Was it not but a week or two that we promised – nay threatened – to return in double quick time with a spanking new missive. Admittedly we did promise an all out Fruits de Mer related special which indeed does feature Fruits de Mer related fancies though which between inception and completion has somewhat evolved into including all manner of strays that we picked up along the way, all of course hand picked and carefully selected for your discerning ear. As ever contact details are somewhere below, incidentally we love vinyl and cassettes…..
Stereophonic selections this edition include dansette delights from……
Yeah st paul, melting ice caps, marika hackman, silje leirvik, roadside picnic, revenant sea, marijuana deathsquad, morrison’s prophecy, atom eye, piney gir, quiet marauder, mark McDowell, octopus syng, vespero, vibrato, astralasia, blue giant zeta puppies, beautify junkyards, black tempest, Frobisher neck, jay Tausig, neils children, takeshi goto, witch finder general OST, oliwa, susan balmer, worm fam, 6&8, keys, keep Sheila o acid, crystalline Jacqueline, honey pot, shadow kabinet, mordecai smyth, trolley, devils jukebox, the green question mark, hare and moon band, strange turn, beaulieu porch
This ‘un was mailed to us with the promise that it sounded like Julian Cope, Velvets, Mercury Rev and Shuggie Otis. I’ll admit it was straight to the player based on that. Sometimes you know – its best to be careful what you wish for, for it transpired over the next near four minutes that there’d be – shall we say – a little hoodwinking on the part of the PR for as we listened, as hard as we did – twice in fact – could we detect even a remote whiff of Cope, Velvets, Mercury or Shuggie drifting happily by to decorate our listening space. Alas dear hearts. No. not a jot, no even a mere courtesy inflection. Where we saddened, perish the thought for what wafted out was a most deceptively dizzy darling which for reasons still unknown had us much recalling Donovan, albeit that’ll be Donovan stoned and out of it strumming along happily in the privacy of his little space. Pray tell us – I hear you enquire – the name of the record that has caused such an affectionate rush – why it be ‘rendezvous’ from yeah saint paul taken from a forthcoming full length set entitled ‘women are stoned’ and due out very shortly via loyal artistes recording co. gorgeously threadbare and deliberately understated this mountain folk blues shuffles and stumbles teetering and mooching awkwardly not to mention blurry eyed in a most casually arrested and lolloping way that you get dizzy just listening to it, features whistle along toots, harmonicas and the most off road beaten around the edges melodic coda that you’ll fear to hear for the simple fact once in your head it’ll party on through the waking hours getting high on moonshine. www.soundcloud.com/abadgeoffriendship/yeah-saint-paul-rendezvous
Lovely little message from David of the Melting Ice Caps – such an age since we featured these dudes – to wish us happy Halloween and tell us of the bands latest recording – which as it happens is called ‘time, please’. now I’ll be truthful here – we’ve heard this twice and on both occasions have felt the trickle of a tear tracing down our cheek, a reflective ode I guess pitting the protagonist in the Autumn of his life looking upon an old photograph of himself as a child and wondering where the years went, I know the feeing or at least I would know the feeling where it not for an over zealous parent summarily burning all childhood photos of me in a – shall we say – abrupt moment – mind you looking I somehow suspect that this might not have been occasioned for spite but rather more as a mercy killing of sorts – there where as I recall in the suppressed regions of my memory some scary pictures – I was obviously an ugly duckling. But enough of that and back to matters in hand, ‘time, please’ sorrowfully reflective though burnished not without hope is your typically beautifully crafted song writing unto which through whose sweeping key flurries we hear elements of ben folds 5 and Bacharach and David being gathered together and rephrased by the trusted hand of the divine comedy.
Video goes like this…..
We mentioned this last time out via tales from the attic volume XVI – from Marika Hackman and prized from her forthcoming ‘sugar blind’ EP here’s an acoustic rendition of the lead out track ‘cinnamon’ – utterly beguiling…..incidentally the full on studio version is currently airing on the latest surroundinsoundsystem
There’s something quietly disarming and deceptively stunning about ‘Silver and Gold’ by Norwegian artist Silje Leirvik as it teeters precariously on a finite axis where sits on one end psyche while t’other end progressive folk. shall we therefore settle for progressive psych folk. Pulled from a forthcoming full length entitled ‘endless serenade’ which incidentally is due for record counter action early December, this set comes produced by Rhys Marsh who incidentally pops up later, and may yet prove to be one of the surprise packages of the year from Scandinavia. Dimpled in 60’s motifs and melodically draped in a woozy ethereal aura that sounds as though its been whittled in an enchanted woodland, its alchemy is turned upon a myriad of reference markers that see it channelling elements of classically earthed early 70’s folk and moulding said sources into a magnetically off centred surge of softly arresting tempestuousness and emotional phrasing which to these ears sits somewhere between the classic sounds of Curved Air whilst simultaneously nodding to the top table of psych folk’s new breed the Wyld Olde Souls and Crystal Jacqueline.
Moving picture show goes like this….
Okay so there we were fashioned up in a big pointy hat, wielding a crooked stick and huddled beneath the dining table now masquerading as a fall out shelter to protect us from the apocalyptic fall out we were expecting to descend at the presence of the Revenant Sea / Roadside Picnic sound clash that is ‘their words are lost in the din of jets’ which should you be so lucky has a ridiculously 25 only cassette outing via Jehu and Chinaman. Alas we aren’t and the download link we were serviced with appears – shall we say a little errant. So un-deterred by the plight befalling us and feeling a little daft hiding in our quickly assembled sound bunker expecting the end of the world we scrambled around looking for alternatives and did happen across a mirthless mix tape of mayhem and macabre put together by the ephemeral man which had we stumbled across before the festivities of all hallows eve where through we’d have included last missive out. Mind you things undead and of the unnatural are I guess for life ad not one day so hey ho here’s an hours worth of mysterious magicalia, sonic spell weaving and the occasional séance among the discovered treats some Broadcast, Damon Albarn, matt berry (who after hearing ‘gather up’ – a kind of Circulus rephrased by the Owl Service – we really must try and source his albums), folklore tapes who we mentioned briefly a few missives back, plenty of Evil Dead excerpts, a clip from Sapphire and Steel the box set of which we stumbled upon the other day and weirdly enough had primed for weird delights viewing when we had a spare moment along with the all important Vincent Price sermon from ‘thriller’. you can find all this gubbins here…….
