Adrian Slatcher writes poetry, fiction and criticism, and lives in Manchester.
Adrian Slatcher has been recording electronic instrumental and vocal music under a variety of aliases since 1982, and has released 33 albums, as well as a large number of singles, extended plays, side projects and compilations. From 1982-1998, these were released on cassette, in single copies or small runs, and from 1998 onwards have been issued on CD, and later also as download. All recordings have been released by BDM Recordings (formerly Brain Death Music.)
In 1982, whilst in the third year at Norton Canes Comprehensive School, Staffordshire, Adrian Slatcher formed Damn the Visual with “Dave Greenway” (David Bennett), and “Steve Lawson” (Daniel Hunt) who had previously recorded together as Hiroshima. Damn the Visual broke up before releasing anything, and in 1983 Slatcher put together a C90 cassette of their recordings (including some solo tracks) entitled “Archives:1982”.
During 1983 Slatcher recorded a 30 minute “concept” cassette called “The Cannibal City”. Both of these early releases featured piano, organ and Casio VL-Tone. In January 1984 he bought a Roland Juno-6 synthesizer, and began releasing music under the name Bonbon Experiment.
Bonbon Experiment released 4 full length cassettes, an E.P., a “live” album (recorded live in the living room) and a compilation and played one short gig at a charity concert at Chase Terrace High School. A first release “Sequences” was mostly instrumental, but did include the vocal “Colours of Another Red.” This was followed by “Bizarre Snapshots”, a complex, experimental album, with almost every track being an experiment of some sort. At the time it felt hard to listen to, but “Seize the Moment” and “Sweatbox” would prefigure later dance styles; it also included the noise track “Brain Death” which would give his cassette label its name. The final Bonbon Experiment release “Love is a Carousel of Fear” was a highly eclectic cassette. Various songs from this first incarnation of Bonbon Experiment, including “Today is the Day”, “Godstrike!”, “Not a Sound” and “I’m not Clancy” have been revisited over the years. a 5th outtakes cassette “Wollongong” was issued years later, as well as a CD compilation “BBXXI”.
The 4-Track Years
In September 1985, Slatcher began using a 4-track recorder for the first time and stopped using the Bonbon Experiment name (until he would resurrect it in 2007.) New material came out under a range of aliases, including the BLANK Organisation, the Folly, and Cistine, as well as side projects including Two Blank Minds, Megaton Heroin Overdose and 1980, Angel Dust.
From 1985 until 1990, Slatcher would record two or three cassette albums a year as well as singles, E.P.s and a range of side projects.
During this period he would live in Lancaster, York, Manchester and Croydon, and would record a total of 19 full length albums from 1986’s “Mortal Mime” to 1997’s “twenty three”.
His work from 1985-6 included long ambient pieces as well as short songs, and the ambient/instrumental work was collated on the “Ambient Musics 1985-6” C90 and later on the first edition of the 4-Track Years compilation. (Here). These tracks included “Myriads (pt.1-4)”, which was 15 minutes long, and the 23 minute “Complexities (pt.1-6)” which covered the whole first side of 1986’s “17 Schemes (of dare & folly.) In 1986 he began experimenting with more rhythmic pieces, including the e.p. “Alternate Product” and “King & Kingdom Come”, a proto-techno track from “Entering the Adult Frame”. (Listen here.) By 1987 he had come into a particular style of his own, which is best exemplified on the cassettes “Eye Cloud Infancy” and “Discretion” and the “Passive Artillery” sessions from the end of that year which were only issued years later. (Listen here and here.) 1988 was his most productive year. He began with the concept album “Asylum 2100” (referring to his age at the time, 21), and ended with another, the exemplary imaginary film soundtrack “Film One”, where 18 pieces were segued together across the two sides. (Listen here.) During the year his interest in the hardcore sounds of Sonic Youth and others, led to an odd side project, Megaton Heroin Overdose, which saw him record two e.p.s and an album of short, noisy, electronic punk songs. The best of these were later compiled as “Rehab.” Another side project, 1980, Angel Dust, had a more psychedelic side.
By 1989 he was working full time and had moved to York, but he still kept up a consistent release schedule releasing three albums in 1989 and another two in 1990. “Life’s Not Perfect” was an hour long, and an instrumental version was also released as “Sonic Architecture” whilst “Mystick” was a more gothic/experimental release. 1990’s “There are No Beautiful People” experimented with rap (“Valentine”) and revisited a 1985 song in “Godstrike 1990.” “Blues Cousin” was a sad, subtle, lyrically strong album, that acted as an impressive end to this particular phase. With official albums becoming much more song orientated, outtakes from this period included ambient instrumentals as well as more raucous tracks. The final single of 1990 had an anti-Gulf war song “This Furious War” paired with a bright pop song “There’s Another Heaven.” (Listen here and here.)
