Guy Fixsen On Laika’s ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ Re-issue

Guy-Fixsen

Medical Records have unveiled their first batch of 2015 releases, among them is the (long out of print) debut from Laika, ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ (order here)! The album was originally released in 1994 on the much loved London label Too Pure (former home to Stereolab, PJ Harvey, Seefeel, Electrelane and more). Laika (named after the soviet space dog) was founded by Margaret Fiedler, John Frenett and Guy Fixsen. This week Guy responded to a brief Q&A about the re-issue. For the uninitiated, his production work includes… *deep breath* The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Rollerskate Skinny, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, The Boo Radleys and Moose (among many more)!

What creative head space were you in going into Laika’s debut given your previous work with Moonshake?

I think in retrospect we were both out to prove a lot. Margaret as her first outing after a very competitive partnership that came unstuck in a fairly acrimonious fashion and myself as my first project as artist - after having done a lot of production I was kind of straining at the leash to try out all these ideas in my head.

How did you fall upon the combination of live percussion, dreamy vocals and far out electronics? Was it the result of endless jam sessions?

We never jammed as a band, the music was always clearly marked out before it was taken to the band. There was a kind of jamming in the writing process in the sense that we played with our sounds a lot. The percussion and electronics were just two of many elements we liked in music we listened to and we were lucky to find in lou ciccotelli someone who could realise the multi-layered polyrhythmic percussion we wanted. The “far-out electronics” was just a natural result of us playing with our two main toys which were a sampler and a moog. The dreamy vocals bit was just the lovely thing that happened when margaret opened her mouth on some tracks and anyway it’s hardly the rule on the record. Certainly on the second half of the record it’s hard to call the vocals “dreamy”.

‘Sugar Daddy’ is absolute classic! But, was there a moment when you thought “Y’ know, people just aren’t going to get this…”?

There were tracks on the album I thought people might find hard to get but that wasn’t one of them. It has plenty of clear pop hooks, it’s in 4/4 with a strong dance sensibility – what’s not to get?

‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ was an ambitious, (and somewhat) unclassifiable record. Do you think new listeners twenty years later will find it easier to digest?

Maybe a bit. Some of what we were doing was ahead of its time I guess, but what has not changed is how conservative people are about mixtures. The vast majority of people seem to feel uncomfortable listening to things they can’t clearly define – then as now.

Looking back, how influential do you think the Too Pure artists of the time were (Seefeel, Stereolab etc)?

I often hear little bits of a lot of Too Pure bands filtering through, by circuitous routes, to bands all over the world and musical spectrum who never even heard of the label. Polly has obviously cast a big shadow, there was a time when it seemed that no self-respecting left field female rock artist could cough without it having a little of her dark twang. I think stereolab maybe were more influential in a spiritual way than a direct musical way. A bunch of great artists have told us that they drew inspiration from us. i’m proud, for example, that in radiohead’s most creative period they ran with a few laika-esque threads and did some lovely things with them. But Seefeel? Meh.

**ORDER LAIKA’S “SILVER APPLES OF THE MOON’ COLORED VINYL RE-ISSUE VIA MEDICAL RECORDS**

Visit Laika online @ Medical Records - Web / Facebook / Bandcamp.

Ride Reunite For World Tour

ride-billboard

It’s official, British shoegaze vets Ride are reuniting for a world tour in 2015! The dates kick off in Scotland on May 22, before heading to Primavera Sound and Field Day in London. The announcement  was enough to crash the band’s official site and send the socials into a frenzy! It started with rumours and an ambiguous billboard before being confirmed. Take a look at the dates below, more are expected in the coming weeks.

Ride’s Andy Bell tells NME, “It’s going to be really cool. As we were all still friends, we always thought when the time was right we’d do it. And now the time is right.” Mark Gardener adding, “People bought our records first time round, but our music has grown in significance since we’ve been away… We want to give the people what they want. We’d be idiots to go out and play a new album, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t make new music.” The frontman doesn’t rule out a new record in the interview (more here).
 

05/22 Glasgow, Scotland @ Barrowland Ballroom
05/23 Manchester, England @ Albert Hall
05/24 London, England @ Roundhouse
05/26 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
05/27 Paris, France @ Olympia
05/29 Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound Festival
06/02 Toronto, Ontario @ DanForth Music Hall
06/04 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
06/07 London, England @ Field Day

Visit Ride online @ Facebook.

Rollerskate Skinny – ‘Shoulder Voices’

rollerskate skinny-band

Medical Records are re-issuing Rollerskate Skinny’s 1993 debut ‘Shoulder Voices’! It’s available from September 25 on limited colour vinyl (pre-sale). The Irish rock act were fronted by Jimi Shields (younger brother of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields) and produced by Laika’s Guy Fixen (who also helped produce ‘Loveless’). It can’t be easy for Jimi living under that shadow! But… judged on its own merit, Rollerskate Skinny stand tall.

 
Rollerskate Skinny – ‘Bow Hitch Hiker’

Rollerskate Skinny ‘Shoulder Voices’ @ Medical Records.

My Bloody Valentine – ‘Live In 1987′

my bloody valentine-geek-artwork

Christopher Lloyd has uploaded vintage footage of My Bloody Valentine on stage in 1987! It’s taken from the late Jon Beast’s personal VHS collection. It’s a rough and rare “before they were famous” glimpse at a young MBV still finding their feet (without whammy bars)! To provide some context, this show would’ve been one of the first performances with the newly recruited Bilinda Butcher (following the departure of lead singer David Conway). The EP’s ‘Geek!’ and ‘The New Record by My Bloody Valentine’ would’ve been available at the time, with ‘Ecstasy’ just around the corner. In 1987 the band released the singles ‘Sunny Sundae Smile’ and ‘Strawberry Wine’. The foursome’s debut album ‘Isn’t Anything’ wasn’t released until the following year. Time warp!

 
My Bloody Valentine – ‘Live In 1987′

Visit My Bloody Valentine online @ Facebook.

4AD To Reissue Cocteau Twins In High Def!

cocteau twins-heaven or las vegas-artwork

For the first time since the original pressing, 4AD are re-issuing Cocteau Twins 1990 classic ‘Heaven Or Las Vegas‘ and 1988′s ‘Blue Bell Knoll‘ on heavyweight vinyl from new high fidelity masters. *does a Scottish jig* There will also be high definition audio (96/24) downloads on offer, as announced today. For non audio nerds, that’s better quality than your current CD copies. However, I doubt the increased fidelity will make picking out Elizabeth Fraser’s lyrics any easier! Pre-orders are already available here and here. The reissues will be on shelves from July 14.

 
Cocteau Twins – ‘Heaven Or Las Vegas’

Visit Cocteau Twins online / Shop for high def reissues @ 4AD.

Bleach – ‘Trip & Slide’

BLEACH - 'KILLING TIME'

Here’s a flashback to little known British rock act Bleach, who released their LP ‘Killing Time’ in 1992. The quartet didn’t enjoy a long lifespan (1989-93) but produced a handful of EPs and mini albums during their time. Often compared to Curve, Bleach suffered from some inconsistencies but were happy to test the water, even adding a rap to their single ‘Shotgun’ (albeit in a Blondie kind of way). Nevertheless, there was some stand out tunes, namely the album cut ‘Trip & Slide’.

 
Bleach – ‘Trip & Slide’

Bleach @ Discogs.