Posts Tagged ‘Tales Of Acid Ice Cream’

In the midst of the storm following the release of « Nama Time » a few weeks ago, the celebrations of “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream”’s 20th birthday were deliberately buried into an ocean of mud and dirt by the feline high-powers. However, some still favour this now old Awaken release.

What’s the connection?
Proud owners of “Mokomoko Collection” and “Nama Time” might not all be concerned by Snowcat’s white-wall recordings, as he now calls his work of the 90’s, and no one could blame them of that lack of interest.

Tales Of Acid Ice Cream

Tales Of Acid Ice Cream, the well-loved misfit

On the other hand, there’s still that handful of nostalgic freaks who danced their ass off, got high or cured their manic depression (all for the worse in the latter case) listening to the beats of that very CD. Those die-hard fans are not surprisingly quite resistant to Snowcat’s own faves like “Beppu Nights”, “This Mouth” or “Nama Time”.

Released in early January of 1996, “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream” features the team that Snowcat had gathered little by little since earlier days, bassist and mentor Ced Mattys (1988), vocalist P’tit Bout (1989), backing vocalist Gina Mainardi (1992), additional keyboardist Aurélia Thirion (1993) and lead guitarist Yves Larivierre (1994). Add to this accordionist (and mentor –again) Vincent Trouble (1988) and freshly invited violinist Philippe Tasquin, you get the illusion of a growing band who spent time together and grew a strong unit through the years. This was ToAIC’s first misunderstanding that cooled the most innocent of newcomers.

Friends won’t be friends
The then Awaken was far from being a band, let alone a bunch of friends. The embarrassing lack of democracy was palpable since the first notes of “Nursery Nymph”, showing a strong dominance from synthesizers and other Gilles Snowcat-controlled machines over musicians and acoustic instruments. This led to a sound that was heavily rejected by many, and paradoxically adopted and worshiped by a more ‘destroy’ part of the population. Some were so fed up with the guitar-dominated grunge and Brit-pop that they jumped in the Acid Ice Cream wagon without too much hesitation. To this day, those who survived are still genuinely faithful to that era. Is love blind? Some perplexing points like the lack of unity as a band, the over packed music (those tiring 70 minutes), the clumsy vocal interventions of Snowcat and the dictatorship of digital synthesizers don’t seem to be much of a drawback for those lovely (now) grown-up punks. On the contrary. Recently, WARR Records Reviews described it as “Off-key, off-tempo electronica, but I like the pensive pop “Numbness Of Highlights.” And even Al Stewart and Glenn Hughes didn’t hide some interest in the record (that features a cover of their songs, this has to be said)

ToAIC signed by Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple)

ToAIC signed by Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple)

Still, ToAIC still features its lot of attractiveness: some stunning soulful vocals from P’tit Bout, clever violin touch from Philippe Tasquin, beautiful accordion layers from Vincent Trouble, a moving bass line from Ced Mattys and, let’s not forget the immaculate sound of the one who kept the thing together through almost inhuman patience, the sound master ‘Magic’ Fred Scalliet.

Underground cult, as they say.
Benefiting from its status of cult album and scarcity (500 pieces only have been printed and released), “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream” is sold from 70 to 150 euros following its state and the amount of interest from the buyer. This is sometimes repellent for broke music lovers, add to that fact that there’s no streaming version anywhere. Therefore, we decided to sell 3 pieces of “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream” for a mere 50 euros. This offer will last until 14th of February 2016 included but hey, it’s only 3 pieces, don’t expect them to be available forever.

To seize the opportunity, email info@gilles-snowcat.com with “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream -20” as subject line. Further details will be provided to you. Sounds exciting, uh?

ToAIC’s track listing:

01) NURSERY NYMPH (G.Snowcat)
02) TUNEFULLY MISUSED (G.Snowcat)
03) a- 1000 DAYS OF YESTERDAYS -INTRO- (R.Evans/B.Caldwell)
b- LAST DAYS OF THE CENTURY (A.Stewart/P.White)
04) SLEEP POSITION # 68 (G.Snowcat)
05) REQUIEM FOR A GOLDEN DESTINY (G.Snowcat)

06) NUMBNESS OF HIGHLIGHTS (G.Snowcat)
07) MEMORIES OF A TEENAGE CAT (G.Snowcat)
08) DOOM ENTRY (G.Snowcat)
09) a- I AM LOVE (M.Larson/J.Marcellino/D.Fenceton/FH.Rancifer)
b- RESCUE (M.Mann/M.Rogers)
10) a- WELCOME TO THE ‘HOUSE X’ (G.Snowcat)
b- NOSTALGIC BOOM (G.Snowcat)

