AS YOU WERE

by Pete Um

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    300 copies on Tiptop Records, mastered by Carl Saff

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1.
ATTENTION SIRE IN THE ROOM SOMEONE SPEAKS IT IS YOUR FOOL ON DUSTY SHELF AWAITS YOUR CROWN SHALL I FETCH IT LIGHTLY DOWN FEEL THE WEIGHT CHECK THE SIZE FADING MEMORIES AREN'T LIES THE KINGDOM RUNS TO RACK AND RUIN SUBJECTS QUESTION WHAT COURT IS DOING YOUR PEOPLE NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER AS YOU WERE ONCE WISE AND CLEVER
2.
BARELY 10AM ON SUNDAY OH IT IS AND AIN'T A WORKDAY FOR SOME SOMEWHERE IT IS A CHURCHDAY AND SOON THE FIRSTBORN SON HIS BIRTHDAY THE HOUSE EMPTIED OF KIDS IS QUIET EXHAUSTED SENSES STUNNED POST RIOT I FEAR THAT I MAY BE TOO TIRED A SHAME YOU CAN'T MAKE WORDS WITH WIRES HERE IT IS YOUR BLESSED UM DAY SYNTHESIZE YOURSELF ON SUNDAY
3.
02:12
THE WORLD GOES ROUND AND ROUND ENDLESSLY PITILESSLY A BORED CORPSE REVOLVING AND I RECORD ITS SOUND POINTLESSLY NO FIDELITY THAT'S WHAT YOU CALL BRANDING AND YOU ARE BORN OF ROBOTS YOUR BRAINS ARE BASIC PLUNDER YOU'RE CARTOONS FROM THE BOMB JUST FLASH FROM MAN MADE THUNDER WHEN SHE MOVES PEOPLE WATCH HER THEY'LL WALK TEN YEARS TO HEAR HER AND WHEN SHE SAYS HEY LET'S BLOW THIS PARTY YOU KNOW YOU GOT TO GO
4.
01:30
IS THAT YOUR DAD HE LOOKS BAD IS HE CONSCIOUS WHAT'S THE DEAL IS HE REAL CAN HE PROVE IT IS HIS TALE FILLED WITH FAIL CAN YOU FEEL IT MR ED HERD YOUR HEAD CAN'T YOU FOCUS FADED DREAMS SAME OLD THEMES WHAT A LEGEND THAT'S ACT TWO THREE IS DUE TAKE YOUR MEDICINE HELLO 46 I'M NUMBER 35 I'M A PILE OF BRICKS TO RUE IN OVER TIME BREATHE FALLOW FIELD INCUBATE IN GRIND CONJURING BLUNDERING LEAVING FOR WONDERING LAUGHING FOR TEARS AND TEARING ASUNDER LIKE STUDIO AIR STUDIO AIR STUDIO AIR IS LAUGHABLE WHY ARE WE HERE DOES ANYONE CARE MAYBE I AM JUST TOO CAREFUL
5.
01:10
SO THAT'S THAT MY WORD JUST MELT MY MIND JUST BLOWN LIKE DUST WAS IT THIS WAS IT THAT WAS IT THE WORLD THAT MADE ME LIKE THAT I DON'T KNOW I CAN'T TELL THERE'S NO TEST I CAN'T BE THERE'S NO ME NO MORE IS IT DRINK THE KIDNEYS OR MY CORE
6.
01:50
D.T.R.P. I'M THE DIRECTOR I CAME HERE FROM SOMEWHERE I LIVE IN A OFFICE AT THE TOP OF A BUILDING IT'S ALL ABOUT PLANNING THE CENTRE OF ANGER I MAKE DECISIONS THAT AFFECT PEOPLE WHO DON'T EVEN KNOW THEY DON'T WANNA GO THEY CAN'T SEE THE FLOW THEIR TO TO YOUR FRO THE INVISIBLE SHOW OF THE WAY THAT LIFE GOES AND EVENTUALLY, OH COS THE TRUTH CAN BE SLOW I'M THE DIRECTOR I CAME HERE FROM SOMEWHERE I WORK IN AN OFFICE AT THE TOP OF A BUILDING YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW
7.
02:25
