Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report (Australian 2 × Cassette Magazine Compilation, December 1981)

This snappily packaged little item was attached to the wall of the wonderful 1-UP Records back in the days of their shop on Rosemount Viaduct for a long, long while. I would hardly dare guess quite how long it was sellotaped up on the wall (which hasn’t done the soft vinyl pack too much good), but it seemed to be up there forever. I can’t recall how it came to be that I decided to investigate it further, but at some point I think I became aware of the presence of Kraftwerk and The Cure in particular on it. And when it became clear that these were exclusive items, well, it was time to buy.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - pack front

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – pack front

And what a wonderful item it was – quite apart from the musical offerings, such joy at the design. It’s the only copy I ever saw, but the wonders of Discogs.com reveal that this was not some one-off of snazzy design but just one of a small but perfectly formed run of similarly packaged cassette compilations from the Fast Forward team that mixed local talent along with international names.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - pack rear

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – pack rear

What appears unique for this cassette is the double nature of it. Twice as nice. As mentioned, there are exclusives from Kraftwerk and The Cure for starters, which was obviously the lure for my teenaged self. An interview with Ralf Hütter while Kraftwerk were in town for the Australian leg of the 1981 ‘Computer World’ tour. Ralf even obliged with a non-mannequin photo for inclusion in the booklet portion – what a result, rare as hens teeth even then! The booklet even printed the (not quite correct) address for Kling Kling studio for good measure.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - pack inner

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – pack inner

For The Cure, as well as an interview from August 1981, again while The Cure were touring ‘Faith’ across Australia and New Zealand, the cassette also included an exclusive ‘live’ demo recording of ‘One Hundred Years’, recorded December 1981 at Pipbrook Mill, Dorking, Surrey. The lyric gets a page all of its own in the booklet too. This is a wonderful version, built upon a somewhat more primitive drum machine chassis and gorgeously swirling Roland RS-09 synthetic strings than the eventual harder edged, more claustrophobic version found on ‘Pornography’. The John Peel BBC Radio 1 Version from late 1981 was quite similar too. That has yet to see official light of day on a release, but the demo version here was later included on the bonus disc of 2005’s deluxe CD edition remaster of ‘Pornography’.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet front cover

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet front cover

Amongst the home-grown acts of interest to be found on the cassettes are Machinations, again with interview and track. Like The Cure, their reliance on drum machine as opposed to drums caught my ear on first hearing, with their track, ‘Terminal Wharf’.

There’s an early outing for Dead Can Dance too, who would obviously go on to greater things by way of 4AD, with an another effected rhythm box delight demo version of ‘Fatal Impact’, which would open their self-titled debut album not long past two years hence from this release.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 1

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 1

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 2

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 2

Amongst the oddities are some wonderful Casiotone-driven DIY synth tracks courtesy of Alan Underhill. The booklet provides some details of some proto-circuit bending that could be applied to Casio MT-10 and MT-30 keyboards to add additional sounds, modification to octave ranges and so on, and documented in a ‘technical bulletin’ that had been printed and was available by mail order. (The tracks recorded by Alan Underhill made use of a modified Casiotone MT-201.)

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 3

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 3

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 4

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 4

The cassette ends with a short extract from the infamous May 1981 gig at The Ritz, New York, by Public Image Ltd. Short and chaotic, Lydon in audience baiting mode, rising to threats of destruction, boasting emptily of their power to do so – goodness knows what he was on. It was big news in the music mags of the time that gig, enjoyably vicarious reading.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 5

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 5

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 6

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 6

The cassette magazine was produced by two individuals, Bruce Milne and Andrew Maine, alongside designer Michael Trudgeon and collectively they seemed to have good taste not only in how they packaged these productions but what they were able to curate, with many an exclusive to be found.

Fast Forward ran to 13 issues between November 1980 and October 1982. It appears that early editions made use of surplus to requirements, unsold cassette releases, bulk erased and with new labels stuck over the reused pre-recorded cassettes.

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 7

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 7 – The Cure ‘One Hundred Years’ lyric page (right).

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 8

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 8

Incredibly, copies in the magazine have been digitised and are available online for your aural and visual pleasure.

Peruse at your leisure the entire, lovingly scanned and digitised Fast Forward cassettes in all their glory, now hosted by Spill music, and read about the wonderful history of both the magazine and the efforts involved in digitising them (by the no doubt patient and inventive Steve).

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 9

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 9

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 10

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 10

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 11

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 11

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 12

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 12

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 13

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 13

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 14 - Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter interviewed

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 14 – Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter interviewed

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 14 - Kraftwerk's Ralf Hutter interviewed (detail)

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 14 – Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter interviewed (detail)

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet spread 15

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet spread 15

Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine - booklet rear cover

^ Fast Forward 008/009: Annual Report cassette magazine – booklet rear cover

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