What is “Ambivalent Scale” a record label? a tape label? publications? a group of people? Well, it’s some of all of those and it’s centred in Nuneaton.
It comprises a loose knit group of friends, who are all in or around the local bands. They wanted to do something in a town that didn’t have a lot going on. One of the leading lights of Ambivalent Scale is Martyn Bates, who used to sing with the Reluctant Stereotypes, but left when he didn’t like the direction they were going. He wanted to put out a tape of more experimental music and originally called the label “Pure Noise” until he found that Siouxsie and the Banshees publishing company was called that. His first solo tape was therefore put out on Ambivalent Scale. Martyn then teamed up with Pete Becker to form EYELESS IN GAZA who you should have heard of and who released an EP on the label. As more people got involved, they released a tape by Bron Area one of Nuneaton’s best bands, then a solo tape by Pete Becker followed by one by FANTACCINI PLAYGROUND, who are … “a loose knit co-op of Nuneaton musicians who assemble for gigs, rehearsals and pleasure.” The STICK INSECTS released the next tape, and finally Kevin Harrison of URGE has a tape of solo work too. Eyeless in Gaza have recently put out a collection of lyrics and images, which is Ambivalent’s first excursion into printed matter. Planned for anytime now is a tape by TRAVERS AND THE NUNS which is a tape by Dave Rogers who made it mainly to get a reaction. [Never published, I believe and Photographs as Memories later had that ASR 009 number. –Jerry]
Nuneaton’s (fan)zine, DAMN LATIN, has always had in-depth reviews of Ambivalent Scale products so if you’re interested get hold of a few copies (address somewhere else).
How is it done? Well, first they record their material, which varies from recording studio to 2-track reel to reel to live recordings. Then they buy ordinary tapes from Virgin records or Intershop in Coventry at about 70p a time, and they transfer the recordings onto the tapes, one at a time, using 2 cassette tape recorders. This takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication. So far they have sold 50 Bron Area tapes and have got another 20 done, they have sold nearly 50 Kevin Harrison tapes, 30 Pete Becker tapes, 12 Stick Insects tapes done, and a few of the others. Although these tapes cost only about the time as the single does in the shops and contain about 10 times as much music, they have sold 1,000 copies of the Eyeless single and perhaps this is indicative of peoples prejudice against tapes. Ambivalent Scale shows that tapes are worthwhile; I know it’s hard to get to hear tapes before buying but I’d recommend you at least get to listen to some of these.
At the moment, Eyeless in Gaza have recorded an albums worth of material and are looking for a label to put it out, as they can’t afford to themselves. Bron Area are recording some of their material in the studio soon but they are not too bothered either way about records. Martyn says that they will just go on with Ambivalent Scale until they get fed up with it, which seems fair enough. That should give you some time to get acquainted. You can get some of the tapes from Virgin or Intershop in Coventry, otherwise direct by post. And if you don’t want to buy any tapes (or even if you do) then Eyeless, Bron Area, Kevin Harrison, and maybe Fantaccini Playground all play gigs so maybe you can get along to one of them.AMBIVALENT SCALE RECORDINGS
All prices include postage. Send P.O.s etc to:
MARTYN BATES, 60 NORTHUMBERLAND AVE, NUNEATON, WARKS.
Write to them anyway.