Emerald Cocoon



December 29, 2012
Algorithmic Pop and Intimacy As Music: An Interview with MHFS

I have seen Mark Sadgrove throw 6 foot lengths of contact miced metal pipe in the air, I have seen him play two acoustic guitars at once, I have seen him eat a bag of chips onstage, I have seen him perform while sitting at a bar typing endless lines of code into a black DOS screen while his laptop spits out fragments of hiss and shuddering static. How any musicians have you heard that you can truly say sound like nobody else? New Zealand has produced nothing else even remotely similar to Mark's MHFS project, and neither has anywhere else for that matter. Field recordings masquerade as static, songs masquerade as field recordings, acoustic guitar becomes computer music, computer music becomes acoustic guitar. What follows below is the first lengthy interview with Mark. Don't be fooled by his humble demeanor, Mark's work is completely idiosyncratic, unique, challenging and conceptually advanced. MHFS is a truly personal music and hence also great art.

MHFS's 'The Grey Lynn Homeless Set' 7" was released as part of our Alone Together series and is still available over at Emerald Cocoon.

Emerald Cocoon: Your music defies easy categorization to say the very least. How do you describe what you do to someone who’s not familiar with your work?

Mark Sadgrove: With regard to MHFS, and in particular MHFS recordings, the most important thing to know is that it's just songs, albeit songs with rubbish piled on top and in between them. It's a pretty well tested idea that one way of making pop songs more palatable is to bury them and make it harder or even impossible to get at the true melody and the words. That's kind of what's going on with MHFS recordings, at least part of the time.
I have another conceit, though, that maybe explains things better. I like to imagine that MHFS recordings present a simulation of an overheard, or maybe uncontrolled listening experience. For example, you're sitting in your house with the window open and you can hear the neighbour working on something in their garage, with the radio on. The radio reception isn't perfect, and sometimes the sound of machinery comes to the foreground, or even the sound of cursing or a tool being dropped. The stuff on the radio are the MHFS songs.
All my other projects can roughly be summarized as process music, where a computer process or a physical process is kind of explored to see what comes out. Less politely, this kind of music could also be called "fucking around".

EC: What’s the story of MHFS? Did you have any projects pre-MHFS? What was your path into this kind of music?

MS: The first MHFS recording was a cdr that was only available at Crawlspace (Legendary and now defunct Auckland independant record store - Ed). It was pretty crappy. Stu kind of auditioned it first to see if it was fit to sit on the shelves next to the other awesome music in Crawlspace, and I think it only just passed. The first MHFS record that is part of the canon is "West Auckland Driving Songs", which Campbell Kneale put out on his old Celebrate Psi Phenomenon label. That was the first time I started to use csound, which was a complete revelation. Once I realized that I could essentially code an album like I would a piece of software, I felt liberated, and completely in my element using a computer to make music. Before that I was using cheap, crappy multi-track software where you just stick wave files together, I suppose like crappier versions of pro-tools. God I hate that way of making music. You kind of stick everything in it's place and you know exactly where it is... there's no element of surprise left. Just awful. With csound, I ceded most of the control to algorithms; I never knew quite why things sounded the way they did, and the rhythmical parts were algorithmic, so I can still listen to the recording and go "hmmm, that's interesting, wasn't expecting that." That's what computer based music making should be about. Cede control to the mind-blowing power of number crunching.
Before MHFS? Well, let's just say I've made a lot of awful music, even when I knew better. Luckily deterioration of cheap cdrs and the lack of youtube in that era allowed me to start over with pretty much no one the wiser as to my uber-shit musical past. Be warned however, it's entirely possibly that I'm still making terrible music without realizing it.
When I started doing MHFS, I suppose my musical diet was mostly Flying Saucer Attack, 90s Flying Nun with a bunch of stuff from the Scape and Mego labels thrown in, largely fed by Beautiful Music (another defunct Auckland record store, focusing mostly on abstract electronic music - Ed). I was still coming down off my one time infatuation and then immense disappointment with techno and drum and bass at the time too. I was already about 20 when someone introduced me to Crawlspace, and I didn't even really start exploring any of the more "out" local stuff there for a few years, by which time it was already the end for everyone's favorite record store. I remember distinctly that I didn't get The Dead C's "The Whitehouse" at all at the time. That was one of the only "weird" local records I bought from Crawlspace.
So I was immensely ignorant of the outer limits of NZ music at the start of MHFS, which I think helped me be bold/arrogant enough to actually try to make some stuff of my own.

