Eyeless In Gaza

Old News

The Unbroken Circle presents Martyn Bates (page not found any longer, August 17th 2008)
(October 22nd 2005)

The Unbroken Circle is a quite brilliant site promoting so called ‘Wyrd Folk’ musics and has created a web page dedicated to presenting Martyn Bates and his many collaborative projects. (No longer, Summer 2008.)

This is a very sympathetic and well done presentation of Martyn Bates and they also offer many songs and pieces in streaming audio, so it is very well worth to get over there and have a look! There are also many other interesting bands featured at the site!

The Interviews & Reviews page has been updated with many new articles
(February 22nd 2004)

The Interviews & Reviews page has been refurbished and a wealth of new material has been added (around 90 new items and some missing bits and information on previously published material has been supplied). There are now also articles in several languages. (Some links on the news page are not yet updated.)

ALL World Serpent Distribution albums by Eyeless In Gaza and Martyn Bates have been repressed and are now all available again
(February 10th 2003)

World Serpent Distribution has repressed all the albums they released by Eyeless In Gaza and Martyn Bates. By Eyeless In Gaza: Streets I Ran; Bitter Apples; All Under the Leaves-The Leaves of Life; and by Martyn Bates: Mystery Seas (Letters Written #2) and Imagination Feels Like Poison with lyric book.

Lyric books out-of-print at the publisher Stride Books
(February 10th 2003)

Stride Books that published both Martyn Bates’ and the Eyeless In Gaza lyrics books tell us that they are now out-of-print. (The William Burroughs My Kind of Angel book is still possible to get though (Martyn Bates made a contribution to this tribute book to William Burroughs).)

More Eyeless In Gaza reviews
(February 10th 2003)

More Eyeless In Gaza reviews could be found on the web. Rupert Loydell has written a review of Photographs as Memories and Ørjan Greiff Johnsen has written a review of Rust Red September in the Norwegian language (article gone 2006).

Eyeless In Gaza photos by Phillipe Carly
(Updated January 2nd 2003)

There are lots of fantastic Eyeless In Gaza photos by photographer Phillipe Carly at his web site.

Three new/old reviews of Eyeless In Gaza albums
(January 1st 2003)

Gil Gershman has reviewed a couple of Eyeless In Gaza and Martyn Bates albums for the US magazine Muze, some of which you can now find here. Caught In Flux, Drumming The Beating Heart/Pale Hands I Loved So Well and Song of the Beautiful Wanton.

Two more new/old reviews of Eyeless In Gaza albums
(January 6th 2003)

Jonathan Leonard has reviewed two albums of Eyeless In Gaza at his review site – www.leonardslair.co.uk. Rust Red September and Sixth Sense – The Singles Collection.

Eyeless In Gaza song featured in the Intimacy movie/Dvd/soundtrack Cd
(December 31st 2002)

For some reason I managed not to include this information at the web site when the news arrived last year already. On a new Soundtrack (released by Virgin) to the film Intimacy there are two EIG tracks from the Caught In Flux album. They are Keynote Inertia and Rose Petal Knot (falsely titled as Point You).

Martyn Bates & Anne Clark Just After Sunset Cd re-release
(Updated December 29th 2002)

Martyn Bates and Anne Clark: Just After Sunset – The Poetry of Rainer M. Rilke has been re-released on netMusicZone Records (ZOMBA) on the 4th of November 2002 with two added live video-pieces! For more comments about this: go to the Martyn Bates news page.

Plague of Years – the selected Eyeless In Gaza lyrics book
(Updated January 4th 2003)

Plague of Years (on Stride books) – the Eyeless In Gaza selected lyrics book is now possible to order (December 2000)! The manuscript is now ready, but the release has been delayed somewhat. The book will have the same format/size as the Martyn Bates selected lyrics book released in 1997.

Martyn wrote a little poem (or literary notes maybe) around the time of the release of the book for a magazine that you can read here now.

