It may be snowing, but Christmas is obviously coming as it’s starting to pick up around here, and ever box seems to be full of restocks! We are trying to keep on top of things so everything on your list is still in stock when we get asked for it, of course that can be tricky, so make sure to make a bigger list!
Of course, we don’t just sell records, but you already knew that, but don’t forget all the great stocking stuffers and other gift ideas we have in store… Carbon Fibre Brushes, Spin Clean Record Washers, T-Shirts, Phono Stages, Cartridges, Turntables, Turntables, Turntables!
…..pick of the week…..
Emerald Web: The Stargate Tapes (Finders Keepers) 2LP/CD
Sharing social circles and spiritual ideologies with artists such as Iasos, Connie Demby and Deuter, whilst splitting label release schedules with Laraaji, Laurie Spiegel and Wendy Carlos, the unique Florida raised soul mate duo known as Emerald Web released their privately pressed debut LP at an axis where post-prog rock met proto-new age and ambient electronic music. At the turn of the 1980s Bob Stohl and Kat Epple embarked on a ten-year spiritual journey playing at planetariums and laser shows above the same Californian silicon city that devised the early computer music software, unify- ing their state of the art modular synth soundscapes and organic compositions of flutes, bells and field recordings and furnishing a self-pressed cassette tapeography of inimitable Emerald Web music for their self-funded Stargate label. Having first communicated via the medium of music as flute players at a South Florida jam session the future space music luminaries would be instru- mental in assisting synthesiser companies via feedback and consultancy in developing instruments such as the Lyricon wind synth (favoured by Suzanne Ciani and Bruno Spoerri) and various sponsored machines for Arp, Buchla, EML, Computone and Orchestron. Named after a laser show formation and combining influences from science fiction films, fantasy novels and a broad musical spectrum including Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, It’s A Beautiful Day and Goro Yamaguchi, Bob and Kat would balance day jobs as synth program- mers as well as TV and film soundtrackers under the moniker BobKat Productions (counting microscope nature documentarian Carl Sagan amongst their clients) with evening synthesiser shows at galleries, spiritual centres and even punk clubs. This compilation album comprises early tracks from Emerald Web’s debut vinyl release and the following four rare cassette only albums on Stargate Records from 1979-1982 before the band recorded their bestselling (and Grammy nominated) albums for labels affiliated with Germany’s Kuckuck and Larry Fast before Bob Stohl’s sad and untimely death in 1989. Taken from original master tapes and recorded using revolutionary and proto- typal music technology many of these tracks have never been on vinyl or CD until now. Finders Keepers are proud to have worked closely alongside Kat Epple as part of an ongoing Emerald Web/BobKat archival project making these important early electronic/organic musical hybrids available for fans of ambient krautrock, electronic soundtracks, musique concrete, electro and PINA enthusiasts alike. Welcome To The Valley Of The Birds.
File Under: PINA, New Age, Ambient
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Live at KCRW (Bad Seed) LP
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds announce the release of a new album – ‘Live from KCRW’. The fourth official live album in the group’s history, it features a stripped-down line-up performing classic Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material alongside four songs from their recent global hit album ‘Push The Sky Away’. The recordings were made earlier this year at a live KCRW session at Apogee Studio in Los Angeles. The session was recorded by Bob Clearmountain on April 18, between their two Coachella appearances. ‘Live from KCRW’ will be released on CD, download and double vinyl formats. The vinyl edition features two additional exclusive, un-broadcasted live recordings from the session, ‘Into my Arms’ and ‘God is in the House’.
File Under: Live, Nick Cave, RSD Leftovers
Watch the Trailer Here
Faith No More: King For A Day (Music on Vinyl) LP
After Faith No More founding guitarist Jim Martin split the band in 1994, Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle took over six string duties for King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. Upon its release, the album quickly reasserted that Faith No More were still on top of their game. Keeping their harder edge on songs like “Get Out”, “Ricochet” and “Cuckoo For Caca”, the album is balanced with romantic love songs (“Evidence”), breezy Pop (“Caralho Voador”) and the more experimental tinged title track. The original release was sparsely pressed on vinyl which makes King For A Day a true collector’s item, especially a first limited pressing on red marbled vinyl.
