Click for Review of Rushup Edge
***New “Official” Tuss Myspace Page began 1/29/08***
Click for Review of Fluorescent Grey’s Gaseous Opal Orbs
I’ve never claimed to be a super-sleuth, although I suppose I believed I had gotten to the bottom of the whole Tuss mystery. The identity of The Tuss was fun to think about for a while, but over the last day or so I have decided it has become a bit too much for me. I never claimed to be an electronica expert and I’ll have you know that I am content to leave some things unknown. The identity of The Tuss has lost its mystery and appeal, not because the music is no good, but because the secret is being kept with an oddness that repels further investigation. I have decided that the intention of a hoax to mislead can be every bit as powerful as apparent facts are when trying to uncover the truth.
Frederick Foxtrott received a record for review by an artist named Fluorescent Grey, the name used by electronica producer Robbie Martin of Record Label Records. I was and still am very excited to review the disc. I had listened to some of Fluorescent Grey’s music and found it to be superbish. Others on the label were equally as talented. As I browsed through the album art I noticed something strange. Mr. Martin thanked a certain William Reid Dunn in the credits. Pausing to contemplate the moment of familiarity, I suddenly remembered that I knew this name. I remembered it from my research for the article The Tuss- For Real Aphex Twin? The “Band Member” section of Brian Tregaskin’s Myspace page lists Reid William Dunn and Robbie Martin as members of The Tuss. Clearly this Myspace page is a hoax and its dubious appearance begins a domino chain as one fact clicks and thuds onto the next, making the orchestrated nature of this whole fiasco just a bit more obvious.
When the name William Reid Dunn is Googled, the search reports an obscure page from Last*fm that reveals that W. R. Dunn uses the stage handle Wisp. On Myspace, this handle is used by an experimental electronica artist from Niagara Falls who calls himself Lord British. Listed among Wisp’s friends is none other than Fluorescent Grey, also known as Robbie Martin. At this point I became disillusioned at the prospect of ever knowing the truth. Little did I know I was only at the tip of a very large and disastrous iceberg. There are so many people who are involved in the hoax. How such a coordinated effort could go on unchecked is beyond me.
Update: Wisp, aka Lich, aka W.R. Dunn, aka Lord British will be releasing some work on Rephlex Records.
This Tussian cult has several Myspace pages associated with it. Some believe that the real Rephlex backed page is hidden among them. Others believe that they are all false. I am inclined to believe the latter prospect. I’ll examine a few pages claiming to be associated with The Tuss so that some of the dots can begin to be connected. It is worth noting that all these pages have or at one time had music on them. The tracks on the pages have a definite AFX/Tuss style and could be considered by some, including me, to be very good. So the individuals behind the faux websites are talented in more ways than one.
The Tuss Myspace Cult Pages
As mentioned earlier, the first page labeled “briantregaskin” lists Robbie Martin and Reid William Dunn as band members of The Tuss along with Richard D. James, and both Brian and Karen Tregaskin. Karen is listed as the writer and producer of the material on the actual CD titled Rushup Edge. In the “Friend” section of the page, Fluorescent Grey is listed as a top friend. In fact, he is the second friend listed in the section. In the “Influences” section, it lists Ghostbusters III as a favorite movie. Notably, Robbie Martin released a disc called Ghos Busters III in 2007 on Record Label Records.
While the “briantrageskin” page has been deleted, the “briantregaksin” page is still around. This is a mock Brian Tregaskin page with very good electronic-phonics. Humor seems to be a important aspect to The Tuss cult pages. Instead of Rushup Edge or Confederated Trough, this site lists the record names as Rushup Hedge, Pushup Egg, Mushup Reg, and Confederated Turf, with a song titled Deaf Fuck instead of Death Fuck. In a Q&A session threaded in his blog space, the hoaxter acknowledges having many Myspace pages with many aliases. His friends include both the original Tuss and Brian Tregaskin Myspace pages, both of which are clearly involved with Robbie Martin and W. R. Dunn.
“karentregaskin” is the URL for a beat layer Neil from Aurora Records. This is the first time we see another label other than Rephlex get involved. At this point it should be noted how many friends all these websites share. I would guess that these pages share a good 20% of their friend lists with one another. It is strange that the handle of this site is Neil, when it was clearly created as a hoax Karen Tregaskin page. While the artist on the page does not pretend to be Tregaskin, the pictures are of women and the comments left and accepted by the site’s host are often addressed to Karen or AFX. Neil is also friends with an artist named Brian Krapowski who is also on Aurora, both of whom are friends with Fluorescent Grey aka Robbie Martin of Record Label Records.