Send £10 (incl. post and packing) to A-Scale, P.O. Box 3, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 9YT, England/UK.

Two new interviews with Martyn Bates
(Updated August 7th 2002)

Interview with Martyn Bates from Les Inrockuptibles magazine (number 14, 1988) newly added. It has been translated into French and back again by different people, so some of the original intentions and meanings may have been somewhat distorted. And Amadeo Spahi has graciously let me publish the interview he did last year with Martyn in his magazine Ostia.

Sixth Sense – The Singles Collection album is out now!
(Updated January 6th 2003)

Eyeless In Gaza – Sixth Sense – The Singles Collection CD (CDMRED207) has been released by Cherry Red. Here is what Cherry Red says of this release:

“Eyeless In Gaza are a classic slice of Cherry Red history and this singles collection is a perfect release for the fans – new and old. The 27 track Cd features every A and B-side released on Cherry Red and includes the Indie Chart hit singles Veil Like Calm, New Risen and Sun Bursts In. Martyn Bates and Peter Becker married a rare lyricism with technology in a unique way, enabling their work to still sound fresh and up to date. The booklet features a complete discography plus sleeve notes by the band.”

The songs are: Kodak Ghosts Run Amok/China Blue Vision/The Feelings Mutual …/Invisibility/Plague of Years/Three Kittens/Others/Jane, Dancing/Ever Present/Avenue With Trees/Veil Like Calm/Taking Steps (Original Version)/New Risen/Bright Play of Eyes/Scent on Evening Air/Drumming the Beating Heart/Sun Bursts In/Lilt of Music/Inky Blue Sky/Tell/Welcome Now/Sweet Life Longer/New Love Here/Back from the Rains/Evening Music/Far Lands Blue/Catch Me

China Blue Vision/The Feelings Mutual …/Taking Steps (Original Version)/Far Lands Blue/Catch Me has never before been released on Cd. It is nice to have the complete collection of the Cherry Red era singles on one Cd, rather than as add-ons on other album releases. These pieces deserve better than being bonus tracks and they were for the most part released as special projects away from any album release! Some of their absolutely best work is here.

Here is a review of Sixth Sense – The Singles Collection by Jonathan Leonard.

The second Twelve Thousand Days album The Devil in the Grain was released in August 2001
(August 22nd 2001)

A wonderful new album by Eyeless In Gaza’s Martyn Bates and Orchis member Alan Trench has seen the light of day. This, their second album, could be read further about on the Martyn Bates web site!


Dance of Hours the new Martyn Bates solo Cd-single
(Updated April 4th 2001)

NDN Records proudly presents:
Martyn BatesDance of Hours Cd (Mini-album with 8 page colour booklet containing lyrics and artwork)
Tracks: 1) Poems Pennyeach, 2) Wishing-Songs, 3) Stars Above, 4) War-Like, 5) Bethlehem, 6) Alone Reprise, 7) Once Blessed, 8) The Heart’s Song

FIRST SOLO ALBUM IN 3 YEARS BY EYELESS IN GAZA’S MARTYN BATES – OUT NOW! – Read more about the new album at the Martyn Bates web page! There was a very fine review in the last issue of Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine.

Martyn Bates live at Terrastock IV in November 2000
(Updated December 12th 2000)

Martyn Bates performed live at the Terrastock festival in Seattle, USA. The fourth Terrastock festival of arts and music took place November 3rd - 5th, 2000 at the historic Showbox, located in downtown Seattle, Washington, USA. Web site: www.terrascope.org/t4.html The event was well received and apparently a success.

The new Eyeless In Gaza album Song of the Beautiful Wanton
(Updated March 9th 2000)

Eyeless In Gaza’s first new album since the 1996 All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life album – Song of the Beautiful Wanton was released in March 2000. Soleilmoon Recordings in the US released it.

