Limited edition, heavyweight brown vinyl.
Bristol’s Twelve Hour Foundation blend musique concrète, treated field recordings, library music, early electronic pop and the Radiophonic work of John Baker and Paddy Kingsland. The initial inspiration for Six Twenty Negative was a journey – regularly taken by Jez Butler (Yamaha CS-10, flute, vocals, field recordings) until the end of the 70s, from Cleethorpes to Hull, by diesel multiple train and British Rail paddle steamer, hence track titles like “Lincoln Castle Engine Room”, “New Holland Pier” and “Chalk Factory” – a reference to a small production plant viewed from the train window that rendered the neighbouring landscape white. The ferries and pier were scrapped following the opening of the Humber bridge. As with the previous album, the idea behind most of the music is to draw on abstract childhood emotions and their associated memories. It’s an incredibly warm and evocative listening experience.
The majority of tracks are expertly underpinned by a musique concrète backing, drawing on the band’s recordings of houshold objects. In most cases, the bass was derived from a length of ribbed plastic tubing, the cymbals from a metal kitchen draining rack, and the pads/chords from the filtered sound of an electric hair clipper. This is overlayed with vintage analogue synthesizers, treated field recordings and – on a couple of tracks – the odd vocal or flute line. The track “Polivoks” takes it’s title from the Soviet analogue synthesizer of the same name which was manufactured throughout the 1980’s.
The album’s sleeve was designed in keeping with the scholastic nature of much of the music, incorporating Polly Hulse’s (Moog Rogue, Korg Volca Keys, concrète sequences) photos from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry. The album’s title, “Six Twenty Negative” refers to the film used in the Kodak Brownie Box camera. Famous for producing slightly wooly prints from large individual negatives.
“If making music so gloriously gleeful is novel, then by all means dismiss them as a novelty band. See if they care. But do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the sheer melodic invention on display here. Because The Twelve Hour Foundation have tunes. Tunes that bounce with brio, tunes that milkmen could whistle on their morning rounds and still find stuck in their heads during Nationwide. And, at the end of such a tragic and turgid year, let’s not feel ashamed of taking our joys wherever we can find them. From albums like Six Twenty Negative. From gleeful nostalgia. From upbeat workouts on battered old Moogs and rhythms created by wooden rulers being mischievously boinged on the edges of school tables. Go on, crack that bloody smile. You’ve earned it. “ – Bob Fischer, The Haunted Generation.