Posts Tagged ‘Finders Keepers’

RSTB Best of 2018: Reissues, Etc.

A large part of the site is not only focusing on new releases, but also the great reissues that are unearthed during the course of a year. Below are my picks for the best editions dug up by the hardworking folks on the reissue circuit. Every year there are less options to work from and every year labels continue to surprise me with what they bring out. I’m also going to take a moment to give tribute to an album that could have been this year but due to unfortunate circumstances didn’t make it to fruition.

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Popera Cosmic – Les Esclaves

Finders Keepers have never shied away from prog or concept albums before, but they’ve netted themselves something of a big fish in terms of psychedelic classics here. Popera Cosmic was a landmark album that helped shape the French psychedelic direction that would follow – from Serge Gainsbourg through on to Jean Rollin, Gong and Magma, this stands as the germ that began many musicians’ journeys. The record is headed by songwriter Francois Wertheimer, who would go on to write for Vangelis and was a fixture at BYG records. He paired up with Jodorowsky collaborator Guy Skornik and the two based the record on a concept from a young Jean Michel-Jarre.

As for the record itself, its up there with the most outre psychedelic pieces. The album was inspired by French street theater in its narrative and sweeps through styles from blistering psych freakouts to barroom sing-a-long and lush orchestral folk with string arrangements courtesy of William Sheller and Paul Piot. Further support comes from the rhythm section from French prog legends Alice, who keep the record clicking through its stylistic changes flawlessly and add a dose of heaviness on the psych-stompers.

The record was instantly deleted at the time of its release and lay as a collector’s totem until now, so it seems high time this was available on a wider basis. Beyond fans of the French psychedelia this would influence, those who have been in thrall of The Holy Mountain, SF Sorrow or Head can feel free to dig in. Or, if you wish there existed a mash of Gong’s Flying Teapot, Les Mis on a heavy head of DMT and Haphash and the Coloured Coat, look no further.



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Madfilth – Madfilth

The films of Dario Argento and his house band Goblin don’t exactly evoke visions of sweat-soaked disco and experimental dancefloor jams, but this brilliant reissue of an Italo-funk obscurity originally released through soundtrack house Cinevox in a bid for a wider audience proves to stitch the two worlds together. Composers Franco Bixio and Vince Tempera build a world of snap-back funk and freak-infected dance club euphoria into eight tracks that seem out of sorts with any sort of peers at the time. They top the tracks off with the tin hat rantings of vocalist Alberto Macaro, who brings the whole project into a world of its own, pinning the glitter shimmy of The Commodores and KC and the Sunshine band with freakish, mawkish sounds of slurping and cowboy whoops that that feel like they’re poking fun at the whole idea of disco ball culture, while at the same time making an bid for pop permanence.

That they use the members of Goblin for their backing band only cements this as a true cult classic. The band shared a label and found themselves in the studio with Madfilth for this rubber-faced journey towards cosmic disco obscurity and, ultimately, redemption. This finds its way out via Cache Cache, a sub-cupboard of the Finders / B-Music family and it sits well alongside their stable of world travelers and under-appreciated psych. For the deep diggers, this is a windfall back on vinyl once again. For the uninitiated, this is a worthwhile dip into the crack in the cosmic egg.




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Gökçen Kaynatan – S/T

I’d trust Finders Keepers to get me briefed on anything from the glory days of Turkish psych. The label has already proven their mettle with releases from Selda Bagcan, Gençlik Ile Elele and Ersen and they seem to have a conduit that few Westerners are plugged into. They continue the riffling of the past with a reissue of the compiled works of Gökçen Kaynatan. Already a burgeoning part of the Anatolian rock scene and a builder of custom instruments, he was a pioneer of introducing electronics into the folds of Turkish pop.

His discography spanned just four singles, but with access to a private studio filled with technological wonders of the time he pushed psych-pop out of its fuzz-laden lair and into much weirder and wilder territory than before. There were certainly others doing similar work across Germany and eventually the US and UK, but Kaynatan gives it that touch of Anatolian flair that’s endeared the likes of Barış Manço and Erkin Koray to me over the years. The songs slink with a strange funk and reach for something intangibly cool. Following this work, Kaynatan began a career that would see him shape the sound of programs on Turkish National channel TRT 1. Somehow its not surprising that this auteur wound up in Library compositions as there’s definitely a feeling of that ilk pressed between these nine gems.




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Stefano Marcucci – Tempo Di Demoni, Papi, Angioli, Incensi E Cilici

Now I’m not sure how your brain works, but for me, there are definitely some trigger words that pop up in descriptions that beg a further look. Staple a phrase like, “bizarre hidden synth-ridden psychedelic concept pop” to “short-run demonic religious performance” and file it under the genre Italian Library Music and I’m all but sold. Now, is this just the beady-eyed crew at Finders Keepers baiting me? Not so! Their reissue of Stefano Marcucci’s lost piece of esoteric psychdedelia warrants a pretty hefty exploration. The record was commissioned for a short-run theatrical project, but after hearing the score composed by beat group member Marcucci, the staff at Flower records saw potential beyond its religious audience.

