You know the old London bus joke: you wait for 27 years and then two come along at the same time…
What on earth is going on?
In 1996 Emperos New Clothes (ENC) began a series of recordings for what was supposed to be our third studio album. Some were carried out at Acid Jazz’s studio in Denmark St. The rest took place over a two week period at “The Chapel” residential studios in Lincolnshire.
The project became derailed, largely due to a dispute between Trevor Jackson and Acid Jazz. Nothing was released.
Fast forward twenty-seven years and Acid Jazz finally put out a digital release called “Sleepjunk” in June 2023.
Trevor Jackson has now come out on social media and in an interview for Resident Advisor condemning the release, claiming that he has the authentic record and that it’s called “Surreal Estate”.
Trevor is portraying “Sleepjunk” as a cynical release put out by an uncaring “spiteful” record company.
But the problem with his narrative is that the person behind “Sleepjunk” is me.
And who am I?
I co-founded the band along with Luke Hannam in the late 80’s, and became the last remaining member of ENC when he left to form “Gramme” in the wake the recordings.
I wrote and created a substantial proportion of the album.
Acid Jazz would never have put “Sleepjunk” out without my involvement. It’s the album I had been working on since long before Trevor Jackson got involved. Particularly the idea of enveloping the music in an electro-acoustic sound-world. I had created this sound-world in my flat long before and it completely permeates the music.
Anyone interested in how this worked can read my description HERE.
ENC wasn’t a boy band in need of a producer to come in and create the whole thing. We had already done that. Luke and I had been working on the eclectic stew that defined ENC for ten years at that point, moving through multiple line-ups in the process.
What we needed was help in recording our ideas from someone with skills in achieving a contemporary sound with the beats. This Trevor Jackson did.
But the bigger idea had always been to create a continuous album with multiple ideas edited together to form a whole. Trevor Jackson had no involvement in this, because as far as I was concerned, he was there in a technical capacity and had nothing to do with the actual creation of the music. Also, he had no interest beyond his own agenda.
It’s worth pointing out that the previous two ENC studio albums had been edited and sequenced by me, with no objections from anyone. In fact Luke had no interest, as it was a boring technical job.
When I got the go-ahead from Acid Jazz to finish the album, I went back to the original materials which I had assembled at the time for this purpose. I spent two months editing it all together for a double-album vinyl release.
ENC Sleepjunk Master Tapes
“Sleepjunk” is that album, and Acid Jazz gave me total artistic freedom to make it.
“Surreal Estate”, on the other hand, is a half-baked attempt at putting out some of the material, being merely a bunch of unedited tracks taken from an unfinished album project. It entirely misses the point.
The lack of imagination behind it is clearly exemplified by the use of working titles:
- “Dub Tune” —-> real name “Space Junk” + “Toxic Waste” ,
- “Train Piece” —-> real name “Heading Out (Past Mendota Tower)” ,
- “Guitar Cornet” —-> real name “Double Helix“,
- “Tarang” —-> real name “Swamp Fever“,
- “Gamelan Melodica” —-> real name “Spirit Catcher“.
The shoddy nature of the enterprise is obvious in the incomplete credit list which Trevor Jackson published on Instagram along with his LP sleeve art. The great singer Sussan Deyhim is not credited at all despite providing two very powerful performances. I at least get a credit for “brass and loops” but NOT for samples, tapes, Fender Rhodes, Moog, zithers, bells, melodica, megaphone vocals or tarang…
To see the full and accurate credits, click HERE.
Trevor Jackson has been promoting “Surreal Estate” as his “finest work, merging live musicians and primitive samplers” since at least 2019, WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT.
Funny how Trevor Jackson’s “finest work” consists of music he didn’t write, loops and samples he didn’t make, and contains material recorded when he wasn’t even there.
He claims to have been involved in “lengthy writing sessions”, again giving the false impression that he was deeply involved in the music’s creation.
At no point has he ever even mentioned my name.
All this is a false narrative, intended to give the impression that the music is somehow his work and property.
I refute his claims categorically. Sleepjunk is the real deal.
But rather than get bogged down in the arguments, I’d invite you to just listen to Sleepjunk and make up your own mind…