This is immense, best viewed through head phones with the volume at full tilt that way you get to experience the full impact of ceremonial dance at play within. Prized from the forthcoming set ‘the otolith sessions’ via forwind where it’ll arrive replete with a luxurious 50 page book featuring photographs, detailed liner notes on the albums creative process as well as what’s described as an audio cookbook wherein it provides recipes for constructing your own sound loops, this is the second album courtesy of Elsie Martin’s Atom Eye. ‘3 ¾’ comes prized from that formidable set, a sub 8 minute atmospheric epic whose reference markers stir between the slow burn cinematic glories of Morricone, the desert scorched hymnal halos of godspeed , the tension forming raptures of Goblin’s most infamous soundtracks and the stirring melodic mistrals of John 3:16 in collusion with Rasplyn. Here the ghostly apparitions of lost civilisations echo and spirit through sun scarred wastelands, both measured and majestic, ‘3 ¾’ is presaged with a sense of doomed grandeur, amid the soft psych flurries tension mounts and foreboding reigns to coalesce into a deeply spiritual and powerfully moving arabesque snake charm. Truly a class apart. www.soundcloud.com/forwind/track-2-atom-eye-the-otolith-sessions
Mentioned ages ago in a previous missive – alas I can’t for the life of me give you an easy to hand citation – its been a while since we hooked up to Morrison’s Prophecy – though that’s at an end given we’ve just tripped over his latest opus. Entitled ‘acetate (war of the worlds 75th anniversary tribute)’ I’ll admit we’re more than a little fond of this given that amid it industrial techno overtures there’s something of a pop fragmented Wizard Tell Lies vibe running amok albeit as though refocused through the futuristic replicant glare of a youthful Mr Numan in Tubeway Army mode. www.reverbnation.com/morrisonsrophecy
Let me just start by saying – I hate Star Wars. Yes okay if you must, take your time picking yourself up off the floor, I realise it’s a shock to find someone admitting openly to such, you probably think its up there with owning up to killing Bambi or setting light to Bedford Falls. Especially the prequals – someone give me patience. I hate Ewoks as well, what – a Merry Men version of the furbies but with legs. Please. Now at this point between seething and gnashing teeth and trying to put together a missive of hate amidst rallying congress to fund the building of a death star, tis true I’m afraid – you might wonder uh oh where is he going with this. Well gather around and I’ll tell you. So imagine the scene. Email arrives from a trusted source. Mentioning amid its blurb hip trendy new track. Only hip trendy new track is called ‘ewok sadness’. we are struggling. And we haven’t heard the song yet. We train our eyes quickly speed reading said blurb to discover name of band. Marijuana Deathsquads. Great name we think. A momentary pause as we weigh up playing a song with Ewok in the title – fearing this may be contagious resulting in us spending the next millennium watching said naff movies – against what amounts to a band name to die for. Band name won. And so we uploaded link and prayed our judgement kudos were still in credit. Culled from a forthcoming set entitled ‘oh my sexy lord’ due out in January on Memphis industries, the mystery shrouding Marijuana Deathsquads is every bit as strange as the sounds emanating from the speakers, a kind of revolving door musical hive mind headed up by Ryan Olson and Isaac Gale and variously featuring dropping in / dropping out contributions from polica, jesus lizard, doom tree, solid gold, har mar superstar, bon iver and chavez sorts. As to the track itself – a four minute plus frenetic and fried aural paint bomb, initially woozy and slightly uneasy in a detached neighbourhood meets no ceremony way, all icy twinkles, skittering time signatures and monochromatic pulsars, a mutant futuro funk technoid hybrid that shape shifts twisted and schizoid as though a voxed out lysergic cosmic dust cloud with mind warping dials set to hysteria achieving a finale approaching critical meltdown, disturbingly gorgeous if you ask me – clearly the work of impish genius’. www.soundcloud.com/user3105090/marijuana-deathsquads-ewok
Go to www.marijuanadeathsquads.com to download a free styling mix tape put together by these dudes.
Here’s a little Halloween twist-a-rella from Piney Gir – long time no see / hear in these pages, this typically tasty treat comes shimmered in a delightfully smoking cool b-movie beehive. Patched to a video comprised of old film stock put together by Piney herself ‘my Halloween’ is kookily grilled in melodies kissed to a subtly quick stepping calypso-delic twanged 50’s bubble groove and primed with the kind of slow seduction that used to adorn platters bearing the name Brand Violets upon their hides. Quite cute if you ask me.
Many thanks to those chaps Quiet Marauder who kindly sent over CD promo of their forthcoming 111 track debut ‘MEN’ – yes you did read right – 111 – over 4 CD’s – in my minds eye I’m seeing a missive alone being dedicated. Those of you who were obviously asleep at the back and are now wondering who the buggering hell Quiet Marauder are – well we’ve only mentioned them a handful of times in recent weeks – so I guess I can’t blame you for not taking the hint, recent smash hit single ‘I want a moustache, Dammit’ has been wooing and wowing the Sunday Experience congregation of late – however we advise you check out this hilarious ‘making of’ mockumentary which had the BBC tagging the band for 8 months for a fly on the wall film, you suspect they were coerced and brow beaten to doing it, a kind of birth, death, resurrection or perhaps redemption might be a more appropriate description of the band in particular head marauder Simon. A tale of a band long suffering under the determined driven ego of their guru for here you’ll witness the unravelling of a creative force, the sacking – re-instatement and sacking again of the band, Simon’s lost 8 months in the wilderness – well the woods to be more precise, the magic mushroom incident, cabin fever syndrome without cabins or fever, disturbing facial hair, even more disturbing wild glaring eyes of Simon (in a Rasputin meets Marty Feldman stylee) as he descends into madness – though best moment is after sacking the band they retire to the audience only to double the crowd number in attendance.
