INTRODUCING THE CATALOGUE BOX
Liner notes for the Catalogue box (2007)
The subsequent liner notes are written by Martin Hall for the booklet in the Catalogue box released November 2007. The box contains 5 cd’s and 1 dvd covering Martin Hall’s musical career from 1980 to 2007.
The cd’s are divided into five categories: 1. Airplay (singles and airplay tracks), 2. Hallmark (signature songs), 3. Soundtracks (instrumental works), 4. Remakes (remixes and collaborations) and 5. Encore (works with larger ensembles). These cd’s add up to a sum total of 81 tracks. The dvd Visuals furthermore features 15 tracks (film clips, videos and live performances).
Approximately half of the Catalogue box consists of previously unreleased material such as new remixes made by artists ranging from Dub Tractor, Prinz Ezo and Efterklang to legendary Danish composer Else Marie Pade. Martin Hall’s collaboration with The Danish Chamber Players and Palle Mikkelborg in relation to his concert at The Glyptotek in October 2006 is also extensively covered (a performance receiving 6 out of 6 stars in leading Danish music magazine Gaffa).
Furthermore the box contains recordings with early Hall ensembles such as Ballet Mécanique, Under For and Front & Fantasy as well as a special appearance by the Marquis Marcel de Sade. Please see discography section for further information.
CD 1: AIRPLAY
1. Avenues of Oblivion (1980)
Also sprach Zarathustra, portrait of the artist as a young man. I was 16 years old when Ballet Mécanique recorded this track, our first single. The master tapes have long since disappeared, so please bear with this vinyl-generated version – everybody keeps asking me to include it, therefore, here we go … death, doom and destruction.
2. An Attempt of Interruption (1981)
Taken from Ballet Mécanique’s debut album The Icecold Waters of the Egocentric Calculation (quoting Marx and Engels, not that anyone noticed). I suppose an opening song connecting a broken relationship with the surgical procedures on infants seemed appropriate at the time. People used to phone me up to tell me when the track was played in the radio, that’s how seldom any “new” music was played in the radio back then.
3. Free-Force Structure (1984)
Clarity was needed, both in terms of content and sound. This 12” single was my first full-blown “hi-tech” production although all sequencers were recorded manually at slowed down speed to establish the feel. Well received by NME at the time. In the following years a classic in several European goth and electro clubs.
4. Eyes and Hands (1985)
The opening track of Relief, my first solo album, recorded shortly after my mother’s suicide. Extremely depressed that winter. I recorded the entire album during nighttime, playing all the instruments myself, locked into this studio with an engineer who wasn’t particular into my music. A difficult period.
5. Treatment (1985)
Written and recorded with Martin Krogh who also ended up killing himself. A lot of people committed suicide during these years; I even remember finding myself with my head in the gas oven one morning, having passed out in that position the night before (probably due to extensive alcohol consumption). Quite a perfect duo although most of our time together was spent at amphetamine highs and lows.
6. Warfare (1985)
Worst selling 12” ever but a personal favourite reflecting my dissatisfaction with the general state of affairs at the time. You go to sleep one evening and the next day everything seems changed. Or as Jean Baudrillard puts it: “What are you doing after the orgy?”
7. Showdown (1986)
The fanfare of the Cutting Through album (title inspired by Chögyam Trungpa’s book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism). Already halfway into a semi-Buddhist retreat, it was all bye-bye for now. Something had to be done: “Don’t cry for me Argentina” and so forth.
8. Crush (1986)
Taken from the same album. Sturm und Drang disguised as pop music. Released as a single in Germany and three years later as a 12” (featuring this edited version) in Denmark.
9. Beat of the Drum (1988)
Back from the dead, first single from the Presence album, big break. Ended up as the most played Danish single on the radio station The Voice that year, a fairly traumatic experience (ranking higher than Thomas Helmig on the music magazine MM’s readers’ poll around New Year only made things even more bizarre). I always did like the line “the way to solve a problem is to get a bigger one”; an almost prophetic statement as far as my career is concerned.
