Signmaker (1991)

Signmaker by Dark Company.

Signmaker is the first album by Dark Company. These are the first songs that Dark Company recorded at Silent Running Studios, Exeter, in 1991.

The original Signmaker album was released on cassette only, and only the first seven tracks appeared. Soon after, the album was reissued with the Eastenders Remix of Crash and the demo of The Joker.

When Signmaker was again reissued in 2000, all the other bonus tracks were added along with all new artwork and a CD release. The bonus tracks are mostly remixes, rehashings and rare studio out-takes that involved a fair amount of myrth.

In 2010 we remastered the whole Signmaker album, including the bonus tracks, and it is now available as a CD or to download.

Dark Company was founded in the summer of 1991 by George Davies and Pete Greatorex. They had already worked together in the band Alien Heat and had a lot of love and respect for each other’s skills. The Signmaker period was one where Dark Company grew to a nine-piece and then shrank again to just three, leading the band to reinvent themselves for their second incarnation, which began with the album subsequent to Signmaker, Rage in Heaven.

Besides George (guitar, bass, keys, programming, production) and Pete (words, voices and harmonica), the band added further talent to their lineup. Initially these musicians were Rowena Parsons (tenor saxophone, flute), Sammi Lock (flute) and Jeff Willmot (bass, keys, programming, soprano saxophone).

Soon after, Ben Ballard on drums joined for a short while. You can hear him on the demo of The Joker, but he didn’t stay long and various other drummers came and went. In the meantime, the band continued to use George’s old Boss DR220A drum machine.

Don Wills added some rather classy jazz rhythm guitar to the ensemble. His friend Simon Malpas came along too and attempted to play trumpet, but he was so bad that the band didn’t pursue that for very long. You can hear a little of Simon in the background of the demo of The Joker, and both Don and Simon in the laughter version of Blue House. Said laughter was instigated by some profoundly atrocious hootage produced by Simon, which reduced the entire band to giggles and hysteria.

Craig Milverton also joined Dark Company on keys briefly, but he was already too busy with an assortment of jazz projects and didn’t fancy Dark Company very much.

By the spring of 1992 Dark Company had taken a new and more digital direction and the band had shrunk down to a hardcore unit of Pete, Jeff and George.

01 Killer
02 Astrologer
03 Second Sight
04 Animal House
05 Armed & Dangerous
06 Future Sadness Past
07 Crash
08 Killer (Digital RMX)
09 Astrologer (Kiddies’ TV from Hell RMX)
10 Armed & Dangerous (Digital RMX)
11 Armed & Dubwise
12 Crash (Eastenders RMX)
13 Dangerous Dub
14 The Joker (demo)
15 Blue House (laughter version)
16 Killer (classic blort)