WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS
Double LP + 7" EP + A2 poster
This is rather different for Fruits de Mer, but when the opportunity came along, i just couldn't let it lie...
Soft Hearted Scientists are unsung heroes of mine (until now) - i just love pretty much everything they've done - they somehow manage to combine Syd Barrett, sixties psychedelia, British music-hall, gothic horror, Welsh folklore and about 93 other influences and create something pretty unique and damn magical. Great vocals, wonderfully-crafted songs, intricate instrumentals - they've got the lot; they've also had more than their share of bad luck with record labels and it's not about to change now they're working with Fruits de Mer.
'Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists' combines the best of their CD releases to-date, together with a title track specially recorded for this release, a preview of tracks from their forthcoming album AND a 7" of demos.
It was supposed to be a a single album but, as hard as i tried to whittle the tracks down, i just couldn't get down to less than 95 minutes of music, so it's turned into a double album + 7" ep. Sorry, but honestly, not a minute of it is wasted, and not a minute of it has appeared on vinyl before.
sorry - this one sold out pretty much immediately - and quite right too - it's a corker. I'm afraid you'll have to resort to eBay or discogs, but it will be worth it
Whatever Happened to You (1:40) - exclusive to 'Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists'
Mount Palomar (5:05) - from the 'Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth' album
Wendigo (3:22) - from the 'Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth' album
Brother Sister (5:09) - from the 'Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth' album
The Yongy Bongy Bo (5:07) - from the 'Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth' album
At Night The Quarry Glows Like A Mothership (6:30) - from the 'Uncanny Tales From The Everyday Undergrowth' album
The A470 Song (3:39) - from the 'Take Time to Wonder In A Whirling World' album
Siberia (6:57) - from the 'Take Time to Wonder In A Whirling World' album
Rockford's Return (4:38) - from the 'Take Time to Wonder In A Whirling World' album
Eyes (3:52) - from the 'Take Time to Wonder In A Whirling World' album
The Caterpillar Song (9:45) - from the 'Take Time to Wonder In A Whirling World' album
The Strangest Scene (3:37) - from the 'Scarecrow Smiles album'
The Garden Song (3:25) - from the 'Scarecrow Smiles' album
The Midnight Dance Of The Mexican Vampire (2:46) - from the 'Scarecrow Smiles' album
Road to Rhayader (5:22) - from the 'Wandermoon' album
The Trees Don't Seem To Know That It's September (3:20) - from the 'Wandermoon' album
Halloween People (2:56) - from the new album 'False Light'
Night Of The Hunter (3:42) - from the new album 'False Light'
Whatever Happened To You/The Sleepers In The Hill (5:19) - exclusive to 'Whatever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists'
33rpm 7" - The Take Time To Wander Sessions
Comet's Tail (3:14)
Newest Things (4:46)
Light Years to Nothing - instrumental (3:40)
here's 'Mount Palomar'....
...and the equally wonderful 'Rockford's Return'...
...not to mention 'Night Of The Hunter'...
...and 'Halloween People'...
Grahame Bent, Shindig! Magazine....
Everyday Imaginings :
Soft Hearted Scientists And The Subtle Art Of Serendipity
Since their emergence as fully-fledged bona fide recording artistes in 2005,
Soft Hearted Scientists have been unassumingly going about from
their Cardiff research facility quietly and methodically piecing together a
discography characterised by an intriguingly deep pool of sources and
influences, inventive songwriting, subject matter that alternates the
off-beat with the everyday, a sophisticated ear for atmospherics, a
willingness to tinker and engage with the wonderful world of all things
experimental and maybe most important of all - a belief in the
transforming power of the imagination.
Over time the chapter of the Soft Hearted have proved themselves to be
neither by temperament or inclination the sorts to go about boldly
proclaiming their inflated sense of their own worth from the rooftops but have
rather opted to gradually reveal their magic to all those willing to
listen in a slow-burning, unhurried kind of way shaped and defined by
their ability to build and manipulate mood and texture. Seasoned by
whimsy, pathos, an appreciation of the musically antique and obscure
and a unmistakably British sense of the banal and the eccentric (where
else are you likely to hear such a heartfelt reappraisal of the theme
from The Likely Lads ?), that brings with it echoes and resonances of
voices as iconic and diverse as Ivor Cutler, Donovan, The Crazy World Of
Arthur Brown, Syd, The Beatles and The Bonzos, the sound of the Soft Hearted
Scientists in full flight is indeed a intoxicatingly rich blend for your enchantment
and edification. With their highly bespoke approach to writing, recording and
presenting Their assorted musings in hi-fi you could argue that the Soft Hearted
Scientists have momentarily at least discovered their spiritual home among the
enchanted waters that are home to Fruits De Mer given the label's appetite for all
things idiosyncratic and its steadfast and celebrated commitment to releasing its
diverse and ever expanding catalogue entirely on limited edition vinyl.
A marriage made in retro-formatted heaven is how you might describe
the addition of the Soft Hearted Scientists to the Fruits De Mer family.
What's beyond question however is that the sumptuously dimensioned
anthology of sounds past and (some) new that you now hold in your hands
couldn't be appearing on a more appropriate label than the collector-friendly
cottage industry operation that is Fruits De Mer.
Back in 2007, Soft Hearted Scientists gave sound advice to one and all with the
title of their long player Take Time To Wonder In A Whirling World.
Welcome now to a banquet-sized ration of wondering time. Wonder on ...
find out more about the band at their website - www.softheartedscientists.com / www.softheartedscientists.co.uk
NATHAN HALL, THE BAND'S FRONT MAN, TALKS ABOUT THE BAND, THE ALBUM AND THE GHOST MONKS OF TINTERN ABBEY....
