= March 2023 =  
 Emmanuelle Parrenin
Gilroy Mere
Jonn Serrie
Us and Them
Nick Nicely
Schizo Fun Addict



(LP, CD, Digital on souffle continu records)

An album out of time and place, Emmanuelle Parrenin’s 1977 LP is a French psych-folk gem, recorded at a time not exactly favorable to the genre.  Originally released on the Ballon Noir label, it’s been re-released a few times over the years, but this new edition from souffle continu records includes the original album plus a 7” disc with the bonus tracks “17 Décembre” and “La Forêt Bleue” packaged in a slipcase.

The music is a collection of songs, many of them lovely, ethereal folk, with quite a few instrumental tracks that are impressionistic pieces, often really fragments of songs without beginning or end.  It reminds me much of Linda Perhacs in that Parrenin uses a small number of instruments and musicians to nevertheless create a unique, dreamy sonic world you can curl up in and want to stay a while.

In the 60s and 70s Parrenin was a free-spirit traversing France and Quebec collecting folk songs much in the manner of Alan Lomax and other ethnomusicologists, and touring and recording with various musicians.  By 1977 she was ready to take the plunge and record her own debut.  Armed with her collection of hurdy gurdy, dulcimer, spinet, percussion and her beautiful voice, with occasional acoustic guitar from Yan Vagh and Denis Gasser, and flute from Gong’s Didier Malherbe, she went into a farm converted into a studio in Fromentel, Normandy by producer Jacques Denjean with him and her partner, studio engineer Bruno Menny.  What they made is by and large the enchanting vision of Parrenin on most of the instruments and vocals, and Menny.

Some of the instrumentals such as opener “Ce Matin a Frementel” and the reel “Ritournelle” have almost as much a touch of Celtic as Gallic to these ears.  The songs were spun into creation by Parrenin and Menny, with the exception of “Plume Blanche, Plume Noire” by the great Jean-Claude Vannier.  With Parrenin’s maidenly vocals on “Thibault Et L’Arbre d’Or” you can practically see the spring blossoms in the fields.  On the achingly gorgeous title track, she sings amid a tiny a capella choir; it feels like you’re with her in a small pastoral chapel.  The instrumental “Ballade Avec Neptune” has an East meets West feel, with traditional Western folk instruments and something resembling a sitar (no sitar is credited).  On “Le Rêve” she sings with a touch of Edith Piaf over her droning hurdy gurdy and spinet.

The title Maison Rose is Parrenin’s own Music From Big Pink, that is, it’s about the pink house where she was raised by her classical musician parents.  Maurice Ravel once lived and wrote there, and there was always live classical music in the air while her parents played.

After releasing Maison Rose, Parrenin continued performing but didn’t release another new album until 2011.  In the interim, she lost her hearing after a violent assault in 1993, regained it after a long period of playing the harp and singing to herself every day, and worked for years as a music therapist.  In the 2010s, much like Perhacs, Vashti Bunyan and others, her music was rediscovered and given recognition long overdue, and like them she resumed recording.  In 2020, she was in the Moroccan desert to play a festival when COVID lockdowns came.  Stranded in the desert for a month, she temporarily lost her hearing again in a sandstorm.  Recovered and back home, she returned to music and is still releasing new works.

Maison Rose is a one-of-a-kind record, existing in its own world outside of time.  Emmanuelle Parrenin created a work whose ethereal beauty will stand long after the styles of the day have come and gone.

(Mark Feingold)


www.claypipemusic.com 900 copies on sea green vinyl

Oliver Cherer is back in his Gilroy Mere moniker, with another Clay Pipe release, this one follows on from the successful Adlestrop, an album which sold out twice and so far has received a further two pressings.

Oliver is also part of the new super group Aircooled, who have just released their debut album on the Music’s Not Dead record label and have also just secured the role of support band on the upcoming Suede tour. As well as numerous other musical guises such as Dollboy, The Assistant and Wrestler amongst others, he is also a part owner of Music’s Not Dead record shop, in the classic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill On Sea, and as such spends a good deal of time facing the sea, and it is the sea, albeit the sea off the coast of Suffolk, which informs this latest record, particularly the lost, English city of Dunwich.

Gilden Gate takes its name from the entrance to this old sunken city which label owner Frances Castle depicts for her cover illustration, an above and below split view which works very well particularly when paired with the beautiful sea green vinyl.

