Audiophile: Digital, September 2022

hfnalbum.pngThe Mothers
Zappa Records ZR20038 (eight discs)

Following the remastered 200 Motels, another astounding treat for Zappa devotees: the 50th anniversary celebration of the complete June '71 Fillmore East concerts, two shows which preceded them by a few days, the Rainbow Theatre gig from December that year, and even the presence of John and Yoko. Superbly presented, remixed by Eddie Kramer (of Jimi Hendrix fame), it includes revealing notes by members of The Mothers, so the veracity of this artefact-cum-souvenir makes it a must-have set. The sound is remarkably clean and 'modern' rather than seeming salvaged, while the content is classic FZ: 'Peaches En Regalia', 'King Kong' and (for me) the presence of three ex-Turtles. Allow a weekend to binge. KK


The Church
Intervention IR-SCD6

One of Australia's finest bands, The Church hit it internationally in 1988 with their fifth album. Recorded in LA, Starfish's success was no doubt aided by two of the songs featuring on the then-massive TV show, Miami Vice. Filled with exquisite, guitar-driven pop somewhere inbetween indie and New Wave, the sound is characteristic of its decade, super-sharp and multi-layered. Five extra tracks came with a bonus EP in '88, with more on the 2005 Aussie CD and a rarities collection. Eight of them appear here, including superb acoustic versions of 'Under The Milky Way' and 'Antenna'. If you prefer vinyl, the 180g double LP [IR-027] contains all the bonus tracks. KK

Marianne Faithfull With Warren Ellis
She Walks In Beauty
Panta Rei/BMG 538651142

Ordinarily, I avoid poetry recordings, even set to music and read here by no less than Marianne Faithfull. And yet… her smoky, raspy voice is so captivating (and so far removed from the sweet near-whisper of her youth) that it ranks with Paolo Conte or Tom Waits for world-weariness. I was reminded of the torture of university and memorising Wordsworth – who'd believe I could be seduced by something so earnest? Faithfull chose two of his, plus much-loved works from Shelley, Keats, Hood, Byron, and Tennyson, setting them to lush cello, piano, and ambient effects, with Nick Cave and Brian Eno contributing. KK

The Nature Of Things
Octave Records OCT-0007 (SACD + DVD Data)

Octave Records had better watch out or they may find themselves appealing to a mainstream – ie, non-audiophile – audience, unheard of with specialty labels unless they're reissuing known works à la Mofi. This SACD defies the confines of the niche because it could easily find its way to any radio programme that champions roots music, singer-songwriter sensitivity or other genres that caress the ears. Foxfeather features a sublime vocalist in Carly Ricks Smith, who could easily sit in with Larkin Poe, and the entire outfit has its alt country chops down pat. The bluesy 'Ghost Of You' – slightly atypical – stood out for me, but the whole album rocks… albeit gently. KK