Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cerebral Hemorrhage: Back in 1984 EP

       Astonishingly and inexplicably, this is a record that has flown under the radar of pretty much every minimal synth collector out there - aside from a popsike entry from a few years ago and a couple other mentions of its existence, info on this record is nonexistant. At a recent record fair, the dealer selling this 12" saw me looking it up on discogs on my phone, and told me "unfortunatly that won't help - I made that entry". And since his copy was sealed, he hadn't even been able to hear it firsthand.
Still, it had the signature of an interesting record:
Cool band name (Cerebral Hemorrhage)
Promising title (Back in 1984)
Great label name (Illusion Records)
Intriguing song titles (Let's Modulate, Night Music)
And a strange icon of a stoic face with the caption "Big Brother is watching YOU"
       How could anyone resist that? I certainly couldn't - and when I put the needle on the record and heard 20 seconds of tinny drum machine plink-plonks before falling into a steady stream of pulsating synths, I was immensely satisfied. Through a bit of research I pieced together a few potentially-incorrect factoids about the record and band. It was ostensibly a one-man project by a guy named Dennis Hurley. This record was the third put out under the Cerebral Hemorrhage moniker. Two preceeding albums - an EP from 1981 and a double-LP from 1983 - appear to be almost as scarce than this one. (there might be a fourth record that came out around the same time as Back in 1984 too, but I'm not sure) However, whereas those records apparently incorporated lots of guitar and sound more like Hawkwind-style prog, there is nary a guitar to be found on this record, which appears to be re-recorded all-synth versions of songs from the earlier records.
       The two sides of the record are different animals - the second side is largely ambient and instrumental, and much more experimental. It comes across as highly influenced by Cluster and other 70s-era Krautrock bands. They're good songs, and they have interesting titles, but are not nearly as sonically wonderful as the A-side.
       The two tracks on the first side of the record pack a great one-two punch of electronics and lyrics of Cold War fear. After a minute and a half of synths and drums, the vocals suddenly kick in, singing about 1984's (the year, not the book) alternate history, in which after Reagan's re-election the US descended into nuclear war with the Soviets. The lyrics repeat "where were you?" at the moment world was annihilated. It's a great track that ends with a gurgle of synths before being interrupted by a nuclear explosion, and suddenly the second track begins. Where the first track asked "where were you?" at the world's end, the second track is a repetitive litany of memories from before the destruction: "there were buildings / there were faces / there were cities / there were towers / there was sunlight"... you get the gist. Both tracks are absolutely great for synth nerds, coming across like a crossbreed of League of Nations-ish minimal synth and the bedroom lonerisms of John Bender or Kevin Lazar.
       If anyone has Cerebral Hemorrhage's previous two records  I would love to hear them. Even if they're more prog-rock, I'm interested in seeing the progression toward this undiscovered minimal synth gem. I'd be surprised if this one doesn't end up on quite a few wantlists in the coming years. If anything, this one proves that there are still some diamonds out there - maybe they're just hidden in plain white sleeves with minimal information.

Cerebral Hemorrhage: Back in 1984 12"
1984, Illusion Records
A1 Back In 1984
A2 I Remember
B1 Let's Modulate
B2 The Chilly Dance
B3 Night Music

Click here to listen!


Anonymous said...

this is an incredible find, thank you for sharing!

stephen said...


This isn't an unknown record to collectors. It has been known for at least 5 years. I have it, and quite a few other collectors do as well. There were numerous copies on ebay a few years ago that regularly sold for around $50, and they had complete sound samples of the 1984 song. Anyway, its an amazing record, but its not unknown. Neither was The Famous Rays by the way. I've had that for more than 5 years as well.


Anonymous said...

So why hasn't one of you been so kind as to digitize and offer them to those who cannot afford to collect those records? :)

Anonymous said...

So nice to see you're still a douchebag, Obscure. Keep up the superiority complex.

Oh, and just because five dudes with an endless bank account were able to track this down years and years ago doesn't make it "known" to all. Jesus, man.

stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephen said...

Phil said " Astonishingly and inexplicably, this is a record that has flown under the radar of pretty much every minimal synth collector out there"

This implies that no collectors knew about this record, and he is the first to have discovered it and that this is the first time it has been shared with the world. I thought that that came across as douchey. I don't consider phil's blog or posts in general to be douchey, but that seemed to be, and it was also wrong. Especially considering the record was on ebay numerous times with full sound samples. So I thought he should know.

Anyway, keep up the hating of someone you have no idea about. I'll have all the original records and you can keep all the hate.

Enjoy it

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope you lose all your records in a house fire, Stephen.

Anonymous said...

Actually that statement means most, not all, you dipshit.

If you're worried about what comes across as douchey, you should probably consider deleting your posts.

All of them.


stephen said...

"House fire" , Dipshit", "Douchebag"

The dark side is strong within you.

Anyway, I don't have to delete anything I post. People know I'm not a douche. I'm punk dude. I'm guessing you are a little slow though considering you don't know that yet, and the fact that you can't decipher that Phil's description implied this Cerebral Hemorrhage record to be an unknown record to collectors.

O.k., feel free to skip another dumb hate filled rant, and just sign your name.

That's what everyone's waiting to hear.


Anonymous said...

While goading Stephen to type out these crazy rants is a national collector's past-time, it's just too damn easy sometimes. Kind of takes the sport out of it a little.

stephen said...

I don't write crazy rants.

Here are crazy rants.

"So nice to see you're still a douchebag, Obscure. Keep up the superiority complex."

"I sincerely hope you lose all your records in a house fire"

"Actually that statement means most, not all, you dipshit."

Are you scared to sign your name to these literary masterpieces?

Anyway, good luck with your mental illness.
You definitely have deep-seated issues.

Anonymous said...

There are a few of us leaving these comments, Stephen.

Permanent Records said...

If you can put me in touch with anyone involved in Cerebral Hemorrage, please contact me at permanentwax (at) gmail (dot) com