Mentioned this at tales from the attic volume IX way back in February and since that time we’ve been manning the post box hoping one day a copy of it would manifest, and when the postman approached our hearts would skip as little, he’d reach into his sack and hand me a letter, I’d look mournfully at it, it was usually a bill, if it was something more interesting it’d more than likely be a miss delivery intended for a neighbour. We’d harrumphed and then retire disconsolately back inside preparing the next days marshalling of the mail box. Ho hum. As said we tracked this way back in February, a collaboration between the Revenant Sea – an extra curricula off shoot of Wizards Tell Lies – and Roadside Picnic – again an extra curricula off shoot this of Dream of Tall Buildings. Entitled ‘their words are lost in the din of jets’ and appearing in a limited cassette form – just 25 – via Jehu and Chinaman. Five tracks make up this apocalyptic suite, an ideal companion for revenant sea’s self titled cassette for auditory field theory earlier this year given it appears to deal with the same kind of nightmarish dystopian threat of mankind being subjected to some outer worldly horror. The template and mood is one of suffocating despair and heightened tension, haunting and harrowing the ominously titled ‘sterilization section’ opens the billing, electroid pulsars watchfully stand on sentry duty, to the rear the unsettling disconnected din of squalling babies and human groans, the detailing of sonic sub strata’s is controlled, deliberate and calculated in its paranoiac intent. The arrival of ‘the sum of these corridors’ lightens the mood but only slightly, a brutally telling epic of end of days proportions, ever darkening passages of apocalyptic heralds eclipse the skies, to the euphoric showers of celestial sun bursts, the salvation is savage, and then there is nothing. More attuned to the grim foreboding that stirs from the shadow steeled grooves of Wizards Tell Lies, radio static, white noise interference and leviathan groans greet the dead headed wasteland that is ‘with the myriad’ from a point of cold withering silence something slowly rises from the dread attaining mass, definition and form. Which leaves both ‘in the light of the burning car’ and ‘before he could breathe a world’ to run matters out to a grim recurring nightmarish conclusion to the sound of droning insectoid clicks all embellished with the kind of skin prickling unease that behind the sofa hiding won’t cure believe you me I’ve tried. www.jehuandchinaman.bandcamp.com/album/their-words-are-lost-in-the-din-of-jets
More easy listening courtesy of Roadside Picnic. Again on the Jehu and Chinaman imprint and once more annoyingly limited to just 25 copies ‘…and yet it moves’ is a truly terrifying aural autopsy plied and sandblasted into three demonic overtures translating as 80 plus minutes of full on power electronic noise manipulating bedlam, certainly not for the feint of heart or those preferring hand holding skipping amid the flowers cutesy tutsey play pop instead this unforgiving bastard goes to toe in such a searing head fuck velocity for the best of it your literally pinned flat to the wall due to the sheer force. Reference wise for those who enjoy your listening spaces brutalised to the skree shrieks of Sissy spacek, kylie minoise, the much missed tayside mental health and pretty much all the stuff found loitering with intent on the at war with noise imprint. Utilising low end drone cycles and high end frequency scrambles ‘…and yet it moves’ is a testing of will, a crude game of endurance while experiencing the unjoy of your ears melting clean off and your speakers frantically losing battle trying to decipher and equalise the sonic snow storms swirling within, if you really want to freak out warring neighbours or else witness wildlife and vegetation combusting outside your window then hook up to the head melting ‘lonely man with two homes’ which after a few minutes of noodling and doodling while I suspect its author nips out to put on a brew there is for 20 minutes what can only be described as the symphony of dentist drills magnified to terrifying effect. www.jehuandchinaman.bandcamp.com/album/and-still-it-moves
As promised those Fruits de Mer and Regal Crabomophone winter warmers
As is now the tradition with the festive season approaching fast, the Regal Crabomophone Annual looms patiently on the hill top, sporting wax of many colours and posters as inserts. An absolutely spiffing twin headed nugget whereupon whose grooves are mounted the supernatural sounds of FdM new cadet Mark McDowell and the woozy mind melting vibes of Octopus Syng. These gems are the ones that nearly got away, rescued from abject obscurity for your discerning listening pleasure. Mr McDowell steps up to the plate with ‘girls of Belvoir’ for a dastardly 17th C tale of death, deceit and witchcraft at Belvoir Castle. The melodies hushed in regal elegance and trimmed to a tumbling cascade of pastoral posies serenaded by flute florets and dreams of summer shone village fair follies are as seductive as they are exquisite, lazy eyed soft psych folk mosaics blissed by baroque-ian spirals threaded through kaleidoscopic lens all cut from the kind of timeless tapestry of a Tullian get together headed up by Tunng, Circulus and te Owl Service. Over on the flip Octopus Syng last appearing here courtesy of an appearance on Fdm’s legendary ‘keep off the grass’ compilation serves up what can only be described as the eclectic psych opera that is ‘listen with the moths’ and finds himself channelling the fractured dark psych of Syd Barrett. Disorientating and curiously out of focus, there’s an oddly unsettling aura that greets ‘moths’ in its early stage chrysalis, the imagery starkly sinister and woozily frayed in an abstract haze as though set upon some surreal dreamscape. It soon unshackles itself at the three minutes mark, showered in a kaleidoscopic glow it fractures, fragments and dissolves into a head buzzing cosmic-delic trip soaring skywards amid washes of freak bitten blazing vapour trails into the voids of the minds inner eye for a full white out voyage. Totally out there.
