Press My Hungry Button

by Cultural Amnesia

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It was mere folly… I didn’t mark it there’s more here than there seems… I don’t like it 50,000 wild flutes blow up a storm there’s someone within us, someone amongst us someone who knows what frightens and thrills us there’s laughter behind you and someone is crying wild dogs are running through dry riverbeds Go down to the town, down to the town Go down to the town, down to the town where they never work all their lives so they just lie about lost until knives cut the skins from their backs the butchers, the bakers, the nightmare makers all lost till they stammer out there’s answers for life Go down to the town, down to the town He loves his little children, he waits in their bedrooms merging with furniture, hiding in playthings He comes down, he comes down the father of fear with a family to feed collector, reactor, collator, relater sheds tears, he sheds skins… he is here surrounded by wild men and ghosts and wild boys he is wise, he is panic, he is fear We are tense we cannot sleep we pull wool from the backs of sheep o hot in your houses and stained by dead horses situations repeated like films of your past like babies in baskets, like rats in the rushes Bou Jeloud is searching for secrets inside He loves little children, he waits in their bedrooms merging with furniture, hiding in playthings Words by John Balance
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You can crawl in the depths you can crawl in your bloated you can scream your weak derisions, convictions, contradictions because we all know dead men don’t talk you’re flogging a dead horse my friend a dead horse You’d better hope your slick will mask your dimming streets of vision and you’d better hope that age will blur your pretentious moralisms they’re going to be your epitaph my friend your epitaph and we all know dead men don’t talk you’re flogging a dead horse my friend a dead horse Don’t you remember when you used to beat our guts out with the promise of a brave new world We’re going to shake your dry and shrivelled mind like a madman shakes a dead geranium because remember dead men don’t talk my friend dead men don’t talk
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Khana Kloof 04:24
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Hype my name till it’s just a noise and make me king of all the boys well bless my boots here’s a healthy young mule drinking deeply from a bladder of vitriol got the flesh of a prophet on contention’s bones got a deathwatch beetle in his ideal home got a tongue that could bruise a grinding stone and a plastic leech bleeds him when he picks up the phone Listen good and see what you think my baby aborted her soul in the sink she screamed from the bathroom with a potent abuse my coiffure’s gone crazy and my girdle is loose complacent saints advertising their gods and they’ll purge you of your sins with your master’s birch rod you know his teaching but you don’t know his name and the lines on his palm are the rules of his game Excuse him his fist to shelter his virtue the code of his honour as the cat it may hurt you all the prophets, the madmen, the saints and the rebels have forgotten their sayings, but the people keep praying they traded their history for featureless pebbles they may cut their knees but the children keep playing the pebbles that drop on the plains of their grace an index to measure a space from a space You’re everybody’s glass demeanour you’re the pain in every soul get your ladle out of my mouth and put it in my begging bowl [chorus] Tonight I go down to the dark side to leave my morals in the lurch to leave my money in a box by the door and see an old buddy from a hole in the floor well I laughed and I cried in all the right places cheered and I jeered at all the right faces never could do nothing much I nothing could do well but I’m the legend of the southern vowel and brother can I sell [chorus]
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So you think you’re unhappy my well-trodden packhorse take a look at the tiles you’ll see the cracks on them are fading your eyesight’s not as good as it was So you think you’re unhappy my sweet little one o count the hairs and the hands growing much too older you’ll see that the time for repression has come So you think you’re unhappy, my Odysseus of your dying underground just look down the tramlines and the broken siding you know they’re of no use now It’s just a repetition for this world it’s just a repetition for this world
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Words and music: Cultural Amnesia
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A severe endeavour to sever the past a stone cast by darkness to shatter the glass and scars remain to stain the pain white stains remain remain bloodstains remain remain pain stains darkest can’t explain the scars for E that infest me the scars for E that infest me Scars for E, o weeping sadness is blurred flesh and memory, steel blades and tears and scars remain to stain the pain white stains remain remain sweat stains remain remain pain deepest can’t contain the scars for E that infest me the scars for E that infest me A trust from me, a thrust from E stained by dead horses, smeared with blood voices video violence watch towers of silence video violence watch towers of silence fall, crush the sadness I feel and scars remain to stain the pain white stains remain remain bloodstains remain remain pain stains darkest can’t contain the scars for E that infest me the scars for E that infest me Words by John Balance 1982
