The Middlesbrough, UK. based singer-songwriter and producer Oli Heffernan records “pretty much constantly” for what he wryly terms his ‘Miss Factory’. His outpouring is fecund and his release schedule as hectic and varied as ever. ‘Rations’ is Oli Heffernan’s twentieth album in 7 years under his solo nom de plume of Ivan The Tolerable, now the main vehicle for his hallucinatory basement outpourings since the dissolution of the beloved Year Of Birds. Now Ivan has expanded into a full band and Ivan The Tolerable and The Elastic Bands, whose new album is over a sprawling double album.
After a constant flow of releases on labels like Third Uncle, Art Is Hard, Endless, Forward Fast, Ack! Ack! Ack! and more, he finally found his way to Stolen Body Records for this latest release. On ‘Rations’ he eschews his old group’s acerbic brevity for a sprawling double slab of time-dilating chug and wail. Joined by Tom Carter (Charalambides) on cosmic lead, Kevin Nickles (Ecstatic Vision/ Writhing Squares) on flute and saxophone and members of King Champion Sounds (with whom Heffernan plays bass and organ), the band ride the taut, rattling grooves out past Pluto every time and the free-floating and beautiful psychedelia to be found here goes much further into the astral plain than many are willing to venture.
‘Rations’ was recorded on three different planets during 2018 - Thomas House (Sweet Williams/Sloath/Haress) March 2019
Oli has released his solo material under the moniker of Ivan The Tolerable King Champion Sounds (a large and multi-national outfit) and Houseplants (alongside Leighton from Country Teasers) and Year Of Birds and Detective Instinct.
His output is prolific, in an interview with Narc Magazine he said “It’s partly out of habit, partly out of desire and partly out of self-preservation. I have zero interest in ‘making it’, have never wanted to be a full-time musician. People find this odd, but I honestly fail to see the fun in doing it as a job – I love proper work – but making music stops me from going mad. I’ve never had a dry spell that lasted longer than say a couple of weeks, but that was bad enough – it’s like the end of the world to me at the time, but when I look back its ridiculous really… I still aim to get a lot done, I have this weird attitude when it comes to releasing stuff (again, people don’t seem to understand it) but I’m of the opinion that everything is valid – I don’t see any difference between a band that has spent two months and thousands of pounds recording a song and getting it perfect, to someone who’s stuck a microphone in their kitchen and bashed out a song in five minutes – whether you like it, or hate it, they are both, in essence, the exact same thing: a recording of a song and so are therefore as valid as each other – I stick to this rule and therefore I pretty much release everything I record (at least 90%) and if people like it – nice one, and if people hate it, nice one – it doesn’t bother me. I do take exception to people saying things about the recording quality – these people are generally the sort of folks who write one song a year and spend two days in a studio making it sound so polished and ‘correct’ that it doesn’t sound like it was made by people.”