Confession time. I’ll admit that for years I couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t entertain any Floyd on the hi-fi unless of course it had some semblance of Syd Barrett attaching to it, call it the arrogance, the impetuosity or the naivety of a teenager, but they just didn’t register. Where the reasoning to account for such an arbitrary attitude emerged is still a puzzle, perhaps it was a subliminal mark of support for the outsider Barrett at the way the band treated him or the fact that wherever Floyd records existed in record collections of friends and other such then sure as hell other such evils as Yes, Sky and Toto would be among the proudly showing cache. To a callow youth anything not nailed at 100mph, greased in day-glo and done in less than 3 minutes wasn’t worth listening to. Age mellows you I’m happy to say. That said even in those flippant and fanciful times I always had a soft spot for ‘careful with that axe, Eugene’ – can’t recall exactly when I first heard it but I do remember some Floyd special broadcast by the BBC wherein they played an old live performance they recorded for one of Peel’s late 60’s broadcast jaunts – perhaps ‘top gear’ or maybe ‘perfumed garden’. I mention all this as a nonsensical pre-amble to introduce this absolute – to coin a Terry Thomas phrase – ding dong duo from the much admired Vespero. Hailing from Russia, Vespero caught our ear and indeed our affection after turning in a quite sublime take on Faust’s ’Jennifer’ this time last year as part of a Xmas double header with Temple Music. Now afforded the luxury of a 7 inch in their own right which incidentally, comes lavishly adorned on coloured wax replete with double sided poster insert, Russia’s finest psych alchemists point their radar towards Floyd’s atom heart for two utterly out there blissed kissed covers. If I didn’t know better their interpretation of the aforementioned ‘careful with that axe, Eugene’ sounds as though its been hand rolled with chemical enhancements and softly pressed into a humungous bong, lit and spaced away. Faithfully scribed albeit mellowed into an amorphous kosmic kissed astral carpet ride and graced with a trancey far out and tripping vibe that by just being near you get high. That said the goodies here are to be found on the flip side which opts for a frazzled slice of ‘one of these days’ here found gutted, re-tooled and trimmed with a decidedly darker persona and a more fortified hyper driven undercarriage and trip wired with a seriously freakish spacey mid point wherein everything goes weird and woozy amid a cyclonic sun storm of rippling pulsars and diode chattering intermissions before re-tracking back on course for some serious wig flipped warping kraut gouged head pummelling.
At this stage we haven’t quite got around to hearing the Vibravoid or the shrunken head music outings just yet, but I’ll say that despite that they are really going to have to go some to stop this blighter hogging the repeat play button on our hi-fi. The Fruits de Mer annual assortment is a time travelling trip back to the space age 60’s, with not a Beatle wig in sight, this is all ray guns, space rockets, twang-a-rama, Meek musicalia and TV21 stuff rephrased in super duper stereophonic wundersound. An absolute bollock dropping treat for classic TV sci-fi themologists, lovers of death discs and surfadelica. Before we get through all that though we’d like to make reference to press release comments relating to the Raiders track described as thus – ’oddest track ever released on FdM’ – surely you jest for there are countless that could claim a right for that crown strangely enough most of them involving the Cranium Pie in their various shapes and guises of whom incidentally where originally pencilled in to appear on this release though had to hand in a excusal note as they are currently holed up in a secret sound bunker hatching plans for the concoction of weird soundtracks to make up the second volume of ’mechanisms’. back to the Raiders – a rarity no less unearthed from that golden year 1964, this lot feature a very young Trevor Midgley amid their ranks – Mr Midgley of course better known to Peel-o-philes and rare folk obscurists as Beau (whose latest full length you should find mentioned later this missive – if that is the download hasn’t gone walk about). A bit of a gem is ’I remember’ a delicately murmured instrumental, tender and reflective and much couched in the beautified bitter sweet glow of the Shadows ’wonderful land’ albeit as though threaded upon the sly craft of Link Wray not to mention serving as a precursor to the smoked opines of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Appearing twice on this release the blue giant zeta puppies whose twanged out sci-fi-rama-lama surf soaked re-drill of Gerry Anderson’s bespectacled most special agent ’Joe 90’ is dutifully brought bang up to date and flavoured with a touch of the man…or astro man’-isms (personally I always thought the themes for UFO and Captain Scarlett where’s the dogs danders). All said we here are more than somewhat smitten by their kaleidoscopically twanged up cover of ’lost in space’ here given a seriously sassy shake down all acutely braided in cosmic swirls and a nifty strut stepped shoe shuffle. Finally ’johnny remember me’, hard to imagine that the original of this was out in 1961, must have sounded like the future, always my favourite Meek produced moment, this is all over ’telstar’ like a rash, everything here is perfect – Leyton’s sonorous solace, the ghostly call of Lisa Gray and the galloping spectral symphonies of the Outlaws, number 1 no less proving that your grandparents had taste unlike their offspring brood judging by today’s charts. A formidable track to consider covering (seem to remember Dave Vanian making a decent stab I the late 80’s / early 90’s or did I dream it), so up to the plate step Astralasia who I’m ashamed to admit I’d thought had left earth orbit many moons ago, one time the Magic Mushroom Band who frankly where so ahead of the curve in the late 80’s that there’s still bands around now playing catch up and failing miserably in the process. What can I say, must admit you do wonder exactly whose dead given the male protagonist appears ghost rider / pale rider-ish, a kind of cosmic western psych out rumbling along on a horse pulled cart bound for hell no doubt, to the groans of doom dripped bell peels and blessed with a vengeance Tom Waits-esque preacher man from beyond doing Lee Marvin stylees – priceless. Think you’re off the hook – think again for tagged onto the end a few errant Astral’s hoodwink their way back to the studio under the shadowy cover of night for a bong bouncing and skanking trance dub workout of the same cut here re-tooled as Johnny in Dub’ – depth charge eat your heart out.
