Soft Hearted Scientists — Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth (Expanded Edition)
(The Hip Replacement HIP REP 008, 2005/2016, 2CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-02-14
There is something endearing about the Soft Hearted Scientists, be it their name, their label name, their vocal harmonies, their whimsical songs, their catchy melodies, etc. I’ve been a fan ever since my first exposure to them via Fruits de Mer. Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth is the tenth anniversary reissue of their debut album. Five of the twelve songs on the album were rereleased in 2013 on FdM’s massive vinyl set Whatever Happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists (“Mount Palomar,” “Wendigo,” “Brother Sister,” “The Yongy Bongy Bo,” and “At Night the Quarry Glows Like a Mothership”). All twelve songs on Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth are psychedelic pop visions of Victorian fantasies. These are not the sword and sorcery themes we find in Death Metal, but instead gentle leitmotifs suggesting ideas from authors like Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, William Morris, and Lord Dunsany. The songs are well constructed, arranged, and performed with just the right blend of acoustic instruments and subtle electronics. And to make this anniversary reissue a bit more special, there is a second CD of demos arranged in the same order as the album, so the bonus CD could be viewed as a complete demo of the original album. The songs on the demo disc are a bit raw, warts and all, but they capture the evolution from early versions to the finished product. If you have not yet experienced the Soft Hearted Scientist, this reissue is an excellent place to immerse yourself in this Welsh band’s unique musical view.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more