David Prescott :: The Nightcrawlers
Anthology Recordings recently touched base with musician David Prescott who operated alongside The Nightcrawlers in the 1980s ambient electronic music scene. Prescott also helped co-found the experimental electronic label Generations Unlimited, which distributed The Nightcrawlers’ releases while they were in print. Here’s what he had to say about their music:
The Nightcrawlers were great. Let’s go back to the mid-1980s….
Somewhere around 1981, synthesizers started to come down in price a bit. The Moog Prodigy was the best-selling synth that year and more semi-pro people seemed to be adding them to their work. Distribution was getting a bit better, and so artists like Cluster, Brian Eno, and Klaus Schulze were getting easier to find. I kid you not, as a young tween/teen, I used to ride my bike 26 miles round trip to Sam Goody’s to get “Jem Imports”, releases by the likes of Tangerine Dream and the like. It wasn’t just college stations… even stations like WNEW in New York would play these guys after about 10PM.
Then sometime around 1983 or 1984 Tascam and others started making cheap 4-track cassette recorders and the real boom in home-made music took off.
All of a sudden cassette artists were everywhere. If there was one big peak year it would have been 1986. Folks like me were able to find lots of used synthesizers via various means and make music of varying quality
The funny thing is that most people seemed content to make various kinds of sound collage things distantly reminiscent of the mail-art and samizdat movements elsewhere. There was lots of great noisy stuff as well as bands trying to get started with bedroom studios. There were some really great artists out there whose music wouldn’t fit anywhere else (Zan Hoffman and Agog are classic examples) and of course — just as today — there were some less-interesting offerings.
What made The Nightcrawlers different for me was the sheer fact that they were willing to follow in the long-abandoned footsteps of those that came before them. When so many others were making noisy tapes, these guys were truly following a trance muse. And if you met them, they were the least pretentious people in the world. In fact, they showed up to one gig in plaid flannel shirts and kind of gave these half smiles to all the other musicians on the bill. At the time, one might have expected they would show up with European-looking scarves, big hair, and German-sounding hyphenated last names, but no…. Instead we got unassuming south Jersey boys bent over their keyboards and producing masterful music that unfolded so slowly that some in the audience would laugh because they simply didn’t know what to make of it. Only Dave Lunt was actually visible for the most part.
The Nightcralwers – The Biophonic Boombox Recordings
2xLP / 2xCD / DIG