There’s nowt as queer as folk y’know. That’s an old saying from round my ‘hood. A very old saying actually, from before the time “queer” referred to gender diversity and just meant “weird”. Probably because “weird” wasn’t even a word then either. Anyway, as I was saying - it does puzzle me how Maelstrom, Lughnasad and now Nemesis all take turns at being in fashion as my best early album. I suppose that depends on all sorts of shit eh. As for my philosophical talents, they do leave something to be desired! Right then, good old ‘Nematode’ came about due to the obvious misfortune of being snotted on from various angles during the Xenomorph period, then snotted on some more while recording Nemesis and finally encountering The Mothership of Galactic Snottery as soon as the thing was released. It might be why the thing on the original cover looks like an extremely bad nose-picking accident! Equipment-wise, I was transitioning from using an 8-track portastudio and DAT, to a 4-track digital knob-box from Akai and CD burning. Twas indeed a most wondrous knob-box which ticked so loud you’d end up with the Bomb Squad if you ran it these days.
Nemesis. This is the titular track, as opposed to it having tits as such although I did multitrack myself a lot for the vocals! Okay then, I’m guessing the song’s all about snottery. That having been said, production-wise, as with all these tracks, there were always a couple of faults I couldn’t really rectify until now. One of which was the overall clarity and definition of the sound, which I found to be kinda middle-ish and sometimes muddy, without much high top-end. The other problem (many thanks to dudes pointing it out like Jason Hopkins, Matt Stringer etc.), was a whistle up at around 14.6kHz and this had been present to some extent since Maelstrom (and removed from the 2019 version). It got especially bad in places on Nemesis. This time I was able to dial it in and remove the f*cker. I suspect it was caused by the Yamaha mixing desk I was using at the time. Note also that the Nemesis track appeared in more than version. So, just to clarify that, here’s a third one :-D
Inside The Circle. As this edition of Nemesis has the track line-up of the original CD, Inside The Circle comes next. I recall one of the chaps from a German label rejecting this on the basis that it reminded him too much of Klaus Schulze. O RLY?!! I mean… Nah. Klaus would’ve had to be seriously off his meds to sound like Inside The Circle! Anyway, the track itself is about psychic snottery. I did say I was under attack from all angles. This piece is about casting protection against such things, as well as being all mysterious and far out about it. And in this format, the tracks do make something of a concept album.
Bridge of Dreams. Okay, having defeated the psychic snottery of Inside The Circle, I’m kinda wandering off in astral form, over this ‘ere bridge, right. It’s kinda sentimental, and in some places it’s proper mental. If you hear snippets of other tunes in there, clock them certainly, because I’m sure I was adding them at the time, being in that kind of mood.
Woman in Black. My Marmite track - you either love it or you can’t stand it! Heck knows what inspired it cos I certainly wasn’t enjoying any good love life at the time! It also sounds as if I could have benefitted from somewhat less caffeine intake.
Incarnate. All hail the mighty Prodigy, without whom the Incarnate drum line wouldn’t be the same!!! That and Hammer Films, cos I nabbed samples from the 1950’s The Mummy. Yeah, a track all about ancient curses and mummified snottery.
Angelfire Parts 1 & 2. Well wouldn’t ya know it, at some point I must’ve had reason to feel all light and fluffy, well enough to compose Angelfire. Listening back now, it amazes me how complex the mixing was going on throughout this. All manner of tweaks seem to be taking place which I’m sure meant important things at the time. Anyway, once that’s all tweaked itself off, its…
Drums in The Deep. A LOTR track with some fairly subdued and messed up samples from a radio adaptation of the Mines of Moria section. Yup… remember kiddies, down there in that gloom lurks more snottery than you can ever imagine. All one has to do is make some noise; you will never want for mucous ever again.
The Sentinel. right, the story goes that I’d been under severe psychic snottery for a while, along with all the other stuff. So I decided, for some peculiar reason, that right after finishing this track I could despatch myself simply by drinking enough, being high on weed enough and using my Acme[™] shamanic training to think myself to death. No, you really can’t make this up. Well, the thing is… it started working and my heart started buggering up. Thinking that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea, coupled with me hallucinating that some deity or other was telling me off for chickening out of existence, I decided to chew aspirin and bail. Never bothered trying any of that malarkey since.
Introduction. This little piece was recorded live at the E-Cafe gig at The Flowerpot, Derby. It had been intended as the opening track of Nemesis and I don’t really know why I didn’t use it, as it wouldn’t have harmed a bean.
Hellfire. This and into The Blue appeared as extra studio tracks on Works II, the 1997-8 live album. I can’t count them as Xenomorph period, so they belong here instead. Hellfire barnstorms through over 8 1/2 mins with a distinct Rock’n’Blues feel. Well y’know, life can’t all be about germanic dystopian soundscapes and knob-box abuse.
4QNRX. Ahhh… twas that time I ventured down London to attend a TD gig. There I stood, all wide-eyed and hoping for some inspiring words from the great Ed. What I actually got was “Andy Pickford is not welcome back stage”. From that point I realised what an earth shattering impression I had already made upon our fabulous EM heroes and decided the entirety of EM could happily go and f*ck itself. Oh, and the label initially chosen to release Nemesis wasn’t happy either because I told them also to go and f*ck themselves. So that, kids, is where 4QNRX came from. Gawd bless it and all who sail in it. See The Sentinel for where that ultimately took me.
Redshaft Part I & II. Apart from the title, which again stems from my inherent self-destructive tendencies of the time, the music here is really bloody good. Yeah, this really was a live piece (E-Cafe gig) and I genuinely didn’t f*ck any notes up!!
Drums in The Deep (RadioSilence Mix). Ideal candidate, I thought, for chilling down to just a few degrees above Absolute Zero, then adding the Picko Arse of 75 Experience. Many knobs were most enjoyably twiddled. No harm was done to underage synthesisers and the Behringers were sent round their granny’s for the day.
Into The Blue (Original). One of my favourite pieces this. As you can hear by comparing my new version, I cannot improve on it. I can make a more impressive overall sound and right a few wrongs, but all parts of that original slot so well in place together that there’s little room for improvement. That was a Juno 106 sequence if I recall. I have also a 2012 version of this. It doesn’t add much to the equation and the original mix is still the best of those two.
Into The Blue (2020). I gave it a good bash from scratch! It sounds bigger, more etherial and cinematic than the original. But that original is still pretty darn impressive to my failing ears.
You think it's all over? Nope...
This release has an easter egg in the form of a link in a plain text doc you'll only get when you download the album. I think you'll like it :-)