Poppy Variations

THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS

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Cover ImageRelease date and tracklist

2004
NL CD Terminal Kaleidoscope TEKA15
2005
US CD BLRR mt064
2009
01 July 2013
NL MP3 remastered version self-released on Bandcamp
  1. Krussoe – [MP3]
  2. Personal Monster – [MP3]
  3. It Doesn’t Matter Anyway – [MP3]
  4. The Equaliser – [MP3]
  5. L’oiseau Rare (Parts I and II) – [MP3]
  6. The Hot Breath On Your Neck – [MP3]
  7. The Poppy Variations Part I – [MP3]
  8. The Poppy Variations Part II – [MP3]
  9. Premonition +To Just to Slip Away*

*Bandcamp only

2005

side a

  1. Krussoe – [MP3]
  2. Personal Monster – [MP3]
  3. It Doesn’t Matter Anyway – [MP3]
  4. The Equaliser – [MP3]

side b

  1. L’oiseau Rare (Parts I and II) – [MP3]
  2. The Hot Breath On Your Neck – [MP3]

side c

  1. The Poppy Variations Part I – [MP3]
  2. The Poppy Variations Part II – [MP3]

side d

  1. Premonition 33
  2. Just to slip away

 


Credits

  • Edward Ka-Spel – Voice, Keyboards, found sound
  • The Silverman – Keyboards, Poppy-filled landscapes
  • Erik Drost – Electric and acoustic guitars
  • Niels van Hoorn – Saxophone, Flute
  • Raymond Steeg – Sound wizardry

Notes

Recorded in 2003/2004 at Chez Dots/Studio Klaverland.

LP: Ed. of 450 copies in a full color sleeve & 2 – 180 gram audiophile LP’s & bonus 4th side of material. The songs feature a slightly different mix than the CD edition.

***

I guess the seed of the “Poppy Variations” was sown back in the year 1997. The Pink Dots were on the way to New Orleans in a recreational vehicle and when the heat and the journey was too hard we pulled up and booked a motel room somewhere in Alabama. Typically we had almost no money so just two of the band had the luxury of a “real” bed while the rest of us collapsed sweating on, rather than IN sleeping bags. It was early in the morning when we heard about the death of princess Diana in that underpass in Paris. I never paid much attention to the British Royal Family before but this felt unreal and utterly tragic. In the bus we could speak of nothing else, but as we tried to squeeze more information from the radio all we seemed to reach were mad baptist preachers offering expensive tickets to somewhere that wasn’t hell, but of course THEY would be there. Roll on seven years and the day came back.

I’d been playing with the words for poppy Variations Part 1 for years…finally they came to me. And so to Part 2 that began from a snippet of bagpipes from the funeral of king george V in 1936. An old BBC record, battered , scratched…I just worked up on it, extended it, looped it, reversed it, sent it to the angels who threw it back on a paper plane. That piece saved me at a time when I was having a lot of self doubt. That tiny scrap of bagpipe music opened the floodgates. More pieces followed, I replaced at least two vocal parts and sets of lyrics of “Whispering Wall’ which was coming to a conclusion, I just felt liberated. “Poppy V” was initially going to be a solo album, but the rest of the Dots reacted favourably to the songs when i played them to everybody so we arranged a day when the rest of the band would “finish” the album. It was a great day- early morning until night in Niels’ barn. Lots of spontaneity although nobody really wanted to touch Poppy Variations part 2 which divides us all to this day. Im still proud of that one, but I always liked a good noise… I love “Poppy variations”- it pulled me out of a crisis and sounds like an old friend. – Edward Ka-Spel

***

From Bandcamp: Early 2004. “Poppy Variations” was being prepared ostensibly as an EK solo album, but the idea arose to make it a fully fledged LPD album. In typically bizarre Dots fashion, EK finished the solo album …and then threw it open for additions.The catch? Everybody had to deliver their parts in one DAY! There was a party atmosphere at Niels’ farm as recording commenced early in the morning and went on to nearly midnight.

Though EK is far from being a royalist, the tragedy of Princess Diana’s death resonated deeply (indeed we heard the news on tour at a road stop in Alabama).
Poppy Variations Part 2 is based upon a small phrase played by Scottish pipers at the funeral of King George V in London in 1935. It still clears a few rooms.

The original Poppy Variations cd was self-released by The Dots, it later saw a reissue with a new cover on Big Blue records, Poland.


Press Release

From the opening clogging cadence & cicada drone of Krussoe, the air begins to smell something like an Asylum on the eve of a Crushed Velvet Apocalypse. Poppy Variations isn’t aping old LPD material (though it samples & processes it in the background). PV has, rather, captured those warm, heady, sweetly melodic tones of the old guard. Personal Monster & The Equaliser further evoke the thudding undercurrents & whimsy of Ancestral Dots. Crisp, walking bass stabs; percolating sequences; saxes & flutes conversing with the electronics, Edward’s voice quietly projecting, as from an interstellar transmission…brilliant! The acoustic L’Oiseau Rare is a beautifully bright psych/folk piece that disintegrates into flanged electricity whose melody sounds like someone trying to tune a short wave radio to one of those weird numbers stations. New member Erik Drost’s (Girlfriends) subdued guitar ministrations weave carefully & sparingly into the mix. The production as a whole (Raymond Steeg/Edward Ka Spel) does not hesitate to sound like the Viking II L&er on extended sonic missions. Songs w&er out into the witch-filled wardrobe & then return for an outro. Why, there’s even a ballad that could be classified as pretty (not “cherubs & ice cream” pretty, but more “latter day Nick Cave broody” pretty). The album ends on an appropriately cosmic & amazing grace note, experimentally riffing on “Poppy Day,” but only referentially, until a brace of m&rax-dosed, astral pipers shows up to chase away lingering ghosts. PV is absolutely one of LPD’s finest, most inspired constructions. Not a day in the life should go by without a tiptoe through the poppies… –BLRR

 

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