11) BLURPING THE BLURP (G.Snowcat)
12) SPIRITS OF 1983 (G.Snowcat)
13) a- THIS TIME AROUND (G.Hughes/J.Lord)
b- BLIND (J.Lord)
c- OWED TO ‘G’ (T.Bolin)
14) A SIMPLE LOVE (G.Snowcat)
15) THE TALE OF THE MAGIC THURSDAY (G.Snowcat)

16) ZLURP (A.Thirion/G.Snowcat)
17) NOTHING COULD BE GOOD (B.Gibb/R.Gibb/M.Gibb/A.Galuten)
18) THIN CRASH VIRUS (G.Snowcat)
19) WINTER DANCER TALE (G.Snowcat)
20) STILL ALIVE (M.Vernon/B.Bowersock/P.Juvet)
21) WEDNESDAY MAYDAY (G.Snowcat)

Amen.

Midrone

There’s a special breed of music lovers, the unbelievably desperate nostalgic of some work I did two hundred years ago, the Tales Of Acid Ice Cream record. Seasonally there’s one or two of those neurotic misfits who appear and contact me any which way to ask “But Gilles, why the hell don’t you release anything like Tales Of Acid Ice Cream?”. Then they say how cool it was, and quickly emphasize on how ‘uncool’ is my music now (fucking hell, those poor things…). In early stages I tend to try to raise an argument but it usually proves useless. They think ToAIC was the real shit, and everything else coming after is undoubtedly rubbish. Let it be.

Jamon

The quickest way to get rid of those time-distorted unfaithful fans is to send them to either old Belgian New Beat vinyl records or in case of desperate persistence, Midrone, a project led from Spain by a French guy converted to Museo del Jamon and other guilty Catalan pleasures.

He’s not a complete stranger to the Awaken world, since besides carrying out a part of the acid heritage he’s also a collaborator of the Sousbock experience. Therefore this shouldn’t be a surprise to know that on Midrone’s 5th album there’s a drummer named Sébastien Bournier.

Sousbock

Not that Midrone would be a complete clone of the old Awaken stuff, far from that, but hell there are some notes that no one could really say they don’t strike a chord on them. Yet let’s be honest, on 5 records and unexpected ripples on the leader’s Bon-joviesque face, Midrone slightly moved away from its original influences, to synthetize a sophisticated pop that has, for the worse, some modern elements that sometimes embarrassingly follow the James Blunt / Ed Sheeran footsteps (gosh…) with its typical ‘ooh why did you go’ tear-jerking disposable rubber ballads. But for the best it has the romanticism and delicateness of the most captivating of Anthony Phillips plentiful discography or early 80’s neo-prog now forgotten acts. Not bad for a band that has only but a little substance to offer on the rock’n’roll side. Midrone’s regular geeky lifestyle won’t catch anyone’s eyes with crude stories, which might hopefully leave more space for the ears to get something more captivating than the bland shit pouring out on the radio these days.

Good boy

Storm Over has its share of fine moments, meaningful melodies and well-cooked arrangements (“Dany”, “It’s Over”) that make the purchase worth the pennies it costs. Even the dull seconds (the scary start of “Bitter Smile” or the Ed Sheeran bad smell of “Gone In The Night”) are just what they are: seconds. Midrone has the rare talent to give each song its own life. He can use a Mellotron without making it sound like a retarded prog parody (“Storm Over”, what a catch!), wink at Gino Vanelli fans (the beautiful “Food For Thoughts”) and even trying to make us dance (“Stranger In This World”, the only tribute to the old Midrone by the new Midrone), nothing really seems out of place. Even the cheezy Disney-like “Flying Lullaby” with its Prince Charming-meets-Princess piano and all the birds and the trees and the bad witch becoming good kind of shit is kind of cute, in its own way.

Storm

Storm Over is about storms all over the place, with another look at strong winds on “A Storm Must Have Come”, an almost funky, at least almost up-tempo, fake horn-driven with drummer Bournier’s crazy snare drum-roll that were last heard by the New Kids On The Block back in 1991.

nkotb

I sometimes freeze at some of Midrone’s hard-to-explain choices, like the “I Don’t Know The Words” that starts like a mainstream 2010’s tearjerker that fills MTV playlist, then gradually turns into an eurock anthem with hammer-like drums and a wall of acoustic. Not my favourite, but it’s still quite good considering the album comes from the country of one of the lousiest places in the world, the brainless attraction Ibiza.

Midrone demonstrated again that he could release good stuff with enough personality to avoid the trap of parody, except maybe on the final track, “Before The Storm”, that sounds like a passionate artist willing to show the whole world that his main influence is Genesis –with or without Phil Collins. Come on…

Storm Over is a good album that has, unlike previous Midrone album, a real unity and strong enough moments to be memorized and enjoyed as such, whatever the background is. A musician’s approach rather than a rock album, but a musician’s album that has enough to convince those who don’t give a shit about chords, tempo and time signature.

