WHAT IS ME (Used by kind permission of Industrial Machinery Digest, 2001)
[mil-uh-peed] [en-juh n]
The Millipede Engine was primarily used as a tunnelling machine with 100 identical and replaceable rotary engine segments for converting thermal energy into mechanical power, in turn creating force and motion.
The machine's major strength was that potentially up to 80% of the working units could break down before the machine automatically shut down completely, with as few as 20 functional segments being enough for it to remain 100% operational in terms of measured energy output.
Field reports over the years suggest that none of the thirty machines produced between 1960 and 1975 have ever had to run with anything less than 61% of total engine capacity. As each of the faulty units broke down or malfunctioned, the remaining units would gear up exponentially, maintaining normal overall output. There are no reports of either of the head units breaking down on any of the machines produced.
Replacement segments could be added while the machine was still in subterranean motion and in theory it could work indefinitely or until one of the two extremely reliable control head units became damaged or malfunctioned.
The Millipede Engine first came in to service in 1960/61 and has had other applications aside from being a tunnelling workhorse.
In 1968 the Canadian sound artist, Phil Harmonic, used the machine to power a random music generator hooked up to a full robot orchestra (The Čapek Philharmonic) to create the longest piece of continuously played music in history, with the piece (entitled Infinity and Beyond) still being randomly created to this day.
(An interesting aside to this story is that continuos recordings have apparently been made of the piece, which so far totals a constant and unbroken 33 years!)
However, despite its robust design and general stability, the Millipede Engine is rarely used today due to its heavy reliance on the Wankel rotary engine which was never really utilised to its full potential in other industrial machinery.
THE STORY SO FAR...
SEE THEM ON THE FAR HORIZON...
There may be similarities between The Millipede Engine described in the Industrial Machinery Digest entry and the duo that borrowed the name from the relentless, earth-eating, subterranean, music-making, mechanical monster...but they're not overly apparent, aside from the underground music-making bit!
Brill Nudie (pictured on the left on the front of this card) and Honey Lane (on the right) have offered up very little in the way of biographical detail. This is not to suggest they are attempting to cultivate a Gilbert & George air of mystery around themselves, rather that they feel they don't have anything particularly exciting to impart...certainly not in the traditional rock 'n roll sense at least.
What is known is that Brill and Honey have been close friends since childhood when a shared love of reptiles, dressing up, rock music and the mysteries of space and time brought them together.
They dabbled in music for a short while, playing in a handful of unknown teenage bands. But, spurred by Brill's early realisation that it was unlikely they could improve upon the blueprint set by their own musical heroes, they decided to call it a day.
Living in different parts of the UK their friendship endured through infrequent phone calls and occasional meetings until a beautiful bit of serendipity brought them crashing into each other's lives once again...if a head-on collision can ever be described as a beautiful thing that is.
IN A FLASH, THEY'RE RIGHT HERE...
In 2008, travelling in different directions along the A303 in Wiltshire, a car travelling east entered Brill's lane while he was travelling in the opposite direction. The collision was quite undramatic in that neither driver was hurt, aside from some damage to the offending driver's right knee.
However, as a somewhat irritated Brill went to talk with the "lunatic driver" in the other car, it soon became apparent that their face belonged to a person he knew very well. As if the unlikely chance of this event in itself wasn't enough, they both realised that they were listening to Wire's 154 at the time of the crash...albeit different tracks at the moment of impact.
After a moment of open-mouthed disbelief from both of them, Honey spluttered an apology blaming the momentary lapse of concentration on "a weird figure clambering over the top of Stonehenge". They exchanged details.
Two years later, (resurrecting the name of the last band they were in together) they had finished the debut Millipede Engine album: Bye Bye... We're Melting. Though more than happy with the eventual result they immediately commenced work on a second album, tentatively titled: You're Coming To London, which they are about half way through right now.
AND THEN THEY SOAR AWAY...
Unsure of what to do with Bye Bye... We're Melting, another fortuitous but unplanned meeting brought Brill and Honey together with Arthur Rocker of the newly-formed, albeit mysterious, HotSkull label. The company slogan of "Don't ring us, we'll find you" may be some kind of clue as to the label's laid-back approach to things.
The Millipede Engine became the first HotSkull 'signing', (nothing was actually signed) with the rush digital release of Bye Bye... We're Melting on December 1st, 2010. A very limited physical CD release of the album with a bonus EP is due on March 21st, 2011.
When asked if they could supply a quotation regarding each other for this release, this was the duo's response, lady first...
Honey Lane: "Brill is my right-hand man. In fact, whenever we are pictured together I insist he stands to my right."
Brill Nudie: "I have always thought of Honey as a real lady no matter what other people might say about her."
AND THEY ARE GONE...