appeared in Probemusic,
Castle is Transistor 6. That's not quite right. I should say that
Frances Castle, her computer and her 4-track recorder are
Transistor 6. She doesn't stand in shopping arcades playing a guitar
and harmonica with a bass drum strapped to her back and cymbals
on her knees. At least, she never mentioned it
current single, The Post Office Tower, Frances sings about her love
of what's now the grubby carbuncle known as the Telecom Tower but
once was a space-age London landmark with a revolving restaurant
nestling amongst the (then) alien-looking satellite dishes. Around
her timid nursery rhyme vocals eulogising the tower, sampled steel
drums and a loopy loop battle for space. It's organic, charming
and naïve. Like a less-confident Solex. " Sometimes I really
wish my voice would come out American and male - which might be
a bit difficult on a day to day basis as I'm British and female.
I guess I have to get round the fact that it doesn't sound like
I wish it would but I do have a need to express myself with some
narrative." Most computer-generated music doesn't seem to need narrative
though. "You're right. In some ways its like a return to those instrumental
bands of the 60s. Music that is made for dancing doesn't really
need lyrics. I don't think its a bad thing, but in another way I
think it makes it a little one-dimensional. Words and music have
always gone together from the minstrels of the Middle Ages on down,
so I think the need to do it is always going to be there."
as people will always need to express themselves in a visual way.
Frances is also an artist. "The art is the other side of things.
I've been painting for ages but its kind of sped up a bit since
I joined this art group called the Stuckists. Basically led by Billy
Childish of Thee Headcoats fame, the Stuckists are trying to get
away from conceptual art and back to painting." Does the music
have a similar aim? "No not at all. I don't think my music
is Stuckist at all." But you do try to steer clear of the breakbeat
cliches and make a more natural sound. "I've tried to sample drums
off old country records and a lot of old 60s stuff because the drums
were recorded so beautifully in those days. I have to laugh at myself
sometimes cos I love really old country music and I'm using a computer."
out for singles on Catmobile and Hub City in the near future and
a full-length album for Black Bean and Placenta next year. The T6
website is at www.geocities.com/sunsetstrip/towers/6171