File Under: 90s, Alt. Rock, Mike Patton
Robert Gordon & Link Wray: – s/t
– Fresh Fish Special (Bear Family) LP
Robert Gordon’s 1977/’78 Private Stock LPs with the legendary Link Wray were the best rockabilly revival records because they created something new from the ashes of rockabilly. It wasn’t revivalism to either of them – it was new music with all the energy and edginess of new music, rooted in rockabilly’s timeless truths. And during the sessions for the second LP, Bruce Springsteen contributed a song, Fire, that he’d written for Elvis. He played piano on the session, too. This was the age of Punk and New Wave, and Robert’s music not only made believers of those who didn’t think any great records had been made since 1957, but made converts of kids who were grooving to Blondie, the Ramones, and the other big acts of the time. Great music will do that! Both Robert Gordon & Link Wray LPs contain bonus songs.
File Under: Rockabilly, Rock
Gories: The Shaw Tapes (Third Man) LP
‘Recorded at a party in a Detroit storefront in 1988, this live recording of the Gories captures the band at their apex. The ferocity, intensity and grit that come through this record is a testament to why the Gories oeuvre has been heavily mined for the past two decades by hundreds of poseurs, pretenders and johnnycome- latelys. The dual-guitar attack of Dan Kroha’s smooth Fender Jaguar and Mick Collins screechy Kent Videocaster, coupled with the snare-less, cymbal-less, bass drum-less primitive drumming of Peggy O’Neill forms a perfect meld of 40’s blues, 50’s R&B, 60’s garage and 70’s punk. Dare we say it, but in terms of influence and reach, the Gories were the Velvet Underground of their day. “The best garage band in America since the ‘60s. Very primitive.. they made people with Les Pauls and Marshall amps look like idiots.” – Jack White
File Under: Garage, Mick Collins, Crypt
Pierre Henry: Malefices (Cacophonic) LP
Often evading the composer ’s official discography lists Cacophonic present this outstanding, commonly undetected Pierre Henry film score providing fans of early electronics, femme vocal manipulation and horror soundtracks with an indespensable “dream record” that ticks every box and crosses out every line in the rule book. Widely recognised as one of the original sonic architects of the movement known as musique concrete, having joined Pierre Schaeffer’s forward-thinking initiative as early as 1949, Pierre Henry was arguably the first musician to entertain the notion of this defiant musical revolution coexisting with traditional and poplular music. Initially using the mediums of modern dance and spoken word as a platform to contextualise his tape-music mutations (notably in unison with Maurice Bejart) Henry’s foresight to fuse accademic with thematic ideas lead to the birth of electronic sound design for film and theatre, expemplified most prevalently in the macabre. The missing link between his earliest avant garde recordings and his later celebrated pop experiments with Michel Colombier and Spooky Tooth and rivaling the likes of Daphne Oram’s uncreditted SFX work for The Innocents this rare score to the 1962 Juliette Gréco vehicle Maléfices (aka The Hex or Where The Truth Lies) hears Henry at what is perhaps his most melodic, fragile and enchanting (especially for this unforgiving sheen-free formative era). Layering vocal tape loops and gossamer feminine voice treatments with plucked strings, white noise wind and brooding industrial treated piano textures Henry provides a series of conceptual poison peons to magnify this films intoxicated halluciogenic narrative. This concise set of complete set themes is presented here fully remastered for the first time alongside rare excerpts from two of the composer’s very earliest and least obtainable forays into theatrical sound design with instrumental parts of Henry’s first stereo reconstruction of Bejart’s Orphee from 1961 and his seldom heard concrete interludes from Darius Milhaud and Max Gérard’s Mariage De La Feuille Et Du Cliché from 1958, both of which command rapidly increasing ransom fees amongst serious electronic music collectors.
