Small Blue Torch - Untitled (SBT 1 & SBT 2)

Not a lot of information on this one. Small Blue Torch was the mid-1990's duo of Campbell Kneale and Richard Francis, both from New Zealand. These guys would go on to "fame" as Birchville Cat Motel, Our Love Will Destroy the World, and Black Boned Angel (Kneale) and Eso Steel (Francis). This double CDR, issued by US label Last Visible Dog, might be a reissue of some sort. It's not clear where exactly the music came from. Are these tapes reissued on CDR? New or previously unreleased recordings? There are no track titles and no text. so it's impossible to say. Each disc is titled "SBT 1" and "SBT 2", but Discogs does not list albums by those titles. Maybe a Bleak Bliss reader out there knows more than I do about this.

Small Blue Torch - Untitled (SBT 1)
Small Blue Torch - Untitled (SBT 2)

Helpful info from the label's archived webpage (thanks to a Bleak Bliss reader for bringing this to our attention!):

"I contacted Campbell Kneale in 1998 after his release on Drunken Fish, hoping he'd have a little something for the dog. Shortly afterwards, we threw together the idea of a two disc Small Blue Torch release as a definitive document from this now deceased band. Compiling Full Fathom Five and Stockpile, Small Blue Torch is a landmark album in many ways, not least of which being SBT's first album available to Americans! At slightly over two hours of mesmerizing guitar drift, sputter and grind, Small Blue Torch is one of the most intensive and affordable (our price: $12) studies into the New Zealand soundscape, and your best introduction to Campbell Kneale's amazingCelebrate Psi Phenomena label. Those interested in this release will also wish to take note of Kneale's Ohm release." --Chris Moon, LVD


avantgarterbelt 9 September 2014 at 03:37  

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Anonymous,  9 September 2014 at 13:11  

Glad to see more impossible-to-find NZ rarities here. Thanks!

Nexist 9 September 2014 at 17:29  

I found this album with the same cover:

badgerstump 9 September 2014 at 19:30  

Hi avantgarterbelt!

We try our best and are glad that you find things that you like ...

Anonymous,  9 September 2014 at 23:55  

Apparently this was released in 1999 (as indicated by R. Francis' discography page) and this site.
As for the content, according to some google results, it's a "reissue of two very early C/Psi/P cassettes". Have no idea which ones, though.

Anonymous,  10 September 2014 at 00:06  

Well, more info found.
According to this archived LVD page, the material was taken from "Stockpile" and "Full Fathom Five" C60 cassettes, which were released by C/Psi/P in 1996.

Mrs. Inside 12 September 2014 at 11:06  

"I met Tim and Richard whilst relieving myself at the urinal at a gig. They asked if I liked the band and I said "yeah- they remind me a little of Skullflower". I was surprised to hear them reply that they were thinking the same thing (surprised because I had never come across anyone else who had heard Skullflower before- small country syndrome). After discovering that I played guitar AND owned a Skullflower record they invited me round to their house to jam with their 'band', (which they forewarned me was "horrendous indeed"). I went around later that week, drank lots of tea, talked about the sorry state of punk rock and we strummed up a gorgeous feedback shingleslide that nearly melted our retinas out. Unrecorded of course- we made damn sure that we recorded EVERYTHING else from that day on. I don't believe in our entire 'bandhood' we ever once discussed our music. We just played. Louder than Motorhead, dumber than the Ramones, Free-er than free stuff."
--Campbell Kneale

"As I understand it, Small Blue Torch is the duo of Kneale and Eso Steel's Richard Francis (though line-up changes in this scene are not uncommon). Both are among the finest of New Zealand's current sound artists. Offering an epic double CD-R compilation as their American debut, Small Blue Torch create lovely drones and soundscapes with occasional bouts of abrasiveness and industrial/mechanical percussive repetitions. Their work is often meditative but still more dynamic than the bulk of either artists' catalog. SBT offer haunting feedback which floats symphonically between the speakers, and with the exception of one out of place saxophone excursion, the duo create an often deeply pleasing environment. Some of the tracks are mastered to end abruptly, which is a bit disconcerting for close listening, but all in all this is great modern stoner music, best when played kinda softly." -- Dan Vallor, Muckraker #9

"Small Blue Torch is another project including Campbell Kneale, which kicks off right where Ohm left us. That means squealing and drifting guitars going for the stars but these guitars don't follow the usual trail to Mars. In every crossing and in every bend they are loosing the most comfortable track and are conquering the dark surroundings instead, through bending the sounds back and forth over and over again in a mantra-like fashion. During these intergalactic excusions they occasionally hit the right button and the peculiar synth sounds and the guitars work together as one violent but yet cohesive mass. Listening to both these discs in a row is to get a bit too much of the good stuff at the same time through. Both the label and the band would probably have benefited quality-wise if they'd concentrated the best stuff to one disc. There are too many good sequences here though to stop me from giving this one the green light. If not for the musical qualities you should buy this one just for the way the band got together. They met while relieving themselves at the urinal at a local gig. Do you need any more info? I didn't think so."
--Mats Gustafsson, The Broken Face #8