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The Music of Fula

Dark Matter

About the Album
Track by Track
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Reviews

 

Dark Matter.

Track by Track.

1. Dark Matter. Greg's dtx drum loop and Rob's creepy organ was not the obvious 'opener', but as days went by, both band and critics realised it's impact and so it was to be. Originally conceived in the summer of 1998, it hung around for months with the song almost complete but with a troublesome midsection chord sequence. It wasn't finished until ZoŽ joined the group and immediately shook it by the throat, 'fixed' the melody and added a few more words in the right place.
Listen Out For: Jason scratching his guitar in the midsection of the song. No animals were harmed in the making of this sound.

2. Vanity. Originally called 'Vanity & Insanity', Rob recorded the 4 chord pattern in December 1995 and added the 'fairground' middle section later that month. This was inspired by one-time Manchester outfit Some Strange Quarters, who had accommodated Rob for a few months of recording and touring in 1993. The lyrics were co-written by Rob and original Fula front-woman Nadeen Plant, and used to feature a Madonnaesque rap in the 'fairground' section. This was hastily dropped after Nadeen's departure from the band in 1997. ZoŽ's vocal received it's unusual 'treatment' by accident while whizzing through various guitar effects on the 8-track.
Listen Out For: The guitar solo at the end of the song was originally going to be a fade-out, but was left in it's entirety for effect. You can, however, mimic your own fade-out by gradually turning your volume control in an anticlockwise (counter-clockwise in the US) direction until no music can be heard at all. For slider style volume controls, repeat this process, moving the slider from right to left, or top to bottom, depending on the orientation of the slider. Remote control users should use the 'Vol -' button or equivalent, or get off their backsides and walk all of six feet across the room to the hi-fi!

3. Girl in the Window. This song was composed in the spring of 1999 by all band members. The lyrics were taken from a poem by Deborah Stafford (ZoŽ's sister and occasional backing singer) of the same name. This song has been picked out by many radio stations as an ideal single... who knows?
Listen Out For: Nigel's intricate bass line was recorded in one take with an extremely furrowed brow!

4. Nothing. This song - entirely composed by Rob - was written at about the same time as Vanity. The freezing temperatures in Rob's Blackpool flat at the time are probably reflected in the bleakness of the lyrics.
Listen Out For: ZoŽ added on a repeat of the last line to give a dynamic conclusion to the song's haunting theme.

5. A New Advance. Again written in 1999, this song is always a favourite at Fula live shows. A little known fact is that the ferry serving the Scottish island of Foula is called 'The New Advance'.
Listen Out For: Rob's piano introduction was recorded to a click track. More furrowed brows, and sweaty palms to boot!

6. River One - Part 2. This song was written during the actual recording of the Dark Matter album, and was originally penned as the album's opener.
Listen Out For: Nigel played the sampled bugs and crickets on the Korg Workstation, and this is all the credit he gets!

7. Banner of Shadows. This song was originally recorded by Rob under the pseudonym Dr. Volospion way back in 1987, then titled 'And She Dances'. It also appeared in abbreviated form on Fula's first album 'Beyond the Merrygolight' released in 1995.
Listen Out For: Jason had a few problems with his guitar sound, originally a microphone dangled in front of his Marshall stack, but no matter how 'cranked up' it was it just wouldn't cut through. In the end he resorted to his trusty Zoom unit and D.I'd straight into the desk to produce a crystal clear effect. No, we are not looking for sponsorship. All right, yes we are...

8. Where Did We Go Wrong? This was one of the first Fula songs written. Originally intended as a minimalistic backdrop, it has been constantly added to, and added to some more.
Listen Out For: 'Ear candy'! A term attributed to Greg. Many hidden shakers, tablas, tambourines, wood blocks, etc. A prize for the first person to spot them all!

9. River One - Part 1. This originally featured the legendary Tommy Dorsey's wife in conversation with her husband talking about how they used to perform their gospel songs to bemused white American church goers and how they would pass the hat round after each sermon. As this had nothing to do with the topic of the song (drowning!) it was quickly wiped from the finished recording.
Listen Out For: ZoŽ's stacked vocal in the second chorus originally had more harmonies, but Fula decided to go with a classic '1, 2, 3'.

10. Cynthia. This again was on the original Fula album. In live performances, this song has been known to go on for around 12 minutes!
Listen Out For: Nigel giving his 5th string (low b) a right royal bashing towards the final crashing chords of the song.

11. Behind Cold Eyes. Conceived in 1992, Rob wrote this mega-ballad on a borrowed Fender Rhodes piano. The lyrics were rewritten for the Merrygolight and in 1998 the end section was added on to increase the drama for live performances.
Listen Out For: The triangle at the end of each of the percussion sections in the first part of the song, was played by Nigel - talented fellow, eh?

12. Insanity. Its working title was 'The Mad One' for reasons that become apparent when you listen to it! After much umming and aaring, it was given the name 'Insanity', a name which has relevance to the lyrics, the style of the music, and also ties it to 'Vanity'. The song was composed in 1999 originally as three separate songs. The offbeat verse and the semi-chorus were found to be in the same key.
Listen Out For: Greg's drums were recorded separate to the band with only Rob's out of tune singing as a guide. More furrowed brows, sweaty palms, and this time tortured ears for good measure! This was the final song recorded for the album. Why did we leave this one until last?

13. Everything. This first appeared in demo form in 1997 titled 'The Lion Tamer' (?) but was changed to Everything to fit in with the trilogy of Nothing, Something and Anything.
Listen Out For: The lush strings were added on at the last minute, as an example of how Fula are constantly looking for ways to improve the music, as was the 'Electric Gong' which was to signify the album's end. And so on to the next track...

14. Nothing More. Intended as a ghost track hidden away ten minutes after the finale, it was brought forward as a gem too good to miss. Nothing More is actually Nothing with the piano and vocal taken away. Nothing more than that!
Listen Out For: Jason's Frippesque double guitars right at the end.

 

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