Time for a little break from the fruits de mer / regal crabomophone soiree for a short spell. Like the aforementioned Beau this lot should (again allowing for the fact that the album download we have hasn’t grown legs and wandered into some hidden space on our hard drive) feature later on in this missive. To whet your appetite a specially recorded live take from the Beautify Junkyards secret bunker of a cover pulled from that self titled debut titled ‘rose hip November’. a quite sublime reworking of the Vashti Bunyan nugget ‘rose hip November’ a cut originally featuring on her immortal debut full length from ‘69. I have to say that no one sounds quite like Beautify Junkyards, the chemistry between them coalesces into something approaching the unreal and the supernatural, like a ghostly mirage or a feint love noted whisper they usher forth amid an arresting cascade that spirals and seduces to a tapestry tenderly bathed in hushed vocals and a demurring though finitely fragile melodic craftsmanship. None more so is this the case than on their rendition of ’rose hip November’ for cradled in enchantment and crushed with a becoming spectral yearning whilst dinked in a spiritual aura seasoned in an affectionate Autumnal flavouring, this ethereal beauty is teased with such fragile sensitivity that you fear it might shatter should you draw too close
Oh yes, just what the good psyche doctor ordered. New platter from Germany’s premier psychedelicists Vibravoid now back on the spiritual home and sporting three immense hallucinogenic sound tabs. Guaranteed to fly off the racks in double quick time, we’ll be surprised if any survive pre sales given that this lot are heavily sought after via the online auction sites. Again as with the rest of the pack its a limited 7” pressed up on coloured vinyl and sporting a Christian Koch designed gatefold sleeve. Upon the grooves a triple headed cornucopia of drop dead dandy covers that serve as a master class in modern psychedelia. Amid this platter a little known 60’s nugget from France entitled ’la poupee qui fait non’ originally a hit for Michael Polnareff and rumoured to feature a very young Jimmy Page on guitar, here refitted with a spiral-delic mysticism by the Dusseldorfian psych lords, a head tripping carnival of shimmering kaleidoscopia sweetly draped in misty Technicolor mirages softly dissolved in a purring cosmic cool – frankly just out there. Again another obscure vault find, this time originally done by human expression who disappeared after three singles though not before laying down ‘optical sound’ which, as rephrased by the ’Voids, sounds not unlike a smoked out variant of label mates Permanent Clear Light as it swoons to a decidedly lightly sprayed lazy eyed lysergic dipped woozy paisley pop motif. All said and done best of the set by several pairs of shades is their almost flawless take on Tyrnaround’s legendary ‘colour your mind’ – fuzzing riffs, farfisa freak outs, mind wiring mosaics all shoehorned into a sub six minute full on wig flipping experience replete with a surreal reverse loop fried and freaky carnival finale which by our reckoning sounds like a time tripped psych summit of chocolate watchband and traffic types headed up by a Barrett in situ Floyd. Far out.
Wouldn’t blame you for thinking you were having some kind of acid flashback when stumbling upon this. Haven’t we been here before. Of course, way back when ’head music’ dropped its grooves. Seems there where a few stragglers who submitted their entries long after the polls were closed with one so late it was literally still warm from falling off the presses to ensure its inclusion here. Four tracks, four familiar names to the FdM extended family, a twenty five minute odyssey, ’shrunken head music’ be its name, a double seven inch white vinyl classic in waiting. Again strictly limited in availability and destined to be the cause of online fist fights via auction sites very shortly its to Frobisher Neck to whom befalls the honour of opening, a cover of Brainticket’s ‘to another universe’ recorded would you believe with just the assistance of a mellotron, a seafaring lunar orb is what you get for the asking, very monastic, regal and magisterial not to mention woozy and deeply spacey and all teased in a cyclonic celestial overture stylising that might just have those Zombi dudes a little green with awed envy. One of the cornerstones in the ever expanding Tangerine Dream sound world is without doubt ‘Rubycon part 1’ here re-trimmed by Black Tempest in whose trusted hands he sets about deconstructing the original template rewiring and recalibrating it in readiness to be re-housed it in what might be best described as the core engineering unit of a super hyper galactic space cruiser. Swift return for Vespero following their earlier previously mentioned twin-set stump up the serious smoked Faust cut ’J’ai Mai aux Dents’ and perform all manner of big bearded freeform weirdness upon its hide whilst dimpling it in the kind of freakish out there and wasted groove that you’d expect tripping shit faced from the wax of an alien ballroom platter – yowzah. Rounding up the pack the terraforming trance inducing trip that is Gong’s ’the glorious om riff’ as revisited by Jay Tausig whose work rate and regularity of releases suggests he either eats more than the requisite three shredded wheat a day or else needs to find a hobby, this one man progressive psych record factory edges ever deeper into the minds eye as though riding the celestial crest aboard a cosmic dream coat being piloted by the Ozrics.
There’s just one more FdM release that we need to get our ears around and hands upon, a special members only 7” – an aural document of the labels all dayer at the Borderline last August – housed in a nifty little sleeve that pays tribute to the Who’s legendary ‘live at Leeds’ set upon whose grooves sit cuts by the luck of eden hall, jack ellister, stay and sendelica. We’ll try and nab a copy for last minute inclusion here or else for the next missive out.
Must admit that this was something we nearly missed. A few weeks ago would have marked the 45th birthday of the late and much missed Trish Keenan of Broadcast. In tribute Neil’s Children – who I must admit in our own embarrassment we’re guilty of oft overlooking (not that we don’t like them just that we scarcely see their records turning up) have posted a rather fitting and dare we say faithful re-treatment of ‘black cat’ on their sound cloud page, a buzz sawing beauty hollowed in wiring electronics, distorted modulations and edgily brooding to a point of breakdown paranoia all dinked in merry ground of macabre musicalia. www.soundcloud.com/neilschildren/black-cat-broadcast-cover
Considered by aficionados as being the holy grail of Brit horror soundtracks, ‘witch finder general’ at long last gets its long awaited release. Rescued from the De Wolfe archive as part of their extensive trawl through a vast library of recordings extending back some 100 years, this score is taken from the original ¼ inch master tapes and includes two previously unheard suites that fell to the cutting floor when the soundtrack was being finalised. Included with the release a booklet that includes detailed liner notes relating to the films background, history and legacy penned by ‘beasts in the cellar – the exploitation film career of Tony Tenser’ author John Hamilton along with rare unseen photographs and between set stills of the cast. Released over 40 years ago ‘witch finder general’ is regarded as one of Vincent Price’s finest screen hours though not all was well on the set, brought in as part of a refinancing deal with an American backer AIP, Price and director Michael Reeves soon clashed culminating in a infamous face off wherein Price snapping at being constantly accused of being melodramatic raged at the young director ‘young man, I have made 92 films, how many have you made?’ to which came the put down response ‘3 good ones!’. following completion of the film and in the years that passed, each of the protagonists fortunes would vary – as intense and multi faceted a performance as Price had ever given, it would through poor distribution and AIP’s miss marketing of it as a Poe horror lead to it sinking into obscurity, Price’s legend though already cemented would see his comic horror stock rise not withstanding his darkly serious iconic part; ‘witch finder general’ would come to be hailed a cult Brit horror classic and its director would be dead by 25 from a drug overdose. As to the soundtrack, scored by Paul Ferris and here in its full undiluted glory, it finds the composer utilising a broad spectrum of styles, rich in flamboyance and regally flavoured its invested with a deeply vivid and colourful archaic English folk pageantry unto which it superbly audio tracks the spirit of the age to which the film is set not to mention very much spirited in the fashions of the late 60‘s wherein soundtracks and popular music where undergoing a somewhat folk renaissance phase. Between suspense and beauty, medieval grandeur and its hollowed and tensely tight atmospherics, Ferris was most open of his liberal tinkering of Elizabethan / Cromwell-ian thematic devices cued in large by the ever so subtle though unmistakable use of ’greensleeves’ as an underlying preset (’peaceful interlude‘ and ‘nearly home‘). Within this 50 minute soundtrack there are moments of exquisite beauty and grim intrigue (’interrogation of the priest’) starkly marked out by the foreboding sinister symphonies gouged in menace by the onset of the fracturing punctuations of the wind arrangements endowing an edge to the proceedings to characterise perfectly the underlying theme of treachery and deceit. On the reverse side the elegance, the innocence and the tranquillity is found played out to the free flowing cortege of floral florets as on the sweetly affecting pastoral sweeps of ‘Richard rides to Sara‘ and the genuflecting courtship of the lushly toned and softly surrendered swoon ‘soft interlude’. a remarkable audio document all said.
