by SashaS

Official website:
Label website:

Print this article
  More on: Large Number

The Electronic Bible - Chapter 2 Single
  Album Review - 15-9-2005
'The Electronic Bible'
  News - 12-8-2004
The Now Defunct Delaware
  Album Review - 29-1-2004
Spray On Sound
  Album Review - 3-12-2003
Large Number: progtronic technicolours
Digital talismania
Ann Shenton focuses on Large Number, ‘The Electronic Bible’, art-devo…

While the critics are divided on whether the Mercury Music Prize 2004 is just and representative of the best Brit-albums [and they never get it but hip] or discussing on - revolution or de-evolution, avant-garde release or just mix’n’match noises - we can only suppurate over the passing of the brave new world into the banality that is mass-compliance. Alas, it is so true that it is such hard work to be different, it is easier to join the army of identikit acts and get on with fame’s poor relation - celeb-hood.

The saddest part is that without revolutionary artists - be it Brian Eno, Dali or David Lynch - we only chase our creative tails. Without forward thinkers, the fringe absurdists, the black-humorists, the fame-satirists, we are lost in the loop that is nostalgia. And, the reversal of the inventiveness, the ignorant rehashing at accelerated decline.

Tough are the times when eccentrics are eschewed by the mainstream shareholders and its boards. Where would we all be without Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Can, Neu!, Nirvana, if they remained signed to some small imprint? Imagine if The Smiths had been contracted to a major label [from the beginning and not only during their petering out days], they’d probably have been bigger than REM!? Or, all biggest recyclers from Oasis via The Darkness to Franz Ferdinand [who have even ripped off INXS for their current single!]… I mean, when do objects d’homage cease to pollute the ether?

We harbour not a single illusion that there is any possibility of returning to the times when enthusiasm and passion for music weren’t negated by finances and profit maximising. We’re well aware that The Beatles albums will never be ‘For Sale’ because it’s got to do with our amplified fixation with figures. I’m not a digit, screams a soul with eleven fingers!

World glorifies mediocrity as if it were works to rival Michelangelo, James Joyce or Kubrick although against these Tracey Emin, Martin Amis and Mr Esther Kabbalah are as vacant as your regulation-moulded pop stars, as pathetic as the Big Brother losers, as uniformed as supermarket wrappers… God, the world has become a cruel place for smart, talented, renegades and offbeat but hopefully an album entitled ‘The Electronic Bible’ will have much wider appeal. [See News for full tracklisting.]

The compilation presents 20 acts of avanti-electro persuasion that demonstrate why the Brits weren’t only cyber leaders once but still can be if the suits don’t meddle in the artistic process but keep to what they should know [although one often wonders] - selling it. For the difference from the original spin [not a misspell] of the Holy Book, this one is truer, better and curiouser.

The album proper [due out second week in September on White Label Music] has been preceded by ‘The Electronic Bible’ single, a limited edition triple A-sided 7'' featuring Large Number, Kings Have Long Arms (from Sheffield) and Pat Riot [alias of Richard H. Kirk, ex-Cabaret Voltaire]. Sub-designated as 'Chapter One', there are further two long-players planned [to be released annually] to showcase “a refreshing overview of contemporary electronic music”, the label boss Marc Hunter explains before qualifying this ‘Bible’ as “Progtronic compilation” which becomes as clear as champagne once your hearing is indulged in this audio feast.

Also, if you happen to have something worth considering, submit it via the label site, or the album’s dedicated cyber-pages - - when launched in September.

Few artists contribute a couple of songs, Fashion Flesh and, subject of our attention - Large Number. Or, its sole member - Ms Ann Shenton. The lady’s also the one who compiled this artefact, with Andy Fraser [of Some Friendly], an eclectic collection of 18 artistes from as diverse places as aforementioned Sheffield, Brighton, London, Windsor, Berlin and Bay City, USA: Ezrapound, Phosphene, Raüberhöhle, Boy With A Toy, Mount Vernon Arts Lab…

Now, we’ll take a back seat for the duration of this piece because we‘ve encountered someone who has interesting things to dispense without being interrupted by our ‘smart-mutha questions’, as a Yank star accused us of once.

Large Number, following her delish debut album ‘Spray On Sound’ [where the concluding song on ‘El. Bible’, ‘Earth Has Shrunk In The Wash’, first appeared] last October, serves an original track with lyrics adopted from an old folk poem. ‘I Shot Her at the Setting of the Sun’ is like the 1960s psychedelia injected with electro-vivacity-cum-disco-inferno: envisage Krautrock in the XXV century as if fronted by bipolar singer who is Marianne Faithfull one moment and the next, if she had sung – Lolita.

This compilation will be followed by the first ‘Progtronic’ album by Miss Shenton.

The Deadworth Echo's report

“in the beginning there was a single sound... it soon was followed by thousands of patriotic camp actors in search of sound climbed to the summit of mt vernon.

the electronic national flag; the symbol N was borne aloft & placed there. man machines interrupting fashion called upon Hiem the sonic god, & lo - a black rainbow arcs the sky.

bandits descended upon the electronic patriots & large numbers of relaxed muscles were offered as flesh sacrifices by worshipers to Hiem, the deity of sound. ezrapound [a poet, all you soap addicts] emerged from his rauber hohle, riding high on his llama & declared war on all ears, the smell of additives was heavy on the planet...

a boy with a toy looked on as the choking crusaders of sinewave; [sean] o’hagan, [Ear &] delia & patriot, carried the king with long arms up to mount vernon, his knuckles dragging on the vibrant grass.

there through the electronic fog, a vision appeared, a vision of a transformer di roboter, pointing to an arts lab; a structure made of sound. a digital sculpture. the portal into the electronic bible” versus the devoted waving of fashion flesh!