File Under: Avant Garde, Early Electronic
Lorde: Pure Heroine (Universal) LP
Amidst a world of calculating contest winners, manufactured show ponies and cheap knock offs – Lorde is a true original. She is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, born and raised on Auckland’s North Shore, and possessed of a singular ability to capture the majesty, and mundanity, of teenage life – in striking melodic snapshots that belie her age and experience. Raised on a nutritious musical diet of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths and Nick Drake, alongside a smattering of soul food from the likes of Etta James and Otis Redding, Ella was definitely set off on strong melodic footing. Later she discovered artists like James Blake, Bon Iver, Burial, Animal Collective, SBTRKT and Drake – all of whom made an impact in their own, individual way. As vital and varied as those influences are, they don’t really begin to tell the full story of Lorde’s music, which melds concentrated, sharp-eyed lyrics and multi-layered vocals with crisp, 2013 beatscapes. The decision to release her first EP, with plenty of mystery but no marketing or publicity, and just a simple, lifelike illustration, was Lorde’s, and it was a masterstroke. Even after 60,000 free downloads on SoundCloud, The Love Club EP still shot to #1 on the New Zealand Album Chart, with “Royals” simultaneously occupying the top spot in the singles chart – without so much as a video on YouTube. Rejecting the trite banalities that are usually presumed to represent a 16 year old’s outlook, the music of Lorde manages to capture the very essence of the frustration and freedom, the curiosity and confidence, and the plain old wonder of teenage life, in a truly unique way.
File Under: Pop, Synth-Pop
Otto Luenig & Vladimir Ussachevsky: Tape Recorder Music (Cacophonic) LP
One of the very earliest and most important examples of electronic tape music to be pressed on to vinyl (alongside the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française musique concrète compilations in France and Jim Fassett’s comedic Strange To Your Ears novelty record) this privately pressed 1955 LP was released on a one-off label owned by businessman Gene Bruck to document a custom made performance at the New York Museum Of Modern Art back in 1952. This facsimile edition of this important LP archives remastered versions of the first recorded unison of Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky and a partnership that founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center at Columbia University in 1959, which would later count Ilhan Mimaroglu, Wendy Carlos, Dariush Dolat Shahi and Alice Shields as its graduates. The October 28th 1952 performance showcased the debut of the seminal Fantasy In Space based on resampled flute recordings which were manipulated on magnetic tape to create an otherworldly melodic composition, stylistically begging comparison with the early recording of Kraftwerk (made some twenty years later) and bringing a palatable and tuneful alternative to the stark avant garde experiments of their French counterparts. The mechanical construction of the track was even “performed” on prime time American television to celebrate this groundbreaking approach to modern music. Alongside four other tracks the full programme comprises further experiments with manipulated recordings of bells and woodwind instruments subjected to mechanical “augmentation, diminution and retrograding” to create pieces that “cannot be played with conventional instruments.” In the following years labels like Folkways and Desto would also plunder this important session as a milestone in electronic music. For the purpose of this release Cacophonic have also included the seldom heard 14 minute track A Poem In Cycles And Bells For Tape Recorder And Orchestra which was recorded using the same techniques with the Royal Danish Radio Orchestra in 1956 and released via the Composers Recordings Inc. label founded by Otto himself in 1954 (employing Vladimir in an advisory capacity) and operated for forty-nine years – releasing records by Harry Partch, Alwin Nikolais, John Cage and Alice Shields. Also included on this edition is an expansion of the rare 10″ original artwork by legendary graphic designer Ronald Clyne, an early example of his work made before he became in-house designer for Folkways Records rivaling the likes of Blue Note’s Reid Miles for some of America’s most iconic record sleeves.
