Peter Hope and his Wrong Revolution…
He’s LOUD, He’s WRONG & He’s PROUD… And He’s fucking SO right on it NOW
Waking from a musical slumber purely of my own making, it was with much splendid surprise that last year I stumbled upon the return of one of the most visceral voices this land has ever spawned and a bit of an idol of mine. Such excitement led me to buy a cassette. Yes, a CASSETTE folks. For the uninitiated a marvel of plastic shell and spools, a simple tactile tool allowing those of us from a darker time, though strangely a more enabling creative age, to record the GOD who will live-on forever John Peel and his global airings. Then as necessary, playback, consider and purchase, yes young-ones PURCHASE sounds so varied and wondrous Soundcloud pales into insignificance. This magnetic medium also gave the opportunity to the likes of lil’ ol’ me to slam a foot in the doorway of an industry barred to all but the rich. There have been bewildering gems released on tape, such as the Third Mind label’s Rising From The Red Sands series and Portion Control’s Assault (I’ll hands-up myself on that one), so what could make more sense than grabbing a piece of Pete Hope’s EXPLODING MIND on discovery of his return from self-imposed exile in the Outer Hebrides. The Schizophrenic Numbskull was BACK and obviously still LOUD/WRONG/PROUD. Wrong Revolution; the cassette, arrived in padded jiffy along with Klang Galerie’s perfectly square-rounded CD “Collection of Projectile Vomit from 1984-2002”. Well, that was the subtitle, Hoodoo Dance being the official tag… Fast forward and with one-eye over the shoulder there’s no escaping THE man of Industrial Blues again. Put those glossy expensive Tom Waits releases away mama, wire all those hi-fi separates and Saddle UP…
You WILL know Peter Hope as the imposing front of The Box; unsung post-punk-avant-dance so much a molten heart of the Sheffield steel sledgehammer industrial-funk scene, though never quite breaking the four-corners – I blame Thatcher for it was she who FUCKED everything else in this blinkered Isle (add your own expletives, I’m all cunted out since she was at last sent to HELL). You WILL know Peter Hope from his pummeling electro-workouts with Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk; Hoodoo Talk is of course already on your vinyl & CD shelves, all tightly wrapped in ‘Leather Hands’. You WILL know Peter Hope from his all-too brief Sufferhead EP with David Harrow; ‘Snakes Washed In’ being the one track I’ve personally always referenced to frame our man’s voice… And what a FUCKING raking, wrenching-right-at-the-back-of-the-throat voice. You WILL know Peter Hope for the industrial spewing’s and looping’s of Dry Hip Rotation with Jonathan S. Podmore, a classic of collapsing avant-garde. You WILL know Peter Hope and his long-time Boxster collaborator Charlie Collins for their Flex13 downbeat blues-tinged sound-sculptured releases on Liquid… Uneasy listening for any misaligned Warp aficionado – yeah I quite like that description pour moi! AND you WILL know Peter Hope in various guises alongside DJ Parrot degrading dance in all forms… THE Hoodoo of White Trash. Case rested, you KNOW him.
End time 2003. One nagging question; Why? Where? No more ever? Alright that’s three but all relate. Would I ever hear of Peter Hope again?
YES, but Pete himself outlines the reasoning for the restful, silent period. ‘Restful’ I’ll need to rethink that… “I’d just spent over 2 years on the WHITE TRASH project with Parrot (All Seeing I / Sweet Exorcist / Crooked Man etc.) which was very fraught due to the combination of personalities involved; totally draining and ultimately destined to dramatically implode! Which it did. Despite great reviews there really was nowhere else it could go and both Parrot and me were exhausted. I was happy to put my creative energies elsewhere and had been Dry Stone Walling for a number of years”. That was not quite the answer I was expecting… “The Isle of Harris really is on the Outside looking OUT and the change of lifestyle was really the thing that drove the move [to Scotland]. Our plans were sketchy to say the least; we sold up and went with no real idea where we were even going to stay! Funny thing was that within an hour of arriving we met John Maher (Buzzcocks drummer) who’d done virtually the same thing a year earlier and after eleven weeks in a thirty year old caravan we moved into a rented place that John had been staying in whilst finding a house to buy”. And the following just left me open-mouthed! “What happened next was this: Watch video
For those unable to watch the video Pete and his wife quite literally built a home on the island. A stunning achievement which won the prestigious Grand Designs Home Of The Year award. Unsurprisingly this left little time for music. “During my time there I didn’t do any new music but in 2009/2010 Austrian label Klang Gallerie re-released the Dry Hip Rotation album and then proposed a compilation of my collaborative works [realised as Hoodoo Dance]. On the back of that I got a gig at Wroclaw Industrial Festival in 2011 plus a Vienna gig. At this point we’d just sold Blacksheep House and once more, with only half a plan, we followed the random path and moved to Vienna for six months in 2012. I’d already started Wrong Revolution and wanted to see if I could find a way back into making the kind of music I wanted to. Vienna was a great experience but ultimately it wasn’t the right place although I met some great people and recorded some new music too.
