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New In The Heavens

Occultation news

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29 May, 2011

Another Factory Star review

There's another glowing review of Factory Star's Enter Castle Perilous album here.

28 May, 2011

Wild Swans "Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years" CDs

We now have the CDs of the Wild Swans "Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years" album, pictured above. Top to bottom: lyric booklet, inner sleeve and CD, outer sleeve; right: shrinkwrapped CDs.

Once the "Tracks In Snow" EP arrives in about a week we'll start posting them out to everyone who's ordered, earliest orders first. Please be patient as we've had far more orders than expected but you should all have had free MP3s. Incidentally, we've already sold around 2/3 of our initial allocation of EPs so if you want one best get in quickly. There's no guarantee that we'll have any more of these, although the band will have some to buy together with the album at dates on their UK tour starting in a couple of weeks' time.

21 May, 2011

More Factory Star dates

We've just been told that Factory Star will be out playing live in support of their recent Occultation album Enter Castle Perilous in June and July and three dates have been confirmed:

9th June Gullivers, Manchester

16th July Preston (with The Monochrome Set, venue tbc)

17th July Newcastle (venue tbc)

More info - especially venues - to follow when we get it.

20 May, 2011

Advance ordering for The Wild Swans album.

We are now taking orders for the forthcoming Wild Swans album, The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years and the exclusive Tracks In Snow EP. We expect to receive the CDs from our manufacturers over the next week or two and then we'll be posting them out in the order in which people paid for them.

Details on how to order here. They are going very, very fast indeed.

18 May, 2011

When Time Stood Still

Here's another preview from the forthcoming Wild Swans album. Ordering will hopefully start in a few days' time.

17 May, 2011

The Wild Swans: Chloroform

Here's a first sample track from the forthcoming Wild Swans album.

12 May, 2011

Wild Swans "Tracks In Snow" EP details

Above is the sleeve for the Wild Swans Tracks In Snow EP (Occultation DIONE7DB013). This is a companion piece to the forthcoming album The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years (DIONE7DB012).

Here is the tracklist:
1. Dark Times (2:47) 2. Disintegrating (2:58) 3. Poison (2:28)

None of these tracks appear on the album itself.

The EP will only be available to order together with the album from the Occultation Shop and at gigs on the band's UK tour in June - there are no current plans for it to be released separately.

As you can see, the sleeve artwork is a variant on that for the album, again featuring Ged Quinn's painting entitled Camp.

Wild Swans album first details

Above is the sleeve to the forthcoming Wild Swans album, The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years.

Here is the tracklist:

1. Falling To Bits (2:11) 2. Liquid Mercury (album version) (2:58) 3. Chloroform (3:28) 4. In Secret (3:56) 5. English Electric Lightning (album version) (5:53) 6. When Time Stood Still (2:28) 7. Underwater (3:54) 8. Intravenous (2:34) 9. Glow In The Dark (3:42) 10. My Town (3:28) 11. Lost At Sea (3:36) 12. The Bluebell Wood (4:26)

Please note that the versions of English Electric Lightning and Liquid Mercury which appear on the album are not the same as those released on earlier Occultation singles DIONE7D9001 (a completely different mix) and DIONE7D9003 (the album has the full, unedited song). The singles are still available to purchase in the Occultation Shop.

The album is now in production and we're just waiting for the manufacturers to give us a delivery date, once we have that we'll send out an e-mail to everyone on our mailing list and start taking advance orders.

Anyone ordering from us will also have the opportunity to buy a special package featuring both the album and the Tracks In Snow companion EP - more details on that will follow soon but it contains three otherwise unissued songs recorded during the Coldest Winter sessions. It will be available only from Occultation, to buy together with the album, and at gigs on the band's UK tour in June.

We hope to do a vinyl version of the album at a later date but there simply wasn't the time (or resources) to do this in time for the tour so the physical version will be CD-only at least to start with. An MP3 version will also be available from this website only, at least initially.

