Friday, 4 May 2012

One Of You

One Of You (Scarab Records. Canada. 1981 - 1983)

One Of You released just three 7" singles on their own label Scarab Records, the last single being recorded and released under the name The Trifids. This was the first single with picture sleeve as shown. One of you is basically one Czechoslovakian woman who managed to create a sound and feel so dark and yearning that even i find it hard to listen. She left Czechoslovakia during the 1968 uprising, finally settling in Toronto. All the talk in Prague was of how wonderful the west was. However, when she arrived she remembers being totally crushed. She saw a society where people seemed to be strangers to each other.

This second single was released in just a photocopied sleeve, although the colour of the paper does vary. As she could not write music she started writing songs in a code she created. The songs were about feelings of sadness and alienation. Some years later she and her husband recorded these songs and created Scarab Records to release them

Her last single came without a picture sleeve and is credited to The Trifids with writing credit to One Of You. Both tracks are instrumentals, but Invincible still conveys the same feelings of sadness and alienation. I'd like to thank the collector "Wornhill" who first brought these amazingly dark singles to my attention.

Paul Levinson - Twice Upon a Rhyme (Happysad records. USA. 1972)

Simply incredible private pressing from New York that took three years to record, mix and release. The opening track "You are everywhere" sets the tone for this Folk Rock/Psych album. The record has so many elements swirling around in the mix that at times it's hard to pin down exactly where Paul is coming from. That's no criticism though, infact quite the opposite. It keeps the album fresh and vibrant.

Sometimes when i listen to this album, it somehow transports me forward in time rather than back in time. Many of the songs make me think of the whole Elephant 6 label scene back in the early 1990's with bands such as The Olivia Tremor Control and The Apples in Stereo. It mixes up enough styles and influences to keep the album constantly interesting. What really caught me out with this album was something i could never quite put my finger on. It's as if Paul has poured part of his being into the grooves. It's a very personal album and you get a real shot of Paul.

I'd go as far to say that i became obsessed with this album to the point where i contacted Paul. Before i knew what had hit me i had started a record label, licensed the album from Paul and pressed up 250 copies on heavyweight virgin vinyl! If i wasn't ready for that, i really wasn't ready for Paul. I sent Paul the advance and thought i'd quietly get down to work. However, from the very start this repress was a joint effort. I've lost count of the emails that have fired back and forth across the Atlantic, both work an personal. Paul is such a kind and warm man whose enthusiasm has no limits and being involved with Pauls album has been an experience i will never forget.

The album was taken into the studio for a superb remaster. There's been no remixing, we've made the bottom end stronger and brightened up the top end. Paul has said that it sounds better than the original and i have to agree. However, we have had the advantage of modern technology.

The soundfiles here are from my original copy and not the remastered repress.

The repress is available wholesale from Whiplash Records in the UK:

and Vea Music in Greece:

It will be on sale in the Whiplash Records ebay shop from Sunday evening on 5th December 2010.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Into Resurrection Land

Into Resurrection Land (The Divine Healing Mission. UK. 1970's)

A very obscure xian private pressing that is slowly gaining a reputation. I certainly can't take credit for discovering this album, the first time i became aware of it was through Jason Mills at Folkadelic. Due to being pretty much ungoogleable, apart from the couple that have sold on eBay in the past, i have very little information to share. The album was released by The Divine Healing Mission and contains the words and music of the Crowhurst Theatre of the Spirit. It is based around Transcendental meditation and contains many spoken word passages as well as mucic. The whole album kicks off with the track "Dawn" that is an inventive piece of music that sets the scene well.

"He is here" is the standout track for me, certainly more prog rock than psych with an obvious Pink Floyd influence. The quality of arrangemnets, writing, musicianship and production are very high, which leads me to wonder what else the group were involved with. Unfortunately the album sleeve and label do not list the musicians. From the sound of this track alone i would have thought the album was recorded and released in the 1970's. If anyone involved comes across this post i'd love to hear from them, all my investigations have been unsuccesful.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Phil Downer - The Dust of Time

Phil Downer - The Dust of Time (Lestar Records. UK. 1968)

I can tell you nothing of Phil Downer except for the fact that he is one very aptly named folk artist. The guitar playing is rather accomplished and the voice is nice, but for me it's the delivery and lyrics that lift this above the usual solo acoustic folk effort. These are amongst the darkest lyrics i've heard in many years. For me this is the stand out track where everything seems to come together perfectly.

This is the title track of this four track ep that may originally have come with a picture sleeve. This is another solid track and definitely another favourite for me. It doesn't quite have the dark atmosphere of Pretty Soon but is still a strong effort. Unfortunately Phil Downer and this single have proved so far to be ungooglable. Any information from Phil or anyone who knew him would be most gratefully accepted. Also, if anyone has a picture sleeve i'd love to see it.