“Wrong Revolution so far has been partly a vehicle to re-release some of the old stuff that either has gone out of circulation or only received partial release. Self promotion has never been something I’ve felt happy doing and I was inspired by the emergence of D.I.Y. labels that harked back to a more punk ethic. Initially I was very keen to find new acts to release (DeafthNoise, Cassettezultan) but as time went on whilst in Vienna it quickly became apparent that in order to give these projects the kind of energy I believe they deserve I need to be around people who, literally, speak my language!”
Homeward then, the inevitable reawakening Sheffield spirit and exciting prospect of new material. “You really have to be very committed to selling stuff via the internet and the shift away from CD’s (a format I’ve never really liked) to Download or Vinyl has changed things again. It would be great to put out vinyl and yes, there is new material in the pipeline, so at the moment that’s my focus; a vinyl release of new work. The new work pulls in a few disparate strands that include Parrot (once more) Natasha Schampus & Luna Menta (of Exploding Mind) and my long time main man Charlie Collins (Clock DVA, The Box etc. etc.). In the meantime there are still a handful of back catalogue releases that I will put out as limited edition CD’s and download before making the whole back catalogue download only.
With so much happening NOW and pipelined, emigration to New Zealand in the offing another phase in his more than useful life looks imminent. “As far as Wrong and future music goes once I’m there I’ll make no plans; the random card seems to be the one I play best, so I’ll just maintain my Right to be Wrong. It’s bound to be good.”
Whatever Pete’s legacy in years to come, whether it’s a shedload of important music or an exquisite hand-built house on a timeless Scottish island, I will never forget the first time I heard his voice on John Peel all those decades ago and it’s such a privilege to hear him still today. “I’m a blues singer, not the most conventional maybe, but that’s what I’ve always been. I’m quite happy to accept that I don’t really fit any set style or genre, which I suppose IS my style!”
Here are a few select forceful expulsions available to buy direct from Wrong Revolution (in no particular order or timeframe because they ALL should to be gulped down with glee):
FLEX 13 ‘Sound Of Darkness’ WRNG09 Ltd CD / DL
“C’mon you’re ready to commit Sonic-cide”. Flex 13 is Peter Hope and Charlie Collins who over two previous albums allowed both their vocal and musical imaginations run amok in a studio environment laden with a hefty arsenal of samples. Debuting with Paint My Legs and closely followed by Candy this set recorded in the year 2000 was/is their third foray into a weird abstract world of percussive/non-percussive, sequential/non-sequential soundtracks and densely layered freeform-ish soundworks. Random elements filter around, detuned notes break, it could be jazz man but without the high-brow. ‘Phones are pretty essential to delve deep but one thing Sound Of Darkness will never expose is just what these two used as source material. There is a kind of ‘interlude’ moment as John Wills offers his own take on with ‘Pimp Saint Johns’, a slower more refrained attitude which our main duopolists then smash to smithereens with the intensity of the following track ‘On The Boardwalk’. Pretty alarming with the lights off. Over three albums Flex 13 is not for the faint-hearted, no easy ‘think I’ll just have a wee listen’, what they do provide is accomplished, inventive polished studio-work. Cut-ups with purpose if you like, music to constantly return to, close eyes and picture whatever the hell you like.