10. Surreal Thing (1989)
Second single from Presence, a remix of “Real Thing”. Reflecting on the strange events of the success of the album, I wanted to add a little sur to the title but the record company didn’t. Sissies! Anyway, in 2007 we’re back on line.
11. Prime Material (1990)
From Imperfect. A wonderful, straightforward song recorded in my apartment. I particularly like the girl chatter. Where have all these party people gone? Having entered the nineties, people didn’t kill themselves anymore, now they disappeared in clubs.
12. Rhythm of the Rota (1993)
One of the few tracks on the album A Touch Of Excellence I can listen to without any allergic reaction. Nice, tight Thomas Li remix featuring a line of guest musicians such as T.S. Høeg (saxophone), Per Trolle (piano) and Lars Top-Galia (opening rhythm guitar).
13. Pleasurama (1996)
The album Random Hold represented a turning point. For the first time in years I felt artistically satisfied with a record. Nevertheless, it was obvious that the first single, “Cradlemoon”, wasn’t going to have any radio chart success, so we released the EP Extended Play featuring “Pleasurama” a month later (a track originally left out of the album). And there it was: Airplay.
14. Catching the Dust (1996)
Another track from the Extended Play EP. I’m really fond of this song (and yes, it did receive some primetime coverage as well).
15. Burning Sugar (1999)
Top 5 in general and “Ugens Uundgåelige” on DR (a term used by The Danish National Radio: “The inescapable song of the week”). What can you say? Things don’t get very much better than that if that’s what you want.
16. The Stranger in Your Voice (2003)
Well, no airplay at all actually but I thought of releasing the track as my first solo single after the gold-selling album Boel & Hall from 2000 … you know, “the king is back and obviously out of his mind” etc. Still, it never surfaced until now.
17. Roseland (2005)
Apart from the previous track, I didn’t write or record any songs with myself as vocalist from 2001 to 2005. “Roseland” broke the ice. Bombastic, yeah sure, that’s my middle name.
18. Brainwash (2006)
Couldn’t resist including this song in the set when asked to perform with The Danish Radio Big Band at the Trax Galla concert in 2006. Originally recorded with Aud Wilken on the tape The Hall of Mirrors.
19. World on a String (2007)
A song written at the end of the nineties and then re-recorded something like ten years later for the Catalogue box. The lyrics really seem to fit the mood since this track might very well be my last upbeat song ever (can’t write songs like this anymore). “Signing off with a sigh/kiss and tell them goodbye if it’s needed”, it kind of gets the message across, don’t you think?
CD 2: HALLMARK
1. Soil (1980)
Recorded entirely on cassette decks. Dubbing was only possible when playing one tape while recording on another, hence the sound quality. Drums recorded in Sods’ rehearsal room, the rest at my room at home. Inspired by WW1 reading and general emotional bewilderment.
2. Leathern (1981)
The torch song of the first Ballet Mécanique album. Although the listener might feel a bit alienated by the obscure lyrics, no one is left in the dark as far as the feel and imagery of the song is concerned. When Sony re-released the album in relation to its 25 years jubilee in 2006, someone’s kid sister broke down in tears while listening to the track, that’s how scary it appeared to her. Touché! The return of the leper king.
3. A Spastic Appeal (1982)
Again, a correction, since this song ended up entitled “Among” on Ballet Mécanique’s second and final album For. I still don’t know why – the original title featured here is so much better. But a lot of confusion haunted this album; side 1 and 2 of the record were reversed in a last minute decision and later the master tapes sadly disappeared.
4. Imagine Focus (1984)
The grand opening of the Apparently All The Same album. Although slightly clouded by an enormous amount of reverb, you’ve got to give in to the grandeur of it all. I remember leaving the studio on the first night of the recording, walking out into crystal white streets; everything seemed so majestic at the time – cool, shining, clear. And then the album was hyped by both Sounds and NME which didn’t spoil anything.
5. Resonance (1985)
Written in Cairo. I was quite ill during my stay but somehow fascinated by the fact that my reflection in the mirror seemed to disappear all the time. Young Europeans in Arabia … such a great tradition of insanity, derangement and despair.