EC: Can you talk a little bit about your infatuation and eventual disappointment with dance music? I went through something similar in Auckland myself - am wondering how your experience parallels with mine.

MS: When I first moved to Auckland, I used to go to the Box (Auckland dance club -Ed) on Thursday nights. It was a free entry night - what was it called - Straylight or something ironic like that? Anyhow, it was very poorly attended, but the music was great - techno and tech house I suppose, though I'm no master of dance music genres. Sometimes I was the only one down there, and it was a real luxury to enjoy that kind of music alone in the dark. Very clangy, propulsive techno coming over a punchy sound system in a tiny room - it was thrilling for a country boy! They also had a lot of Drum and Bass gigs at the Box, and I distinctly remember one - Dom and Roland - where as you descended the stairs into the club, it seemed like you were entering Hell! It was the era of nasty grinding D and B I suppose. The sweat, the energy, the weight of the sounds. I didn't feel any sympathy for my friends in bands who thought that DJ culture was killing live music in Auckland, because the club events were a different universe of excitement, compared to shitty indie rock gigs with boring drunks as customers. (Remember my knowledge of the Auckland underground was zilch at this stage). Later, also on Thursdays, at Herzog on K Rd there was The Breaks, which was always well attended, and felt kind of subversive to me right to the end of that club. I'm pretty sure that the demise of drum and bass started years and years before I started finding it tiresome, but for me sometime after Herzog closed, I started to hear the music for what it was (at least a lot of it) - kind of intellectually bankrupt; certainly lacking in ideas; cashing in on the youthful response to heavy, dumb sounds. That last factor is hardly unique to dance music, but to me there isn't the physical performance aspect in DJing which might make up for it in, for example, punk music. The DJ's expecting you to dance your arse off to this vacuous music while they're smoking a cigarette between tracks. In retrospect it's pretty obvious that there was never much conceptual heft to most dance music and it's a pretty stupid thing to expect from club music anyway.
I just feel that it's important to acknowledge that although I feel more kinship with academic computer music composers these days, my interest in using computers to make music came from my experiences with club music before I turned 20.

EC: You have a doctorate in Quantum Physics and work for the Tokyo Institute of Laser Science. Does your work in physics influence your musical work in any way?

MS: Quantum physics? No influence whatsoever. Being an experimental physicist? That has a huge influence on my music, and the music related tinkering also feeds back into my work. I learned micro-controllers so I could start making automated instruments, but I ended up using them to run my experiment at work.
I've kind of thought about it on a more abstract level as well. The principle difference I can see between experimental music and experimental science is the "validity condition" you test your work against at the end. In both cases you might build an apparatus, virtual or physical, in both cases you'll get that apparatus to do some work, and at the end you'll judge the results. In science, you compare the results to some calculations, whereas in music you ask yourself "does this sound good?" If you want to push the comparison further you have to consider questions of rigour and so forth, but I think even there the parallels would hold remarkably well.

EC: You mentioned something to me a long time ago about a new direction for MHFS being ‘intimacy as music’. Can you elaborate on that?

MS: In the past few years, I've realized that I can't continue the process I used to use for making MHFS records because even with the immense freedom you have using something like csound, the process becomes too predictable. You start to rely on techniques that "sound good", or even worse, you start to do stuff just because you think "that's how an MHFS record should sound". "Put some violent noise-stabs right there". That kind of artifice and reliance on established methods might work okay for a formal kind of computer music record, but MHFS is based on recordings of songs, and any kind of intellectual laziness is really betraying the song, which after all comes from the spit, vocal chords and grey matter of a human being. I started thinking that if I lost the inspiration necessary to tastefully add herbs and spices to this organic source material, maybe I should serve it raw instead.
If you serve it raw, what do you actually have? Well, like most bedroom recording types I am doing close mic'd recordings so there's a literal type of intimacy to that which potentially might hold some interest for a listener. And then there's just the nature of the songs themselves, how they're sung, the mistakes, oddities in intonation, guitar playing, etc. That's the deeper intimacy. A human being is playing these odd, personal songs, hopefully without artifice, and possibly laying open some embarrassing deficiencies, or odd, mistaken, perhaps mundane lines of thought. If you take away the computer wizardry of old MHFS, that's all that's left of value - some kind of intimacy, as much as I can capture on a cheap recording device anyway. Perhaps that's already too much for most people, ha ha.