This being the time period of quasi-religious rock opera of all shades, I honestly don’t blame them. The late ’60s and early ’70s had a predilection for bending the bible to their own Earth-child whims and, why not take a performance of that ilk and funnel it into one more piece of Godspell-gumball machine fodder? Well, the Italian is probably a stopping point for most, but Marcucci has a way around gospel-swung psych-folk. It’s those synths that take it to the next level though. The composer gives the straight pipe organ its place, but peppers in an early version of the Minimoog to the proceedings, giving it a swell of ’70s grandeur that befits his hybrid vision. The band backing up the record is tight and the choral pieces waver between stately and hippie ho-down, making this a perfect combination of time period and talent. It’s got something for the heads, something for the saints (if your Italian is on point) and something for the Library aficionados to ponder over.


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Jane Weaver

Jane Weaver found herself folded into the cosmic plane on previous album Silver Globe. Channeling a refined mash of Stereolab, Jodorowsky, Can and Broadcast, the album pushed Weaver further into a slick-skinned spaciness that’s the very image of ultra-modern trappings. She continues the journey through Krautrock/Kosmiche/Lounge/Experimental headspace to refine the sound into something of a chic psychedelic alternate universe where Wegner’s the standard bearer of public style and the hi-fi has won out handily over the television as the centerpiece of the American homestead.

Though, that’s not to make Weaver sound like she’s merely soundtracking the snooty coffee bar that pushed its way into the neighborhood, there’s plenty of humanity bubbling underneath that well coifed exterior. The beats tap along to a motorik heart, but over the top Weaver is swooning with a natural demeanor that puts her ultra-modern framework on a sweeping vista of verdant forest views. The balance between futurist and naturalist feels at the crux of Modern Kosmology. Weaver is the tear rolling down artificially intelligent cheeks, blushing at the feelings welled up by the modern art in your foyer.

Modern Kosmology is an album that’s comfortable with its niche, well-researched and soldering the markers of genre together into a clockwork hum of perfect unity. This is new age psych for those who have already transcended the physical form and are finally finding their muse. It’s a ripple that reminds one not to trust the eyes too much, instead it communicates on a wavelength that’s pulsing with a strange humanity, earthen and antiseptic all at once. If an album were to have tasting notes then Modern Kosmology seems wrought with the ghosts of moss, leather, Formica and Ozone. Dip in accordingly.




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Jean Bernard Raiteux – Les Demons

Finders Keepers has no shortage of exotica, erotica and psychsploitation among its ranks. Hell, its pretty much the reason to keep running to its embrace, and they up the ante with a reissue of French composer Jean-Bernard Raiteux aka Jean-Michel Lorgere’s score to the very b-movie Les Demons. The movie comes from a treasure trove that Finders and B-Music have touched on before, the film catalog of Jess Franco, here working under the Anglicized alias of Clifford Brown. The film follows much of the same themes that he’s found before, horror, witchcraft, demonic possession and naturally, nunsploitation. Can’t make that up, that’s a man’s motus operandi right there. He literally has more than one film that might fit the term nunsploitation.

As if this weren’t reason enough to investigate, Franco had a habit of hiring groundbreaking composers to work out scores to his films and Raiteux is working his lush psych ass off on this one. Titles like “Kathleen Writhing,” The Weakness of Rosalinda,” and “Three Serpents to Karen’s Dwelling” feel like they should have schlocky porn connotations, but they’re actually top tier psych that far outstrip any of the scenes they underscore. This is a psych odyssey, completely instrumental but no less lysergic. Raiteux ropes in psych-folk, burning acid guitar and a creeping ambience that’s not always present in the the garage-psych indebted debris of the ’60s. Its a higher minded psych and full on fun because of it. Finders won’t ever really steer you wrong. Andy Votel is digging more crates than most of us will ever have time to find, but no reason not to embrace it when it comes your way.




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Tongues of Light

Brought to you by Andy Votel and Demdike Stare’s ephemeral label Pre-Cert Home Entertainment, Channelled Messages At The End Of History began as a gift between friends, something not for mass production, but its too good to keep to a corralled audience. The concept brings together samples of new age meditation, higher consciousness seekers and occult dwellers, all sourced from the bowels of YouTube’s endless mind suck. On their own as an afternoon watch, experienced in full, they’d be grating or possibly just amusing; but when cut and assembled, padded with synth washes and ominous drone beds, they become something other. They achieve a psychedelic mantra, a through the television glass world of spectral freakishness.

Its new age sage for the ASMR generation, but instead of truly relaxing the listener with the subtle raindrop clop of fingernails and assured phrasing, the record winds up like a slow motion face-peel reveal of something glowing and gossamer beneath the surface. It never feels like a collage, the sampling here is so seamless that it just feels like the kind of lucid dream float that could only make sense in altered states, be your weapon of choice meditation or psychoactive toad. Pre-Cert is home to the types of records too weird and fractured for Modern Love or Finders Keepers, and this is definitely a kind of mission statement or high water mark for the label. For those with the right kind of ears, its a welcome ride into the sweat-lodge nirvana of the mind.



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