6. Synthesis (1986)
Back in Europe and charging on into The Great Unknown. Later the song was re-recorded quite a few times, one version made by a German group (industrial) and another by a Dutch guy who recorded it a capella in a lunatic asylum.
7. Song for Someone (1989)
I’m still quite fond of this song in spite of all its shortcomings. Vocals recorded on a 4-track cassette deck, so please forgive the imperfection.
8. Masquerade (1990)
Poetry in motion, a desire born anew every hundred years. Vive la résistance!
9. Cradlemoon (1996)
In many ways an archetypical Hall song. Finally, the prodigal son came home.
10. Another Heart Laid Bare (1996)
Inspired by Charles Baudelaire since my teens, the following line from Intimate Journals (My Heart Laid Bare) still lingers on: “Nations only produce great men in spite of themselves”. On we go.
11. To Be Continued (1999)
As stated: “I love the feeling/the nervous shivering/a skin show of dreams/Olympian ideals undefeated”. Not a dry eye in the house.
12. Images in Water (1999)
At first I was dismissive of this song from the Adapter album. It was almost too epic, too much in all of its spleen and deteriorated romanticism. So obviously it ended up on the album as one of the main tracks. You just can’t deny your nature.
13. Plaza Flesh (2001)
Releasing the album Metropolitan Suite with visual artist Christian Skeel after the commercial success with Boel & Hall seemed to clear the air. It really is a most wonderful record.
14. Pantomime (2005)
Originally written for Lise Westzynthius for Music Hall in 2003 after which the song ended up as one of my own live-favourites. This recording is taken from my first concert in more than six years at Hindsgavl Slot, an enchanted midsummer evening – dare I say – carved into the minds of everyone attending the ceremony.
15. Torn Envelope (2006)
The one word that goes with this song is “gratitude”. So thank you.
CD 3: SOUNDTRACKS
1. Evocative Inelegance (1980)
This selection is taken from an installation at The Gammel Kongevej 13 AB project where a cassette recorder was supplying the sound to a piece of graphic art on the wall. Furthermore the track was featured on my first tape release, 1st–18th. The recording consists entirely of sounds from machines (hair dryers and refrigerators etc.).
2. Ritual (1983)
An edited version of a 12-minute long loop composition written for violins. Originally planned as the musical setting for an installation at my first art exhibition at Galleri Deroute, I released the music after having cancelled the show.
3–6. Point Within Circle/Dome/8/Erosion (1989)
These selections are taken from The Point Of No Return recordings, the soundtrack to a DR documentary.
7. Theme from Night and Day (1993)
The title theme for a Claus Bohm film never finalized due to a line of complications.
8. Interim (1996)
Working with Thomas Li, Ole Hansen and Henrik Marstal as the basic crew on the Random Hold sessions (as respectively co-producer and co-arrangers), “Interim” is HM’s string arrangement, an adaptation of the original song. Sometimes many chefs can be a good thing.
9. Elia (2001)
Written for the inauguration of Ingvar Cronhammer’s Elia monument in Herning. The orchestral sequences are performed by The Vista Dome Ensemble.
10–11. Replicator/Theme from Camille (2002)
Taken from the soundtrack to Gladsaxe Teater’s relaunch of Dumas’ epic piece The Lady Of The Camellias. The album remains one of my all-time personal favourites … probably because it’s mainly instrumental.
12. Face Map (2003)
A vignette from Music Hall.
13. Red Star Trademark (2003)
A piece written for a radio programme on DR P2 saluting the history of trains.
14. Kopfkino Theme (2004)
One of the themes supporting German scholar Herbert Zeichner’s narratives on the album Das Mechanische Klavier.
15. Kvadrat (2005)
Written for a commercial for Kvadrat, a developer of modern furnishing designs and textiles.
16. String Quartet Playing in a Refugee Camp (2006)
A minor piece used in a never released black-and-white 8-mm art film. Setting: A well-dressed string quartet playing in a refugee camp.
17. April 4 (2006)
One of the instrumental tracks on the Facsimile album; an almost perfect theme for an almost perfect love story.
18. Racing Cars (2006)
A fragment taken from the 77-minute soundtrack to the ARoS exhibition Racing Cars – The Art Dimension, an installation of Formula 1 and Le Mans racing cars with focus aimed at the sculptural and aesthetic dimensions of the vehicles.
