After three experimental albums as Dome, former Wire members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis found themselves contemplating the empty space of the Waterloo Gallery. The Gallery had been used for their exhibition with Russell Mills, but now stood vacant and beckoning.
Together with drummer Peter Price, they began to entertain the idea of a band to fill the space, one that might bring together the spoken word and sound collage techniques they had grown increasingly interested in. Among the group of artists with whom they shared this beckoning space was David Tidball, who contributed words and ideas, and Alison Conway, better known as A.C. Marias, joining in on bass, guitar, and additional vocals.
The early rehearsals were promising, and the group began to plan live dates, but these plans were cut short with Tidball's announcement that he was emigrating to South America. Lest the sound be forever lost, they booked time at Blackwing Studios, that favourite haunt of 4AD-types, and set about recording as much of their set as they had worked out, trusting the results to producer Eric Radcliffe. A new dimension was added to the proceedings with the addition of a Fairlight CMI, the first polyphonic synthesizer to employ digital sampling technology to generate musical tones and textures. One could record any audio source, from a radiator hiss to someone moaning ~oh yeah~, and play it back as a melody, or build monstrous chords, layering note on note. Other bands, perhaps most notably those on the ZZT label, would soon employ the Fairlight to humorous effect, using pistol shots as percussion elements, or turning a single voice into a heavenly choir, but it was arguably the P'o consortium that first truly explored its full musical potential, stretching its sampling engine in all manner of unforeseen ways, "knitting with music," as Gilbert called it.
The resulting album, first released on Court Records in 1983, has grown in status over the years, becoming something of a holy grail for many Wire aficionados. Here we present the out of print and now nearly impossible to find cd version, in answer to an earlier request. It includes the full version of "I Will," which had been severely truncated for the vinyl release, plus four alternate mixes.
-- Crash The Driver
P'o - Whilst Climbing Thieves Vie For Attention
01 Time and Time
02 Back to Back
03 Holy Joe
06 Only One I
07 Today's Version
08 I Will
10 Blind Tim
11 Crystal Streams
12 Zinc Lasso (Noose)
13 Back to Back (Alternate Mix)
14 Vanite (Alternate Mix)
15 Today's Version (Alternate Mix)
16 Mhona (Alternate Mix)
UK CD WMO [11CD] 1998