From the Big Gold Dream archives. Michael Barclay and Bob Last discuss the Pop:Aural off-shoot – Accessory.
Accessory 2: Frank Hannaway and Michael Barclay: At Home
Michael Barclay: That was one of Bob Last’s conceptual pieces. I think like a lot of what Bob did, he didn’t let you in on the secret of what it was but you became part of his project to baffle the world with different products. It’s part to do with my own naivety at the time, I was part of this opportunity to be part of this concept album with some old accordionist and dub guitar on top but it was two of the most horrible days of my life. It was in a recording studio in West Lothian, Castle Sounds with this horrible accordion music being played and me trying to make something of it. He would change key half-way through some ABBA song and I was trying to work out something melodic to add – it was brutal. I now realise, or I realised soon after it was some Dada-ist project that Bob had to throw things together, completely disparate things and see what happened. It just gave me a headache. And there were some quite lovely pieces in it but it was very disturbing. It was very disturbing. In a way I think I was used as an artist – used and and abused as an artist (laughs) but it was nicely packaged like all things that Bob had his hands in. A nice carrier bag. I never met Frank – he was an accordionist who played hotel functions in the West Coast and he just did meandering run throughs of the pop charts at the time, changing key,changing tempo, morphing ABBA into Neil Diamond…and like I say I spend two days with Frank through the headphones and me trying to make something of it. So it was interesting! Everything was interesting about FAST.
Bob on FE’s Accessory record: The album was absolutely about being a perverse lifestyle accessory and the inspiration for it, I can’t answer for the band’s inspiration, but my inspiration for encouraging them to go down that route were these albums that were made…there was a company and I can’t remember the name who made most of the elevator music at the time and they very carefully analysed modularities and frequency spectrums to be calming and constrained the music in these albums to be entirely functional, so it was as it were a functional lifestyle accessory for a certain kind of wired young person. And so that was the kind of model and the point of that model was by adopting that strategy it allowed them to musically do something that they otherwise wouldn’t have done.