File Under: Avante Garde, Early Electronic
Bruno Nicolai: Marquis de Sade (Finders Keepers) LP
De Sade 70? La Isla De La Muerte? Decameron Francese? Wildkatzen? Philosophy In The Boudoir? Les Inassouvies? Eugenie And The Story Of Her Journey Into Perversion?… De Sade, De Sade.. The film so odd they named it fifteen times! Represented here on this special commemorative format you will find some of the finest fruits from an infamous fertile creative relationship between two of the most dedicated and productive bastions of the 1960/70s Eurotica genre – Spanish born director Jess Franco (Vampyros Lesbos) and Bruno Nicolai (The Good The Bad And The Ugly/All The Colours Of The Dark). Thrown into a long-running partnership following a rare/lost 1969 Italian/Spanish co-production with the emblematic title Sex Charade (which also marked the debut collaboration between Franco and actress Soledad Miranda), the unison of shocking image and rocking sound provided an inspirational exchange of new experimental and uninhabited avenues for both of these workaholic European artists. In the late 60s, as the rise of Italian horror directors, such as a young Dario Argento, tested the boundaries of censorship and common decency, the Giallo comic book adaptation movies had began to open new channels for established symphonic composers such as Ennio Morricone, who was able to exercise his off-menu interests in the free jazz (exemplified by his non-soundtrack work with Gruppo di improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza) as budget restrictions were exchanged for creative freedom thus creating an important niche in European cinema which came to typify the burgeoning movement. The boom in the Horrotica/exploitation industry that rapidly sprawled across central Europe to Germany and Spain virtually overnight made extensive work for a long line of established Italian composers such as Alessandroni, Sorgini, Piccioni, Nicolai, and Cipriani – all of whom spread their spaghetti western roots (often under multiple pseudonyms) and took tight hold of the sonic aesthetic of European thriller cinema. While working in the organised ranks of production houses and library labels Like Deneb, CAM, Octopus, Beat and Liuto, the syndication of Italian music in Spanish horror cinema became synonymous. What originally began as a one-off relationship of convenience for the production company became a fruitful and habitual unison of choice and Nicolai would spend much of the early 70s balancing his time as a conductor for Morricone with repeat commissions for two notable horror directors – Sergio Martino in Italy and Franco in Spain. Forming a faithful relationship similar to that of Argento/Goblin and Fellini/Rota, the Franco/Nicolai partnership is arguably best illustrated on the soundtrack to this version of De Sade, presented here for the first time with a sharper focus on the free avant garde elements and the previously unpressed heavier psychedelic music that was prevalent and integral to Franco’s tastes. Including titles such as Drug Party, this set of full-length instrumental songs (as opposed to short cues) benefit from the extra collaborative energies of Italian studio luminaries Edda Dell’Orso (breathy onomatopoeic vocals) and Alessandro Allesandroni (sitar), striking comparisons with the aforementioned work under The Pawnshop moniker or the music from the Sergio Martino film All The Colours Of The Dark which enhance the displaced hallucinogenic and inebriated subtext of the film’s exploitative and counter cultural tenuous source of inspiration.
File Under: OST, Free Jazz, Psych
Alwin Nikolais: Choreosonic Music of the New Dance Theatre (Cacophonic) LP
Choreosonics was the name of the music for the choreography of Alwin Nikolais – a unique theatre exposition that was described in the late 50s as “the new theatre of shape, motion, light and sound.” In 1953 Nikolais attracted people interested in new art to his dance concerts at the Henry Street Playhouse in New York City. In these concerts dancers became colourful motivating sources for sculptural shapes; moving in changing atmospheres of light and sound their relationship carefully integrated into a new kind of audiovisual abstract theatre art. The sounds created for this were not conceived from traditional music points of view but were designed to share and support the total visual dynamics. Such a creation was possible because of Nikolais’ background as a musician as well as choreographer. At sixteen he was playing piano and organ for the then disappearing silent films, improvising and coordinating music four to six hours daily to the dramatic content of the movie. With this profession obsolete, he turned his skill into accompaniment for dance. Through this his interests led to his study of percussion accompaniment and exploration of new sounds. These ideas were stimulated by the kind of dance accompaniment introduced by the famous German dancer, Mary Wigman. This, in turn, induced Nikolais to study dance and ultimately to switch his career from musician to dancer and choreographer. Nikolais was soon heralded as one of the leading figures in modern concert dance, he is credited with bringing about revolutionary ideas opening up new vistas for dance and theatre. Nikolais’ activities were centered at the Henry Street Playhouse in New York. His