In John McCready's words:
The Toolshed project started in 1998 as a new kind of club night at Manchester's Night and Day Cafe. It was curated by 808 State's Graham Massey who wanted to create a night out he himself might leave his instruments at home for. In the time since, Toolshed has been hailed as one of the most expansive and ambitious attempts to leave the planet.
The Toolshed Allstars play each month alongside guests as open minded/crackers as they are. Initially it was just Graham alone on computer, guitars and wind instruments. He was quickly joined in subsequent months by like-minded Manchester luminaries such as Paddy Steer (Homelife) Dick Harrison (Spaceheads) Graham Clark (jazz violinist extraordinaire) James Ford (Simian) and the unique multi-octave voice of Seaming To.
The agenda was simply to play a fresh set of wildly free ranging music every month, bringing in local musicians able enough to bounce off Massey's idiosyncratic computer mapping.
The project has continued with various commissioned large-scale multi media shows at venues in Manchester and London - including a 28 piece expanded orchestra show at the Contact Theatre in 1999. For the fearless Mr Massey, the more collaborators he could persuade on to the stage, the better.
A storming 4 drummer, 6-piece horn section version of Toolshed was recorded at the Southbank's ETHER festival last year. This forms the cornerstone of the forthcoming debut album on Twisted Nerve - together with studio recordings and home sketches. If this is the kind of music that gives you faith in a sonic future without frontiers then it's no exaggeration to say you may need to be revived after being exposed to this uniquely ambitious music.
Lazy listeners may throw the Jazz word at it, but- unless you are using that word as another way to describe what really is truthfully indescribable- then its attitude is really informed by Massey's now gloriously uncategorisable previous work - stretching back to the post punk late 70s (with Factory's Biting Tongues) through to the techno informed widescreen electronic blueprint of the late 80s and 90s with the rightly revered 808 State.
The core of the Toolshed crew have an incredible 15 to 20 years of playing together and an empathy for making mad, mad music that is deadly serious, digestible, daft, delightfully danceable and unquestionably infectious.
All you need the appreciate this are fully functioning ears, a clear passageway to your brain and an open mind.