Late-July releases from Fruits de Mer Records include exclusive remixes by The Orb, searing Hammond-led instrumentals from Italy’s London Underground, not to mention new versions of classic songs by Roy Harper, The Bee Gees…and Black Sabbath.
‘WINDMILL’ by Sendelica : Secret Knowledge : The Orb (12″ colour vinyl single strangefish seventeen on sale late July)
A very special one-off 12″ single, featuring Sendelica, Secret Knowledge and The Orb.
Sendelica are well-known to all followers of FdM, of course, but Secret Knowledge are unexepected visitors – legendary writer Kris Needs and singer Wonder Schneider recorded some classic House/Techno tracks for the likes of Andrew Weatherall’s Sabres of Paradise label in the 90s…as for The Orb, well Dr Alex Paterson and co pretty much invented ambient house at the end of the 80s and have been breaking through musical boundaries for the last 30 years.
‘Windmill’ marks a rare organic collision between three disparate outfits who turned unimaginable tragedy into a beautiful eulogy after an astonishing musical journey.
On the night of Sunday June 3, 2018, Kris Needs lost his soul mate Helen Donlon after an illness she preferred not to know about. A respected literary agent and author, Helen and had got together with Kris in 2013 and they lived happily in a medieval cottage in Thaxted until events took their terrible turn. Kris was already on a mission to bring Sendelica into the mainstream music press and struck up a friendship with Pete Bingham that was already pointing to a cover version of Tim Buckley’s ‘Driftin’.
On hearing the awful news about Helen, Pete quietly transformed the music into a poignant eulogy with this tragic new dimension to deal with, bringing in Sendelica bassist Glenda Pescado, sax god Lee Relfe and production maestro Colin Consterdine to enhance its gorgeous swirl.
When Wonder, who had sung with Kris in Secret Knowledge 25 years earlier, heard the piece she called it ‘Windmill’, after the beautiful place where Helen had been laid to rest. “The windmill looks so big and strong and beautiful,” she explains, “in a silent way it watches over her, like you did. And it never stops, always protecting“. Wonder flew to the UK from her home in Cleveland, Ohio to sing the song at the magical Mwnci Studios, near Cardigan, giving a heart-wrenching performance while facing Helen’s photo (wearing her favourite purple velvet scarf) that reduced the room to tears. Helen’s beloved dog Jack, now her earthly representative, was also there to make the picture complete.
It didn’t stop there either. Kris’s old friend Alex Paterson had already said he wanted to do a remix. Working with Paul Conboy, his co-pilot in Orb spin-off Chocolate Hills, Alex produced two time-stopping remixes, using a recording of Helen’s speech on her beloved Ibiza at the 2017 Breaking Convention conference; her last major appearance in public entrancing the crowd at the world’s foremost psychedelic drugs conference.
With Kris’s photo of the Thaxted windmill on the cover, a rare heavenly synchronicity seemed to have been at work to produce this record. It’s an unimaginably beautiful tribute to a very beautiful person, lost too soon but alive forever in the music. She would have loved it.
’CROMLECH CHRONICLES IV’ by Sendelica – The Door Into Summer – three-sided colour vinyl double LP (4th side – UV colour printed) winkle 37
on sale late July
Sendelica’s latest annual Pilgrimage to Mwnci Studio in has resulted in a full-on musical head collision of West Wales with the West coast of USA.
Not so much down the rabbit hole but more of a trip through the door into the summer of West Coast USA circa 66-70 – a door of perception opening into the jamming delights of Jefferson Airplane,the Grateful Dead, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly and The Byrds at the heights of their improvisational prowess.
Although these bands were quite adept at writing ‘hit songs’, it is their live alchemy that has been drawn into the ever-evolving brewing pot of Sendelica…disjunctive song structures, key and time changes, modal melodies and drones that entwine and evolve into a magical musical journey.
Tune In, Turn on, Turn down the lights, indulge in whatever tickles your fancy and let the Odyssey of Cromlech IV engulf your senses!
Cromlech IV is the final part of the Sendelica series and they’re signing off with something a bit special – a double LP, but with three long (23 min+) sides of music and the fourth blank side overprinted in UV full-colour, a new technique offed by the Record Industry pressing plant (not so much a picture disc, more a disc with a picture on it…)
‘WHEN AN OLD CRICKETER LEAVES THE CREASE’ / ‘SUPERNAUT’ by Jack Ellister vinyl 45rpm – crustacean 90, on sale late-July
Jack Ellister was recently voted FdM’s favourite solo artist, so it’s great to have him back on Fruits de Mer with a newly-recorded single – even more so when you hear that he’s chosen to reinterpret two songs that are about as far apart in their style and origins as anything that’s appeared on the label in over 10 years.