Midrone has no website but a fucking social media page (here), yet it shouldn’t prevent you to get its music on regular shops like Amazon and iTunes.

乾杯、

G.S.

 

 

 

 

 

In a past life, Awaken released an album called “Party in Lyceum’s Toilets“, which featured, amongst other cult songs, a version of “Jazzy”, a cute tune written by ex-Metropolis pianist Renaud Lhoest. One of the last days of December 2014, Renaud Lhoest passed away.

GS: “He wasn’t exactly a friend, and this is an understatement to say that I didn’t have any kind of contact with the guy on more than 20 years, but I’ll always be grateful for his help and kindness (and patience) with the young and hesitating Snowcat that I was back in 1988 (a very good year, it was). He then just had released a demo tape, “Les Vacances de Julie”, that ran over and over on my magic Radio-Shack cassette player, in order to steal an idea or two, which I somehow managed. Somehow.

Renaud Lhoest, demo circa. 1987

The tape was brought to me by his then bass player, Ced Mattys, who later ended to play on an album of mine. It was worth 150 Bef (a rough 4 euros and 50 cents now), that I actually never paid.”

He later became an overbooked arranger, composer and violinist playing with a variety of artists from obscure Belgian acts to the likes of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Call it a huge wingspan.

May Renaud Lhoest have a drink with John Bonham up-there and ask him what he thought of that fake-Zeppelin incarnation. But that’s another story.

Listen to Renaud Lhoest’s own music

Listen to Awaken’s take on “Jazzy”

Lhoest demo

“I especially like the n°7!”
“Will you play number seven on your concert?”
“Your albums sucks but hey the 7 is quite OK”

That lucky 7 was a song on the “Tales Of Acid Ice Cream” album, the seventh track exactly, hence the laziness of then fans who did tend to forget that their beloved song had an actual title: “Memories Of A Teenage Cat”. And this month of March, the Teenage Cat’s turns 25.

Written on the spot on a cold day of January 1989 in some random gloomy parts of the city, “Memories of a Teenage Cat” appeared quickly to be the generator of many misunderstandings. Born a rough no-future urban song, it was often mistaken for a hit-wannabe ballad, to the composer’s mix of despair and amusement.
In March of that strange year 1989, two months after the song had been written, the mood still looked like the after party of the shining “Four Dreams Suite” and its lose-your-mind follow-up “Electric Time”. A dirty room, empty bottles under a however promising spring sun.

Memories of a Teenage Cat

Hiring the invaluable service of keyboardist Vincent Trouble, Snowcat arrogantly refused to play the keyboards, leaving Mr. Trouble with the task of arranging, playing, producing, engineering and making the coffee. Eventually Trouble convinced Snowcat that some parts should be played by the writerhimself, which did cost him more cups of caffeine-infused beverage.

Long before the dominating ‘magnificent 27’ (the 27 songs released from « Cà Phê & Pizza” and “Mokomoko Collection”), Awaken fans used to express some preference for “Memories of a Teenage Cat”.
Along with Awaken’s cover of Al Stewart’s “Last Days of the Century”, “Memories of a Teenage Cat” was the most-wanted tune of the era, overshadowing some equally or more important releases, causing Snowcat to shy away to performing the minor hit.
From 1989 to 2001, none less than 5 studio recordings were available (legally or not), with various singers and other performers. It’s only in the summer of 2013 that “Memories of a Teenage Cat” had been unexpectedly and briefly brought back to life during a jam featuring members of the MokoMoko Orchestra.

Don’t expect to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the teenage cat with a suddenly-coming-from-nowhere from the vaults version nor a collection of pictures of the places that created the spark that made the song nor the list of what Snowcat ate and drank that very day of 1989. Don’t expect the unavoidable special package all-versions-for-only-9,99USD nor any useless remaster with a little bit more of this and a lot less of that.
Only expect the best: the original 1989 version as it was.

Listen

Buy

In waiting to celebrate 25 more years…

Known recorded versions of “Memories of a Teenage Cat”:

-01/1989: writing session, piano / voice. Unavailable;
-03/1989: original studio recording. Available;
-03/1993: “Numb…” demo tape. Out of print;
-01/1996: “Tales of Acid Ice Cream” cd album. Available on collector item;
-07/1998: rehearsal recording. Unavailable;
-11/2001: B-side version. Available.

There’s also a cover done by Sousbock, around 2002 or so.

… Julie “Cunégonde” Absil, Paul G., Gilles Snowcat, Amy Kay and Jenny Quinn set fire in Woluwé’s venue, Le Gué, formerly known as La Ferme V -yep, that very one that welcomed an early show of Genesis back in the 70’s. And exactly 15 years before the 19/09/2013 show in Forest.

19 09 1998