Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Tronics 'Shark Fucks/Time Off'
What’s Your Rupture? kick off their 2012 roster in fine style by reissuing a slice of UK/DIY history, Tronics 45 'Shark Fucks/Time Off' released with original art-work; any friend of a blood splattered head is a friend of mine.
Zarjaz (a nickname based on a futuristic comic book ‘2000 AD’) began playing music in his early teens on the fringes of West London. Touted as the “essence of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Melody Maker, Zarjaz otherwise received little to no promotion, he had only played a handful of shows with a modest out put of records before facing scenes of teen hysteria. Too much attention from over zealous fans, and not enough from the music industry turned Zarjaz into a recluse. These days Zarjaz remains an elusive character partially due to ongoing mental health issues, yet curiously continues to retain success whilst virtually being an anonymous artist in the UK.
At 16 Zarjaz recorded Tronic’s first single ‘Suzy b/w Favourite Girls’ produced by John Edwards linked to The Who producer Shil Talmy. What’s pivotal about this release was support from Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis who encouraged and partly funded the pressing. This first single would become, arguably, a pre-cursor for English Post Punk and Indie music.
Hot off the heels of this single came a cassette that would change the game for independent music. In 1980 self released cassette 'The Tronics', described by NME as the original “Indie Album”, became the first independent record to be distributed internationally. A trend was born that saw countless artists follow suit; home recording, self-releasing, taking things into their own hands. If any further testimony is needed as to how crucial this tape was, look around today, cassettes are experiencing resurgence for these very reasons.
BSide ‘Time Off’ is taken from this very cassette, an attention flipping number switching from sultry to skittish whilst provocative in equal measure. The first half of the song features a flirtatious spoken word piece, interjected by acerbic pop-inspired post punk allowing Zarjaz to yelp his words across. “Why don’t we take the day off?” he asks in a playful yet toneless manner alongside a saccharine guitar, keys and saxophone.
ASide ‘Shark Fucks’, originally released through Alien Records, is a song quintessentially quotidian and British as you’ll ever hear. Taken from album ‘What’s the Hubbub Bub’ where Zarjaz experimented recording live in the kitchen of his Earls Court flat. His trash-poetry is delivered catatonically with repetitive guitars built on a base of minimal tapping rhythms. Tronics output isn't one to be aligned or compared with bands that came before rather, Tronics are referenced as an influence by bands who came after.
I’m looking at you messthetics-heads, LoFi-fiends, post-punk-people-oids, if you’re looking for a copy of this single that isn’t scratched the search is over! If Tronics are just coming on to your radar, What’s Your Rupture? has made it super easy (and infinitely cheaper than coughing up for the original pressing) to pick up a seminal piece of UK Underground music.
Find copies at What's Your Rupture? and Other Music