Stereolab have had a highly prolific career since their inception in 1990, putting out numerous singles and EPs on numerous labels, often in limited edition, in addition to their high-profile albums. Fortunately for collectors of music, rather than artefacts, they have been responsible enough to compile a number of collections of these extra-curricular activites onto CDs. The Switched On series, which launched in 1992, had reached volume three by 1998 with the release of the double-CD Aluminium Tunes, but things had subsequently quietened down.
Oscillons From The Anti-Sun catches up with all their regular EP releases from 1993 up to Captain Easychord in July 2001. The earliest included EP is Jenny Ondioline, the first on their own Duophonic UHF label in the UK (a 7" vinyl single had come out the previous year), and also the start of their lengthy association with Elektra in America. Tour singles such as The Underground Is Coming and Free Witch And No-Bra Queen are not included, but will doubtless appear one day on Switched On Vol. 4.
Although not in any chronological order, thankfully all the EPs represented are included in full, bypassing the frustration of wondering what missing tracks might sound like and why they were excluded - a lesson other compilers might care to learn.
The Noise Of Carpet was a lead track in the US instead of Cybele's Reverie, and is included here, though Percolator, which replaced Young Lungs from the same UK EP, is not. Both The Noise Of Carpet and Percolator are on the album Emperor Tomato Ketchup, though whether in the same versions I cannot confirm. Additionally there are alternative takes or mixes of Ping Pong and Jenny Ondioline, though these differ from the familiar versions only in the slightest respect.
Whereas the EPs seemed to be designed to higlight the range and display the diversity of the groop, as they are styled, the tracking order of the discs seems to favour like with like, so that each disc has a dominant mood or ambience. First pressings of the box set include facsimile glossy labels of the seven EP covers, either to ease the conscience of those selling their original artefacts or for the benefit of newcomers to the recordings. These are fractionally reduced in size from the original paper inserts.
Considering that there is an additional DVD disc with eight promos and three live TV appearances which is probably worth the asking price alone, this box set is remarkable value for money and gives a thorough and representative overview of this unique outfit.
on 30 April 2005
At last I get to see videos and live footage of Stereolab, it is so rare to see anything by them on TV. I always buy new items by this band, and even though this a career overview, I could not resist. Three CD's of wonderful music and a DVD of promos and performances,stickers for the single releases, all make this one of the most essential purchases in years. The price also is fantastic, fans and newcomers should snap this up! Stereolab are one of the most original bands I have ever listened to and they are the best live band I have ever seen, so this is a vital collection. My favourites on the box set are Allures, Cybele's Reverie, Captain Easychord, Les Yper Yper Sound, Brigitte and French Disco, though there are many more delights.
on 26 April 2005
Fine selection of tracks and the DVD's worth a gander too,
although with alot of these collections, good as they are, you find yourself going back to the source albums and listening to them instead. For the uninitiated, I would suggest picking up "Emperor Tomato Ketchup", "Mars Audiac" & "Transient Noise"
albums (in that order) first, all essential listening.
The later latino-influenced albums are smoother, but with less hooks and (dare I say it) occasionally bland, although last year's "Margerine Eclipse" was a rattling return to form.
on 31 May 2005
What you get is all the tracks from their "regular" UK-issue EPs: "Jenny Ondioline", "Ping Pong", "Wow & Flutter", "Fluorescences", "Cybele's Reverie", "Miss Modular", "The Free Design" & "Captain Easychord". Note that "Low-Fi" and "Instant O..." are conspicuous by their absence. Where any of the tracks also appeared on their LPs, the EP version/edit is featured here, although any differences are pretty irrelevant. You also get the US single version of "The Noise of Carpet", an alternative edit of "Jenny Ondioline" and an unreleased version of "Ping Pong", but again, these are almost identical to the album versions you probably already own.
And yes, the featured version of French DisCo is the organ-heavy stomp that appears on the original Jenny Ondioline EP, as opposed to the janglier "French DisKo" that appears on Refried Ectoplasm.
The DVD is interesting for the promos videos (although don't expect televisual masterpieces) and the two Jools Holland appearances, but the unlikely rendition of "French Disco" on Channel 4's "The Word" is the highlight of the package.
It all comes in a nice box with splodgy packaging and 8 stickers representing the original artwork of the original EPs.
So, not the place to start your Stereolab collection (for that, my vote goes for "Transient Random Noise Bursts", "Refried Ectoplasm", "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" or "Sound-Dust"), but good value for money if you don't already own the EPs.
on 1 May 2011
This is a great collection of Stereolab EPs, and also includes a DVD with some Stereolab videos, which are quite fascinating to watch. Given the amount of material it is like getting four albums in one. What a bargain!
Although some of these songs are found on the LPs, it is very nice to hear them organised so differently. And there are also a lot of songs that aren't on any of the other full-length recordings. The latter include some really great tracks - Fluorescences and Long Life Love being two that spring to my mind.
If you are at all into Stereolab you should definitely get this. And if you aren't into Stereolab... then you badly need to find out what you are missing!!!