From the "Retrospective" liner notes:
OK, it goes like this. In the winter of 1981-82, somewhere on the outskirts of Cleveland, four musicians who have just met each other, gather in an attic of an old farmhouse, and form a secret pact to take over the world. Or, well, Cleveland. Armed with a TEAC 3340-S reel-to-reel and a handful of songs, they would gradually emerge as a most unlikely independent music phenomenon - an unseen, covert, underground operation that would slowly take a life of it's own - stealthily claiming their success from a supportive cadre of local radio stations, record stores and fanzine reviews. In the span of the next three years, System 56 would release three singles and a 12" EP, and play a grand total of five live shows in the Cleveland-Akron area. Then, by 1985, the group would inconspicuously disband, ending almost as quietly and inauspiciously as it had begun.
System 56 was never the same band twice in a row, yet was able to maintain the integrity of its unique musical vision, and their singular focus - to produce compelling, original music in a small-scale environment, at a time when "alternative really meant alternative (i.e. 1/4" tape, lots of late nights, and hours of diligent dubs, edits and sub-mixes). In the end, the band's output speaks for itself.