Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wondrous Fair - Wondrous Fair

Brisbane’s Wondrous Fair began around 1986 and had lasted up until 1995. In nine or so years they chalked up the following releases: the cassettes ‘Wondrous Fair’ (C60), ‘Tidy Town’ (C90) and ‘Live All Over the Shop’ (C60). They also self-released a CD in 1994 called ‘Cosmological Clock’.

They appeared on all three SPILL label compilations (1 on cassette, and 2 and 3 on CD) as well as the 1986 4ZZZ compilation LP ‘State of Emergence’.

They wore outlandish costumes.

Members of the band were formerly of Tangled Shoelaces, Gobble Gobble and Clag to name three. The story of Tangled Shoelaces and the rest of what I call the Class of 1982 is to be continued for the readers of SSS.

They made a selection of videos. Most of them are on YouTube. Some of their songs were played by Dragster after the band and beforehand by Tangled Shoelaces.

This cassette came out in 1987. As the notes in the 7” sleeve suggest, they were recorded live. The now surnamed line-up from their debut album is:

Deborah Cavallaro – marimba, keyboards.

Rodney McAllister – drums, guitar.

Martin Mackerras – bass, clarinet.

Richard Hagen – keyboards.

Jeanette Gilfedder – viola, keyboards.

Michael Bouwman – saxophone.

Stephen Mackerras – guitar

Deborah played in the Sump, the Fair Muses and Dragster (to quickly name three) – she’s currently in the Golden Circles. Rodney was the drummer in the Sump when Jeffrey Wegener or a drum machine wasn’t or weren't keeping a beat. Richard had a tapeloop-heavy project called Wank Engine and did a curious radio show on 4zzz in the 90s called Winky Wanky Woo. Jeanette’s in Italy now, and I think Stephen’s in Japan. Michael plays in Not Pictured. And I’m not sure what Martin’s doing at the moment but he played in Puppenspiel in the early 1990s.

Enjoy it here

- Donat


Anonymous said...

Thanks Donat!


bob nebe said...

Thanks indeed Donat and welcome aboard the SSS blogship! I'm looking forward to this wonderous tape!

Richard Hagen said...

Thanks for the nod!

The early Wank® Engine stuff was all done by torturing scary old samplers (Mirages) in various ways, often by exploiting bugs in the oscillator architecture. I'll put my "Old Rope" selection of tracks back up on my web site if anyone is interested.

Everything went wrong when I became convinced that I could write songs. I ended up with endless doodles and prototypes. I should have become a double act: me finding the samples and making scribbles about how I could see them being used; someone else stitching together the real music. I am an idiot. (I'm very proud of my Spill 3 track 787 though. I have a wonderfully revamped but poorly mixed and instrumented version of it on a CD. I'll put this up too if anyone is interested.)

The Winky Wanky Woo track was officially called Anothernother Brain. Ken Stock, Michael Ison (Sump, etc.) and I belted out a seriously inspired wall of sound for 60 minutes one night on Triple Z. It was called Anothernother Brain for a sample I pulled from the Curse of Frankenstein and looped down. I took a week building a skeleton which was recorded via four track on to a C30 cassette. During the performance, we played the backwards side of the cassette for 30 minutes, then flipped it and played the forwards side.

There's more stuff, but it's a bit off topic.

Richard Hagen said...

A couple of unusual WF band photos. Unusual because they're early enough to have me in the band:

I can't remember where they were taken, but thank god I've put on some weight since then.

(Let me know if the links don't work.)

bob nebe said...

Thank you Richard for adding to the post, great photos and I do love your tape loop stories.

Richard Hagen said...

Some more grist.

WF formed in 1985 or so, a bit earlier than you mention. I think I was recruited because I had a synth. I couldn't play, and still can't. My only skill is creating odd and unusual patches and finding the places where manufacturers would rather you didn't go.

I left mid-1987 just before a big gig. If any WF people are reading this, I hope that they can accept my apology for doing this.

We played at That Gallery (since crushed by a Telecom building); we played at the Albert Street amphitheatre; we supported Billy Bragg; we made it to the finals in a real-life battle of the bands competition; we conducted guerrilla concerts at peoples' parties (with a memorable performance at the Vulture Street ghost house); we played many benefits. One night we played at an-out-of-town wedding, and the guests enjoyed it so much, and they danced so hard, that the beams holding up the floor threatened to give way (not bullshitting).

Our practice sessions were held in Deborah's flat in Hamilton.

The range of instruments we used was much larger than the list in the main blog would suggest. Deborah had an Aladdin's cave of unusual musical instruments and costumes.

If it's ok, I'll keep trickling in more WF stuff as it comes to me.

Donat said...

Dial Tones That Changed History from Spill 1 is your masterwork and don't you try and deny it!

michael bouwman said...

nice blog, didn't know half of that stuff, ha. wondrous fair did some great gigs, and i wish i could remember half of them. i did especially like our gigs playing the old air raid bunker at the storey bridge hotel. one cassette we released, literally, attached to helium balloons from outside my house at red hill, with a note. someone found it on stradbroke island. earlier to wondrous fair and for a while after i joined them, i was in 'the lamingtons', a seven hills art college band of guys who all went to high school in the seventies together and started putting on their own shows early in 1981, as well as ZZZ shows, on and off for about 10 years. they produced no cassettes or singles. after 'wondrous fair', i was in a covers band for a bit ('frankly zappa'), a disco band 'sons of bee gees' and then i rejoined the same guys from the lamingtons minus the drummer, in a recording only band, 'sniffy', which did about 6 cds over as many years, about 50 copies of each run off and given away. links to myspace sites (memorials) i set up for each group, including wondrous fair:
(and some of my scribbles:
wondrous fair are about the most scattered band, with former members in italy, japan, western australia, melbourne and brisbane. great film clips deborah and stephen made, still not all digitised. cheers.

Richard Hagen said...

I've shunted the Wondrous Fair stuff to

This seems to download a lot faster.

Richard Hagen said...

Somone asked about the Billy Bragg gig. It was at Easts Leagues Club and I think the other support was Furious Turtles. My mum came along.

bob nebe said...

Aha so thats when I saw you guys play.

chuck said...

Welcome aboard Donat !
big thanx Richard and Michael for the stories n sounds :)
found a spill / wonderous fair review from 94 just posted...