'LUANA'S BLACK REPTILES' is the collective name I used for all the non-vocal music I was involved in from 1986 to 1996. There was much less preparation than in previous projects and during collaborations there were no specific roles. It was more a case of using whatever was lying around, sound sources including various keyboards, guitars ,bass guitars ,drum machines,tapes,violins,accordions, effects units,televisions,pianos ,toys,etc,etc. If it made a noise it was eligible. Sometimes there was minimal preparation but it was never a question of discussing what chords or notes we might play. Usually all the sound sources would be fed through a small 8 into 2 mixer and recorded straight onto stereo.Sometimes there would be vague parameters such as a set up using faulty effects units - you have an idea of what's supposed to happen but can't predict it precisely. Inspiration was often drawn from the unfamiliarity of instruments - or the agreed instruction for a piece might be, for example, "light a cigarette and stop playing when you've smoked it" .
"Jamming" conjures up a picture of a bunch of uninspired musicians tediously ploughing through a dull chord sequence based dirge but in a sense I suppose we were often "jamming", and "experimental" music often suggests pretentious posturing egotism but it needn't be. There was always an element of exploration in Luana's Black Reptiles but it was usually approached with a vague expectation. Unlike "songwriting" where you usually have a goal - an idea in your mind of how it should eventually sound - it was the opposite in LBR. It was about hearing what eventually emerged from the set of circumstances we'd predetermined. There were never any 2nd takes - trying to recreate anything LBR did would be impossible due to the randomness of certain elements which played a major role in shaping the outcome.All of our output was done once and once only - it was captured on tape to document all those moments that could never be recreated or repeated - never to be returned to apart from being listened to.
Unsurprisingly a lot of the stuff we recorded was awful - but you'll never get to hear that. The only post production and editing that ever took place was the rejection or curtailing of recordings. All of our output was done once and once only - it was captured on tape to document all those moments that could never be recreated or repeated - never to be returned to apart from being listened to.
The clue is in the name of course - we were inspired by Brian Eno and other avant garde artists, but inspired by their approach and documented openness to all possibilities rather than the sound of their music.