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Various Artists - 2011 - "Roqueting through Space"

(47:40, Fruits de Mer Records)


****+
                 

LINEUP / TRACK LIST:

1.  Vibravoid: No Silver Bird (Hooterville Trolley) 3:42
2.  Vert:x: I Come From Another Planet Baby (Julian Cope) 4:56
3.  Helicon: Hallogallo (Neu!) 10:17
4.  Cranium Pie: Blacksand (Brainticket) 3:11
5.  The Luck of Eden Hall: Lucifer Sam (Pink Floyd) 3:12
6.  Frobisher Neck: Isi (Neu!) 5:16
7.  The Grand Astoria: Oh Yeah (Can) 3:52
8.  Diarmuid MacDiarmada: Telstar (The Telstars) 3:42
9.  Alpha Omega: Transdimensional Paradox (Hawkwind) 4:43
10. Sendelica with Nik Turner: Urban Guerilla (Hawkwind) 4:49

Prolusion. The enthusiast label Fruits de Mer Records has specialized in issuing limited edition vinyl releases, mostly 7-inch singles, featuring cover versions of more or less well-known psychedelic music. "Roqueting through Space" was issued in early spring of 2011, an album-length collection of songs issued on 12-inch vinyl with a bonus 7-inch single as part of the package.

Analysis. It's kind of interesting to see how a small label like Fruits de Mer has established itself in the last few years. The people who run the label do it out of affection, and to my knowledge they hardly earn any money from their endeavors. It is to most intents and purposes a hobby. They are good at finding material that needs to be reissued in their particular manner however, and have unearthed a good-sized rooster of artists managing to craft high-quality cover versions of compositions more or less classic too, on most occasions the artists being able to rearrange and alter the original song so that the final product is different from the original too, to a lesser or greater extent. "Roqueting through Space" has space rock as a running theme, although some might argue that this package might as well have been described as a krautrock collection. But the apples or pears aspect aside, it is the content that is important. And while perhaps not quite as captivating as the past productions from this label to my ears, there's plenty of ear candy to salivate over on this occasion also, three specimens of which merit special mention. Vibravoid's No Silver Bird sports a compact, massive droning electronic texture as the key element, excellently backed up by a steady rhythm section and plentiful of futuristic sounds. Cranium Pie offers us a dramatic blend of big rhythms and rich tapestries of Mellotron, synth and keyboard layers on their take of Blacksand. And finally The Luck of Eden Hall with its dark, slightly menacing version of Pink Floyd's Lucifer Sam, with something of a garage rock foundation being supplemented by an enthralling and blazing guitar solo and organ mix in the instrumental parts. And while the remaining tracks don't manage to soar to the majestic heights of this top trio, there's a fair amount of enjoyable material elsewhere too, and I would guess that quite a few listeners might enjoy the alternative takes on these songs anyhow. After all, it's not like the majority of compositions included in this package have been extensively covered by other artists on previous occasions.

Conclusion. "Roqueting Through Space" is a good quality collection of cover tunes, most of which are given alternative arrangements and otherwise transformed to a lesser or greater extent from the originals. And if you generally like space rock and krautrock, and in particular if most of the songs covered here are material you know and like, you will probably enjoy this package. If you can get hold of it, that is. As with most productions that come courtesy of Fruits de Mer Records, this item was sold out a week or so after it was officially released. (5 stars are reduced to 4.5 due to the fact that the disc consists of cover material.)

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 16, 2011
The Rating Room


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