Number One

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“LSD and other hallucinogens were very popular sources of inspiration in the late 1960’s. While Intersystems work was also fixated on inebriated euphoria and perceptual distortion, their sonic barrages also evoked the heightened awareness, intermittent psychosis, intellectual overstimulation and giddy nihilism of an acid expedition.
“Orange Juice and Velvet Underwear” may indeed be the most typically capital-p Psychedelic cut of Intersystems entire catalogue. Its saturated crypto-Indian drone and bent acoustic guitar notes, the most audibly ‘psych’ elements, are upstaged by Parker’s lurid-sounding declamations and Mills-Cockell’s fierce industrial clatter. From there, it all spirals further into a vortex of frayed cacophony and chilling sober-yet-surreal orations.
The sixteen-minute “Blackout Mix” is a perfect demonstration of just how tenuous their relationship was to even the furthest-out reaches of psychedelia in spite of their own pronounced use of related terminology. All curdled puddles of synth noise and caustic electronic howls, Parker’s fragmentary deadpan bark both penetrates, and is enveloped by, the sticky sonic tapestry. He unfurls a series of disparate images, more-than-flirting with the mundane horror enumerated later (and more explicitly) by the likes of Throbbing Gristle.
“Vox 3/13/67” is “Number One Intersystems”’s second longest and arguably most varied piece. John’s contributions span dimly elegiac textures, evoking distant chimes and striated choral voices, over to his most brusque and intemperate interjections. Parker, whose appearances are as jarring as they are intermittent, delivers his writing as staunchly as ever, yet hacks certain words into syllabic mincemeat that spills violently and incoherently into the middles of sentences. It’s by no means less anxious than other pieces on the album, but its tension is achieved through an eerily pronounced sense of breath and movement rather more aggressive means, foreshadowing the approach found on the latter two albums. Where elsewhere “Number One Intersystems” seems to forecast post-punk excursions into avant-noise antagonism, here there’s more indication of Mills-Cockell’s training and more canonical influences in its careful phrase-shaping.
Featured throughout the album was a homespun instrument devised by John, dubbed “The Coffin”, which was also employed live in their Presentations. Mills-Cockell recalls: “It was a 6 foot long box line with purple satin, housing a long plank strung with many parallel lengths of piano wire held in place with tuning pegs which were adjustable with a wrench we kept on board for the purpose. There were contact mikes which were switchable, just like on a Telecaster except that the switches could permit not only selection of different harmonic spectra when the instrument sounded, but of a variety of loudspeakers in various locations in (a) performance space. The switches were invisible, covered by the fabric lining the interior of the box”.
This edition of “Number One Intersystems” LP presents the correct Side A / Side B sequence as well as the original tracks sub-section divisions. Re-mastered by John Mills-Cockell. Mastered for cutting by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Edition of 300 copies presented in the original Allied Records sleeve.”