YHR (York House Recordings) was a cassette label that existed between 1980-83. Initially created as a way to release cassette albums by MFH, the 'band' Andrew Cox and I formed at the tail end of '79, it went on to release 31 titles by various European artists. Some were quite well-known at the time (Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Asmus Tietchens) but most were fairly obscure.
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YHR 001 MFH First Move (1980)
Debut release for both YHR and MFH. Harsh, rudimentary mash of electrical devices, percussion and occasional vocals, recorded in bedrooms and underneath a laboratory at Sussex University between Nov-Dec 1979.
YHR 002 MFH Within 30 Miles (1980)
A more accessible collection of short, rhythmic synth & guitar pieces and pulses, recorded at Radio Falmer, Sussex University.
YHR 003 Andrew Cox Arioch (1980)
Solo release by MFH member, recorded live on a heavily modified Jen SX2000 synth. Parallels with Pete Shelley's Sky Yen. Arioch was the God of Chaos in Michael Moorcock's SF novels.
YHR 004 Gordon Alien O Puss (1980)
Aka This Little Alien, aka Gordon Hope. A dozen sparse synth, guitar and vocal tracks. Gordon had previously issued two cassettes as This Little Alien and two as Those Little Aliens. He also co-edited Flowmotion fanzine.
YHR 005 Maurizio Bianchi Voyeur Tape (1980)
From Milan in Italy. After self-releasing eight cassettes (all earlier that year), this was his first for another label. Comprises two long untitled harsh industrial soundscapes.
YHR 006 Maurizio Bianchi Cold Tape (1980)
Similar to above and released simultaneously. A smidgen more accessible?
YHR 007 Ping-Pong the Bear No, Never any Greyhounds (1980)
Mysterious one-off of acoustic bric-a-brac, naively & heavily treated to create a totally electric, chaotic effect.
YHR 008 Andrew Cox (1980)
Second solo album by MFH member. Instrumentally much more varied than the first.
YHR 009 MFH Masks (1980)
Their third album, a combination of the harsh experimentation of the first and more accessible electronics of the second.
YHR 010 DAS DAS I (1980)
Sci-fi themed album by Steve Dinsdale, Duncan Goddard and Gary Houghton. Their only release before splintering and then reforming in the 90s as Radio Massacre International.
YHR 011 Nik Lumsden Alarms & Excursions (1981)
One-off album of incessantly rhythmic, electronic music which wouldn't have been out of place on the Sky label at the time. I remember mastering this at his home in Islington; he also did the typesetting for quite a few of the YHR releases. Nik: if you're out there...?
YHR 012 Andreas Grosser Venite Visum (1981)
Originally from East Germany, Grosser moved to West Berlin and became a technician specialising in microphones. Aside from this one solo release, he recorded an album in 1987 with Klaus Schulze called Babel.
YHR 013 Various Artists YHR Volume I (1981)
Compilation of all the above.
YHR 014 Fondation Métamorphoses (1981)
French electronic duo of Ivan Coaquette and Anannka Raghel. Previous activity had included Spacecraft, Musica Elettronica Viva and Zed. This was the first of three self-released cassette albums with YHR acting as distributor in the UK.
YHR 015 Cluster & Farnbauer Live in Vienna (1981)
When corresponding with Achim he mentioned he had a recording of a concert he and Mobi had done with a percussionist called Joshi Farnbauer in Vienna in June 1980 - a great, atmospheric 90 minute set. Sky weren't interested, so would I like to release it? Would I?! To be honest, I wasn't worthy and it would be tiny quantities through YHR, but Achim was fine abut it. It's subsequently been re-released on Important Records and Bureau B.
YHR 016 MFH Ground Zero (1981)
Their fourth album, recorded in a Cornwall cottage. A return to the shorter, more rhythmic tracks of their second album. The cover photo is from the tiled, labyrinthian exit of Brighton rail station.
YHR 017 Andrew Cox Hydra (1981)
His third solo album. A varied mix of tracks, heavily treated from acoustic or semi-electric origins to often unrecognisable electronic end results.
YHR 018 Paul Nagle The Soft Room (1981)
Early album (named after his studio) by UK synthesist comprising an impressive mix of melodic and atmospheric tracks. Paul has gone in to release many albums, sometimes in collaboration with others and is a respected authority on new and old electronic gear.
YHR 019 Asmus Tietchens Musik aus der Grauzone (1981)
Based in Hamburg, Tietchens was a member of the short-lived Liliental in the late 70s before going solo. Grauzone was released around the time of his three 'accessible' albums on Sky but comprises longer tracks - the beginnings of an almost trademarked austere electronic style.