A more fuller sound, and a less prolific release schedule followed from 1991 following the introduction of a reverb unit. A harder, more industrial sound would emerge on 1992’s “Integrity (Version)” and find its home on the experimental “Proud to Be” a year later, which began life as a concept album inspired by “American Psycho” (though only a couple of tracks would reference it.) “Engine” from that album was covered by Hunt and Bennett’s new band Column 13 some years later. 1994 saw the release of perhaps his most consistently good album, “Seventy Mauve”. (Listen here.) The follow up, “Abstract Farmers” introduced a digital keyboard for the first time and was more eclectic but less successful. A side project from this time “Adrian’s Way With Wires” was more impressive – an album written and recorded over three sessions. An ill-fated move to Croydon did see one more album, the consistent “twenty three”, completed just after his 30th birthday.
A return to university in Manchester would see music take a backseat to fiction and poetry, but a collaboration with Glenn-Emlyn Richards for his low budget movies resulted in the recordings that made up the mostly instrumental side project “Deviance and Variation 1”, which were followed by the e.p. “30 Minute Warning.” (Listen here.) At the same time Richards remixed and rerecorded a number of Slatcher’s songs for the “Real Anime” album.
Only two albums came out over the next decade – though they were digitally recorded and released on CD – “New Ways of Seeing” and “The Beaten Up Generation.” (Listen here.) Instead a more comprehensive reissue programme saw a number of compilations, including a 4-CD best of “18-30”, and an outtakes series “Avoid Musix.” Comprehensive reissue programmes have taken place, first in 1993 with the 15 cassette “Complete Works” and then in the early 2000s with the 40 CD “Classic Electronica Series.” More recently selective compilations have been made available online.
Bonbon Experiment relaunches
In 2007, Slatcher began using a new digital 8-track and resurrected the Bonbon Experiment name, and since then has maintained a constant release schedule. 2 e.p.s in 2007 were followed by the “debut” album “Vertical Integration”, and since then another seven albums, have been completed in a decade. As well as Bonbon Experiment releases have come out under the names The Wayleaves, Monochrome Industrial Dystopia and EEK! In 2012 to celebrate 30 years of music making, a cassette e.p. was recorded and released each month and formed the basis of the “Top Hits of 2012” album. More recently, new synthesizers have broadened the sound on albums such as “Meet the Relatives” and “Kleptomania.” 2016 was probably the most productive year since 1988, with two albums completed, and a series of three e.p.s the “Test Pressing” series. (Listen here.)
2017 saw Slatcher turn fifty, and release an instrumental techno mini-album “EEK!” by EEK! A 34th album, “Return of the Juno Six” which includes a 25-minute instrumental “Chimera” echoing early 4-track recordings was also released in the summer.
More recently Slatcher’s 1980s and 1990s work has been included on several volumes of the “Bedroom Cassette Masters” series of downloads. (Listen here.)
Slatcher’s music has maintained a consistent musical style, using the Roland Juno 6 from 1984 until the present day. He has usually used a drum machine, at least since 1986, and has always combined instrumental music with vocal tracks.
Early Bonbon Experiment influences included PiL, Test Department, Cabaret Voltaire, SPK and Virgin Prunes. The early 1980s analogue synthesizer has remained a touchstone of his style, and he has been compared to Human League, Tangerine Dream, Durutti Column, Heaven 17, OMD, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt , David Bowie and Blur. From around 1986 his music began to take on board dance elements, including elements of house, techno, trance and drum and bass.
His vocal style has often been whispered or spoken, as well as singing. As well as a wide range of different writing styles to his songs, there has been a consistent willingness to experiment with electronic textures, including regular “ambient” or other electronic releases.
Lyrically, Slatcher has covered many subjects over the years, from standard love songs, to political tracks, to story songs, to much more obscure lyrics. One frequent approach has been the adoption of a character or persona in a song, so that dark songs like “Piece by Peace” and “Lovely Predator” should be taken more as characters in an unwritten story than anything else.
Cassette only until 1997, CD from 1998, Download/CD from 2007
1984 Bizarre Snapshots
1985 Love is a Carousel of Fear
1986 Mortal Mime
1986 17 Schemes (of dare & folly)
1986 Entering the Adult Frame
1987 Rhythm & Blues
1987 Eye Cloud Infancy
1988 Asylum 2100
1988 The Considerate Option
1989 Film One
1989 Life’s Not Perfect
1989 Broken Taboos
1990 There are No Beautiful People
1990 Blues Cousin
1992 Integrity (version)
1993 Proud to Be
1994 Seventy Mauve
1996 Abstract Farmers
1997 “twenty three”
1999 New Ways of Seeing
2003 The Beaten Up Generation
2007 Vertical Integration
2009 You Want to Know Something?
2011 In Times of Troubled Lives
2012 Top Hits of 2012
2014 Meet the Relatives
2017 Return of the Juno Six
Singles and E.P.s
1984 A Slice of… (e.p.)
1986 Alternative Product (e.p.)
1986 The Sorrow & Other Short Stories (e.p.)
1987 Ready for Surrender
1987 Part of Me (e.p.)
1987 In the Highest Castles (e.p.)
1987 “Perfect” (e.p.)
