Dark Entries‘ 2020 deluxe 2xLP reissue of Severed Heads’ debut 1981 album “Clean“.
One of the longest surviving bands to emerge from the Australian post-punk independent music scene, they began in Sydney in 1979. Severed Heads is basically a nom- de-plum for Tom Ellard, who incorporates elements of ‘industrial’ noise-generation, tape cutting & looping and electronic sound synthesis. As the project developed song-structures and vocals were employed in a more-or-less recognizable mutant electro pop style.
“Clean” was amongst the first vinyl releases under the Dogfood Productions banner of Terse Tapes, previously a cassette-only label. For this records Tom used an array of synthesizers (Kawai 100F, Casiotone, Roland CR78+SH1+CSQ100), sequencers, tapes and occasional guitar and violin played by Garry Bradbury.
Severed Heads have a language of their own, music that juxtaposes all sorts of noise, in all sorts of ways so that a structure evolves, (fragmented) melody and rhythm being almost a by-product. As one reviewer said in 1981, “It is an ugly album that you simply cannot ignore, it thuds and screeches and makes you stare just to wonder what kind of people would procure such an album.” For this deluxe reissue we’ve included a bonus disc featuring 13 songs, 5 of which have never been released before, culled from live performances, the ‘Side 3’ cassette and a “Clean” demo tape that only surfaced last year, plus “Food City” missing from previous reissues.
All songs have been remastered by Tom Ellard, with vinyl EQ and lacquer cutting by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each copy is housed in a gatefold jacket featuring black and white xeroxed artwork from the first vinyl edition. Inside the gatefold are liner notes by Tom Ellard plus photos and press clippings from the period. “‘Clean’ is original and powerful and everybody should listen to it at least once, just so they know where the boundaries lie.” Ashley Crawford, Virgin Press 1981.