Recorded and produced by Bourbonese Qualk at Recloose Studios in Camberwell, South London in 1983. ‘Laughing Afternoon’ was The first vinyl album released by the group having previously releasing very limited edition cassette-only recordings, this album was also the first major release on their own Recloose Organisation label. Tracks were later released on the “Bo-Qu” retrospective compilation and various other compilation tapes.

Simon Crab: Electronics, Tape, Guitars, Instruments.
Julian gilbert: voice, Instruments, Electronics.
Steven Tanza: Drums

qualk_sounds_1983

Dave Henderson. ‘Sounds’ UK. 1983.

On the sleeve of Bourbonese Qualk’s debut album there’s 70 tiny pictures of the perprtrators. they change their appearance from frame to frame, they don’t seem to belong to any one particular style any kind of movememnt or anything. the track titles don’t give much away either.

‘God With Us’ hmmmm, Billy graham goes disco? ‘Barcelona Telephone Exchange’ an ode the the civil war perhaps? ‘ Spanner in the works’ ah yes, a literary debut by John Lennon?

I’m sure all of this couldn’t be further from the truth but the fact is that these boys, the s Qualks are arty types – and by keeping a sensitive digit on what’s happening (man), they’ve managed to assemble a kind of musical collage which encapsulated quite a wide spectrum of contemporary music. In fact ‘Laughing Afternoon’ is rife with musical reference poits from Gong to Cabaret Voltaire, from Durutti Column to the Burundi drummers. You name it, it’s in there.

Influences? that’s difficult “Gong are good, never really liked Cabaret Voltaire, Half Japanese – we always say that, pere Ubu”

Today there are three people in Bourbonese Qualk, there probably are most of the time, but their umbrella operation, the Recloose Organisation – which has released a string of varying material by various people – tends to cloud the issue sometimes.

And these three are not ones for blatant truth telling either. The conversation drifts between supposition, projection, experience and expectancy without a metre rule of course. the history is like something handed down in illuminated manuscripts from generation to generation, the translation has been enlarged or altered, at least it sounds that way; “we first played together in Paris, or was it Wales?…no that was after. it’s benn going for about five years or maybe longer…before punk there was Bourbonese Qualk..(confused? they all look like they are about 21) but it wasn’t in the current format, as we eventually became a three man line-up we developed a sound”

The Qualks haven’t really got a sound, they’ve got an attitude. Which, in this case is far more important. On their track through Europe and through their string of releases through Recloose they’ve built a healthy following for themselves and subsequent sales of their artefacts. “Embarrassingly all the releases seem to pay for themselves. We were really surprised how easy it was to get Recloose going and get our stuff out”

The cottage industry stylings of Recloose   – and their personal contacts with like-minded people – has reaped it’s rewards. The latest batch of chrome plated propaganda – a special live cassette featuring BQ, legendary pink Dots, Lol Coxhill and others –  has already earned it’s keep. And there’s more to come.

But back to Laughing Afternoon because it’s something of a gem. I had suspected that there might be a self-indulgent edge protruding here and there before hearing the LP and after a years worth of correspondence, rumours and occiasional meetings but the Qualks certainly don’t mince their music when it comes down to the nitty-gritty.

A catch-all mixing pot where pouding rhythms are thrown against waliling trumpets, electronic pulses, tom-toms thump, tuneful guitars melodically flutter by…yes it’s pretty odd but dangerously contagious. A viral spiral of plastic that just sucks you in.

The Qualks don’t play by the rules. They are not Frankie Goes to Hollywood but they are from Liverpool. Steven,julian and Simon are preceded, yet again, by another hail of literature and a tape with ‘new BQ’ scrawled on it. i couldn’t listen to anything else all night So raw and unmixed was this new BQ the Wharfedales laid down and died.