Once again, sleeve artwork features a painting by original Wild Swans keyboard player Ged Quinn. The CD will be in a similar format to the recent Factory Star album, with both outer and inner sleeves but also a 16-page full-colour lyric booklet.

More news to follow over the next few days, as we build up to the opening of advance ordering which we'd hope will be over the next couple of weeks or so.

07 May, 2011

Vivonzeureux review of "Enter Castle Perilous"

There's an excellent French review of Factory Star's Enter Castle Perilous on the Vivonzeureux website, if you speak French you can read the original here. If you don't, I'll post my own translation below:

"It all started three or four weeks ago with a really nice e-mail, in French, from the independent label Occultation. After this blog (briefly) mentioned the Blue Orchids, a Rough Trade new wave group of the very early 1980s, they drew my attention to the forthcoming release of the first album by Factory Star, the new project led by Martin Bramah who, together with the organist Una Baines, was one of the founder members of The Fall. In 1979 they were also among the first to jump Mark E. Smith’s turbulent ship to found The Blue Orchids.

A nice letter deserves a friendly reply so, after I’d taken a look at how the record was presented on the Occultation website, I decided that I’d write about a Blue Orchids record sometime soon, and that’d then give me the opportunity to announce the release of the Factory Star album.

Except that in the meantime I thought I might as well download the tracks from the album from the link Occultation had given me and I loved it so much I decided I’d much rather write about this new record rather than an old one!

Like Longest Meow by Bobby Bare Jr, Enter Castle Perilous was recorded and mixed - mainly live in the studio - in just a few days and the two records share the same fresh, energetic qualities. Factory Star’s line-up is basic, with Martin Bramah on vocals and guitar, a bass player, a drummer and an organist. This rather prominent organ provides a direct link to the sound of the Blue Orchids. The singing and the structure of some of the songs also allow a line to be drawn all the way back to The Fall (I reckon Bramah is having a bit of fun when he leaves a long silence after the word "Fall" as he sings "This is a warning to you all, This is the story of the fall — of Great Britain" on The Fall Of Great Britain.

One of the other reference points which came to me on first listen was Jonathan Fire*Eater, and the comparison also holds true with the group that came after it, The Walkmen - except that I recently listened to Lisbon, their latest album, and I find even Factory Star’s weakest tracks (although the more I listen to the record the fewer of these I can find) far more exciting than anything on The Walkmen’s album. I’d be hard-pushed to pick out any favourites from the ten tracks, but if I did then Black Comic Book, New Chemical Light and Angel Steps would surely be among them. The organ on Stone Tumbling Stream and Arise Europa! remind me slightly of The Stranglers.

If I had to pick a fault, the thing I like the least is the group’s name, but when you see it right next to the album’s title it’s almost like a literary way of conjuring up an image of a worker entering his factory, and the fact that there’s a song entitled Big Mill and the line "There used to be a factory there" appears in the next track, Away Dull Care, almost seem to back this interpretation up.

So this was a fantastic surprise and a very fine new release for 2011!

Three songs can be heard on the Occultation website, where the record is on sale as an LP, CD or MP3s."

Thanks to Pol Dodu for the review and permission to translate it.

05 May, 2011

A few snippets...

1) Marc Riley played When Sleep Won't Come from Factory Star's Enter Castle Perilous album on his BBC6 show on Tuesday evening.

2) All advance orders for the LP and LP+CD versions of the album have now been posted, we just have to catch up on one or two orders which have come in this week, those should be in the post by tomorrow (Friday 6/5/11).

3) We should be able to announce some details of the forthcoming Wild Swans album
The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years fairly soon. Artwork will be posted soon as well...

4) There will also be a Wild Swans EP entitled
Tracks In Snow, a companion piece to the album featuring three exclusive tracks recorded at the same sessions but not included on the final album. This will be available to buy only from The Occultation Shop and from the band on their forthcoming UK tour, there are currently no plans for a retail release of this EP.

More to follow