LITHOPS: Tubino See Through (7″, Static Caravan VAN 1, 1998)

Lithops: Tubino See-Through

The very enigmatic first release from Static Caravan Recordings: you can see pointers here to affirm that this label wasn’t one trying to play the majors at their own game. The cover is a scratchy, hand-finished print with no suggestion of who this record is by. Even on the back there is scant information – the design is 75% white space. Marvellous! Clear vinyl; hand-stamped labels; an insert in the form of a scrappy hand-cut photocopy. This is how first releases on proper independent labels should be.

Lithops is Jan St Werner of Mouse on Mars: quite a coup for a first release. Here the usual MoM chaos and complexity is eschewed, and instead there are two sides of light, airy, abstract electronic ambience. Pretty austere stuff, and limited in scope by the time constraints of a seven inch record, but somewhat beautiful nonetheless. Continuing on the ‘this is our first release’ theme, this is quite a bold record to put out there as a marker. It suggests ‘This is a label with out-there tastes – if you’re with us good, if not we’ll carry on without you.’

I’d love to claim the übercool status of having bought this when it was first released, but no, this was an eBay purchase a couple of years ago. Static Caravan releases are generally so quick to disappear from print that without being that kind of übercool early adopter I fear that that’s how I’d get my hands on most of their releases.

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