Friday, December 28, 2007

The Chrysanthemums-Little Flecks of Foam Around Barking ,2xLP,1988+Insekt Insekt(Go Germany),CD,1995,UK

As all you might have guessed i consider Deep Freeze Mice and all their reformations and relative bands(The Chrysanthemums,Ruth's Refrigerator,PO!,Junk Analysts,etc),as one of the most influential,amazing,important bands in the 80s UK underground music scene.Having posted quite many of the Deep Freeze Mice family recordings,and Chrysanthemums 1st LP and 7" ,here come 2 more.As always highly recommented !
The Chrysanthemums were an English pop group active between 1987 and 1998. The project began as a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Terry Burrows (known in the band as "Yukio Yung") and Alan Jenkins, the guitarist with The Deep Freeze Mice. The first releases were performed in the studio by Burrows and Jenkins alone: other personnel were gradually added including Robyn Gibson on drums and Jonathan Lemon formerly of Jesus Couldn't Drum on keyboards, enabling them to complete several tours of mainland Europe, where there was most interest in the band's work.
The music was an odd blend of lo-fi Sixties pop, punk rock and progressive rock. Lyrics were often surreal in nature, and delivered by Burrows in a laconic English "pop" voice that recalled Ray Davies of The Kinks or Robyn Hitchcock.
The original band became inactive in the mid-1990s. Burrows and bassist Vladimir Zajkowiecz later recorded an album and single as Chrys&themums, creating a sound that was largely indistinguishable from the band's earlier releases.
Burrows went on to record as Yukio Yung and under various other aliases; he also become a successful author. Jenkins formed The Creams and opened a recording studio in Leicester, England. He currently plays in The Thurston Lava Tube.
AMG REVIEW: The Chrysanthemums' second album is a two-record parody of such overblown progressive rock concept albums as Yes' Tales of Topographic Oceans and Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick. Housed in a gold-on-black sleeve-covered front, back and spine with fake hieroglyphics, the double album comes with a lengthy sleeve note written by guitarist Alan Jenkins explaining the album's inspiration and detailing the complicated story the 27 songs purport to tell. The Pythonesque story has something to do with giant eggplants from outer space and a time-traveling World War II bi-plane. The songs, of course, are entirely unconnected, both to the concept and to each other. Ranging in length from 27 seconds to just over seven minutes, these songs are simultaneously instantly catchy and deeply strange. Jenkins and singer/keyboardist Terry Burrows have a knack for psych-influenced pop songs that wouldn't sound out of place on Carnaby Street-era Kinks and Who records, but their lyrics are a weird mix of Bonzo Dog Band-style humor, bizarre imagery, and throwaway references to pop culture figures from soul legend Harold Melvin to U.K. television personality Lucinda Lambton. The five-minute "God and the Dave Clark Five" embodies the eclectic spirit of the album in microcosm, moving from a bouncy freakbeat verse to a middle section of Krautrocky drones and chants, ending up with a Hendrix-like noise guitar solo by way of a direct quote from the Monkees' theme song. Elsewhere, "(They Must Have Made It With Their) Hats" marries a circa-1966 Beatles melody with backing vocals that substitute random three-syllable words (aubergine, Reginald, mandolin, etc.) for the expected "la-la-las," and "Light Transforms the Peugeot Dealers" mixes ukulele and sampled horns manipulated to sound like steam escaping from some huge forbidding machine. The stylistic shifts make sense as a whole, and the album is dense and melodic enough to stand up to repeated listens. Headphones are recommended to capture the subtleties of the rather muddy homemade production, however.
~Stewart Mason, All Music Guide (2001)
R. Steve Moore on Little Flecks:"We were recording some tracks for our first album Is that a fish on your shoulder or are you just pleased to see me? and I had a few minutes to myself in the bathroom before helping Yukio Yung record a particularly arduous shawm solo (track two, side one - the shawm in question is an unusually long oriental instrument that requires so much air pressure to produce a reasonable tone that Yukio can only do it while someone else is blowing into his nose very hard). Anyway, leafing through a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, I got caught up in the lengthy footnote on page 483, which tells a bizarre story involving time travel, evolution, little flecks of foam and many strange breeds of dog. Immediately I was able to visualize a double concept album based on the story and I became so absorbed in it that before I knew what had happened a whole week had gone by and some firemen were breaking down the door to get me out. I made my way back to the studio, Yukio had been able to record the shawm solo using and old diving suit and a few parts from a washing machine. I sketched out my idea to Yukio and Vladimir. Vladimir thought it was all right but Yukio said it was the most stupid idea he had ever heard in his whole life and I should get psychiatric help as soon as possible but not using Egg Plant money because it was probably a waste of time and I was out of the badn anyway for hiding in the bathroom for a week during a recording session. I told him that he could'nt sing in tune and he was a big git, at which point he tried to force a polythene bag over my head. However, that evening Yukio had so much to drink that the next morning he couldn't remember anything that had happened and when I put my idea about the Egyptian Book of the Dead to him again he liked it