...we'll post them all here...
ASTRALASIA - 'OCEANIA'
First of all we should apologise for being a little late to the party with this one. Another release ripe for headphonic delight, incoming on the esteemed Fruits de Mer imprint an absolute mind mushrooming head trip from Astralasia. Pressed on coloured double vinyl replete with additional 7 inch and blotter paper no doubt aping the LSD saturated sheets of the late 60’s, ‘Oceania’ might well be best described a trip aboard a kind of cerebral carpet drifting deep into the subconscious exploring your inner head space for this mammoth sonic statement cuts across the realms of ambience, kosmische and transcendentalism like a hot knife through butter.
‘Alooland’ starts the journey, a demurring dream drift of swirling dissipates and dissolving textures, a cosmic jungle if you would so wish replete with bird song and a teaming of dub draped woozy wildlife. The decidedly beardy ‘ghosts inbetween’ changes the mood ever so slightly, positioned on a more solid terra-firma, this funky murmur tone comes wiggily shrouded in a trippy kosmiche jazz shelling pressed upon a mellowing motorik grooving while the title track closes the curtain on side one with some nifty Floydian spiked Tangerine Dream mind expansion. ‘tangerine skies’ opens matters on side 2, is that Rickie Lee Jones at the beginning, sure sounds her which is just as well as this ‘un takes its cue initially from the Orb’s ‘little fluffy clouds’ and then just drifts off radar into Ozric Tentacle magic lands, one we suggest best accompanied by the rolling of a fat ‘un and just letting yourself go. Sprayed in beguiled Balearic afterglows ‘kaleidoscopic’ arrives hazily adorned in misty romance dinked in tropicalic delirium which we must admit had us for the best part arguing with ourselves what it reminded us of more – Vini Reilly or Discordia. It’s left to the sides best moment to run out matters towards the end groove, ‘north star’ very much setting its dials for bliss state and into the bargain colouring in the invisible dots that exist between Embryo and Sendelica.
With a title like ‘astral voyager’ there was never going to be any doubt or fear that this was going to fry your headspace with wiring salutations crusted in harsh gouging, a pulsing peace pipe very much recalling those lengthy workouts by Paris Angels albeit as though retooled by a youthful Echoboy and cut with the same kind of mind morphing mosaics that used to occasion themselves out of the much-missed Delirium sound house in the mid 90’s. something of the John Barry ghosts through the twinkle toned noir lounge smouldering of ‘Ishdan’ with its feint daubing of the mystique snaking through its hypno-grooved shimmer toning. All said though it’s the 22 minute colossus ‘time and tide eternal’ which occupies the entirety of side 4 that provides ‘Oceania’ with its formidable centre piece for what is a humungous meditative out of body astral ride sailing on cosmic ocean drifts populated by floaty ripples of dream dazed arabesque mirages, hallucinogenic hazes and lulling at peace with everything flotillas of bliss kissed out there-ness. Classy. For the seriously bonged out among you the label are at present cobbling together one of their legendary special edition sets of the album that features posters, white labels, special coloured wax variations, a live vinyl set and all manner of hush hush secret goodies all no doubt forced with some difficulty into a humungous box
Mark Barton - The Sunday Experience
Three years on from Astralasia’s last double album ‘Wind On Water’, the band have topped that long sold out release with ‘Oceania’. Split across double vinyl, the band present 80 minutes of largely chilled out electronica.
Its 11 tracks delve deep into the lost continent it is named after and, as the band describe it: “It’s about birth, life, love, death, afterlife and rebirth…the whole cycle. It’s either a meditative, shared with a loved one in embrace, or a remembrance of loved ones gone, or in that state in between.”
Describing the tracks won’t do it justice. A hugely ambitious release that will surely interest followers of Pink Floyd, The Orb and Angelo Badalamenti.
