On the 10th of December 2004 Hulagu, the first album for the mr sterile Assembly, was released into the world. And today marks it’s tenth birthday. Who would have thought this project would still be going after this length of time?
It was a monumental first release, no clear plan or direction but an exuberant outworking of the first songs into the sterile world. It gained wheels and traveled and played. We managed to even tour eastern Europe on the back of this release, with the help of great community support here, and brilliant friends in the Czech Republic.
One abiding precious memory was arriving to play in a small cafe in Slovakia, the album had no distribution here but when we played the song Feed the Machine the whole front row started to sing along! This was a first direct experience of the beauty of peer-to-peer sharing. Somehow these people had found access to the audio files via a much younger internet and adsorbed the tune, it was magic and a great lesson in connectivity!
Massive thanks must be lain at the feet of Hilary Binder and Chris Rankin, from SABOT, then based in the arts space CESTA, Tabor, Czech Republic, for planting such an awesome seed of an adventure in our minds.
But more so, the bigger thanks need to go to the players in this early iteration of sterile: Jana Whitta, Elisa Kersley, Cara Conroy, Aaron Lloydd and Francesca Mountfort for adding their music, enthusiasm and confidence in this endeavour.
On listening to this album a few months ago, for the first time in many years, was pleasantly surprised at how much it still seemed to hold it ownt, it seems to pass a continuous personal quality and remain comfortable in the continuum of what we have gone on to make. Line-ups, instrumentation and presentations have changed greatly but essentially the song still remains the same, looking for optimisms, cracks in the accepted narrative, words from the shadows and front-lines, words of different angles, words of hopes.
Also, a huge shout out to Aidan and Rob who were the very generous and responsible hosts. They were the team who had their hands on the mics, knobs, faders, making sure what ever we did sounded as good as it good.
Finally, an ongoing thanks is towards the local animator Mike Hayes who made this lovely stop motion animation to the title track, it still holds an enduring magic!
It’s been a remarkable journey, full of silly stories, tiny adventures, and wonderful life-validating moments.
Thanks for it all!