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27 December, 2011

Tracks In Snow EP - sold out

Unless any copies turn up unexpectedly having strayed from their allotted boxes (fairly unlikely now), we've sold out of The Wild Swans' Tracks In Snow EP. We'd like to thank everyone who did buy the album, with or without the EP, directly from the Occultation Shop; you've no idea what a difference this makes when running a small label nowadays. Not one of us makes a penny out of Occultation, in fact a number of generous people have put money in with no realistic prospect of seeing it again.

Although the EP is now gone, we do still have copies of all other Occultation releases, including the two earlier singles by The Wild Swans (both are different from the album versions and have non-album 'b' sides), the two Granite Shore singles, the two EPs by The Distractions, the Factory Star album and single and Jonathan Beckett's She's A Vampire EP. We're probably going to have a little New Year sale starting over the next few days, offering special deals... So keep an eye on the Occultation Shop.

Caught In The Carousel

If you visit the excellent US Caught In The Carousel website - as you most certainly should - you'll find their latest issue includes not one, not even two but three pieces on Occultation releases by Dave Cantrell:
1) Factory Star Enter Castle Perilous
A detailed and highly perceptive review of the album together with an interview with Martin Bramah.
2) The Wild Swans The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years
A fine review of the album
3) Factory Star Lucybel / The Granite Shore When Sleep Won't Come
A review of the Christmas single.

We'd like to thank both Dave, who's put a huge amount of work into these pieces, and also editor Alex Green for all their efforts. We can wholeheartedly recommend the site, the standard of the writing is far above so many such sites.

Finally a very Happy New Year from all of us at Occultation Recordings.

03 December, 2011

Crystal Stilts cover Martin Bramah's Low Profile

You wait 20-odd years for a cover of a Martin Bramah song then suddenly two come along all at once...

Brooklyn-based band Crystal Stilts have recorded a version of the Blue Orchids' Low Profile on their new Radiant Door EP. The band are avowed fans of Martin's work and have apparently been performing the song live for a while now, but this is its recorded debut.

Obviously the other Bramah cover currently on release is The Granite Shore's version of Factory Star's When Sleep Won't Come, from this year's trenchant Enter Castle Perilous album, which is available on the 'b' side of the current Factory Star single Lucybel.

It's interesting to note that whereas The Granite Shore's version is a complete reinterpretation of the song Crystal Stilts have stayed very faithful to the Blue Orchids' original, giving both ends of the cover version spectrum.

01 December, 2011

Enter Castle Perilous review on Beatbear

The Italian website "Beatbear" has just reviewed Factory Star's Enter Castle Perilous album. Below is a very, very rough translation.

"Artist: Factory Star

Album: Enter Castle Perilous

Label: Occultation Recordings

Year: 2011

Download the album:

Enter Castle Perilous - Factory Star

The British label Occultation Recordings are noted for seeking out urgent, rather unfiltered, immediate sounds. If you want proof, try their recent releases, such as the Wild Swans album, and Enter Castle Perilous by Factory Star (released on LP and CD a few months ago) is full confirmation of this.

Factory Star was put together by Martin Bramah, co-founder of the crucial post-punk band The Fall (an institution popular even in Italy) and he also formed the Blue Orchids, an extraordinary band who burned briefly but splendidly with the psychedelic post-punk of The Greatest Hit (released at the time by Rough Trade, a guarantee of quality). Martin founded Factory Star in 2008, looking for a “fresh new start”. The band currently also includes Hop Man Jr, Chris Dutton (bass) and Tom Lewis (drums).

Enter Castle Perilous is an urgent album. Produced by Nick Halliwell, recorded in three days and mixed that same week, every track puts across a live flow of energy which is reminiscent of The Fall, the toughness of punk (in the sense of a direct, free-speaking spirit, like The Clash) and sick blues driven by Hammond and always guitar-oriented sounds.

The opening “Angel Steps” is a fine example of rough indie with a vein of Hammond organ running through it and spoken-word sections propping up the central chorus every now and again. The slow advance of “Big Mill” is made even dirtier by Martin’s stinging vocals. A few tracks are leaps into the past (such as “Cheetham Bill” and its interwoven guitar and organ), others are actually blues with a modern sensibility (such as the anguished “Black Comic Book”), others are post-punk which remind you straightaway of original punk (listen to “The Fall of Great Britain”).

Enter Castle Perilous is an honest, sincere album - it makes no attempt to wheedle or caress. It prefers to be tackled head on, scraping away. Give it a listen if you’re looking for something genuinely pithy.

Luigi Zampi"