EC: Are any of these 'raw recordings' going to come out? Did 'A House Painter's Manual' already explore this approach to some degree? The songs felt a little more 'untouched' than normal...or am I just imagining things?

MS: 'A House Painter's Manual' is definitely in that vein. It's arguably a bit boring or a bit of a trivial recording - oh a dude recorded some shit on a crappy dictaphone -- as if the world needs any more of that music! - but I like it because there's no artifice there at all. Anyone can do that, many people can do it much better than me in fact, but, well, I encourage anyone to do it... I wouldn't object to hearing some other random person's version of 'A House Painter's Manual', some recording they made of themselves humming a song or whatever; it might teach me a lot about that person or people in general. The point of this kind of music is not to catch something raw or true but just to try to glimpse the inside of another mind. In my case, I'm trying to put down songs that sound almost the same as they do in my head, a melody you might sing to yourself quietly in the shower, or something you might hum to yourself or at least hear in your head when you're feeling low or strange.
I sometimes imagine that the internet could make those kind of songs available from everyone in the world! Of course sifting through them all would be tough, but that's what google and its ilk are for. The point would be to capture songs people find themselves singing in quietly to themselves on any given day. 'A House Painter's Manual' is my extended, somewhat tarted up contribution to that imaginary project.

EC: You also appear solo under the name Hometown Fielding. What’s the difference between Hometown Fielding and MHFS?

MS: Hometown Fielding is my algorithmic computer project. In principle anything I do in Hometown Fielding is also fair game for use in MHFS, so Hometown Fielding is kind of a subset without the songy parts.

EC: You are in a whole heap of collaborative projects: Infinitesimal, City Peoples Farmers Music, Plains, Greymouth and Mysteries of Love. Can you talk a little bit about each project and how you approach differs in each one?

MS: I'll keep it short until I get to the more active projects in Tokyo: Infinitesimal: Paul Winstanley and me doing machine noise. Almost certain to arise from its long dormancy if we are ever in the same city again. City Peoples Farmers Music: Me and Sam Hamilton eat chips, bash the guitars and whimper. Appalling. Plains: Kiran Dass called Plains something like "The Traveling Wilburys of noise". Enough said. Greymouth: Mark Anderson and I failed miserably to start a psych band. We do succeed regularly in recording entire CDs in the red. Loudness wars eat your heart out. I just want to mention the fact that Mark Anderson is one of Tokyo's most promiscuous drummers. His best band is called "Mark and the Chicks" which despite its name is a paragon of feminism. The two "chicks" in question serving up loose and filthy rock licks in the Tokyo girl-rock style over M.A.s rolling drum parts. Greymouth just can't compete with that. Mysteries of Love: Unholy wedding of Greymouth and a project of Anthony Guerra and Noel Callan's, the name of which I can't remember. I think of Mysteries of Love as Anthony's band, since his keening through a boss digital delay is the band signature. That and Noel's slowed down rock-a-billy from hell guitar. The two Marks are mainly there to kick a bit of sand in AG and NC's eyes to keep things nasty. I also have a project with Fumihito Taguchi who runs Enban called 'FM Station' but we only do it on the odd occasion.

EC: You were are large part of the small Auckland ‘out’ music scene in the early 2000s. How does your experience of that community compare/contrast with what you’ve been involved with in Tokyo for the last few years?

