Yes, that’s right! Bangor’s beatnik discordant punks of the late eighties have gone digital.
Ankst Records have made their three vinyl releases available on Bandcamp.
Fflaps formed in 1987 by Ann Matthews (voc,gtr), Alan Holmes (bass) and Jonny Evans (drms).
They caught the ear of BBC DJ John Peel and were offered a session on his show.
Hundreds of gigs across the UK and Europe brought plenty of post-punk plaudits and produced three albums. Amhersain (1988), Malltod (1990), Fflaps (1992).
Ann and Alan went on to form Ectogram. Jonny sadly died in 2001.
Where do you start explaining who Alan Holmes is? Musician, producer, artist, label chief, irritant, collaborator. First rising to prominence via John Peel sessions and persistent gigging with Fflaps and then Ectogram, Alan has also run the gauntlet with an almost endless list of bands. When not gigging, or producing singles for Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, he was a constant behind the counter at Cob Records store in Bangor. He also runs his own label Turquoise Coal.
Name: Alan Holmes
Best known for: A persistent avoidance of popularity bordering on spiritual purity.
Current location: Locked down in my shed
Where I’d like to be right now: Locked down in my shed
My music collection has a lot of: Records (NOT “vinyls”!), the presence of beauty and noise (often simultaneously), the absence of U2, Paul Weller and Oasis, incoherent filing and shelves to hold up the records.
Don’t judge me for: My refusal to give up and try doing something I might be better at
Five albums that keep me alive and why:
The Monkees – Headquarters (1967) – I discovered the joys of pop music in 1965 with The Dave Clark Five and The Beatles, but it wasn’t until I was six in 1966 that I was totally grabbed by The Monkees, who were on a whole different level. As a response I formed my first group with my friend Simon Smith, similarly pop-obsessed seven year old and now chief fire officer for North Wales. This is their third and best album from 1967 and the first that they played all their own instruments on. Without The Monkees, I would never have played music myself.
Faust – Faust (1971) – As a prog fan in the 70s, I loved the likes of Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and even Genesis – the groups who relied on ideas more than show-off virtuosity. However none of them prepared me for finding a mysterious clear vinyl record in a clear X-ray sleeve in our magical local head emporium Unit 21. Of course I had to buy it without having heard a note. When I did hear it, it totally blew me away with a music that sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. Even 40 years later it still sounds like nothing else, and astonishingly not only are the group now friends of mine, but I have even got to play with them! Had someone told my 14 year old self that, I would have died from shock (and hence not actually have got to know them).
Throbbing Gristle – Second Annual Report (1977) – Punk came along in 1976 with a promise to destroy rock, yet for all their claims, most of the groups were at their best a very welcome and exciting stripped down high energy reprise of the likes of The Stooges and MC5 from a decade previously, and at worse second rate pub rock chancers jumping on a bandwagon. The only group on the scene who came close to destroying rock was Throbbing Gristle – while punks’ philosophy was ‘all you need is three chords and a guitar’, TG’s was ‘who needs chords or guitars?’ Their first vinyl album ‘Second Annual Report’ was collaged together from live recordings from four of their 1976 gigs and studio recordings, and as with Faust, sounded like nothing that had come before. To really get TG though, you need ‘TG24’ – a 24 CD box set of all 24 gigs they played between 1976 and 1980 in their entirety.
Datblygu – Wyau (1988) – As a music obsessive growing up in Wales, I was always embarrassed that no great music had ever come from my country. There had been a couple of half decent hippy groups like Man and Budgie, but our one true genius John Cale had to move to New York to be recognised. Friends in school tried to introduce me to the Welsh language music scene, but the problem I had with these acts were that they were utterly and irredeemably devoid of any worth, which might be interesting conceptually for a moment, but not exactly what I was after. Many years later I chanced upon a home-made looking compilation of Welsh groups, however which featured Datblygu (and indeed other excellent Welsh groups). It was on the ultra DIY Anhrefn label and it changed everything. David R?Edwards from Datblygu sang about how shit the Welsh scene was… in Welsh. A couple of years later they made this masterpiece of a debut album, followed by several others, mostly as a duo with just David and perfect musical foil Pat Morgan, up until the recent “Cwm Gwagle”, sadly destined to be their last due to David’s tragic death. I had the privilege of blasting out Datblygu tunes at full volume in a church during his funeral – I like to think he would have loved the idea.
Lustmord &?Karin Park – Alter (2021) – Music is not something that lives in the past, and this immersive collaboration between Bethesda’s Prince of Darkness and Sweden’s ethereal electro-goth diva is only out this week, yet is as great as anything from the last 60 years. Music to drown in. I could easily have picked a few thousand others – in fact I did once list my top 2000 LPs in order, but gave up because I still had to miss too many out.
(from Central Slate website)
It brings us great sadness to report the passing of our very dear friend Jonny Evans, following a short and unexpected illness. Jonny played drums with Alan and Ann (and on occasions, Maeyc) in their pre Ectogram group FFLAPS, who toured extensively around Europe and released 3 LPs and an EP between 1987 and 1992. Jonny was universally loved as a person and admired as a drummer. His style was so integral to the Fflaps sound, that when he left the group to study history and Maeyc took over the drumming seat, the group realised that they were no longer in any way the same group, and thus became Ectogram.
Triskedekaphilia is a collection of previously unreleased session tracks for Radio Cymru’s Heno Bydd Yr Adar Yn Canu between 1991 and 1995. The show, hosted by Nia Melville provided the first port of call for anyone interested in hearing the best in contemporary Welsh music. This collection features early appearances, rare tracks,cover versions and all sorts of strange sounds by your favourite Welsh language underground superstars!More