HOODOO ‘Hoodoo (The Warp Recordings)’ WRNG10 Ltd CD / DL
FON time everybody. A spit-clean of production runs through as you would expect assembled in the legendary studios by Hope, DJ Parrot and Dave Lloyd, though perversely the label chose to mothball these seven-tracks from 1993. Spatially open, samples, loose sequences and rhythms are left to revel in the journey through Peter Hope’s voice. His rasping edges have been smoothed to a sheen which results in his lyrics becoming the focal bass line. How cuts like ‘One Hundred Blues’, ‘Hoodoo Train’, ‘River’ and ‘Move Up Mambo’ could have been sidelined for some of the commercial tosh the label released at the time leaves me speechless. Thankfully Hope is never lost for words as he ‘stories’ What’s A Mojo’ and there’s even a mind-bending Tricky-esque duet/conversational Boo-Shanka’ wrestle with Rosin Murphy who was recording the first Moloko album at the time. Surely commercially viable with this on board alone? You’ve ‘Got To Get To It” roams around the head with a low-end wobble, the intensity of sound and voice punctuated by repeating sampled acoustic strumming eventually filtering into a distance… Sadly in the case of these 38+ minutes it was a distant studio cupboard, which begs the question what other quality shelvings lies there? Be thankful this Wrong Revolution has started.
PEDRO TRASH ‘No Wave Blues’ WRNG08 Ltd CD / DL
If like me most of the time you find the noise of a voice more important than the meaning of words coming out of it then this is an album to actually explore the poetry of Peter Hope. His soul really lies in the Blues, albeit his own No Wave Blues, exactly as exposed here. No quality-controlled production, just strumming and harmonica sharing time with his vocal wordplay. Pure and simple. Deep gutteral outpourings, though as you might expect from the man the odd twist of added selective samplings, disjointed synth tones or a burst of bike exhaust! I guess if Seasick Sick had been in The Box and exposed to all manner of Post-Punk and Industrial music he could be morphed into Pedro Trash scaring the living daylights out of the Jools Holland audience… Pretty sure Jools would love it though.
ALICIA IS WHITE TRASH ‘So Fuck Iy’ WRNG07 Ltd CD / DL
Hypnotic industrial-electronic ruthlessness. A little like prime Sheep On Drugs the difference being, in her own words; “the cunt with the cunt” herself Alicia Bostock steering the goodship White Trash. Flatlining machineness with her not-so-sweet-almost-atonal monologues constantly stabbing at your soul. ‘Little Miss Wonderful’ The Bossette as Mr Hope likes to address her. I mean who else could keep Pete’s mouth shut through the entire set! Recorded Sheffield in 2001 & 2002 with various FON-folkians aboard and John Wills twiddling knobs the enclosed insert picturing a “Give-A-Fuck-O-Meter is pretty much the only description you’ll need of these seven-tracks. Pure, cheap, electro-garbage. Love it!
SOUP ‘Condensed’ WRNG06 Ltd CD / DL
A whole other ballpark… Soup evolved from the ashes of The Comsat Angels when their vocalist departed with Peter Hope stepping in, albeit wearing leather of a more well-trodden and journeyed variety. Produced by John Wills of Loop and The Hair And Skin Trading Company this set recorded in 1998 is a pretty amazing diggin’ deep’n’dirty rawk album. 13 slow-burning sonic-swarmers with Hope’s gravel deep to the floor making it no easy level-stroll. If this had Mark Lanegan’s name on the rocking fraternity would be fawning all over it so please just add some kind of pretend dubious link and get em to hear it. Fuck it I can even hear Lanegan desperately wanting to cover ‘Longshore Drift’! It is amazing to think this was recorded in Sheffield in 1998 as it more than stands the test of time, something which a lot of rock albums simply do not. The grounding of seriously good musicians and a sound production brain has left an album worthy of being on anyone’s wishlist like it was recorded yesterday. With Wills and Hampson reforming, how about a Loop / Soup combination? One hell of a night out there, ears may not recover for months!
AND you lucky people can still buy the Wrong Revolution Cassette WRNG01. Am not even going to bother reviewing this Chrome icon because Pete’s describes it as “A recalibration of sonic skin grafts from past to present” and in all honesty you shouldn’t need any more encouragement to purchase all from the label-brain by now, WILL you. The artwork is worth the entrance fee alone, which as it turns out just happens to Peter’s son who you can catch right here www.xcvb.co.uk… ‘Eye Catcher’…’You, Sweetheart’.
Keep in touch with all Peter Hope’s projects at Wrong Revolution And do it right NOW because you never know where that random call will take him next.