Who Is This One, originally released in 1984, C47, was the third full-length cassette release by the duo of Hal McGee and Debbie Jaffe, and the first recorded with a 4-track cassette recorder (a Fostex X-15). All of the previous tapes were recorded direct to 2-track stereo (or mono) cassette. Originally released by Cause And Effect. Re-released by Harsh Reality Music in 1990.
In the Spring of 1984 we bought several pieces of new equipment, probably right after we received our income tax return check. We purchased a Moog Rogue analog synthesizer (new for about $320 from a shop in Noblesville, Indiana), a Fostex 3050 digital delay rack mount unit, and a used set of Pearl Syncussion synthesizer drums.
More significantly, we acquired our first multi-track tape recorder, a Fostex X-15 4-track cassette recorder, for something like $450. The 4-track cassette recorder was a real breakthrough for home recording artists: multi-track recording at a reasonable price. This opened up all kinds of possibilities and newfound freedom to explore new sound dimensions.
I argued with Debbie against buying a 4-track recorder. I can vividly remember sitting with Deb and our friend Toby O'Brien near a fountain at the Lafayette Square shopping mall in Indianapolis. I just kept saying over and over again that getting a 4-track recorder would "change things". Up to this point most all of our recordings together as Viscera (on our tapes In A Foreign Film and A Whole Universe Of Horror Movies) were essentially recorded live direct to tape through a stereo microphone, with both of us playing and vocalizing, at the same time, in the same room. I feared that if we started using a multi-track recorder that the direct, "real" genuineness of our artistic expression would be compromised. So much of the Viscera sound up to this point had relied on the intuitive interaction between Deb and I as we spontaneously created our songs and sound poems.
Who Is This One continues with many of the same dark contemplative themes we had already explored, but with less innocence and naivete, and a good deal more calculation for certain effects.
"Red Houses", the first track on Side B of the tape, is a surreal story about a bad acid trip. Over a simple synthesizer line, there are three overlapping layers of my voice. It was night time as I wandered through a quiet residential district. Suddenly, all of the houses to the north started glowing blue in color and all those to the south glowed red. I knew that I needed to walk south to get back home, but I feared the red houses. The blue houses to the north reminded me of my brother's eyes, and therefore seemed friendly and safe. I was tormented by this awful conflict and started screaming out my brother's name. Finally, I was so torn up with fear and dread that I got down on the ground and started banging my head on the ground, and knocked myself out. When I woke up I found myself sitting in a ditch in cold water six inches deep, with a policeman's squad car light shining in my eyes.
released 01 June 1984
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