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Satisfaction 07:36
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Green cage cabaret green cage cabaret I'm biding my time by the edge of a skull spending days of my time by the edge of a skull and I'm plucking my boots and I'm pulling my bootlace there's silk in my eyeholes, soft music's my earholes it's beats on a hollow drum at the green cage cabaret where flowers and good things might grow There are paper scraps in my head down by the edge the chalk skull pulls my mind in tune and around pulls me surely with the tide betide me high betide me and woe betide me by the daubed skull I'll abide me chorus: At the green cage cabaret where flowers and good things might grow they'll not pierce mind through eye not ear the short slaves of our eyes are our tears Our eyes are dry they'll not dissolve the fence what is provoking me why stitch me up, they stitched me down why play with me, they played me around dancing the pastures of the chalked cranium chorus There is a small locket that I'm keeping my scraps in things that are valuable knowledge and the like chorus Green cage cabaret green cage cabaret they stitched me up, they stitched me down they played with me, they played me around dancing the pastures of the chalked cranium Green cage cabaret green cage cabaret
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High 04:42
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Being Boiled 02:08
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Is this the first time, is this the last time give me a penny and we’ll do it again is this the first time, is this the last time well that colour it don’t stain Reality’s just an index of pleasures sing happy birthday to our new appliance that quaint shire your innocence leaks from your eyes and your new manifesto drips from your thighs your heart is a plumb bob it swings as you dance and it snaps as you flounder on somebody’s lance your body’s my canvas your eyes the occasion I’ll muck out your stables and then teach you persuasion What do you say shall we go to the bedroom shall we go to the bathroom shall we go to the church shall we go to the kitchen shall we go to the limit for I’ve been fingertip testing as well for they all ring the hungry bell The large size of relief, the sweet smell of excess and I’ve got your handle and you’re under my press Out-shout the thunder, outstare the sun life’s just an index of pleasures when you are young Don’t ask my meanings they’re all obscene the opposite sex is just a substitute for jelly and ice cream here we go… Get it up get it down get it off get it on get it in get it out yeah in and out till you just can’t get it no more yeah [chorus] I came, I came with you in mind my dear I came, I came and what with the drone in my ears my dear I came, I came and what with the drone in my ears my dear Sitting in the garden eating bread and horseradish sauce sitting in the garden in my liberty bodice sauce, sauce, sauce, saucy horse sauce, sauce, saucy horse oeuf de cheval, oeuf de cheval saddle my baby I’ve got to go sympathy, sympathy and what of sympathy locks and keys and people praying and boys and girls and horses kissing And what with the drone in my ears
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On a day like today we could all fade away or act out the story that you saw on Jackanory about the death that came to stay and wouldn’t go away without the contents of your cupboard and the bones of Mother Hubbard It’s all so so slow, you know the feeling you get when your dog dies on your birthday and everything that comes through your mailbox tries to kill you And it’s here come the damp rots to take away the Woodentops blood soils the buttercups It’s all so so so, you know I was talking to Christ about the view from the Cross but his soul had flown to other lands I just felt like throwing the Last Supper up [Chorus] It’s all so so so, you know it’s always almost midnight here the proles and children live in fear of when the time will start up here It’s all so so so, you know here come the soldier men to rape and kill your toys again and whitewash your memories again [Chorus] Your eyes are two-way mirrors that I want to stab with scissors to stop the future leaking out so I’ll see the sorry way that fate will leave me now today Words by John Balance
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Daddy will you buy me a golden ring Daddy will you give me death on a string Daddy will you show me three blind mice all battered by the same white girl Daddy I’m so hollow today I lost my money the easy way Mother’s in a coalmine singing her song and the girlies have left for the station All I have left now are fools and replication Mother the rich elastic man is gone Mother I write them when I can I take each line of golden print and shove it mad into my mouth I’ll make all mothers write in blood I’ll mad and sing my song and sing my song and won’t you all be entertained I hope you all drown I hope you all drown Feet embedded in buckets of swill and eyes turned out to the dirty sunset I hope you all drown I hope you all drown [chorus] And shallow water
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about

