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The Party's Over

The Party's Over - Tissue Sample (cassette)

Tissue Sample (cassette)
Some - 1981

Michael Panontin
The seeds of what would become Canada's most overtly industrial band started to germinate just as the seventies segued into the eighties. "In 1980 I met some kindred spirits by putting an ad at Records on Wheels (or maybe I answered an ad - I forget)," recalls lead synth player Scott Kerr in Nick Smash's Alone and Gone. "Within a few months the Party's Over had formed, with Eric Fitz, Sean Leaning, Anita Smith (who later joined Fifth Column) and Bruce Wright."

Toronto at the time had long shed its punk rock baggage and by 1980 there was already a sizeable contingent firmly entrenched in the post-punk aesthetic of gritty experimentation. Off-the-grid bands like the Party's Over, whose grating and trippy electronics can best be described as a chance meeting on a dissecting table of Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, would have been met with some intrigue if not overt enthusiasm.

For Kerr, though, those days were as much an intellectual awakening as a musical one. "Each week we were jamming at Eric's house to crazy beats I made on cassettes with guitar pedals and my parents' Hammond organ's drum machine," he remembered. "We were more industrial than electronic, looping sounds of machines on a reel-to-reel my parents bought in the early seventies. Eric introduced me to anarchism, Anita to queer culture and Bruce to the world of art school aesthetics. Sean had no wave leanings, which added a whole new dimension to my understanding of what aggressive things you could do with a Farfisa."

The Party's Over issued the Tissue Sample cassette the following year on Kerr's own short-lived Some label, which was also responsible for the swell Urban Scorch compilation (a tape that managed to include a few newer Party's Over tracks). Tissue Sample was a challenging listen to say the least, but it also gave Toronto a taste of the industrial culture that had been developing across the pond since at least the mid-seventies. The rudimentary scratchings on a track like 'Action Seeks Violence', for instance, wouldn't sound out of place on the Cab's ominous Voice of America set from the previous year. 'Ken' is even more explicitly industrial, with a headache-inducing blast of machinelike cacophony that would have done Genesis P. Orridge proud. This is certainly not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

And so it should hardly come as a surprise that the Party's Over were not very long for this world. Kerr of course would surface a few years later (under the pseudonym Sri) in those perennial noisemakers Violence and the Sacred. Then, after sitting out much of the rave-fuelled nineties, he re-emerged "from the drainage of a Toronto bathhouse in the spring of 2003" to form those fun-loving queercore enthusiasts Kids on TV.

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