That Special Record – July

This month the album I received from ‘That Special Record‘ subscription service was ‘Mirage Tape Recordings 1979-83’ by Carl Matthews. Now what can I tell you about Carl Matthews that you don’t already know? Well, he was an American character actor and stuntman of the 1930s through 1950s. Born on February 19, 1903 in Oklahoma, his first film role would be in Rough Riding Ranger in 1935. Over the next 33 years, Mathews would appear in over 200 films, shorts, and television shows, either as a performer or a stuntman.

I feel Wikipedia has let me down there. The thing is, I know very little about Carl Matthews, finding just limited information on Discogs I went on a bit of a hunt and found a soundcloud page (it wasn’t really a hunt, there was a link on Discogs but I’m trying to add some drama), where he describes himself as ‘An old guy who likes making sounds for Library/Production companies.’

Then I found this ‘Carl Matthews, a synthesist who started out in the late ’70’s producing
Cosmic (Space) Music in the style of the early composers of the German electronic scene.
Cassette tapes were produced and distributed by Mirage, Electronical Dreams
and the ICR label.’ Here, probably, is a picture of the mystery man himself:

A-317237-1277157189.jpegI cannot vouch for the authenticity of this picture.

So, essentially, the album I received is by somebody I’ve never heard of and can find only sketchy information about. That, I’m sure you’d agree, did not bode well for the LP I was about to put on my turntable. Here, as evidence, is said album on said turntable:

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I played the album this evening when I arrived home, and my expectations were entirely wrong, it is absolutely brilliant and having listened twice now I cannot fathom why this isn’t massive, I like it that much. Imagine for a moment that Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were asked to get together and produce a soundtrack to a movie of a Philip K. Dick novel whose main theme is how our increasing reliance on technology is eroding our humanity. That, to me, is this album. It has the sweeping vistas of Tangerine Dream but also the intricacies of Kraftwerk and the repetitiveness of both (Note to reader: I love repetitiveness).

I have to make some assumptions but it would appear from the track information, pictured below, that these are reproduced from tapes recorded in the early 80’s and that they are very much influenced by kosmische musik (you can call it Krautrock if you really want to).

IMG_2578I just read the card that came with the album, I should probably done that first. The tracks were recorded on a Reel-To-Reel recorder using a Korg Polyphonic Ensemble, Korg M20 Synthesiser and a Korg SQ10 sequencer. I’m sure there are people out there who know this musician, but it is entirely new to me and, almost certainly, would be undiscovered had I not been sent it by Miguel at That Special Record, which is exactly why I have a subscription in the first place, this one is just perfect for me.

I’d like to put some here for you to listen to but I can’t find anything, so go buy a copy, although it appears to be a limited numbered edition of 444 copies.

Wait, there’s more, a Freund Der Familie 12″ single, ‘FDF Alpha Remixes #3’ that has been IMG_2579included as a surprise, and it certainly was. It’s a red marbled limited edition of 150 and, quite frankly, coloured vinyl is the way to my heart. It looks almost black on the turntable, but if you hold it up to the light it is quite a lovely oh, nice bit of artwork that you can see there that was tucked inside the sleeve as well.

Again, I’d never listened to anything by them but it’s a doubly nice surprise as I really like it, and really appreciate it’s inclusion. Below is a track from soundcloud so you can have a listen to one of their tracks should you fancy it, and there are loads more if you go here: https://soundcloud.com/freundderfamilie

And here it is held up to the light to show off that lovely red colour:

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All in all I’m delighted with what I’ve received this month and am already looking forward to what is going to arrive next.

4 Albums: Number 1

Today I played a triumvirate of records (Except that means three, I don’t know what the equivalent word for four is, hang on, let’s check the internet…………it’s Quadrumvirate, there, I learned something new) and the next four posts here will be about them. Here comes the first record of the four that I played.

This week I received my second album from ‘That Special Record’. (Here is the first one I received just in case you wanted to have look). This month I received a copy of ‘6’ by ‘FP-Oner’ who, I am reliably informed is a chap called Fred Peterkin from the US who is a New York Producer/DJ (Aliases include: Black Jazz Consortium, The Incredible Adventures Of Captain P, Anomaly, Fred P Reshape, FP197 & FP – ONER). I am also informed that the genre is Deep House. Now I really can’t tell my deep house from my shallow bungalow but I do know what I like, and I like this.

Wiki has this to say about what Deep House actually is: Deep house is a subgenre of house music that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. Deep house tracks generally have a tempo of between 120 and 125 beats per minute. This style of house music can often have an acoustic feeling.

Now I do appreciate that the above may lead to further searches for what the House is and what differentiates it from Chicago House and then that will lead to somewhere else, so let’s not do that. Let’s just look at the album that arrived as part of my subscription:

FP-Oner - 6

Artist: FP-Oner
Title: 6
Label: Mule Musiq
Format: 180g 2 LP black vinyl
Track List:
1. Awakening Co-creator
2. Kundalini Rising
3. Decalcified
4. New Life Form
5. Learning Process
6. Adjusted Perception
7. Gather Strength
8. Alternate Reality
9. Reap Love


10. Things To Come
11. Vision In Osaka

I do like Ambient, instrumentals and soundtracks and, to my ears, this album falls comfortably somewhere withing these categories but is much more upbeat than many currently in my collection, which makes it a welcome addition. In everything I’ve read this album is categorised as dance music, and I can see it working brilliantly in a club, but I’m not in a club, i’m in my dining room in a comfy chair, and yet it still works in this environment.

