This triple album could be seen as an important part of the early development of a now-popular ‘new psychedelic folk’ scene. I’m not sure when it came out, but it was several years ago, before all kinds of mainstream attention started getting paid to weirdo neo-folk singers and bands who were picking up the strands left by John Martyn, Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake et al. Much of that mainstream attention may well also have been due to the trend for such music being used to flog mobile phones in TV/cinema advertising, but I’ll gloss over that for now, lest I smash my computer to pieces in rage at the thought of another ad showing a happy, diverse mix of bland (brand) ciphers acting FREE! and NATURAL! by signing up to a particular pay-monthly plan with a multinational telephony company.
The artists featured on this collection get a single album side each. They are:
- Six Organs Of Admittance
- Jack Rose
- The MV/EE Medicine Show (with Chris Corsano)
- Dredd Foole
- Joshua & Kemialliset Ystävät
…and that’s a rather impressive line-up, isn’t it? The packaging is real nice – a needlepoint-style image printed onto textured paper that feels almost like fabric, which folds out to create a giant poster. Naturally, I haven’t folded out the poster in order to stick it up on my wall; I’m too much of a record packaging preserver to defile it in that way. Sometimes I like to unfold it for a look, though, before putting it carefully back as it was.
Time-Lag Records, run from Portland, Maine, USA, were one of the two labels that put out this collection. They’re run by the brilliantly-named Nemo Bidstrup, who has always been amazingly friendly and pleasant to deal with by e-mail (I have bought a lot of his wares over the years). He not only runs one of those labels whose releases sell out pretty much instantly, but also stocks all kinds of excellent ‘outsider’ music in his shop. I would link to his website, but it seems to be undergoing some kind of transformation right now, and hence isn’t working so well…
Once, I went to a gig in Oxford which featured Taurpis Tula supported by a band, whose name I forget, that I in advance discovered counted Nemo within their ranks. It was great, but afterwards shyness took hold and I didn’t introduce myself, despite having corresponded with the guy just days before the show, hinting at my being there. Pretty lame, not taking advantage of perhaps the only time ever that I would have had the chance to say ‘hello’ in real life.
Taurpis Tula, coincidentally, were a duo featuring David Keenan, who is in some ways the Scottish Nemo Bidstrup – he runs a shop (Volcanic Tongue) stocking all kinds of weirdo musics, and he’s a musician himself. He also writes for the Wire magazine, amongst other publications. There are a lot of these multi-disciplinary outsider artist type people out there. I like the ideal – being interested in stuff, rather than a particular thing.
Jack Rose, who features on here, sadly died last year, which was an incredibly sad surprise. I saw him play in Oxford once too, and shyness didn’t overcome me that time – I had a brief chat and shook his hand after seeing an extraordinary set. I value that meeting now. He died aged 38.