MS: It's tempting to point out the vast differences between Auckland and Tokyo, but in the end, you have to do the same thing in any city if you want to be a weirdo who plays weird music: find a place where they get you.
For me I initially imagined, somewhat foolishly in retrospect, that I might just slot cleanly into some vacant spot in Tokyo's improvised music scene. In reality, the people organizing that scene are in their 20s, the new blood not too long out of art school, and they're often working long hours in day jobs and then trying to organize gigs which break even in Tokyo's insane live house/ gallery scene which is largely pay to play. They have a lot of friends and also senpais (seniors/mentors - Ed) who are at the top of the list to invite to play at these gigs. So if you turn up and expect to suddenly be invited to play, even if you have a few contacts like I did, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Instead, unless you're a rock star, you have to organize shows, invite people to play, show that you're willing to put some money on the line for your art in some sense. If you do that for a while here, eventually you reach the stage where you're invited to play more and more. It sounds obvious, and I suppose it's the same in any city, but to me there seems to be something a little more brutal about the sink or swim nature of things for foreign artists here in Tokyo.
Having said that, I now receive a lot of support from Enban in particular, and I'm invited to play regularly, including at the festival gigs and out of town shows which Taguchi-san puts on which are excellent. So in the past few years I've started to feel like part of the family, like I did in Auckland.
Also, Teppei Togashi (of Oser and Vegetus fame) has started organizing very loose gigs at a vegan restaurant in Shibuya recently. The loose nature of the organization there reminds me of things back home. It's pretty rare in Tokyo where gigs are planned down to the sound check times months in advance.
I could go on and on about the differences in other areas, but it's obvious enough: Tokyo's a big place, and therefore the scenes are many and various and often seem completely disconnected at first. One of the things I've enjoyed over the years here is coming to understand how the different scenes are all connected.

EC: Can you describe Enban in a little bit more detail for those of us who have never been there?

MS: Enban is a store in Koenji, Tokyo run by Fumihito Taguchi which, (and Taguchi-san might dispute this simple definition), exists mainly to propagate minor label, and independent Japanese music. Enban is pretty much the only place I've seen in Tokyo (apart from Fttari's new store maybe) where CDRs from local artists are sold. Indeed, you can come in and use Enban's "facilities" to put your CDR packaging together. It's also a shrine to Taguchi's various Japanese cultural obsessions. Old Japanese films and footage from decades old concerts plays on the TV during the day, and the collection of Okinawan 7"s, sourced by Taguchi on his trips there, is second to none. Most importantly perhaps, it's a venue after 7pm - the door is always cheap (By Tokyo livehouse standards anyway) and the performer always gets a little money back (or a lot if people turn up to the show!) It's a pretty important place for music in Tokyo in my opinion.

EC: You’re an instrument builder as well as a musician – could you describe some of your self-made instruments?

MS: Hmm, there's quite a few now. The automatic instruments seem to get the best response from people. I haven't exactly built something to rival The Trons, ha ha, but I've got some nice little portable automatic instruments: the auto guitar, which sounds a bit more like a prepared piano then anything, the doki-doki kikai, where 4 driven double-pendulums crash into contact mics to create a rhythm disrupted by chaos. There's also the tako-gaki which is like a programmable wind-chime for want of a better description. There's also a bunch of human played instruments, including the aluminium guitar, the ashi-hiki guitar partially played with your feet, and a five foot tall bow instrument which I've just made, which is a bit hard to explain. Size restrictions due to small houses and venues and the need to take everything on the train restrict what I can make to a degree.

EC: The last time I was talking to you, you were recording a piece for 'automated instruments' - can you tell me a little bit about it? Is it going to see release anywhere?

MS: In principle, a kind of sampler of my automated music stuff is coming out as part of Enban's new 10" series. Still not quite sure if and when it will happen, but the recordings are all done, so assuming Enban's solvency and Taguchi-san's continued indulgence, it could be out some time next year.

EC: You often revisit the same lyric fragments again and again – why?

MS: I think this is perhaps a slight mis-perception of what is going on. There are certainly one or two times when I've repeated phrases in songs, but usually, I just have repetitive two tone melodies and hard-to-hear lyrics, so the impression of repetitiveness is correct, but in actuality, I'm singing different lyrics at each point. When I have repeated lyrical fragments, it's because the song's lyrics are only one line long, but I've felt that the song needed to go on for longer. An example: "A rack of wooden dinghies. Some bugger's named his 'Fleetwood'." Lyrically, that's a complete, perfect song, but musically, it needs to go on for a bit longer than the lyrics can sustain. Other times, I'll set the time of a track separately from the length of the actual recording, and the song is just looped until the time is filled up. The length of songs is important - too short and they can give an impression of slightness even if the concept is full. Rather than artificially lengthening the song, by adding another verse or something, I just consider the track as separate from the song, and loop the song enough time to fill the appropriate amount of space.

EC: It's interesting that you make a distinction between a 'track' and a 'song'. Can you talk a little bit about this distinction? Is it fair to say that 'songs' are the raw material and MHFS is a lens through which a song is viewed or a process through which a song is passed?

