Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

esp summer
esp summer lp

Released 1996 on perdition plastics
Reviewed by espsummer, 03/07/2000ce

Ian Masters(pale saints, spoonfed hybrid, oneironaut) teams up with Warren Defevoer(his name is alive, esp family, man of all disguises) to produce a lovely subtle treasure.
Recorded in 1994 in Livonia Michigan at Warren Defevor's parents house, this project was finished in the fall of 94 and sent to their label 4ad where it was promptly rejected. Not to be detered, Warren released the project in cassette form in 1994 on his experimental mail order only label "time stereo". Two years later in 1996, the label "perdition plastics" picked up the recording and releases it in cd form in the United States simply titled "Esp Summer lp". Bizzarely, the cd was also released in Europe(france) under the name "Esp Continent" in which the album was titled "mars is ten". But don't be fooled its the same recording.
How did i come across this record? I was an avid fan of the Pale Saints first 2 albums which Ian Masters was lead vocal. In 1993 Ian Masters quit his band to pursue less traveled roads of music away from the pristine hooks of shoegaze he was entangled in.
I was surprised at the first listen of this recording. It did not grab me. I remember driving around in my car without air conditioning in late August waiting for 1000 guitars to burst open and save me with shoegaze idealism. Instead, i was sweating at a stoplight with quiet hushed tones, almost meditative. Needless to say i put the cd away and did not listen to it for a while.
It wasn't untill late september or early october when i picked up the cd again. I took it on a long walk in the woods and listened to the whole cd. Soon i was listening to it at night when i went to sleep and it became a necessity for winter walks and time spent alone.
The record starts off with the song "sticky sun" and continues through 12 songs which all flow into one another. The music exists as a piece in which you cannot really take one song out for compilations. Every song subtley reacts or blends with the previous. Ian masters vocal styling is that of a choir boy, often ghostly and retaining a sense of purity or innocence. The instrumentation is very much like that of the softer points of His Name is Alive. The emphasis on silence as an important part of the recording is always present. The acoustic and electric guitar work is done with simple clarity. There are many samples present as well.....water, instrumentation meant to depict wind, babys crying far in the background....screeching car breaks, its an orchestration of confrontational samples which somehow come together.....silence and fragmentation is the binding glue.
Lyrically, the mood of the record may be considered sad or depressing to some. This is a record steeped in reflection, more along the lines of seasonal associations. References to fields, frozen lakes, splinters,the time of day, and the wheather are always present. Its purely abstraction. Ian is not giving you the mood, rather he is giving you associations in which you put the pieces together yourself. This record can only come from the depths of a lonely middle america where the season, time of day, and weather still have important effects on human nature. It requires patience and many listens. If i was to give a comparison of feel to relate it to julian cope fans i'd say it has a feel like the quieter passages of skellington or fried perhaps in the vain of "no how, no why, no way, no where no when" or "search party" without of course the "thing" which makes julian "julian cope".
If you are interested you can probably get a sample from the site dedicated to ian masters recordings called "the institute of spoons" (sorry i don't have the exact web address). This cd may or may not be out of print. If you are resourceful though u can still find it.

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