Jason Barnard, The Strange Brew
"time to discorporate, leave your body, into the wonderful psychedelic sounds of Astralasia"
Keys and Chords
One of my favourite space rock groups Astralasia are back on Fruits De Mer following their sold out LP ‘Wind On Water’. They’ve been around for a long time and all that experience shows in their latest double CD ‘Oceania’. “It’s about birth, life, love, death, afterlife and rebirth” says the band, quite a concept! CD 1 (vinyl side 1) first and as the anticipation builds on opener ‘Alooland’, ‘Ghost Inbetween’ takes a surprising turn, vaguely like The Doors’ ‘Riders on the Storm’ in its electric piano lines. The title track is a heavier synthesised affair with Orb like narration a la ‘Pink Fluffy Clouds’ while ‘Tangerine Skies’, the opener on side two speaks for itself in musical direction. The biggest surprise on album one though is the final track on side two ‘North Star’ which has some glorious sax and what I can I only describe as ethnic electronic percussion. Album two starts with another track heavily influenced by Tangerine Dream, ‘Astral Voyager’- it also took me back to the first time I heard Steve Hillage’s ‘Fish Rising’, marvellous. Awakened from the trance, ‘Ishdan’ has an oriental flavour and ‘Mushroom Heartbeat’ features a rare solo piano excursion, very inventive and risky a la Cecil Taylor perhaps amidst the pulses and beats. The album concludes with a side long experimental, ambient piece called ‘Time & Tide Eternal’, a slow builder with wistful flute sounds and tabla.
Phil Jackson, Acid Dragon magazine
I really liked the last Astralasia record a lot. I had no idea they had a new one. The group is very diverse so you are never quite sure what you will get but for sure a lot of spaced out electronic music and maybe some guitar as well. This is a double album with most tracks between 5 and 7mins with the exception of the long side 4 22 min Time, Tide and Eternal. The album starts off with Alooland, a sort of new age synth piece. This is not my favorite style of stuff from this band at all. It slowly builds up with synth bass and programmed drums. Ghosts in between is another synth piece with some nice piano. Oceania has a very fast synth arpeggio and some really cool psychedelic guitar playing. Great track. Tangerine Skies starts with a female spoken voice and then a dreamy synth line starts and there are some more ethereal voices mixed in as it builds up. Kaleidoscopic returns to this new age Kurzweil like synth with some piano stuff, a very floating happy elevator music track. A bit of lounge jazz like guitar which later evolves into some cool guitar. This ends and it changes into a very much piano focused song until the end. North Star features a pretty cool saxophone, played very slowly. This track slowly builds in some pretty cool layers over the 7mins. Side 3 starts with Astral Voyager with some Ozrics like guitar as the track builds up. Mushroom heartbeat starts with a piano work out before the synth and female voice kicks in. A long Shore is a 2.5 min track that ends side C with another floating new age like thing with some saxophone. Side D is the 22 min long track. It takes a long time to develop and features flute, electric tabla (?), and some other extra percussive sounds we have not heard yet on the album. A quite deep bass that shakes the floor is also present (mostly likey synth) as the track grows. It gets really spaced out and lost in space around 15mins until the end. If you like the last several albums you will dig this one as well.
Scott Heller, Writing About Music
SENDELICA/SUPERFJORD - 'ZAPPA'
Both bands have recorded a cover of one of the songs of Frank Zappa and the split single appears april 17 2017 via Fruits De Mer Records on 7 "colored vinyl, the A-side song" Peaches En Regalia "is called and is played by Superfjord.
Here I hear the band be performing a wonderfully melodic symphonic instrumental, which are several good tempo.
On the further side of the single I hear Sendelica play the song "Do not Eat The Yellow Snow" and in it the band I enjoy a nice swinging progressive rock song with a rather monotonous rhythm that the end is slightly heavier.
The split single "Zappa" Super Fjord and Sendelica contains two excellent Zappa covers, which I can recommend every lover of the music of Frank Zappa, but also those who love symphonic music and progressive rock will certainly enjoy here
Carry Munter, New Underground Music (auto-translated from Dutch)
Peaches en Regalia by Superfjord starts things off. They stick pretty close to the original with adding one new section and all the melodies, etc.. are intact. I enjoyed it. Sendelica, on the other hand, really make this cover of Don’t eat the Yellow Snow, a new track. A very cool 7”.
Scotter Heller, Writing About Music blog
Frank Zappa was a musician with a devoted following, one that shows no sign of weakening almost a quarter of a century after his death. With that in mind it's a brave move to cover an artist that many would think uncoverable. Purely from a technical point of view this is not for the faint hearted. And who would want to upset those fervent Zappaphiles?!
Welsh spacerockers Sendelica and Finland's Superfjord have stepped up to the proverbial plate, each taking a side each of this limited edition 7” to give their spin on a couple of Frank's most iconic compositions.
Superfjord's version of 'Peaches En Regalia' keeps the originals sense of fun, ups the acid-rock ante and adds an additional jammed out section. It's also has one hell of a funky bassline. Sendelica opt to tackle 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow', beginning with a spaced out ethereal section that segues into a heavier riff-based part which has an almost glam-rock feel, making full use of two drummers.
