planet gong archives

Bananamoon Obscura Series

daevid allen

The Bananamoon Obscura Series is a very eclectic series of releases. Tell us how the series came about?

I was being interviewed one Saturday morning on LBC by (a London Radio Station) when we were joined by Genesis P Orridge of Throbbing Gristle fame & an amazing artistic integrity has he. Anyway, he was there to promote his PYCHIC TV 'ASTORY' collectors series on Voiceprint & Rob Ayling subsequently offered a similar thing to me. I saw it as a chance to make public a series of limited editions of my favourite moments of inspired musical & poetic creativity in each of the styles I have experimented with. Solo shows, duets, Spanish acoustic, Jazz Rock, Ambient, Electro Accoustic, Imp pro Rock, Guitar glissando & Theremin, Experimental Sound Inventions, Atonal Textures, Tape loops & collage, Performance Poetry etc. I also felt free to use tapes/disks some of which were perhaps too low fi for normal release.

Have any of these recordings been released before?

No. The nearest thing would be the University of Errors 'Live in Chicago'. The gig in the same venue on the following year was released by GAS on the GONG website & a few were sold at gigs.

As an artist you seem very prolific so is the Bananamoon series a necessity for you in order to release the immense amount of material you record

Absolutely. Creative constipation needs its public enema #1. I believe that the end results of creativity need to be shared out so that new creativity can be allowed in.

There are a number of releases that look interesting for example the Nicoletta Stephanz recording which was just you and her in performance in New York. Was this a spontaneous performance or was there anything worked out beforehand?

A few hours before the gig we had a meeting in a hotel room for about two hours where we worked out a plan of action that was all. We were each inspired by the other & it was a momentous occasion since Nicoletta went on to appear with Gong in Philadelphia & with University of Errors on Ugly Music For Monica CD and with Magick Brothers at the UK Big Green Festival 03.

How big are the daevid allen archives and will the Bananamoon Obscura series be an ongoing one?

I can see at least 20 releases and maybe more. The archives are mostly held by GAS in Glastonbury.

How easy is it to keep control of an archive and how do you decide what is worthy of release and what if anything doesn't make the grade?

Keeping an archive requires a fair bit of discipline together with an instinct for recognising a good recorded gig or magic moment & making sure you get a copy. It is pretty much a question of playing the music in different states of mind & consciousness until you are sure that the overall effect is up to scratch. Then it depends on the magic ears of Dallas at Serendipity who cleverly restores the crappiest old tapes and disks filled with clicks and dropouts…the man is a genius!

Will these releases be regular releases or will they be limited to a few thousand as collectors items?

They will be limited to 1000 copies so supplies are limited!

Are there any more projects that you have in mind for future releases?

Yes. Firstly, there is a new acoustic album called 'Gentle Genie' which contains the best songs from the period 1988 to 2000. It makes a great double act with the CD 'Dreaming a Dream'. Secondly there is the Brainville major release: 'Live @ the Knitting Factory' which demonstrates this band at its peak. Thirdly, a new USA Magick Brothers CD recorded on dat in the early nineties. And I would like to mention also the first in the Welsh Collection series called: Live in '88': The Return', which is the very first recorded gig after my seven years of spiritual studies in Australia from 1981 to 1988 & features the all female band as well as my first encounter with Didier Malherbe on flute and WX7 wind synth & tabla maestro Shyamal Maitra together.

Are you generally happy with the way that your career has gone as you seem to be pretty much able to pick and choose the direction you go in from project to project?

I never really saw myself as having a career. I simply can't do anything else. In terms of new projects I have always believed that I should follow my visions. If money comes as a result that's fine. If not, well its back to brown rice and home grown herbs ennit?