Recorded the ‘methode traditionnelle’ way at Real to Reel studio in Macclesfield on half inch Ampeg tape, on a 24-track desk, in a single all-day-and-half-of-the-night session, taking place on 17th September 1989. It was issued on physical cassette the following week on 24th. The first full-band rehearsal had been on 1st August so this was a mere 48 days after first manifesting in full physical form. The rehearsals had been at The Greenhouse in Stockport, using the middle room of three and most nights sandwiched between The Stone Roses and James. The release was quickly picked up on the underground radio stations, with Norway narrowly beating West Germany (yes, there were still two Germanys then; two months before the Fall Of The Wall) as first country of broadcast. So thanks to Jan at legendary cassette culture label/radio-show Hypertonia World Enterprises (who with great insight described it as “not boring at all”), and to Lord Litter, then at Kentucky Fried Royalty radio in Berlin for being among the first to switch on.
In those early days The Speed Of Sound went by the name ‘The Blood Oranges’ and that is the name the EP was first released as. The Line-Up was John Armstrong – Guitars/Vocals, Denis Duffy – Drums, Paul Shore – Bass Guitar and Christine (Chris) Waterman – Vocals. In the same way that The High Numbers were the same sentient entity as The Who; The Blood Oranges were The Speed Of Sound.
The 1989 master audio was exported on quarter inch tape which was not in the best of condition after a quarter century stored on a shelf in the Rainy City, furthermore it contained the mix rather than the individual tracks, so the ‘baking the tape technique’ would have added little to the available options: Instead the audio was digitised from a surviving original issue cassette (yes TDK were good – so it still played) and given some TLC and a touch of re-pointing and a general sprucing up for the 25th Anniversary. This is the audio presented here, renamed, repackaged and reissued. STEP ON IT – THE SPEED OF SOUND.
01. I Wanna Feel Good
02. I’m Real
03. Checkered Land
Reviewed in 1989 in Stick It In Your Ear Magazine:
“Immaculately produced swathes of rock sound, juxtaposed with a style that is both inventive and innovative. The four songs find an intelligent, effortless song writing ability, that displays elevatory harmonies that steam towards a hauntingly volatile climax. All of which adds up to a tape that’s individual, idiosyncratic & adventurous. Its utterly perfect and hopefully a portent of things to come”