work was created there with his assistant Murray Louis; sound engineer David S. Berlin; artist George Constant and members of his Playhouse Dance Company. All of whom had a hand in the final productions. Performances with names like Prism, Cantos and Totem were met with positive critical view for their multidisciplinary achievements. While his collaboration with Harry Partch on The Bewitched established his name alongside another true maverick of American sound design and forward-thinking composition. Some of Nikolais’ dancers were also trained as percussionists who improvised on a curious assortment of sound producing instruments and objects while other dancers worked through the choreography. David Berlin, who assembled and constructed the sound recording equipment, would operate from the sound booth from a window overlooking the stage. Nikolais would direct the experiments and improvising. Within any performance there would be numerous tests of the original sound and their possible electronic conditioning, including many playbacks of short phrases tested to the dancers’ motion. When the sound phrase proved satisfactory the next cut was started. Sounds were cut down, enlarged, replaced and then the whole piece would be linked together and given final editing much the same as a filming process. Nikolais generally tried to avoid any identification of the sound sources, thus inviting the ear to perceive the sound itself divorced from its initial derivation. This, however, was by no means a final criterion, the ultimate one being the value of the sound to the theatre idea at hand whatever its source or manner of conditioning was. The objects used to produce these sounds were without limit except for practical material size. Within the collection many percussion instruments were used: drums of all kinds, rattles, bells, gongs, cymbals, wooden blocks, etc. Also whistles, tubes, pipes, pieces of wood, aluminum, steel and tin containers were utilised alongside glasses, elastic bands, coils of wire, etc. The back of an upright piano in addition to a grand piano were also often at hand. The human voice would be used freely, hand clapping, foot stomping and any sound producing device whatsoever that might served a purpose.
File Under: Musique Concrete, Avante Garde
Selda: s/t (Finders Keepers) LP
The music you are about to hear defies categorisation. But for all intents and multi-purposes, this record is a folk album. Embodying all the aesthetic watermarks of a private press country LP, Selda’s debut long player from 1976 has masqueraded as lamb dressed as mutton, throwing many a discerning wolf from the gourmet scent. Behold! Space age, Anatolian, electronic, progressive-protest, psych-folk-funk-rock from the Middle East. All of the above ingredients are presented immaculately with up-most authenticity and conviction to create a delectable hybrid concoction which has never been replicated or equalled in the 3 mutant decades since its recording. Fusing Selda’s radical prose with equally radical musical gestures from some of the most lauded musical mavericks was a match made in psychedelic heaven. Artists such as Anadolu beat combo Mogollar (also known to a growing French audience as ‘Les Mogol’) had previously recorded a run of singles with the singer in a traditional folk style but in recent years had enjoyed critical acclaim after releasing two progressive albums fusing jazz, funk and electronically treated instruments with typical Anatolian styles. Selda would also utilise the talents of popular backing band Dadaslar under the guidence of Anatolian rock stalwart Arif Sag and master electronic producer and pioneer Zafer Dilek who would later gain critical acclaim amongst collectors of Turkish library music such as the TRT releases which he recorded alongside Okay Temiz. The bands were assembled at multiple sessions at both Yeni Studios and the uber-legendary Studio Elektronik where the record was finally completed and mastered. Released in 1976 to huge critical acclaim and scepticism in equal parts, the album smashed new boundaries both lyrically and musically. Sonically, the LP begs comparison to the second LP by post-folk, sibling three-piece 3 Hurel who used a balance of electronically treated saz and proto polyphonic synthesisers to similar effect. But the fact that Selda was one of the few female voices to adopt the use of such cutting edge techniques put the LP in a league of its very own.
File Under: Anatolian, Psych-Folk-Funk-Rock
Solaris OST (Invada) LP
Second Cliff Martinez release from Invada following the success of ‘Drive’. The soundtrack to the acclaimed 2002 Steven Soderbergh motion picture, starring George Clooney. Soderbergh says of Martinez’s pivotal role and his score, “I relied on it not only to unify the film emotionally, but to import actual narrative information.” Martinez himself describes it as “one of the few soundtracks of mine that I can still stand to listen to. I also think it was a score that made the greatest contribution to the film for which it was written.” Described by BBC Music as “A brooding slow, meditative work- and a musical journey that “leaves the listener floating free” by Soundtrack.net, ‘Solaris’ is an evocative and highly seductive score that still fully resonates with the listener more than a decade after it was first released.
