circle of the absurd
Circle of the Absurd is the album that emerged from a year of collaboration between Mark and me, as he set about reforming 1919 for one last roll of the dice. This was not the first time that Mark had flirted with the idea of reviving his beloved group. Sensing an appetite for new material after the 2001 release of The Complete Collection, what began as a solo project titled Black Panther would eventually become Dark Temple and bear the 1919 name. But it wasn’t meant to be a 1919 record. Preferring the album stand alone in history, the master tapes were destroyed and the band never performed live. The world would have to wait another decade for a new 1919 release.
I answered an ad in late 2014 and started to develop a great relationship with Mark right away, as we began to structure the song that would become 1919’s Revenge. Before deciding to use a drum machine we’d worked with a live drummer, Stef, who’d been the drummer for Another Cinema in the 80s, alongside Mark and what remained of the original 1919 after Mick’s departure had led the band to fold. We performed 3 gigs in 2015 under the 1919 name, in Leipzig, Leeds, and London, playing songs from the back-catalogue alongside a handful that feature on this album, and recorded a couple of rough demos (including the video version of Revenge, which seems bizarrely slow now). But it was clear that 1919 could not come back to life without Mick Reed, the drummer with whom Mark had co-written all of the group’s seminal music. So, in August 2015, he made the call and we didn’t look back. With Karl on bass the band was a 4-piece again; within weeks we’d recorded The Madness Continues sessions, drawing the Death Note EP from it, and the record you’re holding in your hands was indefinitely shelved… Until now.
After we received the news of Mark’s illness we had to stay off the road for a while, but this gave us the impetus to write and demo new material while we waited for the release of Bloodline in 2017. So we wrote and recorded D.N.A, among a myriad of other ideas, and I duly began to pester Will to take our abandoned project down from the shelf. Will Jackson, the album’s producer (who had programmed the drums and begun to add the synth), did so with gusto, but it was something of a salvaging mission. Not only had the album itself gathered dust for almost two years but during that time Leeds had been hit by severe flooding, leaving the basement studio of its origin completely underwater. Although the work produced there was safely stored it’s been an uphill battle for Will to get things back on track, and at the time of writing, there’s still huge work being done to expand Eiger from his temporary home into a new premises.
With time of the essence, we opted to release a standalone video to the title track on January 25, 2017. It was strange coming back to these songs after we’d achieved so much with 1919 in the meantime – it seems like much longer ago than it actually was, but it’s fair to say our memories of the period won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Mark sadly passed away just a few days after the Circle of the Absurd video was released, and it meant a lot to both of us for the track to finally see the light of day. Whilst his truest legacy will ultimately be that of 1919, both in the early work and what we continue to strive towards today, these 9 tracks represent an important part of our journey together, and my journey with a person who grew to be something a father figure for me personally and artistically.
So, from a studio at the bottom of a river, via a Leipzig night in which a toxic mixture of bright lights and cheap facepaint left me blind for 24 hours, I'm proud to have the chance to bring them to you now.
Mark Tighe (pictured right) - Guitar
Rio Goldhammer (pictured left) - Bass/Vocals
Will Jackson - Programming/Synth