WHEN I WAS YOUNG A FOREIGN SUN WOULD HEAT MY SKIN AND NOURISH ME A T-SHIRT AND A BARE FOOT AND NO WIDE WEB AND NO TV ONE DAY THEN A GROUP OF MEN WORKING FOR SOME COMPANY CAME TO LOP OFF ALL THE TOPS FROM A NEARBY LINE OF TREES THE TREE TRUNKS FELL AS BY A SPELL TO FORM A WALKWAY IN THE AIR FOR ME AND I ATTEST THE TREES ARREST WAS A FORM OF METAPHOR FOR ME I'M CLIMBING UP I'M CLIMBING UP I'M CLIMBING UP A FALLEN TREE TIME CAME AND WENT AND ONCE AGAIN I CALLED MY HOME THE HOME COUNTIES AND THEN ANON A WEATHER BOMB A GREAT STORM TO FALL ON ME AT WHICH POINT WHEN THEN AGAIN I FOUND MYSELF UP FALLEN TREES WHY IS MY LIFE RIVEN WITH STRIFE ALBEIT THE TYPE FOR MEDIOCRITIES I'M CLIMBING UP I'M CLIMBING UP I'M CLIMBING UP A FALLEN TREE
8.
02:47
DON'T BE SAYING NOTHING THAT GETS ME RILED TURN INTO MY FATHER SINCE I HAD A CHILD HAVE KINDNESS IN YOUR EYES WHEN YOU LOOK AT HER IT WOULDN'T BE THE SAME IF WE WERE AS WE WERE LIGHT AS AIR THICK AS SHIT WHO GOES THERE ME YOU DIV WHAT'S THE PLAN WHAT'S YOUR STYLES WAIT AND SEE, HEHE MAKE ME SMILE HOLD MY HAND STROKE MY HEAD SLEEP WITH ME IN OUR BED APPARENTLY ANATHEMIC TO BE DOMICILED ANGERED BY THE MAP LIKE A SULLEN CHILD THREW IT ALL AWAY IN THE TALENT SHOW AT LEAST TRY A BIT NOW YOU'RE STUCK AT HOME WORLD'S APART FROM WHERE WE WERE MAKING PLANS TOGETHER WORLD'S APART FROM WHERE WE WERE DREAMING OF THIS TOGETHER
9.
SLOW ON THE BIKE TO EXPRESS 3 FOR 5 DEAL TO SUPRESS AND CAN YOU DO MORE FOR LESS CAN'T EVEN HOPE FOR THE BEST WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THINGS MY WRISTS ARE ATTACHED TO A STRING I SEE THROUGH A HOLE IN A RING AND THE COMFORT A POISON CAN BRING I LURCH AT MY BIKE IN THE LIGHT I FALL OFF THE DAMN THING AT NIGHT IT'S THE WORLD'S WORST WAY TO BE WHITE WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TRY AS YOU MIGHT WHAT COULD YOU DO IF YOU DO IT SOME DAY UNPLEASANT TORPOR I CREATE IT WITH THESE SLENDER ARTIST'S HANDS I GET HELP WITH DOING NOTHING FROM THESE BASTARDS IN COMMAND PRAISE YOUR TASTE FOR SOMETHING JUICY IT'S THE NATURE OF THE SWAMP HEAR MY HOT AND STICKY NOISES I CAN'T BE ARSED FOR WHAT I WANT
10.
A LIFE WILL UP AND LEAVE YOU IF YOU DO NOT WANT IT BACK AND IT'LL BE TOO LATE TO WANT IT BECAUSE LIFE'S FUNNY LIKE THAT I THINK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS FOR ONE TO CHANGE THEIR MIND AND I MYSELF INCLUDED IT HAPPENS OVER TIME IT'S PROBABLY PROBLEMATIC JUST GIVING THINGS A NAME WITH LANGUAGE REFEREEING WHAT IS OUT THERE AND YOUR BRAIN I THINK THAT WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY IS ACTION'S PARAMOUNT IN THE POST FINAL ANALYSIS IT'S WHAT YOU DO THAT COUNTS DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO YOU REALLY CARE COULD YOU REALLY LEAVE HERE AND COULD YOU TRAVEL THERE ARE YOU NOT A BOHO WASTEMAN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF A BARREL OR ARE YOU A PAINTER WITH A MUSIC IN YOUR MARROW IS IT ALL INDULGENCE AM I WEDDED TO THIS SONG JUST A SAD SEQUENCE OF SYMPTOMS THAT PROVES I'M SICK AND WRONG CAN I WRITE MY WAY FROM WRONG AND ALCHEMICALLY REFORM LIKE A GOLDEN BUDDHA BABY IN A FACTORY BEING BORN
