Cander (1985)

Cander by Laughing Sun.

Cander is the name of the earliest surviving recording of Laughing Sun. Cander is a Wud Dictionary term, meaning ‘a meeting of friends after a long time apart’.

This EP is from a bootleg cassette recorded nearly 40 years ago. The cassette machine was placed to hopefully capture as much of the sound as possible, whilst being in a convenient spot to turn on and off.

Although we have managed a massive improvement to the quality of the audio, there remains a certain amount of hiss and rumble and ambient noise. Traffic can just about be heard passing by on the main road outside from time to time. There are various shufflings of feet and papers, clickings of effects pedals and machines, and so on. It’s a very genuine recording, and we love it for what it is.

The audio quality was never going to match today’s squeaky-clean digital standards due to the nature of the source material. As such, we have come to embrace the remaining hiss and rumble. They are a crucial part of the organic atmospherics that contribute to making this EP such a special listening experience.

Five of the six songs on Cander were recorded on 4th September 1985, with the final track, Indian Summer, being played a week later on the 11th. It was such a wonderful version with beautiful interplay between Ken’s delightful improvised scat singing and Pok’s guitar solo that we felt it needed to be included, especially as it is the piece that concludes the cassette.

The first five songs were recorded after a Wud rehearsal had finished. The songs I Know I Know You (by Mark Drower), Frog and Change had been recorded during the Wud session. Wud was clearly falling to pieces as the personality clash between Ken and George was growing ever more acrimonious. The Laughing Sun songs form the majority of the B-side of the cassette.

Cander represents the morphing of the band Wud into the band Laughing Sun. The six songs presented here feature a lot of inspired improvisation that led to these versions defining the arrangements, and many of the parts, of these songs.

This EP is an essential classic in the mythology of Wud Records.

Here are the considered musings of the Pokstar on the subject of Cander:

“These recordings document a September 1985 cander between Pok, then Simon or Fooog Dinboffin and George a.k.a. Fedax Si-Hulmin. These are sessions where songs written down a couple of years by then were given an arrangement, however primitive our attempts to capture them.

These are teenage ravings at the centre of Pok’s world view, about girls (She’s Beautiful), decadance, paranoia and teachers (We Know You Well), vision and fragility mission statement (Wanted to be a Singer), the loss by genocide of the native Americans and general early eco lament directive for that generation written 1983 (It’s a Blue Sky Don’t Hold No Rain):

“What have we done to the Mother Goddess Gaia?
Why can’t we nestle in her warm aching bosom?”

Indian Summer is a delicate evocation of its subject by George and our friend Ken. Ken sings and George plays acoustic guitar while Simon Pok plays idiosyncratic bongo then lead on Ken’s black Shaftesbury electric.

This was the start of collaborations becoming Laughing Sun, which shone briefly through 1985 and 1986, doing a few gigs around Devon and the Glastonbury ’86 Travellers’ Stage followed by early Ozric Tentacles (Jumping Jon remembers this!).

This period is where we are finding our sounds, following a scent or something, heading for what would become. The simple, pretty uni-chordal We Know you Well is a Mark Drower rhythm style rendition that pursues its theme relentlessly but continuously changing and it is a gas to hear it again.

More early formulations to come.”