We were sorry to hear of the recent passing away of Eve Thacker, a very talented sound and graphic artist.
I got to know Eve when I saw a review of one of her home-made cassette albums in the early ’90s. We struck up a correspondence and when I moved closer to her part of the UK I had the pleasure of meeting her and her husband Vince on several occasions. We should have met more, but such is the pace of life.
Eve was a passionate maker of electronic music who never forgot that music should be fun. I had the pleasure of visiting her and recording with her in her quirky home studio, which was a conglomeration of analogue and digital synths, lo-fi effects boxes and lots of patch panels. Some of the tools Eve used may have been knob-twiddlers’ fantasy machines, but much of it was badly designed boxes which were obtained cheaply and coaxed into half-performing only through Eve’s perseverance and determination to make her music in her own unique way.
Eve’s solo release on Earthrid, Bisonogram, was recorded quite typically according to her methods. She had no multitrack recorder and no sophisticated sequencing systems, so she would set up her sound sources and effects and then improvise, recording to cassette. Her cassette recorder was not of top quality and I learned a lot about polishing up audio from mastering Bisonogram! I was pleased when she said that hearing the resulting album was like hearing it for the first time since she had recorded it. Sadly, many of the other recordings I was passed could not be rescued, and some were mysteriously incomplete, companion recordings having been saved to another mislaid cassette…
Cassette was also the master medium for the two sessions we recorded together as Audio Space Research. One noted master of electroacoustic music noted the disclaimer with an incredulous exclamation of “cassette?” before putting the CD aside, much to Eve’s amusement when she heard about it. It is easy for some in privileged positions to forget that making music at home is a labour of love for many of the most devoted musical experimenters, who sometimes achieve wonders with meagre means at their disposal and plenty of real-life problems and challenges to contend with in the meantime. Eve had no snobbery about music, and enjoyed electronic music of all styles, regardless of its supposed genre or “seriousness”. She found a particular empathy though with the work of Bernard Parmegiani: she joked that when she finally heard his work, her reaction was “Daddy!”. The division of composition into noises made in studios in bedrooms and “serious” music made in academic studios was of no concern to Eve. Noises In Bedrooms (as she styled it) were as valid as those made by the elite, and she classed the dichotomy as “NIBs versus knobs”… If that makes you smile, I would say that you probably have some of the same unaffected love for music that Eve had.
Vince has put together a little taster of the album ‘Bisonogram’. It’s the title track, accompanied by some very rare shots of the elusive Eve.
I’ve been meaning for some time to make Bisonogram available for download (free, of course) and that must now happen soon.
Thank you for the music, Eve.
– Kevin Busby