Split single of songs too good not to release
Every year, Fruits de Mer release a single containing songs that didn't fit into any other release but were too good for people not to hear. This split single is the 2013 issue of the series. Keith at Fruits de Mer very kindly sent me a copy of this single to review along with Permanent Clear Light's Higher Than The Sun and (shamefully) it's taken me a while to review. The blame (although I'm not really one for shifting blame) can be laid at the door of my Dad. I gave it to him to listen for a weekend and he's only just given it me back. Sorry Keith!
The two songs on this split single are a version of Faust's 'Jennifer' by Vespero and 'Pegasus' by Temple Music which was originally a hit for The Hollies. Wildly different songs but somehow complimentary.
Temple Music started as a solo project of Alan Trench who some of you may recognise from the folk band Orchis. Different musicians have provided different aspects to the project and and though being avant/folk they also have influences from drone and ambient European acts. Their live show is something of a chaotic event, combining walls of noise with straight forward rhythm. They've been releasing albums of a semi-improvised nature for the last decade or so. Pegasus was included as a taster for the now-released album of Hollies covers, 'Re-Evolution'. Clocking in at 8 minutes, the songs starts off with cosmic pulses leading into a drone, one-chord acoustic rhythm. Female vocals are accompanied by a sprawling, distorted lead guitar solo, whilst the frantic, chaotic backing continues. Overlaid backing vocals add to the mix and before you know it there's layer upon layer of noise. The vocals almost seem out of place; serenely calm and delicate, almost spoken combined with a melting pot of sounds. Although not to my taste, I can definitely see it's appeal!
Vespero, from Southern Russia have been through some personnel changes and have released a few low budget records in the 10 years since they started out. Jennifer starts off with backwards guitar, bass and piano before settling down to a steady foot-tapping tempo. The lead vocals are laid back whilst the bass line dominates along with some delicate guitar work for a smooth, floaty journey, culminating in an array of cosmic sounds and even a bit of screaming.
As with all Fruits de Mer releases, the overall package is impressive. The cover is printed in a way that both sides can be used as the 'primary' side depending on what your favourite track is – that is, the covers are the same way up if you flip the record over top to bottom rather than the traditional left-to-right. Both images are of the sepia erotic/sensual photos from around the turn of the last century. The record itself is the gold variant (a silver one was also pressed) and is marbled, with the heavier marbling from the inside out. I'd love to have an insight of how FdM press their records and get them to such a high quality whilst still selling them for reasonable prices. Each label is the same as the respective cover image.
Overall, another fantastic release from FdM. The praise they get from industry bods such as Gideon Coe and Mark Radcliffe is fully justified. The vast majority of FdM releases sell out fast and with the quality of the music and what you get for your money, it's no surprise.
Side 1 (hey side)
- Temple Music – Pegasus
Side 2 (hey hey side)
- Vespero – Jennifer
Side 1 – 94415 1A CRUSTACEAN 35
Side 2 – 94415 1B CRUSTACEAN 35