Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Various - Postcards From The Deep (Flexi-Disc Box Set)

10 flexi-discs, 10 postcards, a poster and a CD, all housed in a clambox! 700 copies worldwide.

Fruits De Mer Records raise the bar once again. Following on from their box set of 7” singles, the ever eclectic and vinyl-friendly label have gone one step further in their desire to release music in a lavishly produced physical form. Their latest collection is a set of 10 flexi-discs, complete with postcards, a poster and a CD, all beautifully housed in a clambox.

Flexi-discs are evocative objects for those of us old enough to remember them as album tasters, music magazine freebies and fanclub-only specials. With new ones almost as rare as the proverbial rocking horse excrement, it's a pleasing and brave step for a label to put together a collection of the things. Equally impressive is tracking down a record plant that can manufacture them!

While flexi-discs will have serious audioheads and hi-fi enthusiasts hiding behind their 180g vinyl, the rest of us will be weighing them down with two-pence pieces, spinning them and enjoying the sounds. And good fun it is too. Playing these artefacts is in itself an act of time-travel, even more so when one considers the agreeably retro nature of the music.

To keep the hi-fi buffs happy a bonus CD is included that contains different versions of the flexi tracks. The music is as varied as you'd expect from FDM, and is an all covers affair showcasing the label's stylistic breadth, and ranges from surf, psych, progressive garage, and krautrock. With one foot in the past, each band manages to add some twist or spin to make you admire their take on the track as well as making you want to check out the original version.

My favourite of the 10 tracks is The Thanes' take on The Pretty Things' LSD, a track that will be familiar to many. Less familiar though no less enjoyable is Soul Fiction, a track released on South African Brigadiers label in 1968 by The Hippies, and one which borrows heavily from Soul Finger by The Bar-Kays. It's ably covered here by The Past Tense. Check out the video below to hear it on flexi-disc.

The question is if Fruits De Mer further investigate the alleyway of long lost formats, what will they have planned for 2015? Tape reels? 8-track cartridge? The smart money may just be on wax cylinders!

  1. The Luck Of Eden Hall – Psychotic Reaction (Count Five)
  2. The Loons – Celestial Empire (Dragonfly)
  3. The Crawlin' Hex – I'm a Living Sickness (Calico Wall)
  4. The Thanes – LSD (The Pretty Things)
  5. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies – Time Machine (Satori)
  6. The Past Tense – Soul fiction (The Hippies)
  7. Schizo Fun Addict – Take A Heart (The Sorrows)
  8. Crystal Jacqueline – You Just Gotta Know My Mind (Dana Gillespie/Donovan)
  9. Astralasia – Brainticket (Brainticket)
  10. Icarus Peel – The Avengers Theme (Laurie Johnson)

Limited to 700 copies.
Click here for more on Fruits De Mer Records.