The Dreaming Press

by

the wolfgang press

I had some amazingly vivid dreams last night. I don’t think that’s odd but what is odd is that I can remember some of them this morning. That doesn’t usually happen. It was a strange concoction, some of it quite emotional. There were alien invasions to be fought off. Claustraphobia on an overpacked bus. Dramatic reunions with loved ones thought lost. Dog heroics. Like Steven Spielberg and Edgar Wright got high together and plotted some Saturday afternoon serials.

One dream, however, stood out from the rest. It’s something that is a recurring theme for me in slumbertime theatre. When I find some long lost release from on of my favorite bands that I didn’t know existed, unearthing an entire album of rare, hiddens musical gems. This one was good.

I dig out my vinyl copy of The Wolfgang Press’ Standing Up Straight to give it a listen. I do actually own a large portion of 4AD’s entire mid eighties catalogue on vinyl. Vaughan Oliver and 23 Envelope’s design work on those covers, as well as the astonishing collection of music the label was producing at the time, made so much of it essential to own on that large format. Some of the artwork is so stunning and perfect I have it framed on my walls as decor. Anyway, in the dream, I put on side B of Standing and the low tones of “I Am The Crime” begin.

Only that’s not what I hear. It quickly transitions into some dramatic, ominous spoken word thing from Michael Allen, recorded live at some obscure darkened theatre. Intense, foreboding and emotional. Allen is angry and has something to say. I look at the album again and realize that this copy of the album I bought is actually a rare collection of songs from that era, like a limited release from 4AD at the time (1986 or so). I am overjoyed to discover this, fascinated. The side I’m listening to has spoken word performance art from Allen and the band, accompanying him with minimalist atmospherics. The other is demos and alternate mixes and a few outright unreleased recordings from the Standing Up Straight sessions. I’m blown away and fall into a delerium of mid eighties post-punk bliss.

I wish I could remember the song titles or the words of that first poem. They were really bizarre and seemingly profound. My memory is not that detailed. The feeling of it, however, is wonderful and it’s one I’ve experienced many, many times in dreams. Finding an undiscovered treasure from the 4AD catalogue in a used record store. Hearing over the speakers an entire album of Cocteau Twins songs unearthed from 1985 or something. I always wake up wanting it to be true so badly it hurts.

Time to break out some vinyl, I think.

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