Penga ran the Alternate Media label in Britain. He released a lot of interesting tapes, some of his own and mates and some from international artists such as Lord Litter and Mental Anguish. At left are a few scans of various tapes on the Alternate Media label.
Penga discusses Alternate Media
In 1987 or thereabouts Mitch Rushton placed adverts in local (Birmingham UK) papers to contact like minded people, mooting the idea of getting together to create the Birmingham Experimental Music Network (B.E.M.N.) and meeting at a city centre public house (The Turks Head) on a monthly basis and using it as a meeting point and performance space.
The “membership” of BEMN loosely divided into two camps, one being inspired by the likes of Jarre and Tangerine Dream etc. and the other following a more Industrial vein, each tending to perform on alternate months, although some months meetings where used as “themed” nights to evolve everyone i.e. The Guitar Thrash and another time The Radio Orchestra. We also managed to stage the band Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.
A monthly newsletter was produced, first time on A3 thereafter A4 and later on cassette. (I have copies of most of them)
At the same time the Birmingham University was running night school courses on Analogue and Electronic music (4 hours Tuesday night & 8 hours on a Saturday) which for a very reasonable cost allowed access to for then some very exotic equipment – Digisound modular synth, Fairlight series II and the BEAST an 18 channel surround sound P.A. system
Many performances where taped and released and home studio tapes could be sold at the venue, two compilation tapes where produced, BEMN Vol. 1 & 2 featuring a wide representation of the diverse elements within the local scene. It was from this and the solo and group activities that Alternate Media grew.
Enter Factsheet 5 and Gajoob, reviews and a myriad of contacts, tape swaps and trades and the Alternate Media Tapes Catalogue, and the loss of some tapes from the original catalogue due to copyright worries from some of the original BEMN participants (hence the missing numbers)
The “imaginary” Mitch Rushton decided to go off on his own path and handed over the running of Alternate Media to Penga and a state of hibernation thus began.
Since, Penga has digitally converted some of the tapes for release as CDs or as downloads and will convert the rest as required for orders but is still trying to work out a break-even method of distribution.
Also in the pipeline is the cataloguing of the traded cassettes not on the catalogue as a reference source and list them on the web to see if they can be released via the internet if the copyright holder doesn’t have the facility themselves.