PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Gift Guide: Burning Shed Records

Our next enty in the 2019 PopCult Gift Guide is for a very special record label/retailer located in the UK, Burning Shed Records. I’m telling you about them now so that, if you order from them, there will be plenty of time for your order to arrive. They do suggest that orders in the USA be placed before December 9.

Burning Shed was established in April 2001 by musicians Tim Bowness and Pete Morgan, who saw it as a modern version of such boutique record labels as 4AD, Factory, ECM, DGM and Mute. Burning Shed hosts the official online shops for Porcupine Tree, Lo-Fi Resistance, No-Man, OSI, Medium (Jansen, Barbieri and Karn), 21st Century Schizoid Band, Rothko, Roger Eno, Hugh Hopper and Hatfield and the North and many more. The label is also the official online distributor for Peaceville Records and the new post-progressive imprint Kscope (both Snapper Music divisions).

More recently, Burning Shed has become the host of official stores for Andy Partridge, King Crimson, Thomas Dolby, DGMLive, Bill Bruford, Jethro Tull and others, and that is largely why we’ve chosen the entire label, as our focus, since you can find a variety of exclusive releases from the worlds of prog-rock, art-rock, New Wave and avante garde musical artists. They also sell magazines like PROG, and have great shipping prices and special deals.

And because the UK is in such a state of chaos, the exchange rate is very favorable for US customers, so you might want to order before the UK general election in December, when things may stabilize.

As examples of the kind of niftiness in which Burning Shed trades, I’m going to recommend four recent releases that I have personally acquired for my collection.

The Dukes Of Stratosphear
Psurroundabout Ride

The Dukes, in case you didn’t know, were an alter ego for the band, XTC, who decided they wanted to make some psychedelic music that wasn’t exactly what their New Wave followers were used to hearing. So they created a fictional and and took psuedonyms and the result was a brilliant EP and full album that remain obscure and beloved by die-hard fans. Psurroundabout Ride gathers all of the Dukes’ material on a CD/Blu-Ray set, with both of the band’s albums (plus 2 extra tracks) remixed in stereo and 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson (approved by Andy Partridge). Produced by John Leckie (Swami Anand Nagara) and The Dukes.

This collection includes both albums + 2 extra tracks mixed in 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson on Blu-Ray and CD (with a final song up-mixed to surround using the Penteo audio system). They say that there are two extra tracks, but there were three tunes on the disc that I’d never heard before. The Blu-Ray includes all 19 songs in their original mixes in hi-res stereo; 18 songs appear in their new mixes in hi-res stereo; Complete demos from both albums & instrumental versions of album songs also feature in hi-res stereo on the Blu-Ray.

It’s a pretty remarkable collection (you can expect to hear a lot from it on The AIR in the coming weeks) and at £16.99 plus shipping, it’s very reasonable. You can order it HERE.

YES
From A Page

From A Page contains the complete works of the Benoît David, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Oliver Wakeman and Alan White incarnation of Yes and features four previously unreleased studio tracks plus the Live From Lyon 2009 recordings (including the Japanese only bonus track Second Initial).

Oliver Wakeman has personally overseen the preparation of the studio recordings (from 2010) which were mixed by Karl Groom and mastered by Mike Pietrini). If you follow the ongoing YES soap opera, Oliver Wakeman was the replacment for his father, Rick Wakeman, when he left the band following the replacement of singer, Jon Anderson, due to a serious illness. Oliver would have remained in the band, but he was ejected in favor of the returning Geoff Downes when the band decided to work with Trevor Horn on the Fly From Here album in 2011. This is the first-ever release of the studio tracks with Oliver as a member of the band.

This release comes with two 16-page booklets – one including new artwork from Roger Dean and sleeve notes by Oliver Wakeman and the other being an expanded and redesigned Live In Lyon booklet.

This release is exclusively available from Burning Shed’s official Yes store. It can be purchased as a 3 CD set, a 3 LP set or a bundle of both (which, even with shipping, will cost less than most new vinyl 3 LP sets do at retail in the US).

Andy Partridge & Robyn Hitchcock
Planet England

From two of the UK’s finest songwriters, comes the first recordings from their recent collaborations. Planet England represents a unique coupling on dazzling form. These four tracks are sublime British psychedlic rock and pop, with a modern edge. Recommended for fans of XTC or Robyn Hitchcock. Comments from the artists betray a sense of fun in the proceedings:

“Right now I weigh more than Andy on account of the cheese. He feeds me cheese when I go round there, which is comforting. I only really get in fights with myself, which I always lose”- Robyn

“Rather than these two big planets and their similar odd gravities repulsing each other, as might be anticipated. I can cheerfully tell you that it’s been one rather beautiful crashing creative event. …that I want to repeat. Feels like being in a group again.” (no dinosaurs were harmed during the making of this EP). – Andy

“Andy and I are the same age and suffer from the same record collection, especially the B’s: Barrett, Beatles, Beefheart. He’s a Scorpio and I’m Pisces, so we’re the same astrological team as Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, except neither of us is Welsh, sadly.” – Robyn

“Robyn’s fierce inventiveness is a joy to work with. Like bathing in the sparks from some surreal angle grinder.” – Andy

“Andy is the only person that I can easily write songs with. They simply appear, as if we were at a seance. He’s perhaps more logical than me, but it’s not really a contest, is it? A lot of song-writing is solving a puzzle that you’ve set for yourself; I really enjoy going round to his place in Swindon and puzzling with him. I live just up the road, in Nashville…” -Robyn

You can purchase this lovely music on CD or 10″ vinyl. It’s not terribly expensive either way.

Eddie Jobson
The Green Album/Theme of Secrets

The Green Album/Theme of Secrets contains two of Eddie Jobson’s most highly sought after solo albums. It was a thrill to finally be able to own a copy of The Green Album on CD. It was one of those vinyl albums that I wore to a glossy smoothness from playing it so much, and it had never been widely available since its first pressing in 1983.

The critically acclaimed Green Album, with studio band Zinc (and guest Gentle Giant’s Gary Green), was originally released in 1983 and represented a creative updating of Jobson’s unique Progressive Rock vision. Theme of Secrets – from 1985 – was a groundbreaking electronic music album performed entirely on the Synclavier Music Computer.

All tracks have been remastered for this special 3-disc 2CD and high-fidelity blu-ray audio re-release (24bit/96k stereo).

In digipak with 7 page booklet featuring extensive liner notes. Very reasonably-priced for such a musical treasure.

That just scratches the surface. Burning Shed has a pretty astounding roster of artists and releases, and if you have someone on your gift list who appreciates the finer types of music, then this is the place to go.