10 May 2009

Rarities From A.C. Marias

When it's ebbing for them
it's waving for me.

Since we gave you the fantastic A.C. Marias album One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing) we have been hot on the trail of her more obscure items. Now we can offer eight tracks that trace the arc of her musical output from the very origins.

Which means Dome, the Gilbert & Lewis project that came about in 1980 as the first incarnation of Wire broke up. This is the purest art formulation of these musicians' many disguises and is perhaps best appreciated in a gallery setting. Listening to the ebb and flow of the muted sounds from CD can be a tiring experience, although there are joys as well to be found in the four albums they issued in rapid succession on their own Dome label. These have been reissued by the wonderful Mute label with titles two per CD, as Dome 1/2 and Dome 3/4 (although the last album was originally not called Dome 4 but Will You Speak This Word).

The second track on the first Dome record is "Cruel When Complete," written and sung by A.M.C., as she was then credited. All the characteristics of her later work are already in place here. We have included this as her most characteristic contribution to Dome. She cropped up again on Dome 3, which is really one extended riff and never that interesting to me. Their final album was a much superior effort. Give it a try if you think that rarified rumblings and ramblings are your kettle of eels. Just don't expect pop music or guitars.

Shortly after, in 1981, the debut A.C. Marias record was issued as DOM 45.1. Two tracks, "Drop" and "So" initiated her penchant for one word titles. Given how similar these were to her Dome contribution, it would have been reasonable to assume this was a one-off project, yet another zany outing from the Wire boyos.

The not dissimilar "The Whispered Year" found its way onto the obscure Touch cassette "Meridians 1," which I bought in 1983. Touch was in the habit of including postcards, art inserts and all sorts of intriguing design elements into their compilations, which mixed every kind of pop and art music together with phonography and enthological forgeries. These tapes are long out of print and will not be reissued, since the rights cannot be cleared. Nonetheless it is evident from the detailed history on the Touch site that they are appreciated for their place in music culture.

By this time A.C.M. was in the group P'O with Gilbert, Lewis, David Tidball and Peter Price. They issued one album, Whilst Climbing Thieves Vie For Attention, an item so obscure even I didn't own it until WMO (Wire Mail Order) re-issued the CD in 1998. Discogs has a hilarious picture of the lads. They look like a post-punk band or something.

Conway wrote and sang one track on the Bruce Gilbert album The Shivering Man, a collection of work he had done for dance (which is how the two first met, I assume). When the record was combined with This Way to form the CD This Way To The Shivering Man Mute dropped several tracks, including the now rare "Eline Cout II." With its sequenced patternings and insistent rhythm, this was a distinct move into a more palatable sound. In fact it's quite lovely, and a template for what was to follow. As a side note, Conway also provided the cover art for these Gilbert albums.

That same year, 1986, the single "Just Talk" crept out on Mute. Two years later followed "Time Was," the Canned Heat cover you already have as a bonus addition to her one and only album. Here we provide "Some Thing," a great mix of "Sometime" from the album. The production on this solo work is a distinct step up from the low-fi sounds she had previously been dealing with.

Conway's final release was the single "One Of Our Girls Has Gone Missing" which came in an alternate mix. The b-side, "Vicious," is a long and not entirely satisfying cover of the Lou Reed song (from Transformer), with David Rogers on bass and Steve Wright on guitar.

In addition to these entries in the discography, you will definitely want to buy the He Said album Hail, a phenomenal work that includes Angela Conway vocals on "Pump" and "I Fall Into Your Arms."


A.C. Marias Rarities

01 Cruel When Complete [Dome] (3:15)
02 Drop (4:33)
03 So (2:31)
04 The Whispered Year (3:41)
05 Eline Cout II [Bruce Gilbert] (4:42)
06 Some Thing (4:12)
07 One Of Our Girls Has Gone Missing [single version] (3:17)
08 Vicious (8:45)

Thanks to the various sites and sources from which we compiled together this collection.

-- Second Chameleon


  1. Thanks for this.
    Appreciate the hard work that goes into posts like this.

  2. Just recently discovered A.C. Marias. Great stuff. Thanks for the info.

  3. i used to listen to one of our girls l.p. when i went to school in honolulu..and drain all these people pools out and skateboard in them..i love this band..

  4. Great stuff, thanks a lot!

  5. Do you have the rest of "The Shivering Man"? If you do, would please post it?

  6. She is one of my heroines :) Thank you. AC Marias is an uncrowned genius (and beauty).

  7. Bless you for posting these!! "Drop" has already become one of my absolute favorites, a mere two listens later. Best, Andrea [warepdrealitymagazine.com]

  8. Great work Guys, you know stuff! Had Art of Parties on vinyl back in the day, sadly disappeared, very grateful to ya. Thanx, Woz

  9. I sincerely cannot thank you enough. I absolutely loved your post with "One of Our Girls Has Gone Missing", which absolutely spoke to the ethereal quality of the video for 'Just Talk' and the music. I have since purchased the album on vinyl. I just downloaded the rarities and cannot wait to hear it. Thank you so much for sharing these musical treasures. Could you possibly direct me to other similar music that you might recommend? [patternsofconsciousenergy@gmail.com] Thank you!!!

  10. Thanks everyone for the kind comments.

    Lynda, I don't think there is anyone quite like Angela Conway; she is special. But I do hope you've followed the threads in these articles and bought some of the related Wire project material, in particular the He Said album "Hail", mentioned in the last paragraph of this article. The CD is now a collector's item, but digital files may be found for purchase.

    You may be interested in the Virginia Astley we posted. Different vibe, but ethereal female vox included. For a more electronic but downtempo sound, I am quite partial to Mark Van Hoen's project Locust. "Morning Light" (both versions) and "Wrong" (both disks!) are excellent albums.

  11. I missed this post the first time around, but would love to hear these tracks if you're able to re-upload them! (Rapidshare is no more, alas.)