Stumbled across this little delight whilst writing up the revenant sea / roadside picnic split. Initially available as a freebie label showcase CD accompanying orders placed by subscribers over the summer period, ‘summer sampler’ airs the wares past, present and future of the tape imprint Auditory Field Theory. Gathered here are eight specially selected sound cadets found voyaging aural horizons located on at the very outer posts of cutting edge and experimental sonic design. Here you’ll be greeted to the deeply transcendental Australasian dubtronic earth beat of Oliwa’s super chilled ’ocean fire’ while their second bite of the apple ‘equinox’ reveals itself as a somewhat trip-a-delic cosmic light show of sorts replete with purring trance trims that draws the invisible dots existing between an old school youthful sounding tangerine dream and a nu school voyager piloting eat lights become lights. Elsewhere the lonesome bowed opines and ice sculptured shimmer toned murmurs of the lunar glitches love note that is Susan Balmer’s delightfully arresting ‘b3 y sm’ sounds as though its being refracted through an ethereal kaleidoscope. First of two showing for this lot, the horror phonic doom drone of 6&8’s ‘iron truck’ with its disquieting subterrannic groans and scrapes is ripe for the shivering behind sofas listening in the daytime with the lights on, ‘purple’ on the other hand is lighter toned, still somewhat melancholic, the groaning head hung atmospherics shifting at almost glacial pace recalling the kind of stuff once upon a time put out by Constellation. And talking of sofas – you might want to keep in near proximity for ‘fucked up on terror’ by worm fam which on reflection isn’t as evil or menacing as the title might lead you to first believe though is still cowed by a warping oddness of a youthful Residents crookedness. So far I’ve been unable to decide whether or not Keep Sheila on acid’s ’hinterland’ had me in mind of the inner working of an extra terrestrial space craft or a subliminal message service provided for by some huge mind warping dream machine, whatever the case admirers of the trensmat imprints championing of all things strange drone – most notably – the astral social club – ought to find themselves suitably satiated. Which leaves the last call going to Takeshi Goto (Anal Rose) whose ‘hollow sound’ is exactly that, defrosting shimmering silvery orbs of minimalist electronica which starts at a point of genteel sparseness and gather in depth, dimension and density until by at its parting what emerges is a touching star twinkled symphony of adorably hiccupping shy eyed peek-a-boo effervescence.
And so to Mega Dodo…thought we’d lost this review, in fact we did – well half of it anyway – the honey pot half in case your wondering – which we‘ve lovingly rehashed again below just for you, there’s also mordecai smyth – the one that never got away and crystal Jacqueline – which frankly has to be heard, played and loved – first up though a very special limited Christmas charity thing – anyhow instead of wittering on we’ll just crack on….
A very special release indeed and something which we were considering holding back on until our Christmas bumper missive but frankly couldn’t resist and anyhow its out sometime this week and is strictly limited to just 100 CD copies and available as an unlimited download. From the Mega Dodo imprint a seasonal compilation no less entitled ‘home for Christmas‘ – a stellar gathering of talents some unknown, some known and some soon to be known all donating their time for free with all proceeds from this going to the Salvation Army. Now ordinarily I’d agree with you on the ’what Christmas – we’ve just got over the strife and commercialism of having kids with begging bowls rolling up the path dressed in naff looking Halloween garb’ – but the Salvation Army along with countless other charity organisations do a sterling job in helping those less fortunate and not just at Christmas but every single day of the year and it’s a constant source of annoyance and hurt in trying to be proud of a nation headed up by politicians who callously sit in ivory towers expecting the majority of us to tighten our belts to pay for the mess that the elite have caused through greed and cheating whilst watching the gap between the have’s and the have not’s growing wider by the day. Rant over. Eleven musical baubles hang twinkling upon the grooves of this cutely cosy release, a mix of original ditties and familiar old friends season this winter warmer. Here you’ll be serenaded by the alluring sultry purr of Crystal Jacqueline’s lysergic lilt ’on Christmas day’ all showered in a warming glam psych pout ushered by a tenderly trimmed hymnal hue and cosy toed by a magical seasonal card glow of crackling open fires and an affectionate peace to all kiss. Those much loving of honeyed melodies and homely hushed harmonies may do well to steer yourselves in the general direction of the Keys ’queuing up for Christmas’ – prized from their see monkey do monkey released ’Christmas’ EP – this little gem is oozed in a vintage 60’s craft echoing bitter sweetly to a pristine pop matrix as though hand carved by Bacharach and David and rephrased by a youthful Ashley Park. The honey pot – who incidentally feature again later this missive – weigh seasonal anchor with the dream drifting mirage that is ’angel in the sky’ – a gorgeously woozy treat longingly sugar rushed in halos of softly dissipating seafaring riptides all cooed in a mellowing faraway lazy eyed yearn. Culled from their ’smiling worlds apart’ album the excellently named the shadow kabinet craft a similar olde world kaleidoscopic psych folk tapestry as that of the long admired Soft Hearted Scientists, rustic hues, Beatles-esque mosaics, floral flutes and tip toeing string arrangements endow all in a becoming introspective baroque enchantment. Label old guard Mordecai Smyth – now there’s a name to ghoulishly conjure with – steps to the plate with a spirited version of Jona Lewie’s ’stop the cavalry’ (I should admit at this point that I’m not the greatest fan of this particular ditty) though I will say that Mr Smyth does at least win us around somewhat by laying off the full on-ness of the original and spiriting it with a lazy eyed lolloping and ramshackle campfire glow. Sure we’ve mentioned trolley in previous dispatches at one time or another, ’I’ll be home for Christmas’ prized from their 2011 Christmas EP is a razor sharp buzz sawing power popping present that by rights ought to appeal to admirers of platters grooved by the wares of the Velvet Crush. Last featured in these pages courtesy of their killer version of the hollies lost nugget ’Pegasus’, the green question mark return to the fold with a rather nifty Troggs meets Pretty Things festive fuzz-a-rama fancy in the shape of the suited and booted strut garage beat grooved ’santa claus’ which by our ears sounds as though its been time travelled straight out of an early 60’s Hamburg club scene and remained elusive from prying Nugget vault diggers eyes ever since. Might just be me but devil’s jukebox sound as though they’ve been sneaking more than their fair share of the Christmas punch for this rendition of ‘white Christmas’ here summarily sozzled and treated to varying