a lot and insisted upon beginning work immediately. Unfortunately Vladimir now hated the idea and threatened to bring out a court injunction to prevent us from making the album unless we incorporated his idea of performing the story as a ballet with trained penguins. We agreed to his proposal while deciding secretly to stage an accident whereby all the penguins were killed on the way to the first rehersal. In the event, this action turned out to be unnecessary as Vladimir forgot all about the idea. Yukio and I began holding sessions by candlelight to work out how to fit the maximum number of guitar and keyboard solos on to the album, and by about March 1988 things had come together jolly well. We had a total of over 150 solos on side three alone. During one six-hour session, which continued until 10.30 p.m. when we went to bed, we figured out how to include 4,000 solos, some of which lasted for over ten minutes. It was a magical experience, which left Vladimir confused for days, after which he tried to kill himself by overdosing on some potatoes that he found in the kitchen. Luckily I caught him trying to inhale one in the garden and called an ambulance. Everyone contributed to the music during the ensuing session and we had recorded the album by about June, although afterwards Yukio and I had our doubts about whether there were enough solos on side four and we added a few extra ones. The album was now absolutely perfect in every respect in spite of the fact that Vladimir had to be hypnotized, against his will, before he would agree to finish all his bass parts. Also, whenever he regained consciousness he would try to eat the studio equipment, so we had to strap him in a corner for long periods and tape his mouth shut to stop him crying loudly during the vocal overdubs. Fortunately, he improved half-way through the sessions and made several important contributions. At one point he suggested adding some extra solos to a few tracks (for example 'Raymond Chandler') and we agreed. The album was now really and truly complete. (although we did take some extra solos to the cutting room just in case we needed some more, and, in the event, we used them all. Some were so effective that we used them two or three times). Below is a track-by-track explanation of the album's storyline. Originally the tale was set in Ancient Egypt, of course, but we decided to bring it up to date and set it in Barking to make it more accessible to a modern audience. The cheeping of the robot bees: Side one opens with the sound of propellers as Dave, a deaf, dumb, and blind bomber pilot, flies his Lancaster in a daring daylight raid over Barking in 1941. (Actually he thinks he's over Berlin and he doesn't know it's daylight). He sings of his lost childhood in China and of his pet dog, Dominic. The navigator enters the cockpit to ask Dave why he is flying only four feet off the ground and just then the plane crashes into the side of an old warehouse. By a remarkable twist of fate a splinter of glass penetrates the base of Dave's skull and he recovers his sight, speech and hearing. He then dies of a massive brain haemorrhage. The scene then moves to the present day. Terry, an inventor, rents the very same warehouse in order to work on his latest project entitled 'Robot Bees'. Terry has some prototype robot bees with him in a carrier bag and together they explore the warehouse, which is very untidy, having been in disuse for over forty years. They sing of the nature of dust. Terry says he likes it but the robot bees reply that it gets in their wings and makes them cheep even more than usual. They are surprised to find a Lancaster bomber sticking through the wall. Dream string: We meet Alan, a local estate agent, who is showing a young couple, both called Jane, around a new house. He sings of his surprise when he notices that their pet dachshund appears to have the word 'aubergine' embroidered on its back. Jane explains that this is a rare birthmark and is completely natural. Alan changes the subject, pointing out some nice trees in the back garden. Jane replies 'Yes, but look at those strange flecks of foam up there in the branches.' Alan says 'Oh, that's nothing a few poisonous chemicals won't take care of. In fact I have several with me.' Accidentally, he drops some on the dog, who bites him. God and The Dave Clark Five: We meet Martin, the proprietor of a dogs' boarding kennels. After a long dream about working on an indigo farm in India he wakes up to find himself staring at the word 'aubergine', which appears to be suspended in front of his face. He realizes that it is actually written on the side of his great dane, Fiona, who is standing by the side of the bed. The overseer on the indigo farm: Martin makes the round of his kennels and feeds all the dogs. He is alarmed to find that two of them are missing and sings of his sadness at their loss and of what he thinks the owners might say to him when they come back from their holidays. This is the aria: 'What have you done with our dog you bastard?' On examining the fronts of the cages to try to discover how the dogs have escaped, he finds the chicken-wire strangely twisted and broken as if bitten by a giant beak. The hygrometer song: Meanwhile, many thousands of miles away in the little town of Upper Montclaire, New Jersey, USA, a strange man sings a song about a hygrometer. And your dog can sing: Alan receives a phone call from Jane and Jane. They have bought the house he showed them and now, one week later, they are alarmed by the flecks of foam in the tree in the garden. These, they say have become much enlarged and sinister dark shapes can be observed moving about inside them. Alan tells them that this adds charm to their property and that if they ever want to