MELT BANANA: 666 (6″, Level Plane LP37, 2002)

Melt Banana - 666Yes, you read correctly – 6″. A six inch single. I had to go and create a new WordPress category for this post, and everything. I think within my collection I’ve got 5″, 6″, 7″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ records. So, a few gaps to fill. The five inch is almost impossible to play on an automatic turntable, as the arm is so close to the centre when beginning a side, it lifts up and retreats straight away. Six inches, however, just about works. I’m not sure if anybody has ever broken the 12″ barrier and created records that pretty much won’t fit on any standard turntable that exists, but if they have, I tip my hat to them. Such pointless exploits are the very reason I enjoy collecting weird and wonderful records.

Melt Banana: what a band. Relentlessly experimental and innovative noise; what’s seemingly random is – I hope – carefully constructed. I think it’d have to be, because it always tends to work, and if it was just some folks messing around and making noise, well, it’d just sound too chaotic, and not in a good way. That’s what a lot of people don’t think through when they throw ‘it’s just noise’-themed insults at music like this. It’s not just noise, it’s music that’s different to other music.

I’m not sure if I have ever seen Melt Banana play live, but my mind seems to be pinging into action and telling me I have. No recollection where, or when, however, which makes me wonder if it’s a false memory that I’ve created purely because I want to see them play live so much. There have been a few bands who have utterly blown me away with invention and entertainment in a live context – Hella, Battles and Boredoms spring to mind – and I feel like Melt Banana would be another such experience.

I first heard them some time ago when I used to tape-record tracks I liked the sound of on John Peel’s show, which would inevitably result in cut-up snippets of his chat accidentally making their way into the recordings. This was just such a case, and I can clearly remember him telling me how what he’d just played was from a Melt Banana album named Scratch Or Stitch. I kept that snippet of chat for reference. I miss John Peel.

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