MS: MHFS is primarily a recording project (I should probably use a different name for the live shows, but oh well), so the distinction between tracks and songs is pretty important. The raw material/ distorted viewing lens metaphor is as apt as any other. On a more practical note, at the time of making the Auckland era recordings, I was an avid CD listener, and I knew what I liked (run-on tracks) and what I didn't like (short tracks for some reason). On the other hand, short *songs* were fine by me, so the challenge was to make a complete work from the raw material which fitted what I thought were the strengths of the medium.

EC: It seems like fidelity itself is an instrument with MHFS. How do you approach recording?

MS: That's an accurate observation. There's nothing intentional about how I record things it's just whatever crappy equipment is at hand, vs the perfect cleanness of any digitally generated parts. The effect of different fidelities is to increase or decrease the distance of the listener from the source material I think; it almost adds an extra dimension to a recording.

EC: How improvised is an average MHFS performance?

MS: About 50%.

EC: Your performances can have an intense physicality and emotion to them despite being often partially driven by live coding in linux. Do you see live coding vs. emotional expression as a false dichotomy? Or is the fusion of the cerebral with the emotional a direct goal of MHFS?

MS: I wouldn't like to ascribe any intentional cerebrality to MHFS music. It's not just that cerebral music is often a bit naff: I'm actually a fan of academic electronic music - intentionally cerebral music does have it's charms, although often unintentional ones. But song based music like MHFS is basically pop music to my mind, and you can't hang high concepts on a structure as flimsy as a pop song. There's nothing cerebral about the coding either, it accomplishes much the same thing as knob twiddling or stepping on an effects pedal. I think it obfuscates the method in an interesting way - the audience can see exactly how you make the sound, but the meaning of the syntax is obscure. It's nice to have some mysteries to ponder when you're in the audience.
I wouldn't ascribe any emotionality to my performances either - I only have two modes really - quiet plucking or banging the shit out of an instrument. I prefer it if any emotion is kind of synthesized from the combination of elements - a monotone voice, a low drone – combined there could be some feeling in there.

EC: So you don't bring emotion to the performance, rather emotion is a result of the a combination of audio elements? I ask because given that it is a largely computer-driven project MHFS performances occasionally seem to be quite emotionally naked, sometimes even verging on harrowing...

MS: Harrowing! Ha! That's good to know. "Emotion" is such a dirty word for me, since I really did use to make heart-on-sleeve emotional type music when I as a bit younger and it was all uniformly terrible. I still like some of the less "pop" emotions in music - disgust - as in more physical, repulsion - is an interesting emotion that doesn't seem to have had much attention in music. I also like the kind of conflicted feelings and kind of low-down, barely there "emotions" related to boredom and irritation that might not have a name, but which are mostly what we feel in every day life. I think MHFS could be described as music resulting from mild irritation. The sorrowful aspect of some of my stuff could be related to the fact that keeping to a non-hysteric, rationalist kind of state when performing sometimes comes off as a bit depressing, much like most tonally ambiguous music comes off as creepy, even though there's no intention to produce a minor key sound. It's hard to escape putting anger and despair in music, but let's face it, they've pretty much been adequately covered.
Live, I guess I'm a bit more histrionic. I might yell on occasion, which is automatically connected with anger for most people. But I always feel like I'm yelling in music like my Dad used to yell at the TV when he was watching a rugby game: agitation, nervousness. Those sort of things come up in a performance because of the unnatural nature of performing rather than as an expression of the music itself.
It's interesting to me that a few things written about the 7" on Emerald Cocoon have focused on the "fuckin' angry" line on the last track. It does stick out like a sore thumb I suppose, but that "song" is just a straight up portrait of a friend who was sometimes pissed off when the dishes weren't done. Perhaps my delivery betrays the song's mundane true nature although I think it's more that the words themselves "sound angry".

EC: What is it that attracts you to the idea of relinquishing control over the sound you're producing? It seems to be a recurring theme in all of your projects.