sell the house he will mention the interesting flecks of foam in the advertisements. Raymond Chandler: The Janes ring Alan again and tell him that the flecks of foam are now even larger and that they connect this phenomenon with certain disappearances. Apparently their dachshund has gone, and there is a large domestic appliance missing from the kitchen, but they can't remember what it is. Alan goes round to check and arrives just in time to see a huge, black, leathery bird flying across the garden with a mongrel dog in its beak. The bird, as large as a settee, perches in a tree in the garden. (They must have made it with their) Hats: At this moment Martin's head appears over the garden fence. It turns out that his dog kennels are right next door to Jane and Jane's house. He says that the giant bird has been taking his dogs and flying back with them to the giant fleck of foam in which it lives. It also transpires that many other little flecks of foam are appearing all over Barking and that inside each one a dog-eating bird is developing. However, the bird did not take the domestic appliance from the kitchen. Martin admits, amid smiles all round, that he stole it and sold it because he was hard up. The Janes call the police. But apart from that everyone is reconciled and they all sing a jolly song about hats. I am a hen (Lucinda Lambton): As side two opens, we find Terry slumped in an armchair in front of the television. He is asleep and we hear his dreams merging with the programme on the television., which is presented by Lucinda Lampton. The dream ends, as a large dictionary falls on Terry's head. He goes to the fridge for a beer but the fridge has gone. Irreversible syntax errors: Terry wanders about in the warehouse looking for his fridge. He pauses in various places and examines some of his experiments so see how they are getting on. Eventually he arrives at the World War Two bomber, which is still sticking out of the wall like moose's head. Terry observes the skeleton of Dave in the cockpit and muses first upon the past and then upon the nature of time itself. He sings 'Nietzsche tells us that time is like a camel with an infinity of humps. Or was that Hegel?' The deathbed song: Terry continues to examine the bomber and discovers ana acretion of foam in the remains of one of the engines. Upon investigation he finds that the foam has dripped through a skylight in the roof, where it fell from a tree outside. This part of the story is told in flashback by three spotty dogs dressed as clowns. They take the part of the narrator in the story and sing in a tight three-part harmony always accompanied by finger cymbals, which represent the bells on their clown costumes. Anyhow, the point is that a freakish chemical reaction has taken place in the engine between the foam and the forty-seven-year-old engine fuel. Light transforms the Peugeot dealers: Terry climbs into the cockpit of the aircraft (why, we do not know; perhaps upon some unexplained impulse.) He pushes the skeleton out of the way and tries the starter motor. Three of the engines are destroyed with rust but the fourth, the one mysteriously lubricated by the foam, starts first time. Then very strange things begin to happen. The room changes: the flaking paintwork repairs itself, the dust becomes thinner, little spiders appear and rapidly absorb all the cobwebs into their bodies, objects move and figures come and go at high speed. These events pass by at greater and greater speed until Terry can see only a blur. Eventually the walls themselves disappear, to be replaced by unfamiliar buildings and open spaces. Pigs and eagles: This song is sung by the busy spiders as they scuttle about the warehouse absorbing their webs. They comment that the place is rather untidy in their view. At one point, a spider falls out of a window and plummets to its death twelve floors below. This is represented by the organ solo. Double 'O' gauge dogs: With the audio equivalent of a montage of newspaper headlines, we are told of the increasing number of dog-eating birds sited all over Barking, which live in flecks of foam in trees. No dog is safe to go out on its own. Tearful owners are interviewed. Mrs Melvyn Lawrence says 'I was just doing the washing-up when I looked out of the window to see a massive, leathery bird descend upon our lawn. It took Prudence and Pandora, my adorable little pekenese puppies, in its talons and flew away with them. We were heartbroken at first but we're thinking of getting a turtle now.' The burning fascia: Meanwhile, Terry is stunned by the implications of his discovery. Returning to his familiar warehouse simply by putting the engine in reverse, he realizes that he has invented a time machine. Initially, supposing that he may have dreamed it all, he accidentally sets fire to the building while trying to wake himself up with an electric fire. Things look dangerous for a while but he manages to put it out. The hapless criminal: Stunned (still), Terry goes to an Ingmar Bergman quadruple bill at his local cinema. Unable to read the subtitles in his confused state of mind, he misinterprets one of the films completely. He stands up on his seat and loudly denounces Bergman as a running dog lackey of the Capitalist oppressors. He is thrown out. Love is for the astronauts: He feels a lot better the following day and tries a different experiment with the bomber. He travels into the future to the year 1992 where he experiences many adventures before returning to his warehouse a few minutes before he left. He discovers that he has a strange new hairstyle. Josephine and Tchaikovsky: Terry is beginning to enjoy gadding about through time in his bomber. He meets Tchaikovsky and gives him a few interesting hints on symphonic