Welcome to the first compilation album by Soft Hearted Scientists. Dylan and I met when were both at quite a low ebb in our lives; at a loose end; searching for something, yet somehow not quite vulnerable enough to fall for Scientology, Tolkien boxsets or Zumba. Instead we somehow both fell in with a travelling mime troupe specialising in medieval pageants as it passed first through Dylan's rural Shropshire village, then, two weeks later, Cardiff. After 2 weeks of incredible dedication to the silent arts, we got to chatting and experienced a mortifying moment of self awareness, followed by 6 weeks of ever more eye rolling and sniggering to ourselves. Much to the consternation of the rest of the troupe, we eventually realised that theatrically pouring invisible jugs of mead into invisible goblets, and gurning moronically like medieval Mr Tumbles was a foolish and pointless enterprise, and escaped through an invisible portcullis of our own making into a brave new world of psychedelic music making.
We hammered out an equally heroic and pompous manifesto by moonlight, and started making 4 track cassette demos in my house back in 2001, before eventually upgrading to a free copy of Cubasis in 2003. We have always been utterly cutting edge and masters of technology, sparing no expense. By our standards it was a gigantic leap, as we were able to add more than 3 vocal parts to a song without it hissing back at us like a nest of cobras dosed with crystal meth. That would also be the year we invested in a drum box we never learned how to program. It just seems so complicated. And the presets are so cool. Having said that, with a couple of guitars, some Cash Generator keyboards, one or two proper analogue synthesizers bought for knock down rates off grieving widows, and the true grit of somebody who does a sky dive from outer space with an unchecked charity shop parachute, we set about recording songs that incorporated things we were interested in. Things like Wendigos, meteorite showers, Penrhyn Quarry's amazing resemblance to a Steven Spielberg Close Encounter at night time, constellations, the horrors of line dancing, Billy Ray Cyrus in hell, and the old testament mountains near Bethesda, North Wales. Equally we were inspired by cats that purr like little motorbikes; jaw dropping South Wales beaches; frequent panoramic lift off on the top of Garth Mountain; secret singing sand dunes, foxglove bells ringing in the summer, the sight of the Ghost monks of Tintern Abbey kicking the ghost arse of Henry the Eighth, fizz faced euphoria on a summer day walk, Cannery Row, Travels With Charley, and Richard Brautigan.
We used any instrument or noise we could get our hands on, from ones too obvious to mention, to spoons, pots and pans and jaw's harps, face smacks and cuckoo clocks. No sound was out of bounds. Apart from thumb driven slap bass. Not only was that out of bounds, but we gave each other written permission to put the other to the sword if it was ever suggested, even in jest.
Our big break came when we signed to My Kung Fu records of Cardiff for a medium sized latte and what was in retrospect a rather modest slice of carrot cake. And you think Led Zeppelin's Atlantic deal was a game changer? We released out first album Uncanny Tales From the Everyday Undergrowth in the heady summer of 2005. It was a big moment for us and the culmination of a lot of work as our sound was getting ever more intricate. It featured the mighty elastic bass lines of Incredible String Band sorcerer's apprentice Michael Bailey as a freelance guest star. We met him while beachcombing in Penarth for giant squid. We didn't find any. Never do. But what the heck, we gained some fearsome bass action. His contribution was so good that we decided for him that he was joining the group. To this day when he tries to tell us that technically he never actually agreed to joining us, we simply tune him out and let him talk himself out. It's worked for 7 years and counting.
Then came plucky Paul Jones, a fresh faced Welsh valleys dreamer with several strings to his bow. He clambered aboard the good ship Soft Hearted Scientists and soon graduated from innocent cabin boy to full, sun grizzled, grog swilling, foul mouthed, tattoo covered crew member. I think I've gone as far as I can with that weak analogy.
Anyway, the Soft Hearted Scientists now numbered four and we knew we could take on the world. Or at least Wales. Or at least bits of Wales. Preferably in close proximity to Cardiff. A stone's throw from my house even better. Actually can we just do gigs in my garden?
Then followed the albums Take Time to Wonder in a Whirling World, the home recordings compilation Scarecrow Smile, and Wandermoon, on which we broke the 10 minute barrier for the first time. About bloody time. We want to break the 15 minute barrier next. Then the 20 minute barrier. Within 4 years we hope to create a 160 minute one song quadruple album (with special multi layered gatefold sleeve which can be converted into a modest 2 bedroom log cabin with central heating and plasma screen TV), which, when played backwards, ends war, hunger and Strictly Come Dancing, and cures exaggerated TV Geordie accents.
Each album is a little world unto itself and you can hear a few songs from each on this compilation. We've even thrown in some orphans that never made it on to the albums for complex political reasons now forgotten in the mists of time.
Our forthcoming latest studio album is called False Lights and 2 appetisers from that feature on this record. They are called "Halloween People" and "Night of the Hunter".
The new album features mushroom clouds; the Chinese army on horseback; Seaside Sid, who plays a dangerous game and comes to a nasty end; evictions; tabloid demonisation of single mothers; Holy Pavlovian Incendiary Idiots; sinking ships; Range Rover Rage; time travel; Nazis; Nagasaki; Newton's Ghost; Hanging Judges; Skulls beneath the skin; and Deadly Secrets.
It's darker and reflects the time in which it was created more than its predecessors.
But that's not to say we've completely lost our innocence. Heaven forbid.
Welcome to our world
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