Fetus Productions existed from 1980 to around 1989. Starting off as a musical, more creative extension to a previous band, the equally stimulating art-rock act, The Features.The near decade story of Fetus Productions spans far and wide. New Zealand, Australia, Japan, USA, Europe and England. A band with no boundrys or creative barriers.
Original members were Jed Town, Sarah Fort and Mike Brookfield.
Considered pioneers of their genre, the 'Fetals' world covered many different aspects and angles, delving deeply into the craft of experimental film, multi media art and even fashion. In 1980, they held an exhibition simply titled 'Fetus'. A musical landscape comprised of samples and washes of the ocean and metal being scraped. Enhancing the exhibit's intensity and atmosphere of the soundscapes was a display of controversial screen print artworks from Mike Brookfield depicting various medical conditions of human patients. Deformaties and defective births. In this same year they all packed up and headed over to Australia where they lived together in Sydney for a while. Here they released a self titled album 'Fetus Product'.
In the years that followed 8 further records were recorded and released. Through the years they spread their word and sound as an audio visual performance group around the globe, appearing at venues around USA, Japan and Europe.
Fetus Productions were always aware of their surroundings, always alert to the worlds imperfections and problems. They spoke out on issues in their own unique way, statements to society in a creative, artistic and innovative protest of sorts.
Fetus Productions were against the continual bombardement of proclaimations in advertising medias 'Perfect people in perfect worlds, living perfect lives' scenarios. Perfection was something that did not figure in the 'Fetus' mind. The world was not perfect as the media keeping telling us. All was not well and true around us. They 'attacked' the onslaught with their own form of retaliation. Using horrific, ugly and disturbing video and slide visuals coupled with dark Industial sounds. To even further confuse and contrast, they reversed their intensity with un nervingly serene acoustic music and beautiful nature soundscapes. This use of musical variation and visual surprise and uncertainty gave them the reputation that has lasted many years since their disbanding, proving that their controversial, innovative sound and concept of merging human engineering, music and art is as relevant today as it was back in 1980.
Later on, Jed Town moved to London and became quite respected within the Electronica club scene as a producer, composer and Dj going under the moniker JED EYE. Mike Brookfield ran an alternative clothing outlet, VIRUS from the mid eighties up until 2001.
Fetals hitorical multi media exhibition. ARTSPACE. Auckland. 2002
FETUS RE- PRODUCTIONS
The exhibition at Art Space was a re-creation of much of the material they used in the eighties.
Fetus re-productions is a 3 screen DVD projection installation contained within a room, 3 sides are covered with moving images a fourth side covered in mirrors to reflect the other three. The images are taken from super 8mm and 16mm footage from the 80's. This installation captures the 1980's era when fetus productions were active in New Zealand and Australia.
Always controversial and innovative, fetus productions is still relevant today with genetics music and art contrasting within tha arena of the the human condition.The installation attempts to convey the conflict between the head and the heart. The music is dynamic seductive and powerful. Themes of sex medical surgery and nature work together to enhance the imagery.
Jed Town says-"My initial idea was to create an atmosphere where people become entranced by the multi image format and be uplifted at the end of the show there is a feeling like dreaming when you are awake and a hallucinatory dream like state is carried away with you. Today virtual reality headsets are the closest thing to what I wanted to create, but rather than escape from reality now I want to contact my own inner voice and know what the area of the heart is trying to teach me. We are surounded by escapism and advertising pulling us away from our own reality. we should try to zone into each other".
FETUS PRODUCTIONS DISCOGRAPHY:
Untitled - LP - 1981
Self Manipulation - Cassette 1982
Japanese Boxed Tape - Cassette 1983
Fetal Mania - EP 1983
Environmental - LP - 1984
Flicker - 12"
The Perfect Product - EP 1985
Luminous Trails - LP 1986
Intensive Care Unit - CD 1989
Intensive Care Unit - box set QDK Germany 1990 SOUNDS March 24 1990
The ten year story of fetus productions spans New Zealand, Japan, Australia, USA, Germany, Holand and England.
Fetus Productions are not a band. more a state of mind. The packaging, films. video's, art and [when everything else works] live shows are as finely crafted and important as the recdords. Thus it is with this box set which covers the music made as far back as the 1985 'luminous trails' lp. One of the sleeves looks beautiful , until a closer look reveals it to be a colourful collage of stiched up eye balls. Unlike the similarly monikered work of Jim Thirwell, Fetus pro's mainman Jed Town uses disturbing images not to shock, but becsause he likes the beauty that hides in the ugliest of things.
