VOD115.11 Mystery Plane "Curse of the Bodysnatchers" Tape-Recordings 1980-86 LP

Gerald O'Connell and Mark Harvey began recording as Mystery Plane in 1980, although they had worked together since 1978 in two other more conventional five-piece bands ( The End and 3D5). The very early stuff ( for instance Death Sentence contained on the bonus 7" for members) was recorded in Gerald's living room on a two-track Akai reel-to-reel with a primitive internal overdub facility. For the most part Mark wrote and sang the songs, while Gerald created the backing tracks. In 1981 they were augmented by Gerald's wife Catherine O'Connell, who played keyboards and added backing vocals. Nigel Lackey (of whom more later) provided some percussion, and Gary Gipps (later Gary Ramon), who was a mere 17 at the time, added some guitar towards the end of this phase, which came to an end in early 1982 when Gerald and Catherine left to form Lives Of Angels. Much of the best stuff from this early period is contained on the 'Punishment Block' cassette, which Gary released on his Colortapes label.

The second phase came about in 1983 when Mark Harvey joined forces with Nigel and Gary, and in the summer of that year they committed to tape a number of live sessions which formed the basis for 'The Dead Presley Tapes'. Bass parts were programmed into a synth, Nigel played drums, Gary played guitar, and I sang 'guide' vocals over the top. Some of these live vocals made it onto the final cut (i.e. Zero Curse Missile) while Mark overdubbed some others at home later on. They hooked up two Akai reel-to-reels to carry out the final mixing and editing. The material on the 'Hellhouse' cassette, which Gary put together by himself later on, consists of material from the same sessions, with some additional overdubs (mostly bass guitar and 'spooky' effects) from Gary himself.

The third phase was largely just Nigel and Mark, recorded at his flat in Homerton, east London, between 1984 and 1986. Nigel was also playing with another band, Timothy London and The Soho Sisters (later to become Soho), at this time. From the primitive reel-to-reels of earlier days they had moved on to the relative luxury of a Fostex 6-track cassette machine with integrated mixing-desk, much-improved synth/sampling/percussion facilities, and even an MC-202 micro-composer, which Mark remembers using to produce 'Vampires' from this album's tracklist. Mark wrote the songs and sang, Nigel was responsible for percussion/programming and production, and both played some guitar. Much of the best stuff from this period can be found on the 'Fractured' and 'Snakebite' cassettes which were issued on Colortapes in 1985 and 1988 respectively.
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