Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Hywel Bebb Whoopee Band - I Want To Be a Quasar (1976)

This is the oldest recording to date that we've found in our archive, originating from sometime early in 1976, and providing a rare insight into the origins of a particular strand of the north Wales music scene. The Hywel Bebb Whoopee Band was in fact an expanded version of The Thin Yoghurts, a loose association of young musicians based in Friars School, Bangor. The group used to convene daily in a small room behind the school's assembly hall during lunch breaks in order to avoid the inevitable bullying that they would attract had they ventured into the playground. Hywel Bebb was not actually a member of the group, but was in fact the school's Welsh teacher, after who the ensemble affectionately (or otherwise) took their name.

The exact line-up for this session can't be absolutely certain after 36 years, but it almost certainly includes Maeyc Hewitt, Wil Jones, Geraint Griffiths, Celyn Davies, Alan Holmes, Mike Haslam, Robin Stamper and Ken Thompson. Other members may have been present, and certainly the synthesizer heard on the recordings was custom built for the group by the school boffin David Sunderland, who tragically met with a premature end when his RAF Harrier was involved in a mid air collision
in 1987.

The cutting edge free-improv approach of the music was inspired by the participants' love of the more adventurous 'prog' groups of the time (Henry Cow, Quiet Sun etc) and the Krautrock groups whose mysterious records would occasionally turn up in Bangor's magical Unit 21 - a second hand record exchange and 'head shop' that was situated in the long-demolished Welfield Centre, providing a top notch musical education for the turned-on youth of the city in the mid 70s. Hints of the abrasive sonic exploration heard here can be traced through many of the participants' later musical projects, notably groups like The Pinecones and Ectogram.

The Hywel Bebb Whoopee Band - I Want To Be a Quasar (13:53)

get it here

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