11.
HERE COME YOUR BOY STAR OF STAGE SCREEN AND BANDCAMP TEENAGE BANANA IN THE SKIN OF AN OLD TRAMP TAKING THE TIME TO IMPART ANCIENT WISDOM COS I AM SO OLD IT'S JUST POLITE TO LISTEN I'M ROCK AND ROLL ALRIGHT REAL ROCK AND ROLL THAT'S RIGHT! I'M ROCK AND ROLL ALRIGHT REAL ROCK AND ROLL THAT'S RIGHT! ROCKING THE MIC LIKE THE MOTHER OF MICHAEL'S FOR THEMS WHO CAN SEE I'M A TOWERING EYEFULL I GATHERED SKILLS THAT YOU CAN'T GET AT 18 WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE SON IT WAS THE 80S CHORUS WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WAS SKINNY AND ANXIOUS THE TASTE OF THE TIME WAS US V THE MAN THUS THE YOUTH OF TODAY ARE CONFORMIST AND PLACID WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE IT WAS MUSHROOMS AND ACID CHORUS HEY MR LONELY YOU AIN'T GOT NOBODY HEY MR LONELY YOU AIN'T GOT NOBODY PLEASE HELP AN OLD MAN DOWN FROM HIS HIGH HORSE YOU TAKE THE REINS JUST REMEMBER IT'S MY HORSE HEY I'M JUST FOOLING AROUND WITH MY FOOL FORCE THAT IS THE END OF THE TEXT OF MY ROCK COURSE
12.
02:08
YOU CAN WATCH IT GET WET IN YOUR ENGLISH RAIN YOU CAN PUT IT ROUND MY NECK ON A SHINY CHAIN YOU CAN STICK IT IN THE NOSE OF THE MEDIA WATCH THE BLESSED LITTLE LAMBS GET BLEATIER COS I'M NEVER GONNA BE LIKE YOU COS TWO CAN NEVER BE TRUE AND I'M NEVER GONNA BE LIKE YOU COS TWO CAN NEVER BE TRUE YOU CAN STUFF IT UP YOUR ASS WITH MY BEST REGARDS YOU CAN DO IT RIGHT NOW IF THAT'S NOT TOO HARD YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU LIKE WITH MY LITTLE STUFF BUT YOU CAN'T SEE INSIDE COS IT'S TOO FUCKING TOUGH CHORUS I'M BY FAR THE FOREMOST WORLD'S PETE UM IF THERE'S OTHERS AROUND I'VE NOT MET ONE PERHAPS THAT SOUNDS ARROGANT MAYBE IT'S TRUE BUT THEN WHY IN THE WORLD AM I TELLING YOU COS I'M NEVER GONNA BE LIKE YOU COS TWO CAN NEVER BE TRUE YES I'M NEVER GONNA BE LIKE YOU COS TWO CAN NEVER BE TRUE
13.
WHEN YOU WERE BORN YOU WERE A WONDER COME WITH A PURPOSE OR FROM A BLUNDER THEN INFINITE PENS OF ARMIES OF WRITERS MADE MARKS ON YOUR PAGE USING TEXT TEETH TO BITE YOU NOW CUT TO NOW LET'S GLANCE AT THE SCRIPT LET'S SEE WHERE YOU'RE AT LET'S SEE HOW YOU DID FUCKED IN THE HEAD FUCKED IN THE HEAD IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT EXCEPT WHEN IT WAS BUT EVEN THAT WAS ESSENTIALLY BECAUSE YOU'RE FUCKED IN THE HEAD FUCKED IN THE HEAD WHO HAS THE VISION TO SEE THROUGH WHAT YOU'RE SEEING TO SIT IN THE NOTHINGNESS INHERENT IN BEING FUCKED IN THE HEAD FUCKED IN THE HEAD IS IT A CRIME TO BE DISAPPOINTED IN LIFE TO SING OUT IN SORROW ABOUT HOW YOU REALISE THAT YOU'RE FUCKED IN THE HEAD FUCKED IN THE HEAD
14.
03:17