It goes on and on like this; loose connections waver in substantiality. Another Tuss music page, “thetussmusic,” makes a more concerted effort to convince the skeptic of its authenticity. The format is very similar to Rephlex’s home page. It is very minimal with a black background and neon green lettering. Although it is strange that Rephlex is a British label and yet its homepage ends in .com. On The Tuss Myspace page, there are no blogs with Q&A sessions or cutely rhymed song titles. In fact, authentic Rephlex labelmates like D’Arcangelo are top friends. This Tuss site is also friends with acid pioneer Mike Dred as well as Aurora Records, home to Neil, Brian Krapowski, and others.
Although this Tuss site has all the looks of a real Rephlex publication, the tracks on the site, while amazing, are not tracks released on any record by The Tuss. The presence of the electronica artist named FaultyDL from New York City also bothers me, as he appears on multiple websites involved with this hoax and he comments on Robbie Martin‘s music page. The other Tuss website “cat189” is obviously referencing Rephlex Catalogue Number 189. This is the Rephlex catalog number for Rushup Edge. This Tuss music page is also friends with the likes of Rephlex labelmates D’Arcangelo, Aurora programmer Brian Krapowski, and notably with Mike Dred. It is perhaps the most authentic looking of the group, except the telling Q&A session in the blog space.
The Tregaskin family is represented by more than just Brian and Karen. Patskin or Pat has his own music page on Myspace listed as “patregaskin” in the URL. The good music and familiar friends are characteristic of the Tussian cult. This page really exemplifies the redundancy of the hoax. On the other hand, the music page “thepussfuss” is delightfully twisted. The Tuss becomes a play on words as a Cornish Tuss (cock) needs a Puss(y). Brian Tregaskin becomes Brian Treforeskin and song titles reflect the absurdity of the hoax of The Tuss’ identity. Of course the usual suspects are befriended by the parody. Found in The Puss’ friend pages are FaltyDL, who is regularly featured on other Tuss/ Tregaskin pages, Robbie Martin, alias Fluorescent Grey himself, and Wisp, also known as the beloved William Reid Dunn.
It is clear to me that all of these pages are a hoax. It does not surprise me to know that Robbie Martin is involved. Martin released a fake Autechre album in 2005 that he says was “spread so successfully that Sean Booth was asked about it in an interview.” He even sports a “PRANKOGRAPHY” section on his Myspace page where he recounts all his practical jokes. What is different with The Tuss as opposed to Autechre is that we have no one to question or confront. Only surrogates and Myspace pages presume to speak for the artists. The media hasn’t interviewed Brian or Karen Tregaskin to confirm or deny anything, and representatives from Rephlex aren’t making anything clearer. All they do is deny Richard D. James’ involvement in The Tuss, and then confirm that the Tregaskins are the real artists. If Robbie Martin and friends are the hoaxters then why doesn’t Rephlex dismiss them directly?
Brian Tregaskin was said to be discovered after an exhaustive talent search on Myspace, yet all the Myspace accounts for The Tuss and their affiliates seem to be fake. If The Tuss hoax is driven by people living in Santa Cruz California, Niagra Falls, and New York City then why doesn’t Rephlex have anything to say? After finding Dunn’s name in a CD that was sent to me because of Frederick Foxtrott’s Tuss coverage, I think that this should have been obvious all along. I am probably the last person to connect some of these dots. Like I said, I am not a super-sleuth.
But something strikes me as odd when very talented artists from Record Label Records and Aurora Records perpetuate a band into obscurity. The strangest part is that nearly all the tracks on all these false pages are excellent. Robbie Martin is excellent, so are the yahoos from Aurora, whose music page uses the same black/green format as The Tuss‘ and Rephlex‘s home page. No matter the identity of The Tuss, I think that Rushup Edge was one of the best records released in 2007. Without a doubt it is one of the most intricate and smart electronic albums I have heard in quite a while.
I still have my convictions about the identity of The Tuss. I don’t think the Tregaskins exist, not as people anyway. Richard D. James released 41 tracks on Rephlex from the Analord series and a condensed CD called Chosen Lord on a label that he started in the early 90’s. He has released records under different names in the past and it seems as if he has done it again. The Tuss called their record Rushup Edge after a ridge in the Derbyshire Peak district in England. The highest point of Rushup Edge is Lord’s Seat. This fascination with the word Lord is not particular to AFX though. As mentioned before William Reid Dunn, also calls himself Lord British. Fluorescent Grey has a labelmate named Brian English, which reminds me of Brian Krapowski, and of course Brian Tregaskin. I suppose any number of things could be true. Robbie Martin gets off on hoaxes. I suppose I like to talk about them. But any investigation is meaningless when Rephlex and the band themselves do not see fit to substantively set the media straight. It is made meaningless when disinformation is spread so thick throughout the community of listeners that it is impossible to make sense of anything. No matter what facts are known, no order can be discerned. This was truly a marvelous experiment.
Rushup Edge is an album without an author.
It is a record without association or baggage.
I suppose Richard D. James would have it kept that way.