Position Normal's debut album Stop Your Nonsense was released in 1999 on Mind Horizon Recordings, on CD and 45 rpm yellow vinyl. On the sleeve is a colourfully framed black and white photo of a young boy absorbed in playing with his toy cars. You can listen to bits from all the tracks at http://www.mindhorizon.com/positionnormal/
The songs on it are mostly made up of samples, but not in the hiphop/dance music sense. Perhaps 'found sound' is a more appropriate term. From old crackly records and warped tapes that nobody wants anymore, the duo takes lots of weird, typically English-sounding voices, from cheeky kiddies to dirty old men, and samples like a waddling tuba and a jazzy vibraphone, then add some of their own trippy guitar and fucked-up percussion. They then surround everything in a dreamy haze, conjured up simply but effectively with reverb, filtering and speed effects.
Words like 'ditties' or 'shanties' would describe these pieces well, but they have a weird psychedelic quality that these words can't do justice to. There's also a sense of humour pervading the whole album that could be described as both 'childlike' and 'stoned'. Listening to it is enough to put you in a mood approaching either or both of these states. Take 'The Blank', on which a game-show host repeats "What is THE BLANK?!" over and over again, but somehow gets funnier each time. On 'Heavy', the childishness hiding in punk-rock is revealed when young men's noisy guitars come up against little boys' recorders. Wonderfully trippy effects are produced in 'Bucket Wipe' and 'Jimmy Had Jane' with reverb and filtering on guitar and whistling. Stop Your Nonsense is interesting as an alternative to Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children as an album about childhood and trippy feelings of nostalgia.
Stop Your Nonsense was praised by critics like Simon Reynolds, who found its take on Englishness refreshing after the irritating laddish Cool Britannia of Britpop, and saw it as reminiscent of D.I.Y. experimental records of the post-punk days like Alternative TV's Vibing Up the Senile Man. However, not surprisingly for such a weird one-of-a-kind, it remains an obscurity.
2. The Blank
3. Jimmy Had Jane*
7. Bucket Wipe (included on the Human Traffic soundtrack)
8. Nostrils and Eyes
9. Pepay Pepememimo
11. Light Bulbs
12. Hop Sa Sa
13. Unda da Sea
14. Only on da Water
15. Bedside Manners*
All songs written by Chris Bailiff except those marked with an asterisk, which are written by Chris Bailiff and John Cushway.