One of the most eagerly anticipated releases, in our gaff at least, since first spotted on the respective release schedule listings of both Static Caravan and Fruits de Mer. It goes without saying that having two of our favourite labels in a head to head make this split release something of a listening dream / treat. Recently achieving their milestone 300th release, Static Caravan have for some twenty years now been shaping our listening tastes, evermore ahead of the curve in terms of having their finger on the pulse of taste making generic fashions to come, they defiantly remain resolutely independent quietly patrolling beneath the radar. Of all the labels to float by our listening space in recent years, perhaps none match the guile and industry of Fruits de Mer, steadfastly vinyl heads when wax was still derided and something of a medium consigned to history, their appeal to both record collectors and purists is without rival, obsessing about prog and folk when both were still viewed in certain circles with a degree of snobbish suspicion, their want of putting out releases on seemingly defunct mediums – see flexis and cassettes, ridiculously eye catching box sets and coloured vinyl misshaps – you begin to sense an air of bloody mindedness afoot in the Fruits de Mer camp, that said they’ve instead forged something of a cottage industry that has won the admiration of the respected press and in to the bargain been likened to classic imprints of yore such as charisma, vertigo and island. Only 300 of these super limited split releases are due, each one coming accompanied by a freebie CD from each of the labels. Upon its grooves four tracks from four artists (two apiece per label), first up on the listening inspection block the mercurial tones of the Art of the Memory Palace coaxing out some arresting noir lounge mirages per ‘first flight hymnal collapse’, a beautified Balearic kosmiche cruiser teased in an affectionate grooving as to suggest an encyclopaedic knowledge of the inner working of a Komeda canon found here marooned upon a distant alien beach promenade serenading setting twin moons with its space aged lullaby lilts. Next up Cheval Sombre who of late appears to have sprung into animated activity following a period of hibernation, this being an absolute emotional crushing cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘a change is gonna come’ here stripped bare with its tender hurt quotient pushed to the maximum whilst serviced with a hymnally intimate phrasing that softly sighs, aches and trembles with a hope withered haunted and tortured mournfulness, scarcely a dry eye in the gaff, did we say arresting and majestic. Over on the flip it’s the Fruits de Mer part of the split bargain, Jack Ellister opening their account with ‘reminder’, a gorgeously pirouetting star gazed love note much revealing of a pristinely purred pop palette found here swirling and yearning seductively in the galactic gateways spraying all in an amorphous bliss kissed soft psych shimmering. Oh yes, bringing up the rear and seeing matters out to the end groove, the insektlife cycle stump up a nifty slice of cosmically seafaring mellow toned space surf exotica with ‘sleepcrawler’ – a by all account response to Santo and Johnny’s surf classic ‘sleep walk’ and a track taken from an imminent and incoming debut full length through Weary Bird entitled ‘neanderthal’which judging from this lulling gem ought to be high on the listening lists of all twang trimmed heads.