Christmas has come early (or roughly on time I guess) for Volcano The Bear fans, with this colossal box-set. Commencing contains 5 LPs assembled from a wide mixture of alternative and live versions, material previously released only on cassette or not at all… All sorts of trademark Volcano oddities, newly assembled and compiled along with a 50 page book.
Deluxe LP box set £89.99 mialp 032 box
Limited 5LP box set + 50-page book on Miasmah. Edition of 500 copies in screen-printed box.
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8/10 Mr Pearls Brain Customer review, 12th January 2016
I nearly gave this 10 out of 10, but I think you have to reserve that for the album that will change your life, even if you don't expect it. This is perhaps not for fans of, say, indie rock, but as 5 LP box sets of Volcano the Bear go, it is the best it could be, everything you could hope for. What is evident throughout is their pure love of sound. Any sound can be recorded, logged and juxtaposed with other sounds to create something new. Much is made of the early links with Nurse With Wound, and they share Steve Stapleton's knack of putting the right sound in the right place at the right moment. Each track comes with brief notes explaining who did what, and when and how. Many pieces are re-edited for this release and only a few have been available before (and a lot of them are on the early tapes which no-one has). Quite a lot of it was recorded live. Each LP is 48 minutes or thereabouts (good use of capacity: how many albums would it be if it was on Warp?), comes in its own exterior sleeve with paper labels. The sleeves have the notes on and some photos. The book is squarebound and has pictures of flyers for gigs, early sleeve art, plenty of photos, and some articles by the band. There's a download code, for people who like to buy 5 LPs for the download code.
What does it sound like? It sounds like Volcano the Bear, mate. It sounds like bits of jazz, krautrock, improv and dada silliness in a blender. It sounds like music made for the joy of making sound, where nothing is the same twice, assembled with particular skill at the mixing desk (often it's just a 4-track). It's more scattershot than much of their studio LP output, but if you're going to shell out 70 quid for it, you won't mind that. A work of this size has got to be sprawling, or what's the point?
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