Sad word came down today, via P-fork, that Beggars Group imprints Too Pure and Beggars Banquet have been absorbed into 4AD. Stereolab’s next album will arrive on August 19th sporting 4AD and Duophonic logos. Sayonara, l’il Too Pure arrow. You’ll be missed.
Favorite Too Pure moments:
Seefeel, “More Like Space.” From start to finish, pretty damn breathtaking. My favorite release from Seefeel. Yes, even moreso than Quique. So sue me!
PJ Harvey, Dry. I would argue that Rid of Me is Peej’s true masterpiece, her startling, brazen hat trick. But it was Dry that introduced her raw, unique perspective to the world. I still remember where I was when I heard “Dress.” I went out and bought the album the next day.
Mouse on Mars, “Frosch/room.” Until 1994, I was decidedly on the guitar-rock side of the fence. Seefeel helped to get my incremental mental paradigm shift towards electronic music rolling, andMouse on Mars finished the job. Their music was witty, warm, and elastically inventive in a way that I hadn’t suspected electronic music to be capable of.
And, with the addition of powerhouse drummer Dodo Nkishi, their live performances ended up being more fun than a barrel full of knob-twiddlers. (No disrespect meant to any knob-twiddlers out there.)
As evidenced by their recent collaboration with Mark E Smith, Von Südenfed, they remain as radical and wry as ever. (When I once asked them how they’d gotten to the UK from their native Germany, Jan, by way of reply, simply mimed the side stroke.)
Laika, Silver Apples of the Moon.I interned at too pure in the fall of 1994. So, if you happen to have a copy of “Silver Apples” with the original artwork —complete with hand-affixed customs labels and facsimile stamps— there’s a slight chance it was my handiwork. (Self-adhesive stamp technology has come a long way since those dark days.)
Stereolab, “Seeperbold.” My favorite Stereolab songs have traditionally been one-offs and freebies of the sort that either get sold on tour or show up on, say, cassette tapes affixed to the front ofMelody Maker (or was it NME?). “Seeperbold” is no exception. The way Laetitia rhymes “comatos-e” with “moros-e” here never fails to crack me up for some reason.
Electrelane. I only got to see Electrelane once, opening in San Francisco for Broadcast. Now, I adoreBroadcast. But putting Electrelane on before them was somewhat unfair, because their retro-futuristic, somewhat wistful music came off pallidly next to Electrelane’s exhilarating harmonic convergences.
I do hope the shake-up at 4AD hasn’t also shaken Verity Susman’s solo project Vera November loose. (Her “Jive” is my favorite unreleased single since forever —a jumpin’ juke-joint holler and all-around joyful blast. AAAA!)
Long Fin Killie; Bows, “TFM.” Luke Sutherland’s work for Too Pure seemed to me perpetually (and unfairly) overlooked. His work erred on the side of quiet, subtle, and sly, with a marked lack of ego. It was that lack of ego that enabled Sutherland—a brilliant writer with a polymath’s gift for picking up every instrument from violin to bouzouki— to inhabit a vivid panoply of voices, turning each song into a fully imagined pocket world, beautifully shaped and turned out with poetic precision. If anything, his short-lived project Bows, a collaboration between Sutherland, Scottish musician Ruth Emond, and Norwegian singer Signe Hoirup Wille-Jorgensen , was even more exquisite than its predecessor Long Fin Killie.
Bows, “TFM”(from the Britannica EP, 1999)
Kick it old school with too pure founder Paul Cox’ history of the label. Then Go forth and buy lovely things at the too pure shop | Then go & express your profound displeasure to the folks at Beggars USA.
PHOTO BY ANDREA | HIGHBURY CORNER, 2007