01 August 2011

Virginia Astley - Rarities Part One


You thought we had gone away, but no, that time is not yet. We still have some goodies for you, this instalment leading the way with some rarities from our own collection. Following on with Virginia Astley we've once again done a special mastering job from a quality vinyl rips where possible, although we start with two cassette originals.

Pleasantly Surprised was a Scottish cassette label which put out compilations of some of the best music of the day, largely based on the aesthetic of 4AD. State Of Affairs was released in 1984 and had some unique remixes of Wolfgang Press, Modern English and Cocteau Twins, alongside lesser-known acts: Action Pact, Rubella Ballet and Primal Scream (unknown at that time). Dreams And Desires followed later that year. Unfortunately the tape dubs were of questionable quality, a problem made even more annoying by the fact that many of the tracks are still unavailable in other forms today.

"I Live In Dreams" and "Tree Top Club" are demos that come from a recording session with Anne Stephenson and Gini Ball on violin, Audrey Riley on cello, Jo Wells on sax, Kate St. John playing cor anglais and oboe, Russell Webb on bass. As far as I know, none of her other tracks have that line-up. The former song was never otherwise issued, while the second was re-recorded for Hope In A Darkened Heart.

"Waiting To Fall" is a track available only on the 1985 Some Bizzare compilation If You Can't Please Yourself, You Can't Please Your Soul, where it sits rather uncomfortably between Yello and Einst├╝rzende Neubauten. It seems that even Stevo was not immune to the Astley charms. Here the instrumentalists are Audrey Riley (cello), Joceyln Pook (viola) and Anne Stephenson (violin).

The same group recorded the one-off single "Tender" for Elektra in 1985, four tracks that were not to make it to any album.

To finish our collection is the instrumental version of "So Like Dorian", from the "Some Small Hope" 12" single. For this record Astley was working with producer Ryuichi Sakamoto; many of the tracks are sequenced electronically. That's not really to my taste, which is what makes some of these rarities all the more valuable.

We believe that none of these tracks are readily available at the current time, and trust you will enjoy them.

-- The Second Chameleon

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Rarities Part One

01 I Live In Dreams (1:59) 1984
02 Tree Top Club [demo] (2:13) 1984
03 Waiting To Fall (3:27) 1985
04 Tender [extended] (6:06) 1985
05 Mindless Days (2:42) 1985
06 A Long Time Ago (2:49) 1985
07 Tender [instrumental] (3:08) 1985
08 So Like Dorian [instrumental] (4:16) 1987