, she uses some marijuana to get the truth out of him.” —Rolling Stone

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