Scraps of Songs and Things

Much of our time is spent writing and recording songs, and messing around with ideas.
Most of them will get forgotten about or put to one side for a rainy day.

We record onto tape in the same way a visual artist might use a sketchbook, as a kind of scribbling pad for sound. It's a good way for us to explore the possibilities of whatever it is we might be working on at the time, as well as being the most immediate way for us to document our ideas.

Here is a compilation of ten digestible scraps from our archive.

They are songs that have been made up of segments extracted from hours of footage that we've never used.

We have tried to uncover the potential of the raw material rather than develop the ideas with an intended conclusion in mind.
Hopefully they will be enjoyable to listen to as well as being interesting objects.

The songs are available to download for free. There is a suggested track listing but we encourage you to do with them as you wish.
Feel free to burn them onto disc or share them with your friends.

Thanks for listening.

Space Station
Play Song

This came about during a jam using the space-station, basically a 4-track cassette recorder linked up to one or two old reel-to-reels that we use for looping and making lots of feedback with tape echo. It was recorded live, and this is the only part we caught on tape. There's a tape-looped guitar as well as a live guitar and also the Hammond Sounder making the other noises. Later we realised that the looped guitar sounded rather bell-like so when we were compiling the tracks we felt this one deserved a chiming introduction made from the original tape-loop. Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Icicles Burned
Play Song

This is us rehearsing the melody to a song we had recently written, but hadn't yet worked on any lyrics.
We record this kind of thing for reference mainly. Here are the ideas for the verse and chorus pasted together.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Pop Instrumental
Play Song

Mike recorded this track by track as a sketch for a now discarded song. It's the oldest idea here.
We've condensed it down by stringing together short extracts from different sections of the song.
It originally had vocals but it's much nicer as an instrumental of just drums, bass and guitar.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Big Long Jam
Play Song

We recorded this to test out our new but old tape machine. Instead of utilising all eight tracks this was recorded live with just two, with a microphone in the room and a live feed from the 4-track mixer.
After having plugged everything we could into the space-station, we had a couple of runs of the basic idea and just went for it, improvising mainly and ending up with a sprawling 12 minute epic.
The Hammond Sounder features heavily and the rattlesnake sounding noise is a tape-loop feeding back on itself, which also gives the echo effect. In this edit we have kept the most cohesive bits and stuck them together in the sequence they were originally played.
Recorded with an 8-track reel-to-reel onto half inch tape.

Speak No Words
Play Song

An aborted experiment in orchestrating what started off as more of a finger-picked folk song. We recorded two tracks at a time and built up the track that way. More intended as a way for us to work out ideas for parts against each other than capture a moment or anything.
The recording was really slap dash, and it was really hard to pick a section that got underneath the skin of the idea. Instead we decided to cut it into smaller pieces and loop the segments as the whole song is based on variations of the same repetitive drone guitar part.
Recorded with an 8-track reel-to-reel onto half inch tape.

Play Song

We chose this particular section of a recording because we thought it captured the kind of stream of consciousness that happens when a song is trying to find its way out. The vocals and main guitar part were played live and the other guitar was overdubbed at the time as an afterthought.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Clear and Defined
Play Song

This track has been made up of small segments from a song that was recorded as demo with just a vocal and guitar. Lyrically it was quite lengthy and this experiment was to put the words under a microscope by honing in on just a few phrases. The blowing bottles sound came from loads of noises Paul recorded for a film soundtrack which were never used. In discovering they were in the same key as the song it seemed fitting we should include them, and used them to accompany the guitar part.
Recorded digitally using a computer.

Fender Accoustic
Play Song

Another case of an idea totally transforming during development, this is so-called because it originally existed as soft song that was played on an acoustic guitar. This recording came about as an evolution to that chord sequence during a jam with electric guitar, the Hammond Sounder and the space-station. Unfortunately the original part isn't included here as we only started recording when we realised we might be onto something, which is why it begins so abruptly. The section here was the best moment.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Play Song

A discarded song that had choruses, verses and vocals. On rediscovering the recording we were drawn to the guitar sound more than the actual song so we've tried to deconstruct the sequence so the emphasis is on the sound alone rather than on the structural elements of the writing. We've included the two guitar parts for the entire length of the song but cut and pasted them together at random.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette.

Work it Out
Play Song

We recorded this a few times in different ways, and here we've pasted four sections from two versions together in their different stages of development. Both were live recordings with just a keyboard or piano, guitar and vocals. The ideas are in the original sequence and are segments of the intro, verse, chorus and the ending. Made on two different tape machines, the joined sections change pitch slightly because of the slight difference in tape speed. It begins with a knocking guitar motif, aided by a handy glitch in the tape that sounds like a record scratch, which we have looped simply because we like it.
Recorded onto 4-track cassette and a quarter inch reel-to-reel rescued from a skip.

Space Station mp3
Icicles Burned mp3
Pop Instrumental mp3
Big Long Jam mp3
Speak No Words mp3
Rhumba mp3
Clear and Defined mp3
Fender Acoustic mp3
KKK mp3
Work It Out mp3

CD sleeve pdf

The scraps of songs can be downloaded as CD quality mp3s.
The pdf is a printable CD sleeve that can be folded from a single sheet of A4 paper with no cutting or gluing. Origami CD case was invented by Thomas Hull, who kindly gave us permission to use his design. ©Thomas Hull 2000 The cover design includes ready made guides for folding but for instructions on how to fold the sleeve correctly, visit:

Recordings copyleft 2006 Mike Collins and Paul Rains.
Please feel free to distribute, duplicate or transform these recordings. For more information on the free art license, visit:

For more on music made by Mike and Paul visit: