Ludovico Treatment

by Walls Of Genius

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The title is a reference to the Ludovico Technique, a treatment for anti-social behavior in Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange. Per Wikipedia, “the technique is a form of aversion therapy in which Alex receives an injection that makes him feel sick while watching graphically violent films, eventually conditioning him to suffer crippling bouts of nausea at the mere thought of violence. As an unintended consequence, the soundtrack to one of the films — Beethoven's Ninth Symphony — renders Alex unable to listen to his beloved classical music.” You may recall that Burgess’ novel was the basis for an incredible Stanley Kubrick film version, which is one of my favorite movies on the all-time list. I remember taking my girlfriend in college (Donna Devanny) to see A Clockwork Orange at the University of Virginia repertory cinema and she was ready to walk out after the opening scene. I had to explain to her that it was only a movie, what we were seeing were only actors, nobody was actually getting raped or murdered, and that the scene was being used to set you up to be thoroughly disgusted by the protagonist. Obviously, it was very effective. So using this as the title of our release was a joke, an insinuation that listening to Ludovico Treatment would “cure” you.

In March 1984, when “Lingering Household Odours” was constructed, we had already been participating in and recording what Architects’ Office founder Joel Haertling described as “aleatoric” musical experiments. Via this experience, plus observing the direction of the great majority of underground music-makers in the scene (call it “Cassette Culture” or “do-it-yourself”), we decided to pursue some so-called serious efforts at sound-collage and industrial music ourselves. This was because we were interested in it and we also wanted to earn more respect for what we did within the scene. We thought our maniacal stuff had an intellectual quotient, but most people didn’t understand that that was the case. So we took this 90-degre turn with our efforts and Ludovico Treatment became a vehicle for tape collage, industrial music and musique-concrète. The roots of it existed already, but with this one we really took off in that direction. It garnered numerous positive reviews, but was mostly overlooked at the time of release since it was so unlike most of our other, more well-known, music. We actually sold eight copies of it, traded about 24.

Although the cover says “Walls of Genius Presents: Ludovico Treatment”, Ludovico Treatment is not the name of the band. We were now Walls Of Genius and would employ no more multiple band names from this point forward.

I had now come up with a way to make nice cassette covers out of folded j-card inserts. For this release, I used Letraset lettering to make a very spare cover with the words “Walls Of Genius Presents: Ludovico Treatment” and “Music To Cure Your Ills”. Letraset lettering was something known to graphic artists and architects. Since my father was an architect and I had worked for him one summer, I knew about Letraset lettering. You got sheets of letters and, one-by-one, you could “rub” the letters on to another sheet of paper. It was time intensive, but in pre-computer days, it was the only way I knew of to get such nice fonts. The actual cassette had spray-painted labels and the name “Walls Of Genius” stamped on it, as well as a stamp indicating “Ludovico Treatment” and sides “A” and “B”. The notes on the back were made with a type-writer and reduced via a xerographic photocopy machine. I had already been spray painting sheets of cassette labels to make the tapes look more appealing.

We thanked Helen Broderick and Anna Doucette for taped material on “Lingering Household Odours”. I don’t remember who Anna was, perhaps Helen’s baby. Helen allowed me to tape the sounds of the living room at her home and that’s her baby that is crying out occasionally on the piece. We thanked Claude Martz and Rick Corrigan also, “without whose generosity and cooperation (the piece) would never have been constructed”. I used Rick Corrigan’s synthesizer, which was at Claude Martz’s house, for several of the organ-sounding passages that come and go during “Lingering Household Odours”. Both were people we had met via our participation in Architects’ Office.

Jane Carpenter was a KGNU-radio connected person who ran a machine shop in Superior, Colorado, just outside of Boulder. She allowed me to record her machines, tapes of which appeared in “Lingering Household Odours”, and then, later, we created musique-concrète in her machine shop for the track “Jane’s Garage”.


released March 1, 1984



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Walls Of Genius

Fried psychedelia, relentless experimentation, hunter-gatherer improv, space rock doom, heavy rock monumentalism and daffy cover tunes. Walls of Genius rips holes in the fabric of space and time, kicks you in the ass and leaves you smiling. 80s stalwarts of the cassette culture, they're back in the 21st century. The most unique band that ever was. Really! ... more

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