The record opens with a watery choral ‘Sea Breeze’ which sets the scene for ‘Hercules’, a very light motorik beat is built upon, it lopes along quite nicely. He must have visited the area in nice weather, as ‘Heat Haze’, which follows would seem to be a rare occurrence. This song sees Oliver adding some muted trumpet, an instrument he picks up from time to time.  A theme of many a seaside promenade is bicycles, providing a flat surface for ease of cycling and ‘Bicycle Ballet’ is busy with motion, a simple melody is laid down and decorated with minimal percussion. I love ‘The Downs’, a pastoral ode, an almost classical instrumental, which is an album highlight and portrays the feeling of being up high on the chalk land downs, this is followed by a perky, lively ‘Ramblers Dance’, which provides a suitable ending to side one.

Side two begins with ‘Greyfriars’, crashing waves and dragging pebbles, the ebb and flow of the sea forming the rhythm of this short track, suggestions of wheeling seabirds overhead. ‘Blackfriars’ is another highlight, an almost nursery rhyme melody is overlaid with delicate wordless vocals and string effects. ‘St Nicholas’ follows and it is here that Eno’s recent work Vanishing Land, with its reference to the ancient Anglo-Saxon burial grounds of Sutton Hoo, dovetails neatly with this project, as it reference’s the very beach that Oliver was staying on, serendipity indeed. This song has some exquisite violin, with gentle piano notes, which fall like drops of rain onto the sandy shore.

Another Saint makes an entrance now, ‘St Katherine’, this is an eerie, dramatic piece of music, ghostly and full of portent and another highlight. The record ends with ‘St Leonard’, again it is graced with the haunting sound of violin, over which Oliver narrates a spoken word poem, about the sunken city.

When I visited the area about ten years ago now, I read about this lost medieval city of Dunwich, whose ghostly bells toll out from the watery depths and found it hard to believe that under those crashing waves was a lost city, fittingly the record ends with the unceasing sound of crashing waves.

(Andrew Young)


(Valley Entertainment)


Jonn Serrie is a veteran space music master.  His ambient electronic spacescapes have been touring some of us around the stars through our headphones for almost 40 years.  While not all his records have been about the subject, classics of his such as And the Stars Go with You, Flightpath, and Planetary Chronicles, Volumes 1 and 2 helped cement the late-night genre as it was first taking to the skies.


Jonn’s music has long been a staple of beloved radio programs such as ‘Music from the Hearts of Space,’ the decades long-running (and still going) US syndicated National Public Radio favorite.  Along with artists such as Steve Roach, Michael Stearns, Constance Demby, Suzanne Ciani, Mort Garson, Laraaji, Harold Budd and Richard Burmer, Serrie represented the golden age as the genre was first spreading its wings, and continues to this day.  His performing venue of choice is the planetarium, and indeed that’s where this scribe first saw him.


Like many of the floating tracks on it, Elysian Lightships took its time getting to Earth.  It was teased off and on throughout 2022, with three of the tracks, Elysian Lightships, EVA and Math Galactic released earlier as singles.  Jonn’s synths are relaxing and warm, and cradle you in the deep zone.  To listen to his music is to lose one’s self, floating in a state of bliss.  If there were people on the James Webb Space Telescope looking through an eyepiece at the universe’s amazing wonders, they’d be listening to this.


Of the six tracks, it’s difficult to pick out favorites, as they’re all of one holistic continuum, but the back-to-back “Math Galactic” and “Off-World Rendezvous” stand out a bit to me.  The space cruisers are slow, with chords that last forever, and are full of little, almost imperceptible touches that wash over you like a smooth cup of pleasure.


Jonn Serrie’s music is perfect for stargazing or contemplating the universe’s eternal mysteries.  Elysian Lightships is Jonn’s first album in four years, and is most welcome on our messed up little marble.  Headphones on, lights out.


(Mark Feingold)




(In various formats from www.fruitsdemerrecords.com )

Fruits de Mer have a nice varied selection of releases imminent, all stalwarts of the label with a number of releases put out through them over the last fifteen years or so.

A new CD format only series aims to collect together a lot of long sold out releases and unavailable recordings from their roster of artists. Swedish acid–folkster’s Us And Them kick off the series with An Introduction To, for this album they have collected a number of singles and other sundry tracks together on a single disc. Many of these are long sold out so this is great place to get acquainted with their oeuvre.