Here is the press release from Soleilmoon:
02180 [order number] Eyeless In Gaza Song of the Beautiful Wanton Cd
Song of the Beautiful Wanton constitutes the first full Eyeless In Gaza release in five years. It continues their fascination for combining the worlds of improvisation and soundscape with the worlds of “song” – the psyche-folk axis prominent in several distinctive settings of songs collected by James Francis Child. Recorded in a variety of different locations, some chosen for their natural ambience and others for their “artificiality”, Song of the Beautiful Wanton showcases Eyeless In Gaza at their most melodic, mercurial and still as determinedly individualistic as ever. $13.99 [+ shipping]

Both Martyn and Pete are very excited about the new album (more than usually) and the wait ha been long for this one.

The album tracks are: Among the Blue Flowers and the Yellow/One Light Then/Dearsong/Staring/Less Sky/Sorrow Loves Yr Laughter/Lullay My Liking/Mysterious Traffic/The Silkie/Lord Gregory/Old and Cold and Full of Ghosts/The Lovely Wanton/I Will Give My Love an Apple

Instrumentation: Peter Becker uses: drums, e-rhythms, percussion, bass, piano, organ, e-guitar, voice, keyboards, tape manipulation; while Martyn Bates uses: voice, 12-string acoustic, e-guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, melodica, tape loops, and keyboards.

I have now [in December 1999] had the opportunity to listen to the Song of the Beautiful Wanton album once. It surprised me a bit – it was more song-based than I thought it would be on the basis of what I have heard from Martyn Bates previously (the project apparently changed direction). It is a bit more relaxed and not at all that bitter as the latest two albums have been. It still has the sweetness of the two earlier albums. It contains a lot of really creative work. As always, one has to listen a couple of times to an album to really get to know it. However, it was obvious that this album will be very welcome by (I believe) all Eyeless fans, really! The album “flowed” very well and seemed as if it would be very easy to listen to over and over again, but it was hardly very easy/conventional – it rather came across as “explorative” and very rewarding to listen to many times. The sound was not quite like on any previous Eyeless album, but it was nonetheless distinctly “eyelessish”. It is a very colourful album in all ways! The booklet was also looking very beautiful in green colour with nice photos. If I should try to compare it with something else, then maybe one could think of it as a possible 4AD release back in the early days of the first releases by Dead Can Dance and others. But, this album is more varied and have a more “full sound” and is emotionally richer, I think. Eyeless sounds very alive here!

The below was written earlier, but the project changed direction over time:
The new album is primarily based around a series of recent improvisations that Eyeless undertook in various locales, some “natural,” some determinedly artificial. Two thirds of the album “threatens” to be instrumental, or at least “wordless” in part, linked with acoustic-song fragments, fragments of “Eyelessed” “Child-song”* treatments (scattered verses, transposed titles, transposed tunes … never faithful!); an album drenched in the seductive resonance of folk-song.

* Francis James Child did much formative work in “rescuing” folk-song from oblivion; he originally published his 305 Ballad strong collection ‘The English and Scottish Popular Ballads’ around 1890 … songs collected from migrants to the U.S. – a defining, authoritative work! [Martyn told me]

(Earlier we reported that: A-Scale have parted company with World Serpent Distribution – this was entirely amicable – Eyeless In Gaza are currently engaged in negotiations for future release possibilities with various interested parties; unfortunately, this effects the imminent release schedule for this forthcoming Cd of new material by Eyeless in Gaza, and the projected solo release by Martyn Bates – Dance of Hours, In the Desolate Hills.

Photographs as Memories Cd re-release
(Updated March 6th 2000)

Eyeless In Gaza have recently completed re-mastering Photographs as Memories for release on Cherry Red – this first Cd issue of this seminal album comes with 8 pages of full libretto, sleeve notes by Martyn Bates, and full instrumentation listings, and also features the Invisibility and Others Eps. Eyeless are happy to report that the mastering is of a uniform high standard, courtesy of Denis Blackham at Country Masters. The album is officially released on March 6th! This album could already be ordered at many music shops on the web.

