Write Your Own History

Released
album Track Listing

1. You're Not Supposed To
2. In The Kitchen
3. Trying To Sit Out
4. Breakfast Song
5. Feeding the Birds
6. I'm Tired
7. Test Your Reaction
8. Alternating Current
9. Can You See Anything

Details Write Your Own History

Memphis Industries are releasing a collection of unreleased tracks and b-sides called “Write Your Own History” by Field Music on April 24th 2006.  The reasoning behind the release?  Well, the b-sides are amazing – as good as some of the tracks on their 2005 debut album and deserved of wider recognition.  Additionally, one of the “new” songs, “Alternating Current”, was the track that first spiked Memphis Industries interested in the Brewis brothers when they first heard their demos back in 2004. Memphis desperately wanted it on the album proper.  They said no – having it on this b side and rarities collection was a compromise, a way to get it heard in a context which the band were (moderately) comfortable with.  The other reason behind the release, the one Field Music might point to, is that it’s a typical ‘indie label’ ploy. They could be right.  But there’s no doubt that it has given the band a chance to explain themselves, to tell how Field Music rose from the burning embers of The New Tellers and Electronic Eye Machine, to write their own history. So take it away David Brewis:

“If you consider the true semantic meanings of the words, there’s no way to ever tell the 'whole truth' short of actually reliving the event in question all over again. On the other hand, in rock’n’roll/indie mythology and elsewhere, the tendency is always towards presenting things (a band, a story, an idea) in the most simplistic way possible, and usually in such a way that makes past events appear to be irrelevant in themselves and become nothing more than a set of arrows pointing towards the present. If you're a firm believer in destiny this might be acceptable (were it not so obviously a marketing angle), but for anyone with an interest in how something is created it's more honest to allow some of the complexity of a situation to show through. As a brief illustration of this unspoken complexity, Field Music's debut album was recorded and mixed before we'd even decided on a name, though the three core members have played together in one form or another for over ten years. When Memphis Industries suggested releasing the b-sides to Field Music's first three singles compiled onto a CD as a companion to the album, our response was 'only if it can be presented as what it is' – and specifically, that it isn’t a indication of how much music we’ve created as Field Music, but is instead a compilation of the different music we'd been making and the ideas we'd tried to realise prior to the rather neat situation which is currently presented.

The two most significant precursors to the Field Music record were Electronic Eye Machine and the New Tellers, two groups with disconcertingly fluid membership led respectively by Peter and David Brewis and both featuring their school friend Andrew Moore. Peter’s Electronic Eye Machine, initially an unwieldy seven-strong performance experiment, gradually disassembled itself into the near practical four-piece, which morphed into Field Music. The original incarnation of the band was documented on several home-cooked recordings, some of which were released as the ‘Jesus Song’ EP in 2002, which featured an early recording of You’re Not Supposed To. Can You See Anything eventually surfaced on the If Only The Moon Were Up single along with two latter-day New Tellers recordings. Always a more studio-based and less collective banner than his brother’s group, David’s New Tellers nevertheless repeatedly borrowed EEM’s members (and vice versa) and did venture onstage occasionally, though each variation of the group played only two or three times at most before disbanding to make way for the next unfeasible idea. This itchy feet approach to performance extended to recordings – the versions of I’m Tired and Test Your Reaction included here were actually reworkings of songs which had already appeared on the EP and mini-album released by the band. The song Alternating Current predates even the New Tellers, but again, several versions of the song were recorded under that name between 1998 and 2003.

The other songs on this release do represent something closer to a dress rehearsal for Field Music. Breakfast Song, Feeding The Birds and Trying To Sit Out were actually older songs rerecorded by Peter, partly for the sake of curiosity and partly to try out two of the ideas, which became very prominent through the recording of the Field Music album. Firstly, these were Peter’s first attempts at arranging for a string trio. Secondly, these recording test out the notion of pushing against strict self-imposed limits – in this case, and with Field Music so far, by severely restricting the palette of sounds and instruments, which could be used. In The Kitchen is quite close to being the first true Field Music recording – the significant variation in approach here was to record the song as quickly as possible and to record instruments and voices together as often as was feasible, an idea which was applied to the sporadic recording sessions for the Field Music album, starting with the day spent recording Shorter Shorter in November 2003”.