Terse Greetings. Sometimes just a short phrase can trigger an idea and the belief that something fun might come of it.
The Terse label was set up by Tom Ellard in 1979, who named it in part after his Tandy TRS-80 home computer. Terse brought the work of local Sydney bands (including his own, Severed Heads) to the wider world with releases on cassette and vinyl. There has of course been a resurgence of interest in those formats, but when, in April 2015, Terse also rose from its slumber, its first release appeared only on that modern default for cheap distribution of DIY music, the Internet. This release was the verbosely named ‘Oompa Loopma Riot 2015’, which looked forwards musically but also sought to bring back the post-punk design of the early days of the label. The contributors threw themselves into the project with great enthusiasm, the compilation turned out very well indeed and everyone was happy. And that was that.
And then somehow, a few weeks ago, two words sat next to each other in my head and held hands and waved at me. “Terse Greetings”. Well, that’s the title of a Christmas compilation on the Terse label, isn’t it. It’s obvious. But it didn’t exist. So I contacted Tom and suggested that he rectify this omission. He told me that I should carry the torch on to my own label, Earthrid. But Earthrid is a nano-label with a quite different modus operandi, raison d’être and indeed Weltanschauung (we recommend the fried rice though). Terse on the other hand had already re-established a community. Besides, where else would a compilation called ‘Terse Greetings’ belong if not on the Terse label? It had to happen. So it did.
In view of the short time left before Christmas, Tom and I had to move quickly. Musicians were invited back if they had appeared on the previous compilation and could be easily traced, but we concentrated more on some of the people we thought would be able to come up with something good and suitable despite the ridiculously short notice. The response was eager and helpful, so we must thank the contributors for what I think is a fine set of music. How Christmassy the tracks are depends on the disposition of each artist as well as the view of the listener. After all, shoehorning words such as “snowman” into every title could be seen as overselling. Some tracks had to be left out because they didn’t sit well with the Yuletide theme, and not everyone who should have been invited was, but in both cases you might well get to hear them on the next compilation, or the one after that. Terse is back to stay. Who knows what notions floating around out there might drive its releases in 2016…