Big Block 454 B i g    B l o c k    4 5 4
Neo-avant-garde cacophony with tunes!

As you enter the Official Big Block 454 Non-Ironic Web Site there's something spooky and tantalizing about it. A giant Eris-eye is gazing at you. The cold, darkblue background color. Some of the links are slightly hidden. What you see is not always what you get. It's probably going to take you a while to structure it all. You're probably also going to figure out very soon that if these people would be making music it wouldn't sound like anything you have ever heard before. And pretty soon — just a couple of clicks later — you will probably realize that this is just how things are: They are making music and it doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard before. Influenced by bands such as The Residents, Faust, Can, Captain Beefheart, Zappa, Syd Barret, Harry Partch, Bela Bartok and Brian Eno, they've surely managed creating something different.

Big Block 454 is the two man band consisting of Colin Robinson and Pete Scullion. They have been making music together for ten years and with the totally different musical backgrounds — Colin who was into Brian Eno, improvised music, African music, Joe Meek and Syd Barrett, while Pete was into jazz, improvised music, noise (!) and Deep Purple — the original style which came out of this odd mix may be no wonder. They decided to fusion their ideas and equipment when meeting at work, at Co-op Corned Beef and non-edible Fats Processing Works, Cheetham Hill in Manchester. Born was Big Block 454.
    It's not easy to describe their music. Delirious guitars, odd samplings and exotic sounds made by self-made instruments. The titles are one snipe higher such as "It Takes a Vigorous Baboon to Stir an Enormous Pond" or "Danbert Nobacon is a Slaphead". Strange? Weird? Not as they see it.
    "I don't think we're trying to be weird," Colin says. "We don't set out to write weird songs — that's just how they are."
    A couple of clicks away on the homepage I find myself on a page with the header: Interesting Instruments and Ideas. I read:

"Harry Partch made instruments out of airplane fuel tanks and hub caps. He built an instrument called a Wang-Gun. He also invented a musical scale consisting of 43 notes. In his spare time he was an alcoholic."

"The Big Block 454 engines were large, excessive things, but they could be bought of the shelf."

Colin Robinson, Big Block 454

The Big Block 454 is a type of Chevrolet engine. The Thunderbird (see the picture) was Colin's at the time.
    "The Big Block 454 engines were large, excessive things, but they could be bought of the shelf," Colin says. "Perhaps this sums up our music. Making the exotic and the mundane available in one package."
    When making music they two guys leave nothing unexplored. They like to use old equipment such as old electric guitars, analog synths, old fuzz boxes and mixers. They also use basses, saxophone, harmonium, percussion and voices. Not satisfied with that they even create their own home-made instruments. They also use samplers and older technology such as tape loops. Though they put a pride in not sampling other people's records or sample discs.

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