Various Artists – “Shrunken Head Music” (Fruits de Mer Records 2013, Crustacean 43, 2 x 7″ vinyl)

In 2012, Fruits de Mer Records released an amazing 2-LP set called Head Music, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Brain label and consisted of contemporary artists covering music – both classic and obscure – from the pioneering German Krautrock bands. Long after Head Music was released the label continued to receive submissions for it and the new double 7″ Shrunken Head Music features four of the best.

To Another Universe was a track from Brainticket’s Celestial Ocean album, which is intense freakout for the first half and melodic oddity in the second half. Frobisher Neck, which is the solo project of UK based musician Tony Swettenham, takes the melodic oddity portion and, using Mellotron as his only instrument, creates a dreamy, exploratory, space excursion. Nice.

Black Tempest is another UK based solo project, this one by Stephen Bradbury. He takes Tangerine Dream’s Rubycon Part 1 and condenses it down to just under 6 minutes of Tangerine Dreamy electronica and avant-space noise.

Russian band Vespero take another shot at a Faust song, having covered Jennifer on last year’s 2013 Fruits de Mer Annual. This time they tackle J’ai Mal aux Dents, which for Faust was a quirkily strange combination of off-beat psychedelia and free-jazz. Vespero do a stellar job of laying down the core groove of the original and making the rest completely their own. It’s mostly the drumming that retains the free-jazz elements of the original, the rest being a space rock workout with bubbling, rocking and soaring guitars, plus colorful alien synths, flute and spoken word bits.

Ok, so Gong and Steve Hillage weren’t Krautrock bands. Brainticket technically weren’t either. Jay Tausig covers The Glorious Om Riff, which was originally the rocking and appropriately named RIFF portion of the song Master Builder, from Gong’s You album, which was recorded when Steve Hillage was still in the band and later recorded as The Glorious Om Riff on Hillage’s Green album. The promo sheet says Tausig tried to find a happy medium between the Gong and Hillage versions. Whatever. Jay kicks serious ASS, this being a monster high energy space-prog rocker.

The single will be available mid-November, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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