The Tune The Old Cow Died Of

Gagarin Records ‎/ GR2012 LP (2005)

Vernon & Burns debut album proper on Felix Kubin’s Gagarin Records. Limited edition of 350 copies. Screen printed cover designed by MIK.thesign – Polish handcraft in disharmonic order.

“With its modernistic abstract sleeve design that looks like a computer printer malfunctioning, this one certainly comes across as a bit of an oddity, but turns out to be a good example of well-crafted tape-work and sound art. Vernon and Burns are a team based in Glasgow, and both of them have been involved in radio work. (Also it seems that they perform as Boy Band Tax Returns, whatever sort of project that may be). Here they use spliced tapes, documentary recordings, found materials and allsorts, and quietly assemble a very charming and beguiling set of pieces.

What really gives them the edge over so many records of this ilk is that V & B have a great sense of humour and fun. This record shows it is possible to work in the cut-up mode without needing to resort to obscene jokes or infantile frat-boy humour. Since I’ve heard so many records recently spewed forth from the USA shock-jock mentality of Broken Penis Orchestra and others of a similar adolescent mentality, its extremely refreshing to find something so much more subtle and informed by a dry wit. Vernon and Burns are not trying to be ‘shocking’ or ‘ironic’, even when they use childrens’ records or old educational tapes from forgotten sources. They have some great sounds, strong ideas about juxtaposition, and use them in a very winning way. At times it may come across as the work of two BBC staffers having a bit of fun with tapes from the radio archive, but then perhaps that’s very close to what it is. Their unassuming stance grows on you, keeps you listening. Whilst not setting themselves up as ‘proper’ experimenters along the order of Luc Ferrari or Bernard Parmegiani, this duo can often be more bold or daring than any establishment electro-acoustic musician.”

(Ed Pinsent, Sound Projector)