File Under: OST, Ambient
T.R.A.S.E.: Tape Recorder and Synthesiser Ensemble (Finders Keepers) LP/CD
Known amongst a small group of teenage friends as T.R.A.S.E (Tape Recorder And Synthesiser Ensemble) this previously unearthed and fully formed electronic music project was spearheaded by a 16-year-old schoolboy as an extension of his woodwork, metalwork and science classes in 1981. Composed and recorded using a self-made synth, audio mixer and electronic percussion units T.R.A.S.E would bridge the gap between a love for sci-fi horror soundtracks, Gary Numan b-sides and an extra curricular hobby as a sound and lighting designer for school plays – bequeathing a backstory as unique and unfathomable as the individualistic sonic results that he would finally commit to C90. Having successfully recorded his only solo album, Electronic Rock (which was never duplicated beyond his own demo copy), this early musical achievement by Andy Popplewell stands up as a rare self-initiated example of embryonic experimental electro pop and genuine outsider music, marking the early domestication of synthesisers and the dawn of electronic home recording studios and the uninhibited results. Unhindered by adult concepts like self-consciousness, popular snobbery, fashion, pride and fear of failure (while funded by paper rounds and odd jobs in his Mancunian community), Andy, armed with the plans to the Chorosynth kit module, an old junk shop piano keyboard and some hand-me-down tools from his recently deceased dad, would fill an exercise book with plans, arrangements and self-penned new wave pop lyrics to fully realise the potential of his one-man synthetic symphony. Reaping the benefits of his own stencilled circuit boards and soldering iron skills (whilst occasionally enlisting the part time help of his younger brother on guitar) T.R.A.S.E’s homemade technology pop continued to bloom right up until the very cusp of adolescence when careers officers and real life responsibilities saw the end of Andy’s reel to reel multitracking which is finally presented here for the first time since it was sung and played. This ambitious cross section of robotic funk and moody soundscape sequences makes instrumental nods to John Carpenter and Kraftwerk next to unpolished vocal drones worthy of a sedated Human League or Joy Divison, all of whom shared radio dial digits amongst Giorgio Moroder, Tubeway Army and The Glitter Band as Popplewell’s clearest unabashed influences. The T.R.A.S.E tapes, finally unearthed by Finders Keepers, show the full extent of the projects repertoire before the “group’s” final hiatus which, for Andy, was followed by a working education in London under BBC employ- ment as a trainee radio engineer (not far from the closed door of the Radiophonic Workshop) which has since led to a widespread reputation as one of the country’s leading independent tape engineers/editors/archivists indiscriminately splicing and baking vintage tapes for anyone in-between Alpha in Brussels and ZTT in London. Having worked with hundreds of reputable studios, pop stars and media companies throughout his career Andy claims he has rarely been asked about his own musical history in 30 working years, Finders Keepers are glad we Popped that very question.
File Under: Electronic, DIY, Synth Pop, Music by Kids
Valhalla Rising OST (Milan) LP
Before Only God Forgives and Drive visionary Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn had made a strong impression worldwide with his 2009 English-language film Valhalla Rising. The film, starring Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), takes place in 1000 AD and follows a Norse warrior named One-Eye and a boy as they travel with a band of Christian Crusaders looking for the Holy Land. Instead, they find themselves in an unknown and unfamiliar land. The soundtrack to Valhalla Rising was never made available to the public. For the first time fans will be able to discover the full soundtrack to this cult film featuring a hypnotic and dark score by Peter Peter and Peter Kyed (who had previously scored Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher trilogy). The album mixes beautiful ambient soundscapes and rock infused industrial sounds creating a unique musical atmosphere. Nicolas Winding Refn’s cinema is visual and contemplative. Music is not only decorum, but also a full on character embodying the emotions and the underlying themes. The soundtrack to Valhalla Rising is a perfect illustration of that pure cinematic language practiced with one of the most exciting filmmaker of our time.