'[T]his album shows what a daring, innovative and smart unit Cultural Amnesia were.' - The Sound Projector

'At their finest, the group conjure up some exquisitely basic tones as building blocks for satisfyingly wonky tunes. They also manage to squeeze stranger rhythms out of a cassette deck with a built-in beatbox than much of today's more derivative dance music.' - The Wire

'Released and unreleased tracks alike, Press My Hungry Button is a must-have for post-punk and minimal electro enthusiasts ... this is a cracking release featuring a whole host of gems in the raw - mined straight from the New Wave seam.' - Hi-Fi World

'Cultural Amnesia are characterised by strong (and sometimes wonderfully twisted) lyrics, a perfect musical backing and a unique and distinctive vocal style... More people need to hear this music and experience the weird and wonderful world of Cultural Amnesia. 10/10' - Side-Line Magazine

'[A]n essential purchase for anyone investigating the 80s DIY cassette culture.' - Terminal Boredom

'[T]his double album digs up further gems of elliptical synthpop and post-punk weirdness. ... The results spark with the boundless energy of exploration as the band test the limits of their - now desirably primitive - gear as much as their creativity.' - Plan B

'The work of Cultural Amnesia is awaiting (re)discovery, what are you waiting for?' - Compulsion.

'Simply extraordinary.' - Drexcode

Following Enormous Savages (Anna Logue Records and Klanggalerie), Press My Hungry Button is a second selection from the archives of Cultural Amnesia, originally released as a double LP by VOD Records in 2007. It contains many of the best of their released tracks and others from their large collection of unreleased material.

CA were a band of young recordists operating for about three years at the start of the 1980s. The recordings here were made between December 1980 and March 1983. Active at the height of British postpunk, at the tail end of early industrial music and amidst the stirrings of postindustrial, they created a large, varied and experimental output, ultimately fashioning a kind of skewed electropop. They had a close associate and champion in one of the key figures of postindustrial music, Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance of Coil. Three of his songs for the band are included here.

CA released three cassette-only albums and appeared on quite a number of cassette compilations, two or three of them amongst the better remembered from the time. The discography below details all their 1980s releases. Year of recording and (where applicable) place of release for the tracks on this album are given with the lyrics.

CA were prolific. They pressed the ‘hungry button’ compulsively. Almost all their work was recorded as it was composed, ranging between pure improvisations to carefully constructed multi-part pieces that made the most of their limited technology (see the Credits for a list of equipment). They played live, but not often and had mixed feelings about it. Not only did they record a lot in their limited time, their output is marked by proliferation – of styles, words, stories, ideas… clever, witty, half-baked, heavy-handed, sometimes passionate and serious, sometimes embarrassingly earnest, quite often shot through with self-ironising humour. The material piled up far more quickly than it could be organised and released.

When CA stopped in spring 1983 one of the projects left unfinished was Obscenity, which was to have been the band’s first vinyl LP, with the German company Datenverarbeitung. A significant number of tracks on Press My Hungry Button were intended for that album, so it seems appropriate to reproduce the blurb prepared for its cover by the ever-supportive John Balance.

"Q: Why has waking become painful?
A: We are propagating catastrophes with our able hands.

What does one say? Cultural Amnesia have never ceased to amaze me with their finely honed songs of innocence and insecticide. Each gleaming tune a button on their hair shirt. There is a raw spirit of experiment, of mis-adventure with emotions, that is almost awkward to listen to. Time shifts and personal twists reveal a complex web of older children, playing with something they know full well is not really for the general public. Using a vocabulary of myths and symbols, along with splintered shards of themselves, caricatures and alter egos weave and parade in drunken ‘night on the town’ scenarios, in crazy-glass-house confrontations with each other. All life is here. Bitter and sweet. Love, sex behind supermarkets, truth and lies, jealousy and an all-pervading earthy magick. And Death. Having lurked in the herbaceous borders of the DIY cassette scene, earning critical acclaim for their numerous releases, this record now marks the edge of that dark, tangled frustration of a country. Beyond... is another day."

– John Balance, the Ides of March 1983

credits

released June 5, 2016

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Cultural Amnesia UK

Part of the post-punk/industrial tape scene of the 70s and 80s, Cultural Amnesia released three cassette albums and, since the late 90s, have begun recording once again.

All digitally available music can be found here. Biographical information is at the band’s website.
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