1987 Missed by Inches (e.p.)
1988 Sonic Hardcore Mutations #1 (e.p.)
1988 I’m Not Toxic, I’m Rock Sick (e.p.)
1988 Work Addiction – the 1988 remix (e.p.)
1988 Hey! Hey! Hazel (e.p.)
1990 Dizzy Bitch (e.p.)
1990 Whatever (e.p.)
1990 There’s Another Heaven/This Furious War
1990 Twist Me a Rainbow/Dancemusic
1993 Watch Me Glide/Eternal
1994 Flamingo (e.p.)
1995 The Decorator (e.p.)
1995 Sunlight on the Seabed
1998 30 Minute Warning (e.p.)
2002 She Knew How to Love Me
2007 Fall of the Rebel Angels (e.p.)
2007 The Secondhand Value of a Download (e.p.)
2008 Popular Songs (e.p.)
2009 Music written for “the Joy of Ceefax” (e.p.)
2010 We are the Wayleaves (e.p.)
2011 First Pressing (e.p.)
2012 For All These Days (e.p.)
2012 The Armenian (e.p.)
2012 Clap Your Hands!/Red Deer Cave People (e.p.)
2012 Icarus (e.p.)
2012 Find Me (e.p.)
2012 Before I was a Spy (e.p.)
2012 Instrumental (e.p.)
2012 Nobody was expecting…the Wayleaves (e.p.)
2012 I Want My Woman Tonight (e.p.)
2012 Muscle Memory (e.p.)
2012 Demonstration Tape (e.p.)
2012 Christmas in Siberia (e.p.)
2013 Bits of Pig (e.p.)
2016 Test Pressing 1 (e.p.)
2016 Test Pressing 2 (e.p.)
2016 Test Pressing 3 (e.p.)
These are primarily album length releases which were either versions of completed albums, side projects under specific names, outtakes albums, or unclassifiable experiments such as the collage “I am no one” and the sound art “album” “Epic Redundancy”
1983 The Cannibal City
1985 This is International
1988 Precious in the Amplifier
1988 Domestic Violence
1989 Sonic Architecture
1994 Mauve Lite!
1996 Adrian’s Way With Wires
1998 Deviance and Variation 1
1998 Real Anime (w/ Glenn Emlyn Richards)
2001 I Am No One
2009 Epic Redundancy
Slatcher’s first release – “Archives 1982” by Damn the Visual was a compilation – a C90 of recordings from the previous year. Over the years there have been themed compilations, comprehensive box sets, and selective “best of” releases. The compilations “The 4 Track Years”, “Nineties Sell Thru” and “Digital-Analogue” together create a 10 CD “best of” from 1985 through to 2007, and are available online.
1983 Archives 1982
1984 Arc of Phantasm – Live
1985 Junk Up! A Retrospective
1987 Ambient Musics 85-6
1988 White Noises & Toxic Gases
1989 Aesthete’s Revenge
1990 Ambient Musics Volume 2
1994 Brilliant Things
1995 The Complete Works 1982-1994 (Box Set)
1995 Damn the Visual
1998 The Apocrypha (Box Set)
1998 Lendal (The York Years)
2000 18-30 (Box Set)
2003 Classic Electronica Series I (Box Set)
2005 Filter Through Water
2005 Classic Electronica Series II (Box Set)
2006 BBXXI (21st Anniversary Collection)
2006 Twentysomething – Greatest Hits
2006 Reinventions of the Yellow Monkey Press
2008 Digital-Analogue (1998-2007)
2008 Centenary Editions (Box Set)
2009 Before Science, After History (Box Set)
2009 Bonbon Experiment (Box Set)
2010 Nineties Sell Thru
2012 Cassette Box (Box Set)
2012 Cistine 101
2013 Electronica 1985-2012
2015 Selected Components for Manufactured Sound Vol.1
2017 The 4 Track Years Vol.1-3 (Box Set)
Avoid Musix Series
Avoid Musix began as an occasional series of obscure and previously unreleased tracks, and has grown into an “alternative” history, of themed compilations, focusing mainly on outtakes and unreleased recordings
2002 Avoid Musix 1
2003 Avoid Musix 2
2004 Late Songs (Avoid Musix 3)
2006 Let it C (Avoid Musix 4)
2007 There’s Always Been a Dance Element to My Music (Avoid Musix 5)
2013 Extensive (Avoid Musix 6)
2013 Not Another Greatest Hits Avoid Musix 7)
2014 Nineties Sell Thru: Unreleased Outtakes (Avoid Musix 8)
All major releases since 2007 plus a range of compilation albums covering from 1985-2007 are available to stream or download here.