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Those lovely people at Fruits De Mer have gone all-out this week with the introduction of their new krautrock-themed compilation series Strange Fruits...er, I mean Strange Fish! This mammoth 6LP + CD set is a celebration of all things kosmische featuring a mammoth 29 artists all contributing their take on that Germanic hypno sound, some getting a whole side, some just getting a single short track.
Given the rate at which we review here at Norman I don’t stand a chance in hell of listening to the entire thing before I get it home, but on the first side there’s two lengthy tracks of patient Kosmonaut-ish swells and bloopy arpeggios from Craig Padilla, and overleaf Sendelica carve out the side-long ‘Strange Fish’, a more organic piece with live instruments and hissing drones, somewhat proggy but still fitting the cosmic kraut description pretty well. Some lovely delay-laden bass work on this one too, giving it a slight Goblin-esque feel.
Sometimes artists just get a single track, sometimes they get three or four in a row...it all seems a little arbitrary and one must assume that the main priority here was simply that the pieces included should be of sufficient quality to fulfil Fruits De Mer’s high standards. I’m listening to part four now (the only other single-LP collection of the four) and here the tracks are shorter and the psychedelic side much more noticeable, with Cat Frequency immediately mixing a krauty synth drone with steel stringed guitar twanging and weird backwards guitar tape weirdness, and then Russia’s Organic Is Orgasmic mix fluttering, busy cosmic soundscapes with twangy wah guitar weirdness on their two tracks...
There is absolutely no way I can possibly describe this whole thing in a single review because it’s such a giant collection, but the bits I’ve heard are great and I’d imagine anyone who enjoyed Fruits De Mer’s ‘Roqueting Through Space’ and ‘Head Music’ collections or anything on GPS’s Deep Distance offshoot will be over the moon about this. Oh, and here’s a list of the artists involved, if that helps sway your decision:
Black Tempest (England)
The Bordellos (England)
Cat Frequency (England)
The Cream People (England)
Dead Pylons (England)
Earthling Society (England)
Frobisher Neck (England)
The Golden Cake Company (Wales)
The Grand Astoria (Russia)
Julie's Haircut (Italy)
Mademoiselle Marquee (Scotland)
James McKeown (England)
Organic Is Orgasmic (Russia)
Craig Padilla (USA)
Palace of Swords (Scotland)
Purple Rock Trip (USA)
Jay Tausig (USA)
Temple Music (England)
The Amazing Sounds Of D.B. Turi (England)
The Vox Humana (Wales)
Zenith:Unto The Stars (England)
10/10 Brains Dark Customer review, 18th July 2013
A renowned vinyl only psychedelic genre based record label releases a five volume set of vinyl, encompassing one double LP, three single LP's and a cd. Now as a doubting Thomas this concept had yawn city written through it akin to two weeks sucking on a stick of Blackpool rock. However, despite my expectations, this is far away the best release the label has so far given the music loving world.
I have dipped into many of the sides of vinyl but time has only permitted me to listen in detail to the first two volumes and what a treat they are. Close your eyes and you could be in a hippy commune in Munich in 1970 or having an afternoon shopping in Bagdad; such is the power of these records. At one moment typical kraut rock beatific efficiency and the next ragged eastern jagga rhythms.
Volume 1 side 1 kicks off with Craig Padilla who conjures up fantastic synth led soundscapes that wouldn't be out of place with Zeit era Tangerine Dream and this is followed by Sendelica with a track that continues in a restrained sombre mood occasionally dipping into the meditative riffs of 2 oz of plastic era Man Band.
The wonderfully named Moonweevil proffer ambient floydisms , which is followed by Vespero and the ethereal transportation to the bazaars of Bagdad. The third side of volume 2 closes with the Italian band Julie's Haircut with a track that out Hawkwind's Hawkwind. A colossal track of a lost gentre of spaced rock. The final side of volume 2 is taken up by Mechanik and as the name suggests this is Neu, Can and Amon Duul II mixed up and given a modern makeover.
To cut a long story short this is a great release and the movers and shakers at Fruits De Mer and all the bands involved should be very proud of what they have achieved. If you enjoy sitting down and listening to music then I recommend this release. However, if you enjoy a quick blast of Reverend and the Makers or Rhiana then this release may just save your musical soul.
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