Adrian (from DCR) wrote a great piece on the Jean-Claude Vannier box-set on Finders Keepers.
Pity my poor postman. 2011 has already seen him have to deliver the heavy Tindersticks’ box set of the soundtracks they recorded for Claire Denis’ films, and the amazing Serge Melody Nelson box (thanks, Santa!). And recently, from Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers records, came a beautifully Jean-Claude Vannier three-album box set. All on vinyl, of course.
Finder Keepers was one of the UK independent labels badly hit by a fire at the Sony Distribution centre in west London during the riots that hit the capital and other parts of the country in the summer. Many labels had their stock wiped out or badly hit. Finders Keepers has been releasing some lovely mix cds compiled by guests such as Jarvis Cocker, Sublime Frequencies and Gruff Rhys to help recoup some of the losses.
Crate-digger extraordinaire Votel has been championing Vannier’s work for years, bringing him over to London’s Barbican in 2006 to perform L’Histoire de Melody Nelson and L’Enfant Assassin Des Mouches. As well as that album, FK has also released Electro Rapide and Roses Rouge Sang. These three records come together in this special set to mark the label’s 50th release. So what do you get? First up is a sturdy box, with the artist’s name die-stamped in red on the lid. Inside, before you even get to the records, there are photos, three exclusive Vannier illustrations, one piece of tablature sheet music and a promo CD copy of the invigoratingly bonkers Histoire De Melody Vannier mixed by Andy Votel, of which only 69 physical copies have been released previously. It’s full of snippets of Vannier’s work, which will be exciting or agonizing, depending how much of a completist you are and you realize there’s still so much more to track down.
But it’s the music on vinyl that is so attractive about this set. All on heavyweight pressings, L’Enfant comes on black, Electro Rapide on white and Roses on a beautiful clear red pressing. Sound quality is as excellent as you’d expect. Each is accompanied by an information sheet about the album and the session players.
There were only 150 of these beauties made, and they’re all gone now. Mine is being treasured, so no, I won’t put it on eBay or Discogs for you. The individual albums are available from FK to buy on vinyl, CD and download. But the set is a fitting tribute to a singular artist and to an always fascinating label. Here’s to the next 50 releases.
Jean-Claude Vannier – Les Yeux Valise (from Roses Rouge Sang)