WHEN I WAS A KIDDIE I WANTED TO BE A STAR I PLAY IN LOCAL VENUES I GUESS I DIDN'T GET THAT FAR STRANGELY I'M NOT BITTER MAYBE I JUST KID MYSELF I DON'T SEEM TO WANT IT BUT I DO WANT TO DO IT FOR MYSELF I DON'T GET NO MONEY I DON'T WANT NO FAME IT AIN'T STRICTLY A PLEASURE BUT I STILL GOTTA DO IT JUST THE SAME HER DADDY IS AN IDIOT XENOPHOBIC BOOMER WITH HIS DAILY MAIL ON ABOUT ED SHEERAN WELL ED AND ALL HIS MONEY CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL CHORUS DO IT TO MEET YOUR PEOPLE DO IT TO SHAPE YOUR LIFE DO IT FOR SELF-FULFILMENT AND DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THAT RED-HEADED GUY CHORUS
15.
02:25
WATCHING THE TV HOW LONG ARE YOU HERE FOR I BLUSH FOR THE DEVIL HAVE WE LEARNT NOTHING REVERSING THROUGH HISTORY I FEAR FOR OUR CHILDREN FEEDING A NIGHTMARE I'M CONSTANTLY ANGRY THE MEDIA COMMENT JUST A DESCRIPTION PREPARED FOR CONSUMPTION IT ACTS AS DISTRACTION ACTION IS ABSENT THESE PEOPLE ARE BABIES THE STRUCTURE IS WOBBLY QU'EST CE CE CITIZEN IS THIS WHAT YOU PAID FOR WHAT WAS THE WORLD MADE FOR
16.
01:15
THEY ACCUSE THE PEOPLE THAT THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW OF ANY CRIME THEY THINK OF IT'S THE NATURE OF CONTROL WEAR A T-SHIRT SAYING TERROR IF YOU'RE NOT A HAPPY SLAVE THEY'RE NEVER DISAGREED WITH THEY ONLY GET BETRAYED THEY JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS BY REFERRAL TO RULE OF LAW BE PREPARED TO PAY FOR JUSTICE BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER YOURS THEY TRICK US BECAUSE WE'RE CHILDREN AND THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN AROUND SO READ ABOUT YOUR HISTORY TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING DOWN IT GOES UP UP UP UP UP UP UP AND DOWN IT GOES UP UP UP UP UP UP UP AND DOWN
17.
I WASN'T BORN INTO THIS WORLD TO EXPLAIN THINGS TO THEE I FAVOUR THAT FLEETING FLAVOUR AS OF A DREAM A FINISHED ARTICLE A WASTED OPPORTUNITY SMOKING IN THE MIRROR'S WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME WHO CAN BLAME A LIAR IN A MADE-UP WORLD WHO CAN BLAME A MUTE IN A BULLSHIT SCHOOL SOMETIMES I GET SO TIRED OF YOUR BULLSHIT WORLD I CAN'T EVEN BE BOTHERED TO PLAY THE FOOL AND EVERYBODY'S FUSSING JUST TO BE THEMSELVES AND EVERYBODY'S TANGLED UP INSIDE THEMSELVES THEY'RE PRACTICING TO BE REAL TO SOME DEGREE BUT THEY'LL BE LUCKY TO EVEN MEET THEMSELVES SQUARES MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND
18.
02:34
FALLING THROUGH MYSELF AGAIN SIFTING THROUGH PATHOLOGY UNIQUELY BLESSED WITH THIS SKILLSET A CINEMATIC ENEMY BUT EVERYONE'S CONFESSION A STUDY IN REDACTION BLOCKY BLACK RECTANGLES WHERE YOU COULDN'T GET THE TRACTION SEE SOME SENSE ON A SUNNY DAY WHISTLE FOR THE DOGS TO LEAVE THEIR PREY FEEL SOMETHING OF YOUR SELF RETURN REMEMBER WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE AS YOU WERE
19.
02:33
SO YOU WAS MADE OF EARTH BUT YOU FOOLED SOME OF US WHILE YOU BELIEVED YOURSELF BUT NOW THERE'S NO-ONE HERE AND YOU CAN'T GO BACK TO YOUR BODY OF STARS YOU SQUANDERED GRACE AND THAT'S ALL YOU ARE

