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
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
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
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
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