Counterdance the electronic experimental band was formed in the summer of 1978 in a bedroom in Bradford 5. Starting briefly with two members - Mark Bromwich / Bokowiec (oscillators and effects) and Eli Vasylenko (guitar).Inspired by and sharing the same circuitry as bands like Can, Throbbing Gristle, This Heat and the original Human League, the group quickly expanded to four fulltime members with the addition of Pete Humphries (bass guitar) and Julius (of Napalm Fingernails) Vasylenko on vocals. Shortly after Val Denham joined and became responsible for the unorthodox lyrics and vocalsRehearsals took the form of long improvisation sessions, firstly at various group members’ homes and moving on to an available empty night time studio in The Department of Psychology at Leeds University.This album was given the name The Human Slug Tapes by Mark Bromwich (synthesisers and drum machine) when it was originally recorded at Leeds University on 25th November 1978.
Having imbibed both LSD and alcohol, most of the vocalisations were performed as he (Val Denham has since changed gender) slithered around on the floor of the makeshift studio in a somewhat slug like fashion. At one point believing himself to be in the band Kraftwerk and adopting a pseudo German accent which is both disturbing and amusing in equal measure.
Val Denham’s behaviour became increasingly erratic when Counterdance attempted to perform live at the Queen’s Hall in Bradford in 1978, preferring to simply scream instead of reciting any lyrics from his big brown book of poetry. Inevitably he was sacked.
The band expanded and contracted as various people joined the core of the group. These included Simon and Carl Bromwich on drum machine and vocals respectively, Clare (we forget her last name!) on bass guitar, Jack Hardy on vocals, John (Rok Star) Phillips on keyboards and vocals and Ray Buck (Junkyard Supermarket) on vocals.The group finally disbanded in 1981, but Mark and Pete carried on as a synthesiser duo called Binary Man and performed gigs in and around their home town of Bradford.This Counterdance album is dedicated to Peter Humphries who sadly left us all on the 22nd November 1998 - crucially missed and often remembered.Discovered after decades in the back of an old school cupboard, the original and almost mythical lost tape with such classics as ‘Surburbia’, ‘Mechanical Damage’ and ‘Panic in Bradford’remains a testament to Bradford’s answer to Cabaret Voltaire, the early Human League, Throbbing Gristle and all the late 1970’s electronic experimentalists who lasted the distance.
Although these original tapes have been re-mastered they do contain the occasional malfunctions which are audible as pops and interference due to Val Denham getting entangled in electrical wiring and the leads of various instruments. The rambling majesty of these recordings has finally been preserved for all time by Vinyl-on- Demand. This is extraordinary stuff.