19. Das Ding an Sich (2007)
A little signature piece written for the Catalogue box.
CD 4: REMAKES
1. Love in Vein (1999)
Recorded by German techno act Trauma for their album Phase III. Based on an already existing set of lyrics.
2. Cool Breeze of Discontent (2001)
A remix of “My Argentine Rose” by Candy’s Room. The original version is an orchestral piece of work.
3. Rooms Badly Lit (2005)
A remake of “You Know Why They Hate Me” by jazz-funk hipster, musician-of-the-year act Hess Is More (it’s Luke’s Tanja Thulau on backing vocals by the way).
4. Tu Es Mon Image (2006)
I passed on the recorded vocals for this song to Efterklang and voila!, divine reinvention. The female vocals on the track are gracefully supplied by Amber’s Biljana Stojkoska.
5. Swimming Pool Eyes (2006)
An alternative version of the song “Damage Control” made by Winterhill (a remix unit of the Danish group Summerhill). Whereas the original version was a classic disco cut, this version actually comes closer to being the real thing.
6. Ritualized (2006)
Dub Tractor a.k.a. Anders Remmer in full combat with violins on vinyl … that is, “Ritual” from 1983 (there’s even a touch of Ballet Mécanique somewhere).
7. Vacuum (2006)
A remix of “Other Rooms” by Pellarin placing the song in its original environment, a secluded hotel room somewhere in the former Soviet Union.
8. Split (2006)
With mythological drama queen Irma Victoria supplying the voice-over all the way back in 1980 on the original recording “Feet On Glass”, the outfit Acustic produces new music from old recordings.
9. St. Petersburg Notes (2006)
And then again, “Other Rooms” taken yet one step further by my mind twin Christian Skeel.
10. Chance Encounter (2006)
A remix of “Mimic” by Mr. Erik Levander. Issuing from the emptiness into the void, hail-hail!
11. Metastatic (2006)
“A.S.A.P.” dissolved and reassembled by Hall & Skeel.
12. An Even More Vulgar Display (2006)
A redo of “A Vulgar Display” by Wäldchengarten.
13. Extended Frame (2006)
“Minor Frame” processed as a so-called “Pellarin & Lenler Piano Mix”. The deconstruction continues.
14. Crowded Saturdays (2006)
The same track processed revisited by Johnny Stage. I really like these drums.
15. Parading the Frozen (2007)
The first time I heard this version of “Another Heart Laid Bare” by Prinz Ezo, I remember thinking “this must be how most people hear my music”. Straight into the heart of darkness.
16. Illustration (2007)
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the godmother of all things electronical, Else Marie Pade. Born in 1924, this is her first remix – an illustration, as she puts it, of ”Finale” from the tape The Hall of Mirrors.
CD 5: ENCORE
1. In October 1981 Ballet Mécanique played ”Poem” at the Masturbation of the Masterworks concert in Saltlageret. Performing the same track 25 years later at The Glyptotek (October 24, 2006) with legendary Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and guitarist Johnny Stage turned out to be an equally uplifting experience. So here it is, the live recording.
2. “Verschwendung” is another concert performance, this time with DR Big Band at the Trax Galla show.
3-11. The following nine selections were all performed at The Glyptotek and then re-recorded with The Danish Chamber Players. From the new version of “An Attempt of Interruption” (entitled “Process Interrupted”) to a likewise classically orchestrated version of “Another Chapter” (“Questionnaire”), these recordings feature nine songs from my back catalogue rearranged for chamber ensemble by Hans-Erik Philip, Carsten Bo Eriksen, Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen and Simon Christensen. On “Diary #3” (a new version of “Another Heart Laid Bare”) German scholar Herbert Zeichner appears as narrator.
12. Finishing off the Catalogue box, I’m proud to present a soirée recording of a new song, “Tout Le Monde”. Accompanied by legendary pianist and connoisseur, the great Marcel de Sade, well, alas, what an exit. If this was to be my last song ever recorded, I couldn’t ask for more.
Martin Hall, summer 2007.