As they say in football parlance this two-tracker is a game of two halves. Difficult to pick a winner as they're both enjoyable. And hey, music ain't no competition after all, it's a collaborative labour of love. Another winning combination from Fruits de Mer.
Afraid it’s another of those essential type Fruits de Mer happenings that this time extending its influential radar to the legendary freak king himself, Frank Zappa. Now when it comes to naming artists deserving of the tag genius, in the era of ‘pop music and beyond’ all must surely be measured against the Zappa, a restless musical soul who hopped, fused and blurred the musical disciples with impish creativity leaving a body of work that to this day still has the ability to confound not to mention provoke critical debate and discussion. With Fruits de Mer’s curious affiliation and affection for the eclectic and the outsider, its only strange that its took them so long to link their musical carriage to the Zappa sonic express. The incoming ‘Zappa’ set comes pressed on 7 inches of wax, coloured obviously and limited in quantity, upon its grooves sit Superfjord and Sendelica each trading a side each and rephrasing a selected cut from Zappa’s formidable and extensive back catalogue. First up Superfjord go head to head with ‘peaches en regalia’ – a cut that originally reared it’s wigged out head on ‘hot rats’ – which listening just now had me very much recalling L’Augmentation, but that’s for another day. Left however in the hands of these dudes, ‘peaches en regalia’ stirs pipes and purrs to the original’s pastoral majesty though here invested with a liberal dose of breezy progressive grooving which all said had us very much in mind of the legendary Supersister, which by our reckoning is only a good thing. Sendelica turn their sights upon ‘don’t eat the yellow snow’ – originally appearing on ‘apostrophe’ – a set which even when he was playing with a straight bat he’d still manage to sound fried. Bingham and Co rethread the whole mix initially splitting it in two parts and fuse both together so that what first appears as a rather dandy slice of hypnotically snaking stoner glam emerging from a woozily dream draped ghost folk recital soon splinters and morphs with the appearance of Babal’s Karen Langley into a horn hazed gospel smoker. Recommended of course.
Mark Barton, The Sunday Experience
Zappa cover versions can be tricky. A true iconoclast with a unique compositional style, interpretations of his tunes can come across as pallid and pointless imitations.
Finland's superfjord almost fall into this trap on 'Peaches'. They stick closely to the original - playful, ebullient, ridiculously catchy - but part of the problem is that the piece is so tightly constructed, it doesn't allow much space for personal expression, apart from a brief solo break that sounds like '80s Hawkwind playing jazz. Sendelica's version of 'Snow' starts out loose and spacey; fluttering, floaty synths and FX and a relaxed vocal over that melodic bass hook, before lurching into a downtuned, lurching metal riff - though a floating, disembodied sax and ethereal female vocals push things interestingly.
Most Zappa music nowadays seems to consist of the "respectable" stuff played in concert halls by virtuosic new music ensembles. It's nice to be reminded that he was, at heart, one of rock's most peerless provocateurs
Neil Hussey, Shindig!
KRIS GIETKOWSKI - SONGS FROM 'EGG'
Kris Gietkowski was born in Poland and made his own amplifiers old radios to distort his guitar and keyboard.
In 2007 he moved to Britain, where he bought his solo and bass guitar, keyboards and Hammond organ.
Two years ago, posted Kris "While Growing My Hair" and other songs of Egg on youtube called Grietek, which drew the attention of music Keith Jones, who is also the owner of the Fruits De Mer Records label and that there resulted in the Fruits De Mer Records on april 17, 2017 releases the album "Songs from the First LP by Egg" (1970) in a very limited edition of 300 units as LP on colored vinyl.
The album, which contains seven songs, beginning with "While Growing My Hair" and in it I hear Kris be performing an excellent progressive electronic number that is very danceable (listen to this song from the youtube link under review) and followed by "I Will Be Absorbed", another fine swinging progressive number and here are various tempos.
Then put me Kris "The Song Of The McGillicudie pusillanimous (Or Do not Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas)" before and I get to hear a beautiful swinging rock song that played at a fairly high pace and is dominated by the Hammond organ, and "Movement 1" follows and in it he plays a great groovy psychedelic piece progressive rock, where classic rock is in interwoven, which contains some great tempo changes and shows similarities with the music of the Nice.
Then dishes out Kris me "Movement 2" for and in this song it makes me enjoy a delicious piece of progressive rock, played at an average tempo and several tempo changes and this is followed by "Movement 3", in which he goes making fantastic music and the final track "Movement 4" I get to put such delightful progressive rock song where the music is similar to that of the Soft Machine from their beginnings.