about

New album from sectionable Cambridge pop-surrealist Pete Um, a world unto himself but also a standard-bearer for the kind of heroic DIY befuddlement and unflinching self-analysis that Deep Freeze Mice, Mick Hobbs, Robert Storey and the Homosexuals minted. Um’s sprawling catalogue is a beast that can’t be tamed or reasoned with, but it’s endlessly rewarding: time and time again he nails that going-mad-in-the-potting-shed-ness that is the historic, and perhaps eternal, English condition – what it is, indeed, to be a little bit ‘Fucked In The Head’ (as the title of one of the songs here has it). Where so much contemporary stuff in this vein sounds hopelessly mannered and contrived and untouched by actual real-world experience of being on the outside of ANYTHING, As You Were sounds fully free and unforced, hopelessly alienated from the thing we call society and GLAD of it, and even at its most demented and disorderly your man sounds like he’s wrenching everything he possibly can out of his primitive keyboard-and-mic set-up cos it’s all he’s bloody well got, not cos he's self-consciously imposing limitations on himself. While the influence of 80s UK squat-whimsy looms large, we’re reminded too of the synth-fuelled early-noughts art-spazz of the The Soft Pink Truth and Safety Scissors, and, more than anything or one, R. Stevie Moore – unexpectedly powerful and unforgettable songs emerging unexpectedly out of awkward, enervating loops and the more obviously pranky vignettes. ‘The Director’ is my song of the year so far, NO WORD OF A LIE: a warped, wistful sequel to Patrick Selinger’s ‘Businessman’. And ‘Ed Sheeran' is a casual takedown of the wee guitar-slinging eunuch, sure, but it’s also a long hard truthful stare at the plight of a more marginal musician: “When I was a kiddie / I wanted to be a star / I play in local venues / I guess I didn’t get that far / I don’t want no fame / It ain’t strictly pleasure / but I still gotta do it…” YES PETE xxx

The Low Company

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released April 19, 2019

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Pete Um Cambridge, UK

"A master of the miniature electro-acoustic song-poem, a form he has more or less invented and crystallised himself, his work displays a sardonic wit combined with a healthy misanthropy, in marvellous micro-collages of voice, instruments, samples, and electronics."

-Ergo Phizmiz
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