Such Heavy Conviction: Recordings 1981-1983
Limited edition of 500. Tone Set (Galen Herod and Greg Horn) was an Arizona minimal synth duo that existed from 1981 to 1983. Their early sound mixed analog synthesizers and gritty drum machines with tapes of found speech. This was the sound of their first release, a 1982 cassette called Cal's Ranch recorded with almost no vocals at The Center for Advanced Studies and released through the Zia record store in Tempe, AZ. In 1982, Tone Set contributed the track "Out! Out! Out!" to Placebo Records' Amuck compilation (PLA-103), which also featured Meat Puppets, and Sun City Girls (the duo also contributed a track called "Happy People" under their Happy People alias). Vocals started to become a more prominent part of their sound by the time they recorded their Calibrate EP, released in February 1983 on Pegna Records (peg one). The first side featured three pop songs -- "Life is Busy" and "Slim," both sung by Herod, and "Living In Another Land," sung by Horn. The second side of the EP came from the Cal's Ranch sessions. The duo also performed as Life Is Busy, The Art Farmers, and The Special Eds as outlets for their different types of songwriting styles, from ambient to New York Downtown-type material, with the Life Is Busy repertoire collecting their synthpop songs. A video for "Life is Busy" was produced from found footage, just like the vocals of most of their songs. It was shown on Videobeat and once on MTV's Basement Tapes, where, despite the presence of Mark Mothersbaugh (DEVO) as one of the judges, it didn't get enough votes for rotation, but it was licensed for six months on Cinemax in 1983. That year, each member began releasing solo works, leaving many previously unreleased recordings behind (62 recordings in total), which now finally find their well-deserved release on Vinyl-on-Demand. Such Heavy Conviction: Recordings 1981-1983 includes the contents of Cal's Ranch and Calibrate (plus previously unreleased songs from the Calibrate session), and additional material collected as Masters of Funk, Unreleased Classic Tone Set, The Last Tone Set, The Earliest Tone Set, The Alternate Cal's Ranch, and The Single, spread over five LPs and a 7". A must-have for serious fans and collectors of '80s minimal/synth. Several promotional videos for this box set are available at Youtube.