The music inhabits an edgy glistening dream world, unnerving, soothing, subliminaly frightening and [as on the hi-tech Hendrix of 'Anthem'] rampantly uplifting. Town stirs feelings with tonality as much as musical structure, although melodies, even pop songs, are scattered throughout. At best this music communicates more than all the worlds electronic cut up's laid end to end because its concieved in the heart and not just on the sampler.
Most of what you need to know is on this box set, perhaps the only glaring ommission is 'What's going on?' from 1983's 'Fetalmania' ep, a musical ray of hope that still rescues the tortured souls of Fetus fans.
SOUNDS March 24 1990
FETUS PRODUCTIONS - BOX SET - MELODY MAKER review 24 Feb 1990
New Zealander Jed Town, sometimes alone and sometimes with the assistance of others, has recorded and performed under the names Fetus Productions and Intensive Care Unit, for the last ten years. The former which gradually developed into a company consisting of film makers as well as musicians, released several records via Flying Nun in the early eighties and ICU as a trio played gigs in London and Germany in 1987. This box set has two albums. a seven inch single, a poster and a book of lyrics and gory visuals, used at Fetus shows, combines previously unavailable material with Towns more recent work and the 22 tracks reveal a persistantly perverse interpretation of pop music. 'Feel Something' is a slow motion freefall, 'Swamp' it's impossible not to think that the needle keeps jumping. Notes are splintered into countless pieces, chords are held for several minutes longer than comfortable and voices are suddenly slurred or speeded up. The wail and squeel of an infant renders the words of 'rock a bye baby' virtually inrecognisable and other songs are errie and awkward, mischievious and dangerous. others are beautiful and soothing. Jed Town obviously suffers from terrible and fascinating nightmares.
In Jed's own words.....From Jeds Myspace site.....
I started playing live music at the age of 14. I started on bass guitar then moved onto guitar and piano. I was in many bands, they included, Optic, Stonehenege, Acid Grease, Forever, 4, Wrecks, The Superettes, The anaesthetic, The Features. Early gigs included the Whangarei Pop Festival, Rasputins, The Winsdsor Castle, Occidental, Gluepot, Zwines, mainly around Auckland New Zealand.
Having left school in 1972 I tried to earn money playing originals mixed with Rock n Roll covers. Mostly in pubs, this process wasn't as fullfilling or rewarding as expected so I then left the band scene in 1978 to find self awareness and enlightenment, as the music didn't touch the heart. After two years of searching I found a teacher called Maharaji. I felt at home in the company of like minded people who wanted to find the truth. My quest for self knowledge started a process of awakening of the spirit. I found that by simply being still for an hour, I could feel the life force within. Before, sure I could hear words and theories spoken, but now the emphasis was on what I could feel inside. If what people say is honest, and based on experience, your gut instinct lets you know whether it's true or not. It was then I started writing music based on self awareness and 'What''s going on' appeared one evening. It was around 1979 oddly enough. This was just when the Punk scene emerged and Superettes and The Features were formed. Things were a bit wild around then. I met some really creative people, and some fucked up ones too. The drug scene never appealled, especially heroin and speed. It led to violence and impatience. Your nervous system needs to be calm to experience the subtle things in life. By that I mean your breath and the sparkles of energy flowing through your brain. Anyway the Punk scene definately had its moments. For example the gig at the Windsor Castle when the stage caught fire. The Superettes played with Proud Scum. As the fire grew, the Proud Scum kept on playing. I remember looking at them going 'what the hell' and nobody was doing anything about it so I ran behind the bar and grabbed a fire extinguisher to put it out. We then drove down to Hamilton and played with The Primmers and Terrorways. Jamie Jetson drove down there with me. I feel sad she's not still here. She was in the Idle Idols. By this time, the violence at the shows was becoming routine, all my equipment was stolen and I grew tired of the constant hassles in the band. I think back now and think it was the cheap speed and alcohol that fueled the skinheads rampant rage. The Features became involved with this mad scene which led to it's end. Fetus Productions emerged initially as an art collaborative.We designed The Features' label sleeves. The name was based on a poem I'd written in 1979 about the human race. Products of human reproduction. Without knowledge of the soul we are robotic mindless people for use in wars and the manufacture of consumer products. The elimination of the human spirit is necessary when control is needed over a mass population. I was inspired by images found at various medical libraries of genetic mutancies found in humans and animals and began to photostat the images and cut them into collages. The question was, why was this happening? I showed them to a friend, Mike Brookfield and he was inspired to create many works with fluorescent