The Lab Report


Hi everyone,
Welcome to the latest Lab Report.

As the expanded reissues move ever closer I thought it might be nice to send out a few themed Lab Reports - here are some Transient memories.

'Transient' and the accompanying 'Jenny Ondiolne' EP were the first disks to be released on our newly set up Duophonic Ultra High Frequency Disks label in the UK, with Elektra handling the release in the rest of the world. I'm fairly certain that we were playing a handful of shows in France, during early April 1993, when we received the call to say that Elektra were going to sign the band

The album was recorded at Blackwing Studios by Phil Wright and the Groop across May 1993.

20th May 1993 - It seems that we bought a Vox Organ [I think this was the Jaguar]

23rd May 1993 - Records show that we had to repair the Vox Organ

By the time the band went into Blackwing we had already released a few singles on Duophonic Super 45s but I don't think any of us thought that within a few weeks of finishing the recording we'd be trying to negotiate, via Elektra's Business Affairs department, with Bert Kaempfert's estate and George Harrison's publisher / label for the clearance of various samples that had made their way onto the new batch of songs. 

I remember being in New York, for meetings with Elektra, when we heard that George Harrison's publishers / Apple wouldn't clear the use of a track from 'Wonderwall' that we'd used on 'Pack Yr Romantic Mind' - I had to get my father to drive the master tape from Horsham to Blackwing so that the band could re-record a similar sounding part.

Elektra had already started to produce promo cassettes before we were denied clearance by George Harrison's people...

The Jenny Ondioline EP was released on August 22nd 1993 but UK radio decided that they preferred 'French Disco' - one of the other tracks on the EP. We didn't have the money nor experience to react, as a bigger label might have done, so we stickered all of the remaining stock with a small "This Disk Includes French Disko" - it didn't, it still played 'French Disco'.

For the CD market we hurriedly released a version of 'French Disko' - 1000 copies with handmade sleeves and a further 3000 with an awful sleeve that I designed in Corel Draw.

We'd produced a video for Jenny Ondioline but by December the band were playing 'French Disko' on The Word

'French Disko' entered the UK charts at number 75 and stayed there for 1 week.

Stereolab - Jenny Ondioline (Official Video)

Stereolab - French Disko (Live on The Word)

'Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements' was released in the UK on September 6th 1993 and reached number 62 in the UK charts.

I think I found the Stereo Hi-Fi test album in Bristol, once we decided to use the image for 'Transient' we had to get approval from Haymarket Publishing to reproduce the sleeve. No-one at Haymarket knew what I was talking about when I called them to discuss the image - the original disk had been released in the late 60's. I think they finally approved as I was pestering them so much as we had artwork deadlines to meet.

A few notes from the diary

14th April 1993 - Bought Tim a pedal for £37.50
25 May 1993 - Bought Andy a snare [£269] and a cymbal [£120]
6th July 1993 - Finished album artwork to be with Elektra
12th July 1993 - Paid £55 to have Tim's amp repaired.

And finally: an Elektra promo sheet, some press cuttings, a 'Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements' era live contract and two Duophonic UHF Disks screen printed posters that were supplied to indie record shops.

'Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (Expanded Edition)' is available on 3 May via the Duophonic Store and Indie Retailers. Stereolab 2019 live dates can be found here.



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