structure. He suggest that Tchaikovsky write a concerto for the stylophone which he has brought with him from the future but Tchaikovsky doesn't think this is a good idea. He accepts the stylophone as a present but only uses it for scaring pigeons off his front lawn. He's had his bears: Back in Barking in the present, Martin is in a very bad mood. All of his dogs have either been carried of by dog-eating birds or have inexplicably acquired the word 'aubergine' as part of their markings. He thinks that this has been done by a mad person using a stencil and a can of spray paint. (But he is wrong.) Oddly, the chemical analysis reveals no trace of any dye and indicates that the 'aubergines' are natural markings with which the dogs are born. Martin tries to figure out a way to explain all this to his customers. But he can't. The last great dogfight: A pause in the action as Dave's skeleton sings a soliloquy about his days in the RAF. This is very sad. Totally unacceptable (full of holes): Interlude: Robert, a surrealist builder from Felixstowe, arranges some bricks in a nice pattern. Spew forth frogs: Martin decides to put his kennels on the market and move to Belgium with the proceeds. He contacts Alan, who comes round to value the property but quickly decides that it doesn't have one. Martin tells Alan about all his business problems. Alan resolves to help him and starts to think of ways that he can rid Barking of the flecks of foam, which are also affecting house prices in the area. Er: Still in a pensive mood, Alan goes to a wild party and gets into a conversation with Terry, who has absentmindedly turned up at the party, mistaking the venue for his warehouse, which is next door. Terry mentions that he has just invented a time machine and Alan wonders if it could be used to raise a lot of money to fund the removal of the dog-eating birds. Terry is moved by Alan's story and agrees to help. Life's not like that really (Yukio's dream #3): That night Terry has a dream during which a plan is revealed to him that will enable him to make money from his time machine. Unfortunately, it doesn't make too much sense in the morning, but he thinks up another plan over breakfast: he will send Alan back into time with a tape recorder to interview Jesus Christ; then they will sell the interview to a big newspaper. Oh dear, what shall we do about the Christians? (Harold Melvin II: the heretic): Alan climbs into the cockpit of the bomber, starts the engine and soon finds himself back at the very beginning of the Christian era. By clever manipulation of the bomber's controls, he turns up in the right location: the Holy Land, then under Roman occupation. He locates Christ's entourage near the Sea of Galilee, waits for a suitable moment and then asks a passing Christian where he can find wither Jesus or one of his twelve disciples. He is introduced to a strange woman who claims to be Saint Margaret, a little-known Welsh apostle. He asks her if he can have an interview with Jesus but she says he has been drinking heavily and may become violent. Eventually, however, she shows Alan to a big tent where she stops at the front flap and shouts: 'Jesus, there's another journalist here.' It turns out that Jesus has been doing a lot of interviews with journalists from the twenty-first century when time machines become commonplace. Jesus tells Alan that he is beginning to have grave doubts about the whole thing and will probably go back to carpentry soon. After a while, he becomes abusive and punches Alan in the eye but he is sorry afterwards and shows Alan his tattoos. Then he starts talking about his personal problems. He puts his arms around Alan's shoulders and cries. Alan says he has to get back because his bomber is on a meter. Climb aboard the groove tractor (pencils): Alan tries to return to the present but the bomber flies out of control (represented by the rhythm guitar) and crashes into a swamp. Alan finds himself stranded forever in Iron Age Britain, but he soon adapts and goes back into business as an estate agent. The fading memory of Mr Rose: A very dramatic event occurs at this point. While out for a stroll one evening, Alan sees a dog being attacked by a huge bird. The bird is beaten off by a fur-clad Iron Age warrior called Jonathan, who hits it with strange purple vegetables, using a small, guitar-like musical instrument as a bat. Suddenly Alan realizes how he can save Barking from the flecks of foam. Also tennis is invented. Vulture culture: The theory of evolution is explained by a chorus of marine iguanas. This is not very interesting but is crucial to a full understanding of the plot. A big dog: All the loose ends are tied up (or forgotten about) in this song. Terry and Martin realize that Alan, stranded in the Iron Age, has manipulated the evolution of the domestic dog in order to send them a message through time about how to get rid of the dog-eating birds. Using selective breeding, Alan has fixed it so that lots of dogs now have markings on their backs in the form of letters that spell out the word 'aubergine', The dog-eating birds, which have been driven away from earth in the Iron Age and forced into the present day using the time distorting properties of the foam in which they live, are very sensitive to aubergines, and all Terry and Martin have to do is throw aubergines at the birds and they will have no choice but to leave twentieth-century earth, never to return. They do this and it works. The handkerchief man's last bonfire: Everyone lives happily ever after, but there's a twist right at the end when Terry sees a dog with 'beware giant moths from outer space' written on its back. However he soon realizes that Martin has done this with a felt tip pen as a joke. Everyone laughs. Ha ha."

