ROQUE and Roll: Notes on the CD re-release of the album that started it all:
Close this booklet and look closely at the back cover for a moment. Go on, I’ll wait right here. See where it says “AAD?” You’ve probably seen that notation before on other CDs you’ve bought. Basically, it’s a code describing whether or not the three stages of creating a CD--recording, mixing, and mastering-- were done with either Analog or Digital equipment. Honestly, there should be a different letter for the way Roque and Roll was recorded and mixed besides “A.” Somehow, that process doesn’t really seem to be worthy of being called “Analog.” Maybe “Amateur?”
“Recording” is the process of committing sounds to tape: Roque was in its infancy in 1988. Newly signed to a fledgling label with no coins in the coffer, they were forced to record in a zero-budget situation. The band, armed with the cheapest imaginable facsimiles of musical instruments, would arrange themselves in a circle around a boom box with a tiny condenser microphone. Together, they would record the instrumental portion of each song onto a cassette tape. Then, Cody would feed the cassette into track 1 of an old 2-track (stereo) consumer open-reel tape deck and sing along with the cassette onto track 2. Thus was every song on this album recorded.
“Mixing” is the process of adjusting the relative levels and stereo locations of the separate elements created in the recording stage and condensing them onto a stereo platform: Since there were only two elements, and the nature of their recording dictated their placement in the stereo panorama, mixing of this album was really rather straightforward. Cody simply adjusted the level of the vocal track in relation to the background instruments. The album was mixed song by song identically onto two separate cassettes. Original album holders actually have first-generation dubs of “Mix A.”
“Mastering” is the process of filtering the mixinto its final form: The “mastering” of this album, like so many other Roque/Flip Nasty albums, has been performed in an essentially “non-interventioninst” manner. Basically, “Mix B” was transferred directly to CD and start IDs were sloppily added. There you go, digitally mastered, baby! If you ask me, they shouldn’t even include the third letter in the code --it’s fraudulent!
This album’s place in history is as yet unclear. To read their website is to somehow believe that this band is destined to become one of the most beloved and influential the world has ever known. So far, their album sales for all thirty-odd releases have probably --optimistically-- combined for something like 1000 units. Something like 35 copies each. I’ve just listened to this album. You are listening now. Why don’t you tell me what I think of it?