attempts by the assembled gathering at Dean Martin and Bing stylees and of course loveably daft with it. Originally done by the three wise men – an XTC in disguise alter ego – ‘thanks for Christmas’ is given a cheery pruning by Strange Turn and re-wired into a strangely worse for wear sounding Syd Barrett albeit as though stumbling under the cover of night into the Spector lair and being kissed by a Christmas fairy that’ll be Roy Wood in disguise and then having quickly read up on a manual for ‘making the perfect Christmas tune’ has summoned forth a whole arsenal of festive trimmings and shoved them in the merry magic cooker for voila this chiming, chirping, children caroling wonderland. Need I say more – a single is expected soon. If I had to choose the best moment or in this case the best moments of the collection then first up would without doubt be the hare and the moon band’s haunting rendition of ‘the snow it melts the soonest’ here given a gloriously lulling monastic treatment all phrased in an archaic English folk tongue and sounding not unlike some ghostly and spectral carol service attended upon by Men an Tol and Dead Can Dance all headed up by those folklorist gurus Tunng. Rubbing shoulders in the affection stakes Beaulieu Porch’s ‘Simon Christmas’ is unreal, a ghostly cortege refracted through a kaleidoscopic viewfinder wherein haunting recitals of ‘God rest ye merry Gentlemen’ are woozily fractured upon a coalescing carousel of hammer film scores and Victoriana tavern shanties all traced in a macabre melodic magicalia by the spectral spellbinding bewitchment of a Komeda craft – nuff said. Essential. www.megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/home-for-christmas
A handful pretties that have been hugging the kitchen boom box since falling on our doormat are a trio of nifty nuggets from the mega dodo imprint whose wares can be found at www.mega-dodo.co.uk/home/shop and visit you should because you’ll be greeted to a whole host of must have eye catching treats all pressed up on limited quantities of coloured wax. Alas we only have CD versions but hey ho they still look rather dandy. Anyhow we mentioned this imprint in passing a little while back when we were much taken by the green question mark’s version of the Hollies ‘Pegasus’ which I believe is still available should you want one – and of course you do – on its original limited to 250 copies green wax issue – we’d paste our previous thoughts here only the review is currently marooned on a less than compliant laptop whose hard drive is refusing to play ball – so instead hop over to www.mega-dodo.co.uk/products/the-green-question-mark for further wordy enlightenment – it’s the review without the correct credits simply parked under the god is in the TV listing. Rambling over with and back to mordecai Smyth whose frankly essential ‘dial m for mordecai’ aside being pressed on orange wax is billed as a four track affair yet appears on our copy to feature an additional ‘untitled’ nugget which for the best part had us much recalling some George penned treat from the Beatles’ back catalogue – notably ‘blue jay way’ if your struggling for ideas or clues – until that is out of nowhere it blossoms to incorporate elements of ‘Norwegian wood’ though not before taking a few toots from a humungous bong and drifting carefree on a magic kaleidoscopic carpet – indeed gorgeously hazy stuff. Before that comes ’trapped’ a kooky key kissed beat pop smarty trimmed in the finest late 60’s threads and coming on like a blissed out and smoked shimmy between traffic and those Spencer Davis group dudes. The deceptively catchy ‘dark haired Douglas’ opens aping the Monkees before undergoing a quick makeover to freebase on a small faces variant while the fuzzy soft psych shimmer that attaches to ‘psychedelic Sarah’ playfully preens itself to an old school Elephant 6 Collective aura. All said ‘dream on’ leads the affectionate charge sublimely crafted in a lazy eyed glow whose sun kissed 60’s inscribed lysergic lilts and opining slide riffage oozes such out of it chill-dom that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled upon a cache of stoned selections from a Floydian cutting room floor either that or a rare feast of previously unheard dukes of the stratosphear tuneage.
And to the Honey Pot who feature amid their assembled number Icarus Peel and a certain Jacqueline Bourne who will pop up later here in her Crystal alter ego, ‘to the edge of the world’ be their debut long platter, not sure whether its out on yer actual vinyl or not – hey ho. Perfect turntable apparel for those among you who prefer your sounds momentarily dinked in brightly coloured and softly effervescent shards of 60’s west coast pop albeit spruced and cooled in the lazy eyed arrest of an English psychedelic eccentricity, there’s no doubting that the Honey Pot know their way around the cobbling up of nostalgia honed radiant feel good pop. Informed and applying all the tricks and trappings on the crafting of purist psych pop ‘to the edge of the world’ offers a well crafted myriad of kaleidoscopic mosaics that chirp and cool to a liberal splashing of rainbow colouring and darkly metered flashings of monochrome murmurs. Its upon these grooves that you’ll hear the unreal spell crafting wooziness permeating through the hypnotic grooving of ‘paper garden’, very much flavoured in a deceptively desirable dialect fashioned from an early career Jefferson Airplane dream coat wherein quietly sowing on the magic buttons you’ll find Nico busying herself hiding in the shadows. The Nico references pop up again on the enchanting ‘love is green’ – a love noted baroque bouquet of string seduced pastoral posies while wah wah’s, arabesque melodies, spiralling sitars and a seriously out there and gone blues groove is the order of the day for ’roses will grow’ as it nods in equal measure to both Cream and Mayall. Those among you much taken with those rarefied platters put out by Eleanor Rigby will do well to swiftly skip to ’hazy recollections’ which I must admit has something of a distinct pre Abba woozy folk flavoured aura about its personage. Elsewhere and having us reaching for our prized 7‘s by the Murmurs of Irma, the gloriously homely and slightly kooky ‘comfy’s honey jar’ is lushly scented with the strange musical herbal essences of the Purple Gang albeit as though rethreaded through the sound boards of Keith West and scalped with a late 60’s London town dialect notably a certain Deram era Bowie in his Newley wannabe phase. The same devices are employed on indelibly arse stamped ’made in England’ beauty ’Florence’ which jinks and jaunts as though a Keith Waterhouse script doodled and dreamed away with a Small Faces smirk. Darker in tone the freakish psych blues of the shimmer toned Hammond laced ‘tuppence for your thoughts’ is kissed with something of the wasted persona of the misunderstood while parting shot ‘sweet orange sunshine’ proves to be the sets deceptive trick or treat beautifully harnessed as it is in a misty mystique that wallows to a archaic English folk tongue and finds it shimmered in the kind of sweetly turned bewitchment you’d more readily expect of platters put out by Owl Service, Men an Tol and Sproatly Smith. All said a quietly unassuming classic.
