Lemon Jelly

London, UK
Artist / Band / Musician
Electronica / Nu-Jazz / Lounge
XL Recordings
Lemon Jelly have made an album entirely based upon unlikely samples swiped from their vast record collections. Not unlike one of their DJ sets, they flip between musical styles at will and make light work of cramming metal, 70s pop, Euro house, R&B, punk and more into just one album. The title, '64-'95, simply signifies the span in years of the various samples they've used and, as ambitious as the whole thing sounds, it works. The list of musical mavericks willingly plundered in the cause of the good ship Jelly includes 70s popsters Gallagher and Lyle, Scottish post-punkers the Scars, US R&B balladeer Monica and none-more-heavy metallers, the Masters of Reality. Each track manages to come as a complete stylistic surprise without losing any flow from one to the next; having said that, it's probably best not to mention the Maori crooner or Captain James T. Kirk for the moment. Their meticulous sleeve design remains but this time, they've upped the ante somewhat by also producing a full DVD version of the album. From the beautiful machinations of Only Time to the creepy-crawly neon floral jungle of Make Things Right and an abstracted live action dance piece reminiscent of a James Bond title sequence for Come Down On Me, the DVD takes you through a rather sumptuous array of animation styles and weird worlds.

Abstract, down-tempo UK electronic act comprising Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin. Franglen and Deakin were childhood friends but did not form Lemon Jelly until 1997, after attending a 23 Skidoo concert. Before this, Franglen composed commercial music for adverts for clients such as Sony Playstation and Sega and occasionally for film and television soundtracks. He also contributed his keyboard and drum programming skills to Primal Scream's Xtrmntr and to projects by Bjrk, Hole, Blur, the Spice Girls, All Saints and Daphne And Celeste. Deakin's background was as a club DJ (the wacky "Impotent Fury") and promoter but he also worked as a designer and illustrator for magazines such as The Face and Nova and indeed, it is his bold designs that grace the sleeves of Lemon Jelly's releases. Lemon Jelly initially attracted accolades from all quarters of the music press with three limited edition and highly collectable 10-inch vinyl EPs on their own Impotent Fury label, released between 1998 and 2000. The releases were notable for their dazzling, 60s-influenced artwork, their childlike melodies and vocal samples taken from children's television programmes. Referring to a 70s children's television character, the magazine Straight No Chaser described the sound as "Bagpuss with breaks." The EPs, In The Bath, The Yellow EP and The Midnight EP led to the duo being named by the New Musical Express as one of the "Tips for 2000".

Released in October 2000, Lemonjelly.ky (named after their website that was registered in the Cayman Islands in order to gain the "ky" suffix) gathered the three EPs on one disk and received universal praise. Drawing comparisons with the Beta Band, Air, Groove Armada and Bent, it was described by UK newspaper The Times as "the music playing in the cocktail bar at the end of the universe." The elusive duo remained out of the media spotlight as the praise for their music continued to grow, refusing to be photographed and rarely granting interviews. The beautifully packaged Lost Horizons appeared at the end of 2002. The album's eight tracks proved to be even more inventive than the duo's earlier releases, moving serenely from ambient ("Spacewalk") to jazz ("Return To Patagonia" and "The Curse Of Ka'zar"), and taking in some memorable samples along the way, most notably on the unlikely hit single "Nice Weather For Ducks". This charming and highly enjoyable album managed to avoid the cloying inoffensiveness of much downtempo music, and was widely heralded as one of the year's best releases. Franglen and Deakin continued to endear themselves to the general public with a series of successful live dates to promote Lost Horizons, which included a children's matinee performance.

They changed tack with the limited edition 7-inch singles "Soft" and "Rolled Oats', which were based around samples from much maligned rock bands Chicago and Bad Company respectively. The duo embraced this approach for their new album, even putting a sticker on the cover of '64-"95 claiming "This is our new album, it's not like our old one". They based each track around a sample from their extensive record collection, with the list of acts plundered including 70s popsters Gallagher And Lyle, Scottish post-punk outfit the Scars, heavy metal band Masters Of Reality, and soul singer Terri Walker.

DISCOGRAPHY: Lemonjelly.ky (Impotent Fury/XL 2000)****, Lost Horizons (Impotent Fury/XL 2002)****, '64-'95 (Impotent Fury/XL 2005)***. VIDEOGRAPHY: '64-'95 (XL Recordings 2005). Encyclopedia of Popular Music Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
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