“First of all, Mute Records was bought by EMI and I only found out about it in the papers. I wasn’t a shareholder but very unhappy about it; then, Add N To (X) [the trio released four albums for the label] went into rehearsals and a member was missing as well as a lot of our equipment. Barry was DJing in New York and all these different people were coming in to tour with us and I thought it wasn’t Add N To (X) anymore. I pushed my keyboard over and walked out. They found me in a pub, next door, crying in my pint of Guinness. I couldn’t go on like that… They went on a tour without me and I left music business.”

Creative addiction [no dosh for anti-posh]

“I decided not to do music but then I got my keyboards back and had to have a go. It is not rational, creativity is like an addiction and there is nothing you can do about. It is an illness, it is sick… I know a lot of people who have been doing it for so long unsuccessfully that, after being divorced, they are looked upon like failures by former partners. It is like a virus and you can’t just give it up and work on a building site or an IT company…”

“I managed six months… of lunacy. I worked on the market but doing my own ‘Only Fools and Horses’ didn’t fulfil me and it was freezing because I was doing it during winter months. Anyhow, after getting my synthesisers back from Idaho, where I’d lived with my old roadie for a bit, and a friend of mine got it before Add N To (X) because it was all very bitter. My friend set up The White Label and wanted me to be the first artist on the label. I did feel a bit under pressure because I wanted to go really small…”

“It was also a liberating and healthier, more understanding… I wasn’t trying to mimic particular fashion, mimic anything and prior to recording I didn’t listen to any modern music. People would tell me, ‘There is the new Goldfrapp, or Kraftwerk album’, but I refused to listen to anything but some gypsy tapes and music I’ve had for 20 years… I wanted to change the way I work, record and it was happening on the ground level. It became more natural; when I recorded with Add N To (X), we were doing it just up the road from Mute and whenever we wanted some fresh air, they’d be junkies on the streets, kids running, congested traffic…”

“I wanted to purify myself and escape all the rubbish… And, you have to work on your brain, it is a muscle and you can’t just ignore it but make it grow… But, it seems to be shrinking all the time and when I started listening to current music again - it was rather disappointing. Like fast-food, you get it and that’s all. I want to discover it, get into it and invest personal time instead of getting a fix. Pop music has become like a burger with loads of spray on flavour, as nauseating as a cheap perfume.”

Particular disorder or Noir folks

“This is the age of conformity, avant-garde is dead, eccentricity is dead… Because you are being ridiculed, people laugh at you, take the piss… To explain to someone why, it is hard and people want something easy after their nine-to-five jobs and then they go on a holiday once a year. It is a question of balancing and prioritising: whether you wanna be a slave and have more money or be free but have less. I’m not very capitalist minded…” [What artist are but those who believe that ambition can be a substitute for talent?]

“There is need - housing, water, food, and there is want… It is alien to me, I don’t understand consumerism… Life is too short [just over ¼ million hours, actually], every hour is precious and you should strive to do something better and that’s prevented me from living an ordinary life. I’m just a stupid mammal and an experiment and you have to embrace that stupidity and the wonderfulness of it.”

“We are defined by numbers: number plates, wages, fax-machines, pin-numbers, number of children, house-cost, the number of CDs you possess, the obsession with Stock Exchange… Wherever you look in the world it is about numbers and the larger the number the happier are the people. [So think the people who have lesser number of things they reckon they should…] And, it was a track on the last Add N To (X) album.”

“But, not all the world is like that: when we were in Berlin we saw a bar called ‘The Club Of The Polish Losers’ and we were shocked but it was Polish humour. It was a bar for people who came to Berlin to realise a dream but it didn’t happen.”

Disillusioned individuals… What’s your life philosophy: pessimism, realism, fatalism…?

“It has to be…” Ann slowly sips her pint, “a humorist… A friend of mine says that when you are faced with adversity, you have to maintain an element of humour because people are filthy swines, evil, cruel species… Absolutely disgusting is the human race.”

Just the other day we were thinking of how we’d love to leave the planet!

[Couldn’t keep quiet, after all - Ed Chief.]
~ ~ ~

'The Electronic Bible - Chapter One' is due out mid-September on White Label Music.

Full tracklisting:

Pat Riot: ’ Who’s Afraid (of the Red, White and Blue)’
Kings Have Long Arms: F1 Nymphomaniac’
Large Number: ‘I Shot Her At The Setting Of The Sun’
Ezrapound: ‘Bad Penny’
Camp Actor: ‘Semi-detached Soul’
Transformer Di Roboter - ‘Bob Ross’
Relaxed Muscle: ‘Good as it Gets’
Boy With a Toy: ‘Killer Species’
Mount Vernon Arts Lab: ‘Hobgoblins’
Fashion Flesh: ‘Second hand submarine’
National Bandit: ‘Pardon My French’
Fashion Flesh: ‘Gestaposizer’
Phosphene: ‘Spheries’
N: ‘Hackney Homoculus’
Raüberhöhle: ‘My Heart Bleeps Noisy Beeps’
Hiem: ‘Tweak’
Black Rainbow: ‘Electro Wonkey’
Sean O’Hagen: ‘Chip chip’
Ear & Delia: ‘Sychrondipity Machine’
Large Number: ‘Earth Has Shrunk in the Wash’

‘The Electronic Bible’ single is available now on The White Label

Compilation ‘Electronic Bible’ is released 12 September by The White Label

Large Number album ‘Spray On Sound’ is available from the same label