YHR 020 Conrad Schnitzler Conrad & Sequenza (1981)
Having been the first musician I ever interviewed, I felt honoured to be gifted this album of experimental electronics, with Con providing the music on side one, and Wolf Sequenza (Wolfgang Seidel) side two. You could also play them simultaneously.
YHR 021 Paul Nagle Tree & Leaf (1982)
This album continues in the style of The Soft Room: a mixture of warm and melodic, rhythmic and non-rhythmic analogue electronic music.
YHR 022 The Klingons Analog-Digital (1982)
Aka Al Robertson from Glasgow, this was originally
effectively a re-release of their second album on his own Synthetic Tapes in 1981. A great collection of skewed synthpop in the vein of fellow Clydesters Leer & Rental. Around the same time he released a single under the name 100% Man Made Fibre. The closest YHR ever got to a pop release.
February 1983 saw a batch release of 9 cassettes, the logic I think being that it was easier to promote them en masse rather than individually. So that's where my student grant went that winter...
YHR 023 Rüdiger Lorenz Earthrise (1983)
By day a pharmacist from Ingelheim near Mainz, by night a synth player influenced by Klaus Schulze and the Berlin school. I remember visiting him in the Spring of 1982, his studio stacked wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with synthesizers old and new. He went on to release numerous albums on cassette, vinyl and CD before his untimely death in 2000.
YHR 024 Asmus Tietchens Musik an der Grenze (1983).
Asmus's second YHR release: four long electronic compositions, including the fabulously evocative Kult Musik fur ein Altes Lande. I had hitched from Strasbourg to to Hamburg in May 1982 to meet him and hear it.
YHR 025 Andrew Cox Songs from the Earth (1983)
Andrew's fourth album continues where Hydra left off. Nine short tracks and one very long one, all featuring various found sound sources, treated beyond recognition. Some to ambient effect, others to searing punishing results.
YHR 026 Cinéma Vérité Rhythmus und Ritual (1983)
Berlin-Hamburg duo of Klaus Hoeppner and Andreas Hoffmann. A startling dada-like collage of electric sound sources, electronic rhythms and occasional voice. After two self-released cassettes, this was their third, with one more to come in 1984 on the Italian ADN label.
YHR 027 Peter Schäfer Schaf im Wolfspelz (1983)
This Stuttgart-based synth player was introduced to me by Rüdiger Lorenz. Similar-ish in style to Paul Nagle, the album is lively, melodic and accessible.
YHR 028 MFH Head (1983)
Their fifth album as MFH, recorded in spring and summer in Brighton - the former session using a hired ARP Odyssey and portastudio. The short catchy Chirez Cashu contrasted with the ominous 22min Under a Sky of Hot Metal doom.
YHR 029 Yin Yang Flusswelt (1983)
Aka Jürgen Krehan of synth duo Tyndall who had moved to Berlin from their native Bavaria in the early 80s and recorded four albums for Sky. A conceptual work based on the writings of Philip Jose Farmer about an afterworld called Flusswelt. Later he went in a new age direction releasing many albums under the name Nik Tyndall.
YHR 030 Duallein Noch kein Regen für Alle (1983)
Peter Egger's Duallein project was closely aligned with Konrad Becker's Monoton, both from Vienna and both experimenting with the vibrations of ultra-minimal industrial dub.
YHR 031 Günter Schickert Kinder in der Wildnis (1983)
After his two excellent echoguitar-driven 70s albums on Brain and Sky, it seemed strange that Günter hadn't released anything new. I visited him twice in Berlin in Jan 1980 and Jan 1982 and on the second occasion he offered me several tracks to release as a cassette. There have been occasional releases since, including with the trio GAM.
YHR hit the pause button for a what was intended to be a few months while I sat my degree exams. I had a stall at UK Electronica 83 and there were plans for a Tim Story album (Passion for Beginners - I still have the tape & artwork), one by Xenon (aka Dave Hunt who was engineering Frank Chickens first album) and numerous others. But as I stopped being a student with a full grant (remember them?), and started thinking about what I was going to do with my life, running a cassette label didn't seem terribly realistic.
Also, truth be told, I was losing interest in the Euro synth scene - that which was based on the Berlin / Kosmische school at any rate - and reacquainting myself with UK post-punk, new pop and industrial.
So that was that. It was a fun four years: hitching, catching trains and taking ferries between Britain, Germany and France. I look back on those times - the early 80s - as formative experiences. It was cottage-industry stuff and the production values weren't very high, so I was fortunate that the artists I met entrusted me with their music (not least the likes of Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Asmus Tietchens etc). So thank you all.