“We’ve got enough stuff for another three lps but we’re going to just edit it down to one – there’ll be another album in three months – it’ll be pretty different too” that I can believe.Since Laughing Afternoon’ reared it;s xeroxed head the Q’s have been working on their sound and enhancing the bare essentials to make it even more powerful. “The next recordings we do will be a lot more defined but they’ll still go through a lot of moods, technically it will be better – we’ve learn’t a lot” And in their own lackaidsical way the Qualks will probably still be making records in ten or twenty years time when the likes of yer glossy pop combos are stuck in their health farms. Sure they’re easy enough to dismiss but the fact is that they go a long way to showing that there is a lot more to music than is obvious from your weekly dose of the charts.

Personally i’m quite looking forward to the next wharfedale destroying opus.

Dave Henderson, ‘Sounds’ UK December 10th 1983

That gruelling hour on Sundays when the radio and TV switches over to token religion has always been defficult’ Let’s face it, the pubs don’t open till seven and the dulcet tones of Tommy Vance telling you that “this is Quo’s 49th chart single nd the colour of their jeans is blue” isn’t that appealing.

it’s time in limbo when thoughts of Monday morning loom large and the weekend festivities are just a migraine. yes, the perfect time to slap ‘Laughing Afternoon’ on the turntable and totally disassociate yourself from reality.

Bourbonese Qualk seem to creep up on you. their haphazard existence and punk ethos doesn’t come across on record; they’re a different proposition altogether.

‘Laughing Afternoon’ is an oddity indeed. it meanders through embryonic Cabs, floating Vinni Reilly, thumping TG and a wealth of other angles but it never gets stuck in a rut. it never becomes obvious or predictable.

At one point it sounds like an abominable  thud that’s coming from next door, then a crisp regular beat irons out the indecision and layers of melody and noise spar for position. You lose track of the moment – that Sunday afternoon sense of being comatose creeps back – and the migraine is accompanied by a crunching chorus.

Bourbonese qualk don’t fit. The LP is messy but mesmerising; at times rough and at times smooth. they don’t so much change the face of rock’n’roll in a revolutionary way, more twist and torment it with sadistic pleasure. they’re the real stars on Sunday.

“Sounds” Newspaper. January 1983.
Bourbonese Qualk “Laughing Afternoon” lp

Bourbonese Qualk seem to creep up on you. their haphazard existence and punk ethos doesn’t come across on record: they’re a different proposition altogether. “laughing afternoon” is an oddity indeed; it meanders through embryonic cabs, floating Vini Reilly, thumping TG and a wealth of other angles but never gets stuck in a rut, it never becomes obvious or predictable. at one point it sounds like an abominable thud that”s coming from next door, then a crisp regular beat irons out the indecision and layers of melody and noise spar for position, you lose track for a moment, that Sunday afternoon sense of being comatose creeps back and the migraine is accompanied by a crunching chorus. Bourbonese Qualk don’t fit in, this LP is messy but mesmerising. at times rough and at times smooth. they don”t so much change the face of rock”n”roll in a revolutionary way, more twist and torment it with sadistic pleasure.

Dave Henderson

Track Listing:

(Download the whole album here)

Side One:

  1. God With Us (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape.  Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  2. Idiot Pain (Simon Crab; Electronics, Guitars, Clarinet, Tape.  Steven Tanza; Drums)
  3. Barcelona Telephone Exchange (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape, Clarinet, Violin.)
  4. Freefall (Simon Crab; Electronics, Guitars, Tape. Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  5. Blood Orange Bargain Day (Simon Crab; Electronics, tape, Guitars. Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  6. Behind Closed Doors (Simon Crab; Electronics, Guitars. Steven Tanza; Drums)

Side Two

  1. Qualk Street (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape Loops, Guitars. Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  2. To Hell With The Consequences (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape Loops, Guitars. Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  3. Building Jerusalem  (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape Loops, Guitars. Julian Gilbert; Voice, Instruments.)
  4. Feast Of Trumpets (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape Loops. Julian Gilbert; Voice)
  5. Virgin Ears-Virgin Eyes (Simon Crab; Guitars. Julian Gilbert; Percussion, Drum Machine, Voice.)
  6. Spanner In The Works (Simon Crab; Guitars. Steven Tanza; Drums.)
  7. Mystery Dance (Simon Crab; Electronics, Tape Loops, Guitars, Melodica. Julian Gilbert; Voice)

( Download the whole album as a  .zip archive)

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