"Songs From the First LP By Egg" by Kris Gietkowski is a fantastic record, which I enjoyed from beginning to end, so that I can recommend any progressive rock fan.
Carry Munter, New Underground Music (auto-translated from Dutch)
At first, these appear to be straightforward reinterpretations of songs from the first LP by Egg, hence the name. But Polish musician Kris Gietkowski has charged them with a lo-fi bounce, where the originals glisten and pomp, these versions - constructed with homemade amplifiers and devoid of words - emit a kind of frantic glee. The smell of hot electronics and the thrill of the amateur intoxicates.
However, his production is far from amateurish; his musicianship is superb, especially on "Symphony No.2 Movement 4", and more so knowing that Kris plays each part himself. The results are, ultimately, mixed; whilst enjoyable, it's a bit like riding the tea-cups underneath a rollercoaster - each has its own distinct thrill, but the lure of the big dipper wins.
One must congratulate FdM though, for sticking to their mission of releasing the interesting and esoteric. This definitely ticks both of those boxes.
Spenser Tomson, Shindig!
I have to admit I'm not that familiar with the first LP by Egg, being still in nappies when it was released. My earliest musical memories coming a few years later and limited to the glam pop and tartan-clad boy bands prevalent on AM radio at the time. Anyway thanks to the powers of the Internet I've learnt that Egg were a three-piece prog band who signed to Decca in 1969 and released and eponymous debut LP a year later.
Fast forward 47 years and in a bizarre labour of love, Polish multi-instrumentalist Kris Gietkowski has decided to record a full length LP featuring most of the songs from Egg's first LP. Notice that that's most and not all, as the press release explains - “it's only 'most of' as one of the tracks would have taken him months to learn and he didn't fancy the ten second intro track on the original album.”
Reading that I knew I'd just love this LP, regardless of how it sounded. But anyway it sounds pretty good. A fully instumental album full of jazz-prog organ fugues, proto math-rock and quasi-classical passages in what I'm led to believe is a fairly faithful replica of the original LP. And it comes as a colour-in-colour vinyl LP, yellow in white to look like a poached egg. How can any self-respecting vinyl freak not dig that right!?!
Harmonic Distortion http://harmonicdistort.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/kris-gietkowski-songs-from-first-lp-by.html
This is a pretty interesting jazzy, instrumental organ driven remake of the first EGG record from 1970. I don’t actually own the original but I remember my friend Malcolm Humes (RIP), played EGG for me a few times. Egg was Dave Stewart's (Organ player in Egg, Hatfield and the North, Soft Machine and National Health (all great bands!) band. What is most interesting is that Kris (from Poland but living in England) plays all the instruments on this record! THe long Symphony No. 2 is my favorite part of the album
Scott Heller, Writing About Music http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/kris-gietkowski-songs-from-first-album.html
JACK ELLISTER - ROOTS CONFERENCE
Returning back to the Fruits de Mer, the label have announced the first happenings for the coming 2017 season, strictly speaking both releases are heading out on the Friends of the Fish imprint, this is the sub label marketed beneath the umbrella of FdM yet to all intents and purposes is self financed by the bands themselves. First up ‘roots conference’ by Jack Ellister is a 300 only vinyl full length that superbly showcases his grasp of the lysergic pop rudiments to such an extent that we suspect in a parallel universe he’s a Barrett acolyte with means to time travelling and occasionally drawn on by a whim dares to step out of their 60’s into our now with eye swirling musical threads of out there mind warping magick, in essence a covers collection featuring his working of Bowie’s ‘drive in Saturday’ taken from last years FdM annual freebie ‘Fashion’ along with various re-readings of groove by Jackson C Brown, Open Mind, the Fool, Mark Fry and more. Expected sometime February / March.
Mark Barton - The Sunday Experience
waiting for a completely acoustic work in preparation, Jack offers us his second album that continues the line of the electric psychedelic pop, started with the debut album to pay tribute to the musicians who influenced him as a composer, guitarist and sung. A collection of songs among the most beautiful and less obvious the psychedelic '60s, but not limited to, filtered and reinterpreted through the diaphanous personality of a great artist like Jack. There are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Open Mind, etc ... but also Dizzy Gillespie, etc…
Rossana Morriello, Rockzilla
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...meanwhile, you can read our earlier reviews in the FdM archives
our 2016 reviews.... http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/reviews2.html
and our older reviews...
http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/reviews 2014 archive.html