The Creeping Man

A cassette tape rescued from the trash is what did it.

In 1989, Chris Campbell was a volunteer D.J. for KVSC--the campus radio station at St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota. The music department at KVSC received hundreds of music submissions each week. At the tail end of the 1980's, LP's were in. Cassettes were out. While cassettes were great for making mix tapes to play on your boombox or Walkman, they weren't the most convenient medium for an announcer to cue up in the studio. Quite often, cassette submissions were relegated  to the "Music 

Hell" box. Volunteers at the station were welcome to rifle through the box and take whatever they fancied. The leftovers would never again see the light of day.  

One such tape destined for the trash heap was by Wisconsin artist Joy Before the Storm. The handmade J-card caught Campbell's attention. "Art Teacher" proved to be an electronic field recording/sound collage experiment that transformed Campbell's way of thinking about music. 

Armed with KVSC's multi track studio, he blundered through his own recordings, creating in 1991 a 15-track mess of noise called "The Sunken Lounge."  And since he wanted to seem avant guard to the total of seven people he shared the tape with, he decided to call himself Dormouse.

Around this time, Campbell became involved with the experimental cassette-trading/mail art culture. The tapes he traded for often found their way onto his Abstractions radio program, an experimental noise/sound collage broadcast in the prime time hours of 1-2 a.m. on Saturday mornings.

Campbell recorded on and off for a number of years, but in 1997 when he got a real job teaching Language Arts in a St. Paul suburb, he donated most of his gear to Goodwill and closed the book on home recording.

Until he caught the bug again in 1999. With college friend Bjor6n Oranj, the duo recorded pseudo-indie lo-fi stuff for about a year as SQUID. They mustered two full-length CD's and an e.p. before they retired the cephalopod. Bjor6n moved on to better things with The Halcyon Brothers, and Campbell took another recording hiatus, lasting nearly 15 years.

But Campbell got itching to record again, and purchased a few drum machines and synthesizers in 2015. He noodled around in a spare bedroom, learning how to manipulate his gear and posting some of his recordings to SoundCloud. 

When he recorded the track JBS, and afterwards the three pieces that would become the e.p. File Error, Campbell decided to come up with a name for his new venture. Since the best anagram of Christopher Campbell was A Limber Crotch Schlepp, he decided to pay respect to one of his favorite authors: Arthur Conan Doyle. The Creeping Man is a nod to the 51st Sherlock Holmes story Doyle wrote. Collected in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, it tells the laughable story of a renowned scientist, who after injecting himself with an extract from a monkey, starts creeping around his house, scaling walls and trees, and generally scaring the bejeesus out of his family.

It seemed like an apt name for this new recording venture.