File Under: OST, Ambient, Refn
Robert Wyatt: End of an Ear (Cherry Red) LP
Featuring significant contributions from his Soft Machine bandmate Elton Dean, amongst others, The End Of An Ear is one of the more adventurous titles in Robert Wyatt’s catalog. It’s an album much more in line with the electronic jazz experimentation of Miles Davis, and the avant-garde, than the singer-songwriter material Wyatt would later be known for. Despite being a very serious record, Wyatt’s playful nature and sense of humor still shine through. The End Of An Ear is an absolutely essential piece of the Canterbury prog scene and Wyatt’s canon, lovingly reissued here on LP by Cherry Red Phonograph.
File Under: Soft Machine, Canterbury, Prog
X Ray Pop: Ding Dong Songs (Cache Cache) LP/CD
Femme fronted pocket punk and domestic-synth pop from French DIY workaholics X Ray Pop. Compiled from the mastertapes of the original 1980s privately pressed vinyl LPs and minuscule cassette runs. X Ray Pop are a group of whom are easy to scratch the surface, but almost impossible to get the bottom of. With an iconic moniker, telltale graphic style and demanding ‘buy me’ Day-Glo colour coding policy the French vinyl output of X Ray Pop as a specialist subject is, at first glance, memorable and achievable. Cocksure fans of Euro wave pop often proclaim X Ray expertise from behind many a record shop counter or blog page but the truth of the matter is that no-one, not even the band members themselves, have the knowledge or mental capacity to truly understand the splatter range of the god speed anti-tactics that have turned this interchangeable, unarrangable and thirty-year sustainable auto-pop combo into one of uber-legendary status. For those that tread the chemins of 80s Gallic record racks, from agit pop to Zeuhl-school (bridging synth pop to Celluloid) these 7″ square flags reading El Gato, L’Eurasienne, Alcool and Fuzzy Christmas are merely alluring landmarks pointing to another sebaceous underground of magnetic tape that flows swiftly (like Magma) awaiting Pirates and liberators alike. X marks the spot! Peeping out of a warren of unexplored passages their seminal self-distributed debut singles and appearances on the genre defining alternative funk Alternative Funk Folie Distinguée compilation in 1984 made them an omnipresent fixture for the French tape wave scene that shaped a generation and influenced many more to follow. But beneath the trademark fluo- rescent sleeves stands the highly stacked foundations of endless cassette only releases that give this pocket punk husband and wife duo one of the most impressive and elusive back catalogues of all their cut ‘n’ paste French funk contemporaries. Plundering the depths of a self-estimated 400 recorded songs, X Ray Pop founder Didier Pilot has joined up with Finders Keepers sister label Cache Cache to reassess, rescue and reissue some of the bands most underexposed sonic snapshots, many of which were distributed in issues of less than 50 up to 500 for exclusive global releases in France, Spain, Portugal, Japan and America (where bands like Brian Ladd and Julie Frith’s Psyclones and The Beastie Boys championed the band as a likeminded inspiration.
File Under: Lo-Fi, French DIY, Punk
Various: Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label (Numero Group) LP
One of the hottest Numero collections.. Now available on vinyl! Half a decade after the release of The Bandit Label, the story we stuffed into our 2000-word, 16-page booklet was feeling woefully incomplete. Survivors and hangers-on from Arrow Brown’s derelict kingdom had stepped forward, and new tracks had been discovered. Our CD package was losing any traction it had gained, and its admirers kept elbowing us re: Bandit’s inevitable return to wax and its native formats. Never close to content with throwing a product together, cut to fill only its hole in the marketplace, the Numero Group – older, wiser, stronger – has instead subjected 003 Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label to a full-on rebuild, adding stories to the edifice along the way. Our formerly paltry liner notes are now a 20,000-word work of astonishing nonfiction. We’ve de-grimed four dozen new domestic and promotional images, placing them all in an LP-sized ’70s-style pulp paperback, cloaked in Eliza Childress’s sumptuous two-panel cover art. The original CD’s 20 tracks get blown out into a whopping 36, spread out across three LPs, one them replicating 1975’s original insanely decorated Magic of the Majestic Arrows long-player.
