Zaoum, a collection of 18 recordings selected by Hal McGee from the tapes below by Gabble Ratchet from 1980 and 1981 is now available on CDR or download.
Gabble Ratchet was an early 1980s experimental music group in Indianapolis, Indiana. Group members were primarily Rick Karcasheff and David Mattingly; with Jack Sexson, Butch Clark, and guest appearances by Debbie Jaffe. Karcasheff and Mattingly later formed a new group, Bright Too Late. The name Gabble Ratchet comes from one of the sections of "Supper's Ready" on the Foxtrot album by Genesis.
Thanks to David Mattingly for letting me borrow his personal copies of the cassettes below. These three cassettes of homemade music (recorded in 1980 and 1981) include the sounds of Korg analog synthesizers, Dr. Rhythm drum machine, guitar, keyboards, percussion, melodica, tape cut-ups, and voice. They were originally private editions distributed primarily to band members and perhaps a few close friends.
These Gabble Ratchet tapes include the earliest known recordings of Debbie Jaffe doing experimental music, in the late Spring of 1981, when she was 19 years old.
Side A of the Orange Tape starts out with what might be considered a Gabble Ratchet hit, "I Can't Stand It". I recommend that you start out with it and then move on to more Gabble Ratchet sounds.
The first two streaming audio files above are straight transcriptions of the entire sides of the Gabble Ratchet cassette with the yellow cover.
Three songs on Side A of the tape include Debbie Jaffe on vocals, reciting her own poetry: "Machine Moves", "Written Off", and "Dancers".
These songs are excerpted in the third audio player. These were not used on any official release by Jaffe & McGee. These songs were recorded in 1981, probably in late Spring.
Also, on Side B of the cassette, the song labeled on the j-card as "Three Blind Pigs" contains two fragments that Debbie Jaffe used on the 60 Minutes Of Laughter cassette: "Three Blind Pigs" by Residential Rick and "Tinyness" by Park Avenue Rick.
This Gabble Ratchet cassette with a blue cover is labeled on the inside of the j-card "Sunday Night Improv w/Jack".
Personnel on this tape: Rick Karcasheff and David Mattingly (both on analog synthesizers, possibly MS-10 or MS-20), Jack Sexson on guitar, and Debbie Jaffe on vocals.
The songs noted as #1 Session on Side A of the tape are all stereo mixes, as is the last track on Side B, "Jack Solo". The last 16 minutes of Side A and the first 39 minutes of Side B are unbalanced recordings, with most of the sound in the right channel.
Debbie Jaffe used three sections of these improvisations on the 60 Minutes Of Laughter tape. They are listed on 60 MOL as "Improv" by Gabble Ratchet and "Collage/Gertrude Stein" (uncredited).
Throughout the 39 minute section on Side B she is heard reciting from Gertrude Stein's "A Book Concluding with As a Wife Has a Cow: A Love Story", while Rick, David, and Jack improvise on instruments.
This Gabble Ratchet tape contains tracks by Jack Sexson that were later used on his UP cassette.