Operating Theatre - Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth 2xLP (Allchival, 2023)
"Presenting our second look at the music of Roger Doyle and Operating Theatre, a little known proto synth-pop act and experimental theatre group that he led, what you have here is a remastered and repackaged collection of two very different sides of this project. In reverse chronological order the second disc contains music from the United Dairies release of 1979 – ‘Rapid Eye Movements’. Experimental tape work heavily influenced by the French school of music concretists and recorded at various points during the 70s in Finland, Holland and Ireland, although it is most certainly a Roger Doyle solo record the label ran by Nurses With Wounds John Fothergill decided to release it under the group name for reasons now lost to the fog of time.
After this a volte-face towards a more accessible sound, coming via his friendship with future Hollywood actress Olwen Fouéré and her connection to the theatre. It also featured the vocals of a young Spanish immigrant Elena López- bucking the 80’s trend by moving to, rather than, from Dublin. With Fouéré adding the theatrical element to the group (an almost essential part of any early 80s synth act) alongside pulsing synths, brass, a vocoder and the electro acoustic production talents of Doyle himself, it was the first time a Fairlight sampler was used in an Irish studio setting and gives a prescient but alternative take on the new wave sound that came to dominate the charts soon after.
Doyle’s work on the newly released Fairlight sampler had brought him to the attention of U2’s Bono who had seen a feature about his sampling experimentations and reached out to him for piano lessons. This led to a deal on the bands embryonic Mother records for what Doyle calls his first “popular song” - Queen of No Heart - which alongside “Spring is Coming” made up the backbone of the EP which was released some years later (1986) on the Mother Records label. Established by U2 in 1984 and initially intended to launch Irish bands, many of the acts – including this one – were subsequently unhappy about the label’s haphazard approach to releases and lack of promotion. The record was released as a die cut 7 inch with the two main tracks and a 12 inch EP with additional tracks – ‘Part of My Make-Up’ / ‘Atlantean’ / ‘Satanasa’. The Mother experience was for Doyle and the rest of the group a frustrating one with no promotional plan and no tour. After that Operating Theatre as a quasi pop project ‘just kind of fizzled out’ says Doyle.
Doyle, the musical maverick at the heart of the act, continues to produce to this day and has released 30 albums. A frequent collaborator we round out the record with a remix from another Irish outsider - Morgan Buckley of the Wino Boys.
Ships with extended liner notes." - Allchival