MS: The simple answer is just that that's my method and I like the sounds it produces which is good enough for pop music I think.
On the other hand it's pretty easy to intellectualize the choice. The thing that strikes me as the biggest conceptual difference between digital and analogue music is the kind of finiteness of digital music. It's all divided up into chunks in terms of the output level and the timing, and if I could remember the right combinatorics I could probably come up with the exact number of possible tracks of a given length. I mean the number would be astronomical (with a bit of thought, if the track is L seconds long, the number is probably just 2 to the power of 16x44100xL for CD sampled audio which is a pretty darn big number), but it's *conceptually* countable, as opposed to the *conceptually* inifinite possibilities we might ascribe (perhaps wrongly) to analogue recorded music. I would venture a guess that almost all of the possibilities are indistinguishable from white noise, and the tiny portion that are fit under the banner of "possible music".
For me this aspect, rather than the perfectionist possibilities afforded by digitization, is the point of computer music. Where you have a well defined, finite "space" of music it becomes easier in some sense to explore the possibilities of music in a systematic way.
Finally getting to the point, relinquishing control by using algorithmic methods is kind of part of this systematic exploration. The way I think about it is that if you just use computers to edit music, you aren't taking advantage of their power as a way to explore possible sounds without interference from aesthetic concerns.

EC: A Binary Datum, the label you run is a 'trade label only, no financial transactions of any sort will be entered into'. What was your motivation behind making the label trade-only?

MS: God... I wonder myself now. This brings up a whole host of issues including that ABD needs a serious reboot. Despite the extremely low level of activity ABD is still a going concern, at least in my own mind; I'm just getting some new ideas together, and things should pick up again once I've decided which direction to take it.
Anyway, to answer the question: aside from any lofty ideas, I think the trade only policy just reflected how things really were: I barely ever received money for any releases, and when I did it kind of made me feel uneasy. The other thing is, I have a pretty good day job (that could change of course) and so running a label is something I pursue in my spare time with any spare change I happen to have. It doesn't really make sense to charge for releases, from that point of view.
Loftier reasons that have crossed my mind from time to time include the fact that only relatively "rich" people could have large music collections in the past and I didn't want to be contributing to that. Some kid with no money should have just as much access to the latest quality ABD release as some old guy with disposable income. Of course, the internet kind of sorted that out, at least for affluent countries, so I suppose I don't have to worry any more!

EC: A Binary Datum has put out 'brute records' by MHFS and others. Can you explain exactly what a 'brute record' is?

MS: I get frustrated when I can't control important aspects of the release process. In this case, that means the production of the actual records. Even when someone as righteous as Peter King is doing the job, it still frustrates me somehow. That's the awesome thing about tapes and CDrs - if you want to, you can just DIY it with cheaply available parts.
"Brute records" was sort of a response to that, although I should note that the idea started with Hirama Takahiro. I offered to do a release for him, and as is his wont, he ordered something really specific and impossible: a record with a triangle groove, or, finally, an off-centre lock groove with no sound. I thought about asking Peter King to give it a go, but after having a chat with him, it really didn't seem possible.
However, I'd been doing a lot of circuit etching at work and I realized that the file format for the cutting machine was incredibly simple, and with a bit of "hacking" I could make it do whatever shapes I wanted. That led to me making Hirama's record myself out of some nasty fiberglass type material. After that, I noticed some materials around town that would probably sound good on a record player, and just needed a hole drilled through the middle. Between those two ideas, the idea of brute records took form. The unifying principle is that the "brute" motion of the needle creates the noise. In practice, this means that you're listening to white noise kind of modulated at a fairly slow frequency by whatever pattern is on the "record". The effect is most rhythmical and repetitive, but I kind of like it.
Because I changed jobs for a year, I haven't had access to the cutting machine, so I stopped doing brutes, but I'm back at my old work now so I might start again. I've noticed, however, that people who listen to shitty music can actually be pretty precious about their record players. I've yet to break a needle or cartridge on the Technics at home, and I've put some pretty nasty home made platters on it. But I haven't been able to convince some people to take a "brute" record - for free even! - because they don't want to break their expensive needle or misalign their cartridge or whatever. As far as I'm concerned if you're making shitty, noisy, swampy music, you should realize that your record player is an amazing experimental instrument, and be putting all sorts of stuff on there to try out with the stylus. On the other hand, I seem to have a wooden ear when it comes to sound quality, so maybe needle degradation that's like nails on a chalkboard for some just goes over my head.
In any case, if I can finally get my home made lathe cutter to perform a wee bit more reliably, I might chuck in brutes in favour of home made "real" records. We'll have to see how that goes...