I mean what’s not to love about an album that states “Us and Them sing Sandy Denny, Pink Floyd and The Wicker Man”. Britt Rönnholm has a voice to die for and it is fair to say that if you like Sandy Denny then you will like Britt, although she definitely is no copyist, she is always accompanied instrumentally by her partner in the duo Anders Håkansson.

The record begins with an ethereal version of Floyd’s Julia Dream which was originally released as a 7” single in an oversized cover with its attendant b side Home To Stay a cover of a Tudor Lodge song. Another early gem was their interpretation of a few of Wicker Man songs and here two of them ‘Corn Rigs’ and ‘Willow’s Song’ gently impress. They get to grips with the Hollies classic ‘Butterfly’ and Sandy’s ‘By The Time It Gets Dark’ too. We are then treated to a couple of originals in ‘Do I Know You’ and ‘We Are Sacred’.

More Sandy Denny next with Winterwinds and The Banks Of The Nile taken from there excellent Fading Within The Dwindling Sun 10” EP. They narent frightened to stretch out too as evidenced by the nearly ten minute Annabel Lee written by Poe. Just to entice us further, if needed, the disc also features four songs not put out by FdM, concluding with a stunning ‘Evening Song’ from their rare as hens teeth album ‘...and I observed the blue sky’.

Next up is a new album by Nick Nicely Afterworld.

Going for a deep dive into his archive Nick, has come up trumps with a selection of vintage demos and outtakes from numerous abandoned projects and recordings for his fifth album. A trippy ‘Rosemary’s Eyes’, kicks off the proceedings, it’s dense with all manner of effects, fuzzy guitar and lysergic vocals over what is essentially a very catchy, psychedelic pop song. Heavily treated vocals are the order of the day on ‘Eels’. DC T Dreams gets a complete overhaul. More psychedelia appears next with the cheesy organ inflected ‘Blood On The Beach’ which is continued with ‘Gallery’ from an abandoned project.

Whirlpool is an outtake from Fireborn, again it’s psychedelic in nature with its distortions of time, much like the sound of Julian Cope getting sucked into a swirling vortex, involving much studio trickery. This is followed by the heavily phased ‘Rrainbow’, where pretty synth lines and dubby rhythms invade the track at every opportunity. Resurrected from and early headwind project comes a much heavier song ‘Further Down The Beach’ with its swirling mass of chugging insistent riffs and treated vocals. The record ends with the shimmering, azure haze of ‘Shadows In The Sun’.

Finally from the label comes a new album by psych pop minstrels Schizo Fun Addict Love Your Enemies. The six piece band certainly isn’t the most prolific in the world, taking their time to create some pretty great records and this one is no different. The record is limited to 100 copies so you best get your skates on if you want to secure a copy. Schizo Fun Addict were the first band that the newly formed Fruits De Mer record company released a single by, way back in 2008 with their cover of Theme One b/w Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake on Crustacean 1, a single which will now set you back over a hundred quid if you were to try to buy a copy.

The band consists of Jet Wintzer, Jane Gabriel, Rex John Shelverton, Daniel Boivin and IIona Virostek and together they make a glorious racket, songs bursting with clever hooks, plenty of twists and turns along the way, even covering the Led Zeppelin song Over The Hills And Far Away in their inimitable style. The album begins with a dreamy, gauzy ‘Forever Before’ sounding a bit like the Shangri La’s covering a Mazzy Star song. ‘High School High’, follows it in similar fashion, more indie, this time channelling a 60’s pop psych type vibe with ‘Fate Chaser’. ‘Activate’ is another fine song which is followed by said Zep song, given the shoegaze treatment. A soft, shimmering affair which apparently has Zep fans all in a thither.

Side two starts with ‘Outrun’, a fine piano led pop song which at four and a half minutes is also the longest on the record.  ‘Hidden Melody’ is the densest track, taking a while to find the hidden melody, but quite surprising once you find it. ‘Subway Lillies’, begins with the sound of an underground train either arriving or departing, before settling on more dream-pop, shoegaze bossa nova. After a brief ‘Reprise’ we arrive at the final track ‘Meet You In The Wind’ which has some classic 60’s psychedelia tropes.  

(Andrew Young)