(I have had a lot of people asking about when this album would be re-released on Cd (more so than any other old album by Eyeless In Gaza), so I am really happy that even this great album is now available on Cd.) This completes the re-release of the old vinyl albums of Eyeless In Gaza (though one could wish that Drumming The Beating Heart and Pale Hands I Loved So Well were re-released again properly and separately one day [JN]).

Comments written on all Eyeless In Gaza songs by the editor of these pages
(December 27th 1999)

Jerry Nilson (me, the editor of this site) has written comments to all songs by Eyeless In Gaza in the Summer of 1999 and have now edited them a little and linked them to the Discography page. The thoughts could be found on one page here. (I will edit the notes more later on and add notes for new albums and also write similar comments to the solo works by Martyn Bates.)

Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine article + Cd compilation
(Updated September 28th 1999)

The Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine issue #27 was released in the Autumn of 1999. Martyn Bates has done a quite good article/interview about Eyeless for them. The accompanying Cd also features a song from Martyn Bates’s Imagination Feels Like Poison album – ‘This Wayward Love’. The Cd also features, among others, Windy and Carl, Nikki Sudden, Barbara Manning. For further information on how to obtain the magazine, contact: Phil McMullen, Editor, The Ptolemaic Terrascope, 37 Sandridge Road, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 7BQ, England, Tel: +44 (0)1225 706134.

The French magazine Feardrop – Interview and Cd compilation contributions
(August 15th 1999)

The French magazine Feardrop has just released Fear Drop #6. It feature interviews and articles on Eyeless In Gaza/Martyn Bates, Imminent Starvation, Mimetic, Sonar, Drone Records, James Plotkin, Thomas Köner, Muslimgauze, Rapoon, Autechre, Origami Republika, etc. Each issue of Fear Drop includes a free Cd compilation with unreleased tracks. Cd #6 contain tracks by: Eyeless In Gaza (two tracks : Luscious Word & Immersed Eerie Physical), ElectroniCat, Ab Ovo, Imminent Starvation, Mozul 12, Troum, James Plotkin & Tamara Goukassova, Sonar, Origami Republika, Rapoon, Norscq.

The price for Fear Drop #6 is 35 French francs (or about £4 or us$7) + postage (weight: about 300 g). The address is: Fear Drop, c/o Denis & Virginie Boyer, 3, rue de Damville, 27240 Les Essarts, France. Web: www.feardrop.net

The two Eyeless tracks are quite nice – both are a bit “floating” or vividly atmospheric. The first track is more song-like and very beautiful and the second is more experimental, using clay-pots and e-guitar interjections which creates a bit of a new sound from Eyeless than what we may expect. The interview/article on Eyeless/Martyn also seems quite good, but the magazine is in the French language and my French is rather bad. Great to have new Eyeless tracks released – program them on your Cd player and repeat them over and over! :-)

The Bill Laswell project, Hashisheen – The End of Law
(Updated December 3rd 1999)

I read in Carbondisks’ newsletter that the Bill Laswell project, Hashisheen – The End Of Law consists of “collected spoken word material featuring the likes of Burroughs, Iggy Pop, Genesis P, Jah Wobble, Patti Smith and Anne Clark set against an array of filmic stylisms by Laswell, Techno Animal, Eyeless In Gaza, Paul Schutze, Helios Creed and more. Usually these type of projects end up as arty pieces which get pushed to one side after the first listen, but Hashisheen has enough going on to be both an upfront and a background experience, though it does work best with complete focused attention.” The album was released around May 1999. (Sub Rosa – whose web site is rather difficult to navigate in – has released the album.) (This is the earlier announced Laswell project then called The Assassins.) The Eyeless In Gaza/Anne Clark track sounds a bit like the tracks Eyeless In Gaza released on the Feardrop compilation Cd (it also features a little vocals by Genesis P-Orridge …).

