John Bender recorded voraciously between 1978 and 1980 at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not even song titles could slow down his creative pace, as he named all the tracks after their position on the original tapes. “36A2,” for example, was cassette #36 side A, piece #2. To close the DIY aesthetic circle, Bender made sleeves by hand with no two covers alike and pressed the LPs in hyper-limited editions on his own Record Sluts imprint.
I Don’t Remember Now / I Don’t Want To Talk About It, Bender’s first album from 1980, is the holy grail of minimal lo-fi electronics. Layers of fractured melodies, distorted synthesizers, hollowed-out rhythms and claustrophobic vocals unfold over the 40 minutes of this lost masterpiece. “It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl,” one of Faust’s greatest songs, is perfectly deconstructed by a distinct punk-meets-experimentalist sensibility.
While I Don’t Remember Now is impossibly rare and the man behind the music remains shrouded in self-imposed mystery, the real surprise is that it has taken 35+ years for listeners to discover Bender’s warm, art-damaged immediacy.
This first-time standalone reissue is recommended for fans of Pere Ubu, Brian Eno and Robert Ashley. Liner notes by John Bender.