ATTRITION:a history

“Forever there will be the speculation that the exploration of darkness as a beautiful place will lessen our fear of it all, ease the pain a little…”
Lilly Novak. from The Hand that feeds review. 2000

1980

Alternative Sounds. The Coventry music fanzine Martin published between 1979 to 1981. It ran for 18 issues, compiled an album of local music – Sent from Coventry on Cherry Red records, and Martin made an appearance on the BBC TV’s Something EIse youth programme. It was never enough. He met Julia at a local gig. The first attrition shows were in their hometown area of Coventry, England in December of 1980 as a post-punk line up of guitar/bass/drums and vocals…..

1981

Julia’s brother Ashley joins on synthesiser – replacing the guitar of Martin’s brother Chris…the first demos recorded in a 4 track studio in Warwick…( released as “The 1981 Tapes” in 2014 ..)…tour much of middle England…open a show for legendary Sheffield band Artery …after he misses a show the drummer is permanently replaced by a machine…the band begin to explore the sonic possibilities offered by the emerging new technologies…

1982

Fear/Devoid – two early home recordings appear as a flexi disc with Adventures in Reality ‘zine – run by the bands live visuals engineer Alan Rider…also of synth pop band Stress…Early experiments with electronics and hallucinogens released as This Death House ..an instrumental ambient work released on cassette along with other early tracks on cassette compilations including contributions to the legendary Rising from the Red Sands tapes (a who’s who of the industrial scene released on Gary Levermore’s fledgling Third Mind label)…

1983

The first national recognition through Dave Henderson’s “Wild Planet” column in Sounds. The Action & reaction cassette collaboration with US art-rock group Audio Leter released on Adventures in RealityFirst London show with Coil in October, after an abortive attempt to open for Chris & Cosey a month earlier ended in a motorway breakdown… First appearance on vinyl proper – Dreamsleep on The Elephant Table album.. a double album of “difficult” music…from Nurse with wound to The legendary Pink Dots to Coil to Portion Control… and the natural successor to the Red sands series.

1984

The first single – a split 4 track 12″ with Swiss band Schamanen Circel – The Deliverance EP with Monkey in a bin …their anti-vivi-section anthem and single of the week in UK music paper Sounds…..The song In your hand is included on anarchist punk legends Crass’s “Bullshit detector” series…suprisingly open for the UK Subs in Blackpool!
The first tour on mainland Europe in the spring – Holland and Switzerland with The Legendary Pink Dots…(live recordings later released as “The Terminal Kaleidoscope”…) The band moves to east London, sharing studio and living space with the Pink Dots…The second Dutch tour in the summer culminates in a live performace on national VPRO radio. Sign to Third Mind Records and release The Attrition of Reason in August – the debut album recorded at home and mixed at Coventry’s Cabin studios…dubbed “a punk Floyd
 by Sounds…The Voice of God EP, recorded at the legendary ips studios in Shepherd’s Bush, London, follows in November…
“If only they were humans we could fall in love!….” Zigzag/UK

1985

The song Shrinkwrap makes the cover cassette of the UK magazine Electronics & Music maker. It becomes their next single. Julia is guest vocalist and Martin is cover model on Gary Levermore’s Bushido project….Start a series of live collaborations with films and projections from Czawsa cinema. Tour Holland in the spring. John Peel plays. Start up the original Terminal Kaleidoscope distribution company with the Legendary Pink Dots…Julia leaves attrition for the first time and later joins the Pink Dots for the “Asylum” album as Poison Barbarella... Dutch girl Marianne joins a new band line up including Alex Novak of Venus Fly Trap and Pete Morris (who later appeared on Psychic TV’s “jack the tab” series). Released the seminal Smiling, at the Hypogonder club, recorded at Berry House, a country retreat in Sussex with producer Curtis Schwartz.
“a sumptuous and inviting package of attactive ideas…” Music Week/UK

1986

The Hypogonder line up dissolvesMind Drop is included on the first sampler from new US label Projekt..co-incidentally a drum loop sampled from that song appears on label owner Sam Rosenthal’s first album from his Black Tape for a Blue Girl project!.
In the realm of the hungry ghosts (’82-’84) “dazzling, ice cold, beautiful music.. swinging winter landscapes…” Spex/Germany.
An archive collection of B-sides, rare, and un-released tracks, remixed at the Surgeons Lab, Ealing with Terry Burrows. It ends the era with Third Mind…Ashley leaves the band to pursue a lucrative career in computer systems…Martin moves to Holland for a few months and puts together a short lived line up of bassist, percussionist…and Julia joins him there for the first tour of Germany which ends with an appearance at the Berlin Interference festival with Young Gods.

1987

A reworking of Monkey in a bin is included on the massive “Animal Liberation” benefit album alongside The Smiths, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Howard Jones, Chris & CoseyNina Hagen & Lene Lovich, Colourfield…the first attrition song on CD….play the London launch party at the Limelight… This Death House is re-issued on vinyl….The For your ears only compilation is issued on Third Mind including the last two songs Ashley was involved with under the name All singing, all dancing….Play the Third Mind festival in Paris and make their first trip to Norway. Release the Take Five EP on Italian label Supporti Fonografici..recorded at Cabin in Coventry, Pete Morris guests again on bass. This record would have been the first attrition release to feature violin had Pink Dots violinist Pat Paganini not broken down in a snowstorm on the way up from London…

1988

As Julia takes a break from Attrition Martin collaborates with guitarist Garry Cox, who had already been providing live keyboards during ’87. They sign to Antler-Subway in Belgium – home of EBM and Newbeat.
At the Fiftieth Gate “Tense, aggresive, minor-key synths, raw guitars, and dark, mysterious vocals”. Option/USA.
Recorded in march with Ludo Camberlin (of Neon Judgement fame) in march at Anything but… studios below the PIAS offices in Brussels…closely followed by the Haydn remix singles…the final cut a mix from New Beat creator Jo Casters (of Poesie Noire)…..
“A hypnotic, high pressured journey into the inexorable world of machines…” Rockpool/USA
Joined by percussionist Bob Oliver the band tour Germany and Italy in the spring (playing the Anhelo festival near Pompei)…Paul Tyers replaces Garry for the autumn tour of Austria, Belgium and a major tour of pre-war torn Yugoslavia ending in Sarajevo (touring in a Ford Fiesta…)….Martin moves to Holland again and marries Marianne in December 1988…The Pink Dots Silverman is best man…8 months later they split…

1989

Release the Turn to Gold EP combining tracks recorded with Ludo at ABS in Brussels with two remixes from Take Five… Marianne puts in a guest appearance….a notable recording session for being held up at sub-machine-gun point by Belgian police outside the studio!…the final record for Antler-Subway who are fast becoming a dance label. Martin returns to CoventryHe takes a 6 month break from music and returns to his earlier love of painting and sculpture…the themes of which are to re-occur in many subsequent attrition works…

1990

Recollection. The first full length CD and a compilation of ATTRITION’s early years is released on Projekt records in the USA. (The cover of the original edition features one of martin’s collages..) The start of a long label relationship. Martin works on a rhythmic industrial side project with Garry Cox..XYZ. the album remains unreleased…Julia rejoins