Quotes and reviews for the 2004 re-issue of the Self-Title Live Album on CD
When putting out the CD, we asked people to give their impressions of the band. Here are the comments we got.
first time I saw the Primitive Calculators was at the Crystal Ballroom
at a gig which, I think may have been WhirlyWhirld V.1s first gig. The
spectacle of Stuart's individual performance was, of course, the first
thing that impressed me. Actually it really put me on edge and made me
feel very uncomfortable. The extent to which he seemed to be as much tortured,
as glorified, by his own performance made me feel physically threatened.
However, and more interestingly, underlying the ferocity of the music
was a carefully coordinated, precise and highly sophisticated musical
structure. I remember you telling me about what a rigorous process learning
to play the music was. You know, the only other thing that I've ever seen
that was anything like in the same ballpark as the PCs was bluesman R.
L. Burnside's performance at the Basement here in Sydney in 1998. Both
had a very deep trance inducing effect whilst simultaneously being sensual
and extremely abrasive. The PCs were the finest boogie band I ever heard."
Calculators..one of the most innovative, ahead of their time ,radical
and creative musical acts ever to crawl out of the nightmare suburbia
of underground OZ.."
I mastered the Primitive Calculators LP with Groper in 1979 I didn't have
a clue what I was doing and Stuart said maximum bass and treble so we
did that but then we had to reduce the bass when we cut the acetate as
it cut right through to the plate. The Primitive Calculators always cut
first time I saw the Primitive Calculators I was totally surprised, transfixed
by the irresistable intensity I was witnessing."
a time when synth based "new wave" was losing its edge, the Primitive
Calculators made clangor that sounded like the destruction of a collapsing
building. They took to the floor in a convulsive dance of sweat and
fury, then jolted you with an urgency that typified the word punk."
the Primitive Calculators were based in New York at the time these recordings
where made, they would be as (in)famous as Teenage Jesus and The Jerks,
Dna, etc... By bringing there recordings to cd a whole new audience can
appreciate how ground breaking, abrasive, experimental and original the
Primitive Calculators were so far ahead of their time that neither the
technology nor audience could keep up with them; they were a great band."
Reviews of the CD.
From PBS 106.7FM - Easey Magazine No. 6, 2005:
There was a lot more happening in Melbourne in 1979 than the Boys Next Door / Birthday Party, But here we have evidence: a live recording of a Primitive Calculators gig in North Carlton, where they supported the Boys Next Door.
This unlikely bunch of record junkies from Springvale, having absorbed the disparate sounds of ‘60s psych, boogie, disco, reggae and then, perhaps inspired into action by the likes of the Saints and Suicide, somehow managed to come up with a kind of gleefully abrasive electro-punk that sounds unique to this day.
It’s all jerky stabbing rhythms, angle-grinder synth noises, shrill slide-guitar scrapes, whistles and squeals, impassioned, jeering vocals, delivered with a precision and intensity required by the unforgiving drum machine throb. But despite the dour “proto-industrial” music these words might evoke, there is an unmistakeable sense of humour behind their antagonism, and I’m sure the live show was loads of fun—for the band, if not for the scanty crowd evident on this recording. I suggest playing at offensively loud volume for the full “being-there” effect.
This Chapter Music re-issue includes six previously unavailable tracks, including an early recording from a pre-Calculators band called the Moths, and a video for the song I Can’t Stop It. The only thing that seems to be missing is their debut single (and sole studio recording)—which many owners of the original LP would have found stowed inside the sleeve. Understandably, it was left out of the CD to avoid repetition of songs from the live set. But completists will be glad to hear that there are plans to re-issue the single and the Little Bands EP, recorded around the same time in 1979. Adrian Ockerby
From Aquarius Records mailout:
CALCULATORS "s/t" (Chapter Music)
From Maximum Rock n Roll magazine:
CALCULATORS - S/T CD
From Inpress Magazine, Melbourne, January 2005:
Calculators played testing music and quite frankly it's a great thing.
Meeting in Springvale in the early 1970s the various members of Primitive
Calculators had an appreciation towards bands such as The Fugs, 13th Floor
Elevators, The Godz and the Holy Modal Rounders. Much like those late
60s acts, Primitive Calculators effectively attempted to create rasping
and rudimentary experiments that freed them from traditional song structures,
and after repeated listens to this reissue of their 1982 album, it starts
to emerge that Primitive Calculators were creating something completely
new-found, yet unfathomable and mysterious; in fact the pneumatic drill-like
sound that opens the album is almost a seditious auditory assault that
makes contemporaries of Primitive Calcuators (bands such as New York's
Suicide and France's Metal Urbaine) seem like apparitions of puppy dogs.
From Vice Magazine (Australian Edition), February 2005:
Album Of The Month ~ 10/10