Morgan Fisher Hybrid Kids 1 (A Collection of Classic Mutants) Review

Album. Released 12 August 2002.  

BBC Review

Mott the Hoople keyboardist in reissue of bogus avant new wave compilation of cover...

Peter Marsh 2002

The late 70s were an incredibly fertile time for English experimentalism. Once the fires of punk subsided, with most bands either splitting, mutating into indie miserablists or stadium rockers, a small band of musicians fired up by punk's DIY ethic emerged briefly into the mainstream. Influenced by free improvisation, dub, musique concrete and systems music, they forged new and often very silly noises from lo-fi sources with a casual disregard for genres.

Among these mavericks were bands like This Heat and The Pop Group as well as producers/musicians like Steve Beresford, David Toop, David Cunningham (whose Flying Lizards project even spawned a top 20 hit) and Morgan Fisher.

Fisher had played keyboards with 70s glam/pub rockers Mott the Hoople and poptastic 60s sessioneers The Love Affair, but this was little indication of what was to come; he curated the groundbreaking Miniatures project with contributions from The Residents, Michael Nyman and Fred Frith amongst others, and with saxophonist Lol Coxhill recorded the proto ambient Slow Music.

Hybrid Kids was originally released on Cherry Red and was allegedly a compilation of various bands from Peabody, Texas. Such compilations (Stiff's Akron album, The Max's Kansas City record, and the Eno curated No New York) were popular at the time, though it was in fact created by Mr Fisher in Notting Hill on a four track tape recorder at a cost of £25.

Recorded while Fisher was still in Mott, Hybrid Kids is an affectionate demolition job of pop classics, from "Catch a Falling Star" to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy". While the current trend for bootleg mixes places Chrstina Aguilera with the Strokes, Destiny's Child with Nirvana etc, back in 1979 Morgan Fisher was imagining Devo covering the Brotherhood of Man's "Save Your Kisses For Me" in his guise as Kapital Punischment, or Pinky and Perky performing a Sex Pistols medley ("God Save the Lean" and "Pretty Bacon").

Not an album to be taken too seriously then, but Fisher's manipulation of tapes, arcane effects units and the like is spot on (what he calls a "My Life in the Shepherds Bush of Ghosts" approach) and easily the equal of any of the illustrious names mentioned above. His metamorphosis of "All the Young Dudes" into a lusciously lo-fi Palm Court Orchestra workout is eerily beautiful and apparently tricked members of Mott into believing that this was the oriiginal, from which David Bowie nicked the melody. Also his version of Sun Ra's "Enlightenment" (or should I say Combo Satori's version) captures Ra's other worldliness rather beautifully.

It'd be nice to know if anyone bought this and was convinced this was the work of disaffected Texan youths; it would have convinced me anyway. Bonkers, essential and much praise to Voiceprint for unearthing it.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.