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The Sunday Experience

I’m certain we’ve said it before, cover versions of Nick Drake tracks are hurdles best left avoided, the perfectionist he was his completed studio recordings oft take the song as far as it can go. Oh sure, there have been those that we’ve loved who’ve brought a little something to the table – Beautify Junkyards, Rhys Marsh and does my fading memory recall hearing a version of Psychic TV covering ‘I was made for magic’ way back many years ago when we were oh so much younger. ‘northern sky’ has always stuck with me, elegant, eloquent and ethereal, there’s a kind of beautified grace surrendered in mystery and yearn rising from its grooves, its lushly hushed tones revealing an at peace with everything trembling tenderness and a first person intimacy rarely heard on any other Drake track that makes it unique and special. Left in the hands of Jay Tausig, incidentally hitting up something of a creative purple patch what with two releases in as many days – his frankly astonishing re-appraisal of the Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘incantations’ – reviews of both visiting these pages next missive – ‘northern sky’ is somewhat opened up and given an airy spring cleaning which sound wise finds it relocated into the kind of terrains more readily associated with Dennis Wilson, and while arguably, it may well lack that essential magical ingredient breezing through the original, what Tausig returns to the party is a crisp lilting and lazy eyed contently drifting warmth.

Sea Of Tranquility

Tausig, Jay: Cancer- Shell of Silver and the Beehive Heart

Jay Tausig's 6th release from the Trip Around the Sun, package of twelve albums released in sequence during 2012, is Cancer: Shell of Silver and the Beehive Heart. This latest release does not have the massive over 20 minute tracks on it, but it is none the less as epic as all of the other five albums.

 The first track, "Tidal Transmission", is a cool spoken word poem, by Thom Worldpoet, who almost sounds like John Lennon as he reads this interesting and dreamy poem. The chimes and cosmic/spacey synths sounds mix well with the sounds of oceanic waves to kick off this new journey through the star signs.


"Shell of Silver & the Beehive Heart – Part 1" has a real Ziggy Stardust feel to it. Michael Palschakov's ARP Odyssey synth helps add some wonderful dimension to the sound. Multi –instrumentalist Tausig, cleanly finishes out the excellent heavy lead electric guitar, mixed well with brilliant acoustic. The drumming is excellent and well placed throughout. Imagine Yes mixed well with Ziggy Stardust and you're there. At 13:52 minutes, this is the second longest track on the album. The track really amps up its power with the chants near the final third of the track.

 "Slow Crawl" opens with soft but fantastic percussion beats from Hojji Firemaker, gently supported with excellent guitar and echoing vocal rhythms. Just another of the many ways Tausig can create that cool spacey effect without relying only on synths. But the synths are magical and add that eerie calm to the whole sound.
Excellent synths, spacey effects and cool poised electric guitar quietly opens the sequel to track two, "Shell of Silver & the Beehive Heart – Part 2". Then Virginia Tate, takes over with a spoken poem. Later she adds some wonderful flute and vocals to build the longest track on the album at 14:16.
"Moonsong" opens with Rhijenerate Winders poem and spoken word. Later Remy Lindsey provides more words set to Tausig's spacey chorded and keyboard rhythms.
"Of Land and Sea" is another excellent keyboard/synth journey with soft electric guitar weaving its way through. The guitar solos move like waves along the ocean's bottom. At 12:42, it is the third longest track on the album, and one of the best.
"Inner Spaces" is a wonderful instrumental track full of great soft guitar and keys. Hojji Firemaker plays great percussion. Multi – instrumentalist Tausig handles all other instruments.
Devorah Bry, provides great vocals and spoken word poem for "The Wave". Tausig provides more cool spacey keys and guitars.
"Shelter" opens full of more soft electric guitar and percussion. But this time the action changes quickly. The solid electric guitar soloing is simply amazing. It brings to mind Rush and many other bands from the past. But Tausig has the whole album to explore and play guitar and he does that well here. Over ten minutes of guitar and keyboard pleasure.
Hojji Firemaker plays some awesome water drum on the closer "Between the Worlds", as Tausig executes some wonderful dreamy keys and guitar. Like walking through an ancient temple at dusk or first morning light.

 This is another excellent production for Jay Tausig on this year – long journey. Hop in and take this latest part of the journey around the sun.

The Active Listener

"Shrunken Head Music" Review

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

In early 2012 Fruits de Mer released "Head Music" to commemorate the 40th anniversary of celebrated, cerebral Krautrock label Brain, featuring covers of classic tracks by Kraftwerk, Neu!, Can and the likes as recorded by a host of the best artists that Fruits de Mer could sweep into their net.
But you probably know this already as you were either lucky enough to be in the know at the time and snared one of the 850 copies that went in the blink of an eye, or you've been scouring e-bay and prepping the next mortgage ever since.
Now I quite like tiny versions of things (who's seen Harvey Birdman?) so I was very pleased to discover that this month's batch of new releases from Fruits de Mer is spearheaded by "Shrunken Head Music", a double 7" E.P follow up which may be diminutive of stature, but is big on tunes, delivered with just the right balance between aural innovation and reverent worship.
It may come as some surprise to you that the founder of a periodical such as this would make this admission, but Brainticket have always scared the pants off me. I've tried listening to them numerous times, and have found it increasingly difficult to claw my way back to sanity with each subsequent listen. Good news then, that Frobisher Neck has appropriated their most accessible track ("To Another Universe"), trimmed away the excessive freakouts, amped up the kosmische factor and turned it into a quite lovely, lush mellotron-fest. Nice work, Mr Neck.
Neckst (sorry) on the agenda, Black Tempest extracts part of Tangerine Dream's epic "Rubycon" and distills it down into a pulsating sequencer showcase, layered with ghostly burblings and atmospherics that make this sound even more like proto-John Carpenter than the original does.
Russian prog-rockers Vespero prove their ambition next by taking on Faust's "J’ai mai aux Dents", and beating it into new and exciting shapes that respectfully acknowledge the route traversed by the original, whilst simultaneously ripping up the map and eating bits of it.
Lastly and most certainly not least (well, least Krautish anyway, but there in spirit!) we have Jay Tausig's astonishing recasting of Gong's "The Glorious Om Riff". With layers of spacious kosmische guitar overdubs cascading off of his vocal mantra, this has the drive of vintage Hawkwind, a comparison reinforced when that questing saxophone rips open the fabric of your mind, before coaxing the listener back to some semblance of normality when the spiraling vocals return.
You need this.

Pre-order this extremely limited double 7" E.P straight from Fruits de Mer here, or if you're outside the U.K visit Norman Records.

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