rocket girl – various 100

Time to hang out the bunting for the much loved rocket girl imprint who reach that most special of milestones with the arrival of their hundredth release marking the occasion with the digital only celebration that is the frantic nights awake fretting over what to call it – ‘various – 100’. of course we tease, about the sleepless nights that is and not the title for it is indeed called ’various – 100’, I guess its title alone says a lot as to what rocket girl is about, emerging in 1997 with the debuting pairing of the legendary Silver Apples with husband and wife duo Windy and Carl on a limited 7 inch, the label has always maintained an understated though none the less a consistently eclectic persona and has like similar home grown labels such as Static Caravan and Fortuna Pop established itself as a by word for taste making reliability and with that always ahead of the curve. Once of the Cheree / Che trading stables and largely responsible for bringing the likes of the Telescopes and Bark Psychosis to indie bedrooms and beyond, Vinita Joshi has maintained and gathered a formidable who’s who of the dream pop / shoe gaze and space rock glitterati on her roster – Low, Piano Magic, Sonic Boom and Add N to X are among the many as well as current mainstays Robin Guthrie, Fuxa, Clan of Xymox’s Pieter Nooten, God is an Astronaut and latest much chatted about space cadets the frankly out there Eat Lights Become Lights. Sixteen racks feature on this celebratory landmark release, a smattering of the imprints latest wares – two from each as it happens I you don’t count three fro Fuxa and one from White Ring – that includes three previously unreleased exclusives. Much adored around these here parts since their early sonic utterances via Enraptured a few years ago, Eat Lights Becomes Lights open the partying fanfare with the euphoric dream dipped celestial carnival that is ’bound for magic mountain’ before relocating to more demurred Dusseldorfian climes with the orbiting lunar lilting motorik murmured ’eletromagnetika’ prized from the much admired recent third full length ’modular living’. Admittedly we’re a little embarrassed to say that somehow duo White Ring have so far managed to evade our roving listening ear, how can that be (cue welcome missives from some kind soul telling me not so and directing me to reviews we’d penned years ago), anyhow ’roses’ is your first generation post punk styled cold electronica, for fans of the Weird imprint, this sparsely threaded minimalist beauty ushers in like a coolly detached No Ceremony dropkicked into the dark elegance of an ExPost Facto soundtrack rewired by a very youthful the Knife. I’m suspecting we might be a little light on recent Fuxa releases, ’dirty d’ their latest is currently in orbit (represented here by the hypnotic ‘dream (don’t give up)‘ and the mind expansive dean wareham meets spacemen 3-esque shimmer toned ‘shout out loud‘) not to mention that drop dead gorgeous 2 track ’sun is shining’ which I should say literally blew us away and featured a rare appearance by Add N to X‘s Ann Shenton. Anyway here with ’some things last a long time’ originally by Daniel Johnston and here sumptuously surrendered by the alluring glow of Suicide meets Cheval Sombre vibes. Touchingly intimate and signed in the kind of quiet majesty and ethereal elegance that once upon a time tripped the grooves of releases emanating from out of the Constellation label – and here I’m thinking Set Fire to Flames albeit equipped with a mood lightning cortege of bitter sweet inflections that shimmer almost frost thawed in their twinkling spectrality. Well that’s the case on ’ode’ by Pieter Nooten whilst ’transit’ prized from his recent ’haven’ set is stressed by the melancholic murmur of twilight enchantment and tearfully stained in the sorrowful ache of softly stirred strings and the distressed dressing of forlorn ambient arcs. God is an Astronaut bring with them ’light years from home’ and ’transmissions’ the latter an exclusive live recording a hulking strut riddled sky parter modelled much in the style of the Workhouse while the former a gorgeous statuesque ice dipped gem bathed in stratospheric sirens. Somewhere else Jon DeRosa serves up the sedately smoked ’true men’ and ’signs of life’ with the former proving something of a tear jerker and the latter ghosted in hollowing coolly caressed 60’s motifs that mellow and ooze with an off guarded sophistication to recall Matt Munro. Then there’s an unreleased nugget from Anthony Reynolds in the shape of ’why honey’ which to these ears sounds not unlike a quietly bruised Mick Harvey doing Scott Walker sorties. Mr Reynolds appears again this time building a sweetly attractive rain drizzled down tempo noir soundtrack around the a Colin Wilson narrative while Jacques Caramac and the Sweet Generation step to the plate with ’snowballs’ – again frustratingly another one we missed this un being sneaked out a month or three ago and to these sounding like the kind of tangy summer kissed west coast cutie that in a different age would have been leading a bubblepop charge out of the summershine, bus stop and seminal twang sound houses. To the next 100 hurrah…..


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