colours on canvases. An exhibition at Auckland's Elam Art School was the first audio visual collaboration. Serum and I left for Australia and tried for a while to start a band there with Brendan and Lisa in Melbourne who are now known as Dead Can Dance, but that was short lived. It wasn't till a few years later when we were in Sydney and recorded 'Fetalmania' that a touring band emerged. We had played with Severed Heads, SPK, Sandi and the Sunsets and Laughing Hands by then and our visual presence was developing. A male/female partnership called 'The Perfect Product' emerged, performing live audio visual shows worldwide. Our members joined automatically of their free will, they gained their own admission, so as time went on, many people joined and enjoyed the shows. After nine releases this project ended in 1989. It had established itself as part of the Industrial scene of the 80's. Members included Sarah Fort, Deberlee, Mike Brookfield, Groove Myers, Phil Punch, Steve Nixon, Polar Castronova, Ian Gilroy, Tone Cornaga, Greg Mc Cunn, Duane Yule, Sonya Waters, Bruce Hubbard, Chris and James Pinker, Jamie Jetson, Mark Sullivan, Dubhead, Zennor, Geoff Martin, John Kuipers, Karel Van Bergen, to mention a few. During the 80's things were financially hard. Living on the dole, scraping by, but not worrying about money, but I again decided to move on and arriving in London in 1987, the Acid Techno scene was emerging. This new energy inspired me to leave the guitar for a while and start learning the computer, doing experimental Ambient/Techno/House music. I also became involved with Test Dept, a UK Industrial band, and Danielle Dax, doing their visuals with an Eagle 2 computer controlling 12 slide projectors. I started working with Gus ferguson from Test Dept with another band called ICU, I formed. We played what is now called Techno. I was employed as a visual artist at a dance club called 'Knowledge' 1991-93 with Colin Dale, Colin Favor and Brenda Russell Dj'ing with many international artists visiting weekly. This fresh music inspired me to form Sawtooth Recordings and over the next few years we released three EPs and two CDs. After twelve years in London I returned back to New Zealand with my partner Anna in 1995 to play at 'Immersion' a quadrophonic multi media party with Mike Weston's production. By this time my name 'Jed' had morphed into 'Jedeye', a dj, but after an ear injury during scuba diving, pain, tinnitus and an ear infection forced me to rest for two years without playing any loud music. Luckily, now, the ears have completely healed. Jedeye performed at the Big Day Out in 2000 in 'The Boiler Room' before The Chemical Brothers and played at many clubs.
Now in 2007 I continue to create the music for many TV documentaries and feature films. The idea of doing live shows still appeals. I am in the process of forming a band called Ghost Town. When this will emerge I don't quite know. The visual side also still occupies a part of the my creative process. I've been releasing a few DVDs based on relaxation. Visit www.digitalwallpaper.net for more information. These DVDs are based on turning off the outside world to find inner stillness. Each DVD has 2 audio options, quadrophonic sound fx or music. ''Fish Tank TV'' was released in 2005 thru Magna Pacific. 'Cloudscapes of Aotearoa' is my latest DVD
'Whats Going On?'...... This is a question I often ask myself and a song which was inspired by pure happiness. It was recorded in Sydney at the Groovex Studio between 1981/82. Groove Myers featured as keyboardist extraodinare and Phil Punch as engineer/technical whiz. I mixed the track in about 6 hours but the recording process took nearly 2 years, recorded in downtime mostly. After a while you lose perspective on the original theme and this happened. Only weeks before the studio closed I realised that the siren at the beginning was missing. It had been deleted. Once it had been re recorded with a Pearl Syncussion drum machine, the track came back to life and is as you now know it. Although Fetus Productions had been established in 1980, the idea of various offshoots to the main company was appealling. We all had different energy preferences, so to avoid disagreements on style, this was appropriate. The first audio visual shows at Bondi Beach were spectacular, the stage caught fire with a boat flare used as a effect, and chaos followed. Organiser Arthur Baysting was horrified. The show at the Windsor Castle, Parnell, Auckland established the act successfull in 1983. The cutting edge performance attracted label Flying Nun to release the 'Fetalmania' EP .The radio stations picked up on 'What's Going On' and the weird Fetus Productions company became common knowledge. The touring started and the band visited Japan the USA and Europe before another variation formed in London in 1987. The final album, a 3 vinyl box set was released in 1989 by Thomas Hartlage's 'QDK' record label. Recently the song featured in Brad Mc Ganns 'In my fathers den' feature film and web site. The song still sounds fresh as ever 20 years on. Luckily Phil Punch managed to transfer all the original 2'' master tracks onto 24 bit audio files so I was able to remix the track adding a louder lead guitar and vocal. The message remains the same. Listen to your heart, find the hidden treasure. Its waitng there now for you.