The official blurb has this to say: “6 represents the number of man and his or her limitations, weakness and imperfections. This body of work examines and looks towards one awakening; adapting to a new way of being, creating an alternative and reaping a higher state of mind and being, enhanced by love and serenity, satisfaction and joy.

Having investigated this album would appear to be the second part of a trilogy, that began with ‘5’ and will presumably end with ‘7’. I’m tempted to get them both, going back to get ‘5’ and waiting for the release of ‘7’.

If you would care to see and hear a clip of the album playing on my turntable you can do so by following this link to the Instagram video: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHKvmEEhidg/

The first album I received from That Special Record I as lukewarm about, but this one really is much more to my liking and I can see it getting repeated spins on the turntable. I would recommend pressing play on that video above and having a listen to the track there.

The packaging by TSR was again excellent and the record arrived in perfect condition and the little postcard is always a nice touch as is the plastic cover. I’m very much looking forward to what will arrive in July and am tempted, but can’t afford, to update my subscription to include a 12″ single.

That Special Record – Update

I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to the vinyl service – That Special Record – and yesterday I opened the first package from them.

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It’s a double vinyl from ‘The Gods Planet’ titled ‘LP2’. Here is how it is described by one site:

Nietzsche once said: “I would only believe in a God who could dance”. The 2nd The Gods Planet LP, simply titled LP2, is ample proof that you can trust in Claudio PRC and Ness to make you dance. Built upon pieces of music purposely made for a live presentation at Paris´ well-regarded Concrete club, it sees the Italian duo of techno producers applying a willingness for inner and outer discovery, and a more human outlook to the brand of thoughtful, detailed, yet emotional and powerful productions, which they have built their name upon. New machines, techniques and skills are dexterously applied to the foundations displayed on the 1st album, from 2013, making it more direct and overtly danceable, not as experimental but certainly as explorative as before. It is the sound of two artists further more at ease with their standing in the scene, taking stock of their surroundings, before further ventures into the unknown, but still as interested and skilled as ever in telling stories. And what´s presented here is a compelling story of self-discovery woven into Claudio and Ness´s vision of techno and house music.  

This is quite possibly true, I really haven’t had a chance to listen to it properly. The main question that arises is, do I like it and do I think that my money was well spent. Early indications on whether I like it are good, that’s as much as I can say on it for the moment, at least until I’ve had a chance to have a proper listen and to have lived with it for a little while.

It’s double black vinyl and as well as the note you can see in the image there was a separate inner sheet with a bit more information on. The track listing is:

A1 – The Gods Planet – Landing
A2 – The Gods Planet – In the Maze
B1 – The Gods Planet – New Dawn
B2 – The Gods Planet – Ascending
C1 – The Gods Planet – Nightfall
C2 – The Gods Planet – Glimpse
D1 – The Gods Planet – Fast Shadow
D2 – The Gods Planet – Time Machine
D3 – The Gods Planet – The Golden Age (Vinyl Edit)

Now, as for price, I paid €28,00, I’ve seen it priced online at €14,99, however, there was €7,98 shipping to add to that and that was not for international. I’ve written myself a little questionnaire to make it easier to clarify my thoughts.

Would you have chosen this album if you had stumbled across it yourself? :
I don’t think so, but I did know what I signed up for and I don’t dislike the album, though I do find it a little one dimensional musically. I am wondering how often I will be moved to play it in the future, I suspect it will be rarely.

How was the service provided, from a delivery perspective? :
No complaints there, it was well packaged, arrived in one piece and the album was already in a protective plastic sleeve, which is handy as it saves me using up one, although they are only 10p each it’s still good.

What are your thoughts on the price you paid? :
I found the album at €14,99 online, which suggests that this is the retail price or thereabouts, so the rest of my subscription went on what? Post, packaging, a plastic sleeve and a leaflet, which is €13,01. I don’t usually deal in Euros so I have to convert to £ for me to really get a sense of it, so we are looking at £21.87 for the subscription, £11.71 for the album and £7.94 for the rest.  When I look at it in those terms it does seem much more reasonable to me and, depending on the length of your subscription you can get the overall price down to €23,00 (£17.97).  That £7.94 for the rest though, it feels a little high to me but I guess I am paying for only having a month on month subscription.

Are you going to renew your subscription? :
I already have. I’m in for next month because I was really interested in some of the previous releases and, while this first album may not be exactly what I was hoping for, ‘That Special Record’ have built up a month on month list of releases that make it worth continuing to see what I get. Also, jumping back to price a moment, there is the curation aspect which I accept attracts a fee and is a portion of that £7.94 over and above the cost of the album.

More info on this subscription service can be found at http://www.thatspecialrecord.com/

Here is a track from ‘The Gods Planet’ – ‘LP2’

Let me know what you think.

Oh, one other thing, I do get a nice e-mail every weekday with a recommended album on it, you can sign up for that yourself as it’s free.