Martyn Bates played live in San Francisco, June 15th
(August 15th 1999)

Martyn Bates gave a solo concert at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco, USA on June 15th. It was a really good show according to the people I have heard from that were lucky enough to be there!

Caught in Flux/The Eyes of Beautiful Losers Cd
(October 5th 1997)

Caught in Flux/The Eyes of Beautiful Losers is now re-released on Cd by Cherry Red (September 13th)! The Cd features (for the first time) the full set of lyrics, plus all the original photographs from the inner sleeves of the original album. This re-release sounds far better than the Drumming the Beating Heart/Pale Hands I Loved So Well re-release, since both Martyn and Pete oversaw the “cut” for this release. It is quite beautiful in all ways.

The latest album is All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life (ASR 021).

The Songs: Monstrous Joy/Marionette/Struck Like Jacob Marley/Morning/Fracture Track/Under the Leaves of Life – Seven Virgins/Answer Song and Dance/Passing and Distant View/Damning Yourself Broken/Three Ships/As Was.

Peter Becker: Drums, drum machines, percussion, bass guitar, tapes and manipulation, keyboards, e-guitar on ’3’, b. vox, white noise, echoplex/copicat, music box, wasp, violin, bells.
Martyn Bates: Voice, organ, e-guitar, keyboards, tapes, whistles, acoustic guitar, tambourines.

Here’s a review of All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life, that appeared in the Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine in March, 1997.

Now that I have received the album myself, how would I [Jerry] describe the album? – I am really thankful to Martyn Bates and Peter Becker for this wonderful new album. It has a brilliant opening track ‘Monstrous Joy’ which is reminiscent of songs from Martyn’s solo album Mystery Seas (Letters Written #2). This track alone is worth the price of the album. – Martyn sings of “sorrows” … and it features some wonderful organ playing. Then there are more “rock-oriented” songs like ‘Struck Like Jacob Marley’, but they are not more rock-oriented (essentially) than any of the “rock-oriented” tracks on Bitter Apples and I actually like these new songs better generally. ‘Fractured Track’ is almost as if it came straight out of Photographs as Memories. Then you have a more experimental ‘The Leaves of Life/Seven Virgins’ in the middle of the album and everything is very “soaked” with a kind of “folk” (– notice how much the tambourines appear on the album). The album is more well-integrated than Bitter Apples but it is hardly less “bitter” – perhaps it’s rather more “sad” and “melancholic” or just plainly “serene” in a beautiful way. The album ends with a fantastic ‘Three Ships’ in the vein of the tracks from Pale Hands I Loved So Well and finishes with ‘As Was’ – a very nice acoustic guitar/vocal piece – the best ending that any Eyeless album has had to date, if I might say so (though I generally think the “endings” of the Eyeless albums are one of their weakest points, apart from ‘Pale Hands’ and ‘Photographs’). All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life also comes with a beautiful booklet that matches the music superbly (a little bit similar to the packaging/booklet to ‘Bitter Apples’). I say this album is like a mix of Mystery Seas, Bitter Apples and Photographs as Memories – it may be somewhat rock-oriented, but at the same time it contains much of the spirit of Saw You in Reminding Pictures and Streets I Ran. It isn’t a “rock” album; rather it’s typically “Eyeless’ish”. I think that whatever I might say it should be safe to say that if one enjoyed their Bitter Apples album, one should also enjoy this album and I actually think All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life is better as a whole than Bitter Apples, indeed. Like a friend of mine says ”it is horribly good – Monstrous Joy! But I might change my opinion somewhat in the future – we’ll see about that…. Still, I only think it goes better and better for each time I listen to it – especially tracks like ‘Three Ships’, ‘Morning’, ‘The Leaves of Life/Seven Virgins’. (I also begin to like ’Bitter Apples’ more and more now – maybe it’s because it is Winter – seems to be “Winter music”!)