File Under: Soul
Various: Morgiana/The Cremator (Finders Keepers) 10″/CD
Galvanising our ongoing commitment to the lost music of the Czech New Wave cinema movement from the late 1960s and 1970s, Finders Keepers Records follow up our series of previously unreleased music to Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders, Daisies, Saxana and The Little Mermaid with a short series of soundtracks for films by the country’s master of the macabre and the nation’s first point of call for freakish fairytales and hallucinogenic horror, Mr. Juraj Herz. Regarded as the final-ever film of the Czech New Wave, Juraj Herz’s Morgiana (alongside Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders) was made after the Prague Spring during Czech cinema’s most scrutinised censorship era deep in the throes of communism. Spearheading a micro-cosmic sub-genre of horror fantasy or scary/fairytales alongside Karel Kachyňa’s Malá Mořská Víla (The Little Mermaid), these directors built a handful of subversive, flamboyant and experimental new films based around classical communist approved surrealist literature; sidestepping creative compromise and uniting some of the leading lights of the FAMU founded film movement for the last time. Both of Luboš Fišer’s inimatable musical scores that unite the films Morgiana and Valerie share doppelgänger production and compositional ideas having been recorded just 18 months apart in 1970 and 1972. Forty years later these musical twin-sisters have been now presented for the first time ever outside of their original cinematic contexts. Revealing tiny shards of identical melodic phrasing, the Morgiana score visits darker hallucinogenic corners for this tale of two sisters seen through the perspective of giallo-esque “cat’s eye” camera work (filmed by Jaroslav Kučera (Daisies) revealing poison induced hysteria fuelled by sibling rivalry and desperately twisted jealousy. Adopting his mysteriously macabre musical persona, the versatile Fišer interweaves chimes, harps and harpsichord with echoing flutes, lutes and piano, applying his sig- nature orchestral tension and experimental percussion traits in the form of treated pianos, vibra-slaps, tape samples of striking matches and spring reverbs to this oblique heady selection. Drawing similarities with other stark monochrome thrillers such as Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Herz’s comparatively untravelled classic , 1969 feature film The Cremator also used the apoliti- cal subjects of fantasy and surrealist horror to evade the communist censors overzealous cutting and burning process which poetically echoed the films own macabre and fantastical screenplay. Unifying a cast and crew of some of the Czech New Wave’s leading lights, Herz’s macabre depic- tion of Ladislav Fuks’ fictional account of a local crematorium boss whose hallucinogenic burning obsession with the afterlife is ignited by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead (and intensifying manipulative Nazi propaganda) is undeniably one of the greatest underexposed European horror films of all time. Boasting a beguiling score and theme tune that remains one of the most memorable and spine-chilling, by the country’s finest experimental soundtrack composer Zdeněk Liška (Malá Mořská Víla), The Cremator provides the movement with one of its best loved signature scores. Featuring an ongoing partnership with studio conductor František Belfín (Daisies) and soprano singer Vlasta Soumarová Mlejnková (Marketa Lazarová), Liška puts his radical concrète and resampling techniques to one side in favour of celestial choral and orchestral arrangements; menacing giallo-esque tension and recurring rhythmical motifs of Eastern bells and chimes illustrating Rudolf Hrušínský’s Kopfrkingl character’s demise into murderous infatuation and the momentary cameo shots of the hallucinogenic death figure played by Helena Anýzová (Valerie/Daisies). From a country and era when isolated soundtrack music remained commercially unreleased, Finders Keepers Records are proud to rescue, remaster and reincarnate these examples of intense and sublime, timeless fim music by two of Europe’s finest composers taking rare excursions into horror territory. As part of a combined filmography of more than 400 formerly unpressed film scores these debut dedicated soundtracks are slowly reaching wider global audiences which should, in time, win them the same votes of confidence that we now award the likes of Komeda, Korzyński, Roubaix and Nicolai amongst other European soundtrack luminaries.
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