And so to Crystal Jacqueline, last mentioned here – if that is you don’t count the honey pot album (see elsewhere) – via a rather nifty cut cooked up for those dudes at Fruits de Mer wherein she turned in three exceptional covers of lost classics originally penned by the troggs, the stones and second hand which in case you missed first time of asking are all here for your discerning ear. ‘sun arise’ be the name of the collection, a formidable set that sees Jacqueline calling upon the sister craft of Bunyan, Nico, Dyble (especially on the baroque folk treasure ‘by the way‘), Kristina (the flipped out fluorescently detailed ’love is light’), Slick (most notably it has to be said on the cosmic prog voyage that is ‘dream I’) and Perhacs to evoke a truly kaleidoscopic aural experience that dips between the shadowy impasses that exist amid the twilight cracks unifying psychedelia, prog and freak folk. However before we venture forth I’d just like to say that weird things afoot in our gaff – all loosely connected to this release (not that I’m saying we’ve been hex’d or anything I’m sure ex wives have seen to that) which is beginning to disturb us a tad for we’ve now managed to not only mislay the press release but two copies of this album along with (and I probably dreamed this) a complimentary missive from CJ following our review of the aforementioned FdM single. Now I don’t believe in mystic portals and other such nonsense but I am beginning to think that some releases that venture our listening space have an unnerving habit of assuming legs and scuttling off to party hard with other impish escapees. Therefore due to this we are in fact reduced to listening to this via the Mega Dodo band camp given that a thorough reconnaissance of the gaff has still yet to upturn said errant discs. Anyhow enough of that to the album in hand, ‘sun arise’ opens sensibly enough with the title track – an out there glam kissed Tibetan transcendental nugget – arguably the first time you’ve probably seen the descriptors glam, Tibetan and transcendental in the same sentence (you wait they’ll all be doing it soon), this blighter comes possessed of a strutting kick and hazily glazed groove of such medicinal attributes one might suspect its packed its own peace pipe for the journey. Appearing originally on that aforementioned FdM outing ‘a fairy tale’ is a kookily day-glowing freak beat happening atop oozing in acid fried riffola and shoehorned by tooting 60’s key serenades atop of which prowls the feline purr of a youthful Ms Harry – can do no wrong. ‘play with fire’ tis the second of those three exceptional covers, this one being in a class of its own, far darker than the Stones original and trimmed with a subtle menace that presides over a serious wasted and entrancing acid psyche motif. ‘cousin Jane’ completes the covers triptych, an exquisite and macabre melodic mosaic sweetly arrested by the grand and ornate dimpling of frosted atmospherics which aside imparting a degree of reverential gravitas also somewhat endows the spectacle in an ice dripped enchanted embrace. ‘fly a kite’ – what can we say. I’ll admit we here have always had something of a soft spot for the film ‘Mary Poppins’ – but shhh don’t tell anyone else, so it was a heartening and a eyebrow raising occasion to hear this airily dreamy sort softly weaving through the speakers before it headed off to touch stratospheric heights. Best moments of the set, and there are many, we suggest you track the haunting and bewitchingly dark hearted Nico-esque ‘who do you love’ as it pirouettes upon a gorgeously brooding madrigal that ripples with feigned passion to the lovelorn incline of chiming corteges and hollowed twinkle tones. Maybe not quite in design, ’Alice’ mirrors in spirit and subject matter Jefferson Airplane’s ’white rabbit’, both inspired by the brace of books that formed Carroll’s Victorian fantasia and here trip wired to a thoroughbred English eccentricity spirited upon the surreal warping psyche of Syd Barrett. Elsewhere there’s the cast adrift and shyly bruised and hollowed sensuality of ‘I break’ sounding as though its fallen from the final cut of the ‘wicker man’ soundtrack and the snake winding lysergic arabesque opine that dusts the warning calling parting shot ‘sundown’. a classic modern day evocation of folked out progressively psychedelicised magicalia – nuff said.
Incidentally this release is the subject of one of those pledge music type things wherein you can pay up, place your pre order and help get this fine audio adventure pressed upon thick slabs of yellow vinyl – just follow the various links around www.megadodo.bandcamp.com/album/sun-arise-2
Just in case you need to hook up to our review of CJ’s outing for FdM it’s here…… www.marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/tales-from-the-attic-volume-xii-the-lost-b-side/
Video for ‘fly a kite’ …..
And that’s your lot for now. As ever many thanks to press folk, labels, musicians and you – yes you there – for tuning in, reading and making this gubbins possible ,
Next missive will feature all manner of lovelies from the bordellos, matinee records, everything is chemical, beautify junkyards, fossil collective, perth, millipede, androgynous mind, roadside picnic, rocket girl, marnie, star spangled banana and much more…..due soon….
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As ever take care of yourselves…..xx
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formerly editor of the legendary www.losingtoday.com
intermittent ‘tales from the attic’ despatches via…
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