(Updated April 21st 1997) Eyeless In Gaza have contributed a track to a “benefit Cd” for the renown UK “Illustrated Occasional” Ptolemaic Terrascope. The Cd is entitled ’Alms’ and is a US only release, on Fleece Records (c/o Kurt Brennan, Fleece Records, P.O. Box 70012, Houston, Texas 77270, USA), and is now available. It’s packaged in a die-cut folder with a hand printed woodcut. This packaging is strictly limited to 1000 copies (Martyn says there are different packagings …). It can be purchased for $13 U.S. (which includes shipping) for any customer outside the U.S. Price within the U.S. is $10 postpaid. Eyeless’ track is entitled ‘Brilliant Blue’ (from Saw You In Reminding Pictures). Kurt Brennan writes: “Having been a longtime Gaza fan, it has been a special thrill to be involved with Martyn on this project. ‘Brilliant Blue’ is an incredible opening track to the comp.”

Here’s the track-listing of Alms: 1. E.I.G. - Brilliant Blue, 2. Jessamine - The Moon Is Made Of Cheese, 3. Brother JT - Lazy, 4. Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast - Untitled, 5. Ghost - Way To Coimbula, 6. Project Grimm - Missing (Always Gone), 7. Dry Nod - Chronovore-Take Babylon, 8. Bari Watts - Plastic Bag, 9. Peglegasus - Cage, 10. Roy Montgomery - Times Three.

(Updated April 21st 1997) Eyeless In Gaza did a track for the World Serpent compilation album ‘Terra Serpentes’, which came out in March ’97 as a double Cd package retailing below the price of one single standard Cd. However, due to “time limitations” Eyeless’ proposed track was left off the package unfortunately … . Martyn Bates song ‘Bahnhofstraße’ – a setting of a poem by James Joyce – did appear though!

(February 13th 1997) Here’s a new very good interview with Martyn Bates: Interview with Martyn Bates for the french magazine Omega. The interview was done in 1995, but published in the autumn of 1996. The text has been translated from french to english by Yves Ludwig – thank you!

Eyeless In Gaza could and should continue forever as long as Peter Becker and I both continue to enjoy our unique connection – it feels like it should last forever, this special link; ‘I dreamed I saw you, walking, walking in the world….. .’

Now you can read the liner notes by Martyn Bates and Pete Becker to the wonderful archive album Orange Ice and Wax Crayons. Martyn and Pete make interesting comments on all the tracks of the album and on the album as a whole. Now the album is deleted, but the liner notes really says a lot about Eyeless In Gaza and how they themselves look upon their activities up until around ’86. (The comments were written in October 1991 at the “rebirth of Eyeless”.)

Pale Hands I Loved So Well and Drumming the Beating Heart have been re-released on Cd (Cd MRED 127) on Cherry Red. It costs £ 10.45 incl. postage and package from Cherry Red. Some of the tracks from Pale Hands I Loved So Well didn’t sound good – the sound tends to be distorted just as it was on the Lp, but more disturbing here – but the sound is also somewhat crisper (which I sometimes prefer to dolby “boxed” sound). – Martyn Bates says that “it seems that the first batch of Cds did have some sort of “cracking up” sound problem […] but later pressings are OK from what people tell me.” Also: the track ‘Before You Go’ is “rounded off” where the singing ends on the Cd (perhaps in order to save space – the Cd is after all 75 minutes long). However, you should really get this Cd as it certainly stand as something like a reference-work for Eyeless In Gaza’s music.

The Cd sells well and Cherry Red have re-released Martyn Bates’ brilliant 10”Letters Written and the Lp Return of the Quiet on a low-priced Cd (just like this Cd).

(Feb 13th 1997) Media news: The ‘New Risen’-video has been showed on MTV lately. BBC have used a part of the Eyeless song ‘Up the Walls of Song’ (Streets I Ran) in the Future Fantastic (the “real” X-files), starring Gillian Anderson (prog. no. 9 [?]) (it will be shown on a US network too sometime).