The other day as I was recording some guitar on my phone a familiar feeling struck me. As if I had been here before. Recording things. Hold on. Did we… Didn’t we have a band at one point? Didn’t we also record something?
What followed was a thorough investigation across my computers and various hard drives. Tucked away neatly within the Documents folder on my old desktop computer among the various university course assignments and past CVs, as if to guarantee I’d never find this material again, was a directory simply titled Assault Telecom. Miraculously the folder and its contents had survived two migrations from one computer to the next and at least one full system recovery from a backup. But nonetheless there it was.
The Brief History of Assault Telecom!
I have to wind the tape backwards by more than a decade all the way to the tail end of 2007. The three of us, myself and the two Jaakkos, were studying in Oulu at the time. How the idea to make some music together came about I can no longer recall. Similarly lost are the details on how we came up with the band’s name and what it meant, if it indeed did signify anything at all. But in any event we had the basic building blocks in place for a well-balanced rock trio: a singer, a guitarist and another guitarist. What more could you possibly need?
Jaakko was our vocalist, primary songwriter, programmer, keyboardist, lyricist and recording engineer. Guitar parts, ideas and miscellaneus demos were contributed by me and the other Jaakko. Judging from the resulting material we don’t seem to have defined our genre very strictly as the recordings span from straightforward rock to synth landscapes. There’s even some ukulele in there. For some of the stuff we held our own recording sessions while other things were recorded on the fly utilising the time-tested directly-to-line-in - method for superior audio resolution.
For the conceptual backstory it was absolutely essential we had alternate identities. Instead of our regular selves we were Woakes, Ivan and Capa, a move which conveniently also resolved the issue of 66.67 percent of the band being Jaakkos. There was also some business about other worlds, mysterious signals and secret directives. And XLR cables. Basically pretty much what you could expect from one engineer, two programmers and three nerds who were into science fiction.
The Lost Tapes
During the recording sessions my cats were less than one year old. Now they’re almost twelve. Which is to say in cat years our recordings are already over 60 years old. Releasing the songs over a human decade after their creation totally has nothing to do with my chronic tendency for procrastination.
While we never did technically disband, at some point other things came in the way and the project was forgotten. Looking back at the recordings now there is still a lot I like. From the various samples used across the songs, the unrelenting Terminator-ish drumbeat interlude in Cyberspace Cowboy, the Amiga speech synthesizer of Sound of a Dying System, the entirety of the ukulele-led instrumental track to the climactic industrial metal outro of After Life Lost. But mostly I just feel a certain sense of accomplishment. We created something out of nothing and it certainly does not sound like anything else out there.
If you’re so inclined, here’s the newly discovered tapes, or in other words our most complete demos.