Ocean’s Ten; celebrating a decade of the UK’s most hallucinogenic record label.
In the fickle shoestring world of independent record labels, it’s little short of a miracle that Fruits de Mer are celebrating a decade of squirting often unhinged psychedelic magic and pure British eccentricity like octopus’s ink out of its squid-like bottom, frequently to solidify into an immortal statement or memorable genre classic.
To mark the occasion, the label, with typical lack of restraint, is the subject of a book (reviewed on page 115) and has released a gatefold triple album (with bonus 45) straddling the catalogue since Tor Peders’ ebullient version of Van der Graaf’s Theme One launched it in 2008. But you’ll find an array of names, familiar or little known, tackling the 60s and 70s chestnuts that originally motivated the label, or concocting their own in the same spirit. Prog, psych, space rock, Krautrock and acid folk all sound subliminally FDM – surely the hallmark of a great label?
Highlights include the Pretty Things torpedoing The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, Schizo Fun Addict’s take on the Small Faces’ Ogdens Nut
Gone Flake that was the first 45’s B-side, Sendelica wrangling the Velvet Underground’s Venus In Furs and Stay pickling the Stones’ 2000 Light Years From Home. There’s also veteran folk outfit Tir Na Nog’s I Pick Up Birds At Funerals, the Chemistry Set’s wonderfully titled Kiss Me,
Vibrate And Smile, Soft Hearted Scientists’ demented Caterpillar Song and incredible acid-folkies Beautify Junkyards. Cranium Pie roast The Beatles’ Baby You’re A Rich Man and Superfjord conquer Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. Meanwhile, stalwarts such as The Honey Pot, Us And Them, Permanent Clear Light, Vibravoid,
Nick Nicely, Crystal Jacqueline,
Sidewalk Society, Kris Gietkowski and Astralasia represent the label’s amoebic assimilation of electronic dance music.
Yes, 10 years of Fruits de Mer. What would life be like without a label that can release a tune by something called Blue Zeta Giant Puppies? Treasure them, and treasure this much-deserved trophy awarded to themselves.