Concerning Insekt CD it's all recorded live .Released as LP+7" box set,and CD boxset (this is the editition posted here).
get little flecks here
get insekt here


monofiopia said...

Thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed the first album you posted in March and I'm glad to know that there's more.

Anonymous said...

Much thanks. I really dig this band (as per your intro and the track you included on your Mutant Beach Mix)...ahh the memories.

Happy New Year, btw!!!


L said...

thanks SO much for posting both of these (didn't know about Insekt (a bonus!) or about the Ruth's Refrigerator/PO connection - There are two bands you rarely see mentioned. And I love PO.

Anonymous said...

Gee I wish I could be as whacky and zaney as these guys.... you wonder why music is so fucked's all so throw away and skin deep...?
Oh what "fun"...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this and other Cordelia Record related stuff. I've had this Chrysanthemums album for years and consider it a real masterpiece (if it's possible to have a masterpiece about robot bees, aubergines etc.). Don't get to play my vinyl these days due to turntable problems, so it's great to hear this again. My only comment is that this appears to be the CD re-issue version. Have you (or anyone else) got a digital transfer of the vinyl version? I say this because the CD is missing three tracks from the original double album version - "The Hapless Criminal" - short but stunning, "Spew Forth Frogs" - a psychedelic classic, and "A Big Dog" - best song I've heard about a dog in a blazer who predicts the future. Thanks again for all the great posts.

alexmacfarlane said...

hey buddy, do you think you could post a new link to this? sorry to be a hassler, i just really wanna hear this and like most of your posts, i cant find it anywhere else!

Anonymous said...

Can you please re-up the live cd?