‘Supernaut’ first appeared on the album, ‘Black Sabbath IV‘ and is based on one of the all-time great heavy rock riffs.
According to FdM’s Keith: Jack had been working on ‘Supernaut’ for a while when we met in a pub near Spitalfields record fair, along with Heyday’s Nick Leese and mate Craig Palmer. For some reason, talk moved onto Roy’s classic track – I think because we felt Jack’s voice was really suited to it; coming from Poland, by way of Germany and the Netherlands, Jack didn’t know the song, let along why the hell cricket means so much to middle/old-aged English blokes, but he vowed to investigate further – and he didn’t disappoint.
When it comes to two sides of a single, the phrase ‘poles apart’ never seemed more apt.
Jack explains the background behind the recordings….
“the grand piano used on ‘Cricketer’ belonged to my grand father in Torun, Poland.
In 1990/1991 my father took me and Tomasz to Poland to get it over to Germany. We had to smuggle it out because it was forbidden to transport instruments across the border, as they might be valuable collectible items or state property. We did it in two turns using an old Mercedes 9-seater. On the first trip we took the inner metal works and mechanics out and hid them under lots of other stuff. On the second journey a month later we got the wooden frame, which appeared like a sort of cheap big wardrobe when not inspected properly. Luckily the wooden outer parts fit into the lift in Stuttgart and didn’t need to be carried up the stairs to our flat on the 6th floor where we lived in at that time. It was great to have it around and we used it a lot on early recordings.
My brother Tomasz was then made to play classical music on that thing for about seven years, and he recorded me playing ‘Cricketer’ in the living room in Stuttgart (not the same flat) just before it went back to Poland for good, together with my parents.
‘Supernaut’ is one of those Sabbath tracks that doesn’t seem to belong to their obvious classics, but for me it somehow earned itself a special place in their canon. Tomasz sent me the drums recorded in his cellar studio/rehearsal space and I added all the rest at home.”
‘PLEASE READ ME’ / ‘MOTHS MISTOOK US FOR THE MOON’ by Soft Hearted Scientists vinyl 45rpm – winkle 38, on sale late-July
The Welsh cardiologically-inclined alchemists returned to the studio earlier this year after a lengthy break to record a cover for a year-end Fruits de Mer retrospective that we’re still working on – but the result was so strong I felt it deserved a single release in its own right and the band had such a good time they decided to work on a new song to go with it.
So here we have The Bee Gees‘ ‘Please Read Me’, a 60s pop-psych gem from the brothers Gibb with not the faintest whiff of cheese to it is given a magical makeover, paired with an all-new SHS song, ‘Moths Mistook Us For The Moon’, that’s just lovely and has that classic Soft Hearted Scientists sound.
‘SPACE EDITION’ by London Underground colour vinyl double LP, crustacean 89, on sale late July
With a history that traces back to the classic Italian band, Standarte, London Underground formed in December 1998 in Florence; they began by recreating the UK keyboard sounds of the likes of Brian Auger and George Fame, moving onto a more progressive rock feel by the time they released their second album.
After a period of inactivity, in 2008 Gianluca Gerlini reformed the band and recorded their third album ‘Honey Drops‘; The London Underground today have a sound that is still inspired by the Hammond – now purely instrumental, they also draw influences from soundtracks of films from the 60s and 70s.
The website Progressive Rock Fanatics summed things up rather neatly…’If you like keyboards and more keyboards layered over keyboards, with an astonishingly tight rhythm section laying down tight grooves- you’ll love LONDON UNDERGROUND. Add in spacey, jazzy jams that sometimes sound lifted from classic progressive albums of yore (think Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, Argent, heck, even vintage Santana – you’ll get the flavor, fall under the spell of the music, and emerge on the other side with a grin.
Keith explains: “FdM and London Underground started dating when I heard their version of ‘Queen St. Gang‘. That led me to their latest album, ‘Four‘, which is bloody marvelous from start-to-finish; it’s up there with the Tor Peders album, in my humble opinion, the only thing that stopped FdM from pouncing on it being that the band have already self-released it on vinyl.
What to do? the LP is a natural for FdM but what could be done to enhance/extend/expand it…how about a special colour vinyl edition? Good start, but it needed more and it’s the only album by the band that’s found its way onto vinyl so far…so how about making it a double LP including a bonus LP comprising some of the best tracks from their first three albums?
So, here comes London Undergound’s ‘Space Edition’ – a double LP reproducing their ‘Four’ LP on purple vinyl plus a bonus LP, also on purple vinyl, of a selection of tracks from their previous releases.
There’ll only be 300 copies for sale, so FdM club members will get priority…” SORRY – ALREADY SOLD OUT ON PRE-ORDERS – BUT MAY GET A FEW EXTRAS