(composed by Steven Davies-Morris and Mike Dickson)
Robert Fripp - a man whose work ethic I occasionally admire, once described King Crimson as being 'a way of doing things'. If I may appropriate his words somewhat, I can say that in a similar manner Systems Theory was a way of doing almost nothing.
We managed to produce two albums in a three year period, although the gestation period was far in excess of this. We had previously worked together on an album of demos which went back even further, and yet we never really lived up to the hope I once had in us. A combination of musical disagreements, indolence and unfortunate illness hit the ship beneath the waterline and all was finally lost.
Systems Theory was always (for me) about the three of us, with help from trusted confidantes such as Cyndee and musical help from other sources. However, when it came down to it, there was just Greg, Steven and myself. When Greg died there was no question about the band continuing; Steven and I discussed it quickly and put the matter to bed right away. Systems Theory would be no more and the remaining music would be produced and released fairly quickly to draw a line under this period of our activity.
As of the time of writing (November 2011) Greg died two years ago, and no music from the third album has been forthcoming. Since then Steven and I have regrettably drifted apart (for reasons I've never been very sure about) and my musical perspective has altered substantially. The final collection was to be called Overful Noise Cascade, a phrase I noticed in a Google-translated version of a Dutch review of our first album. In some ways this suited our music almost perfectly, with ideas and music and sounds being projected at the listener, sometimes in a quite bewildering quantity and manner.
This suited me (to an extent) for the period we were making the first two albums, and they certainly attracted enough interest. Some reviews of our first album were near-ecstatic from prog-heads, electronics freaks and even the odd world music aficionado, although sales were not exactly our strong suit. That seemed to change when we released Codetalkers, which was hosted free on my web site for anyone to grab. My eyes failed to believe the scale of the interest; we managed thousands of free downloads over a two month period. In fact there were so many that it seemed my web host wanted to know if I was being attacked.
All that was positive stopped on 3rd November 2009. The third album was in the planning stages, using leftovers from the sessions from Codetalkers plus a few new tracks Steven and I had cooked up between us. But Greg was far too ill to do anything, and so the project ran aground and finally faltered on the Tuesday that Greg left us. In the intervening time I found that what I wanted from music had drifted off in another course and that Steven seemed to take less and less interest in the musical process, which I guess is understandable. What was left over were some tracks that sounded like demos, and others that were never even picked up from the initial germs of ideas that Steven had. I confess that the blame must be shared; Steven admits his indolence to anyone who asks about it, and I have to accept that I wasn't enamored of the music any longer. So it all just stopped.
On listening to a couple of tracks from ONC again I have come to change my opinion a bit. This tune - a stampeding number that gets as close to dance music as Systems Theory would probably ever dare - is actually really good and contains some great touches - Steven's wild detuned guitars, the sounds of dozens of percussion instruments playing over bleeping arpeggiated electronics, the usual disembodied voices and of course the unlikely swell of a Mellotron when you least expect it. It's really good, and far too good to simply be allowed to wither away...so here it is.
I will stress this - this isn't Systems Theory; what it is is a collaboration between Steven and me that we never agreed upon. Greg never played on this (and he ought to have - I can hear the gap where his music will have been placed) and Steven has remained silent recently so I am taking the chance to release this outstanding tune as a sort of what might have been look at the way we were heading. As usual with the band, the majority of the bakery work was carried out by the fertile mind of Steven; I just added a load of icing, some cherries, and a couple of blatant samples. It could have been much more, but it wasn't to be.