The Serpents

You Have Just Been Poisoned


Compact Disc - OCHRE (OCH010LCD) April 1999

  Cover Pic  
  ...Recorded on the night of the lunar eclipse, 16 Sept 1997. The moon shone, didn't, then did again. The Rain fell. The vibes vibed. The 34 Serpents used absolutely everything at their collective disposal to whatsit about thingy. Wow!  

The press said...



(CD on Ochre, PO Box 155, Cheltenham, GIos. GL51 OYS)

The Serpents - a 35-strong Anglo- Welsh supergroup - started out in life when the Ectogram's Alan Holmes and Skyray's Paul Simpson were staring at the sleeve of the first Ghost album and marvelling at the strange looking dudes in the photo lounging around a big spooky house surrounded by weird instruments. Plans were immediately hatched to form a band along such lines and invitation packs were sent out to like -minded musical mates. David Wrench's included a goat's liver !!! Eventually the ranks expanded to include some of the coolest movers'n'shakers on the current space/ambient/electronic scene plus one or two oddball choices such a bluemsman Laurie Gane and Henry Priestman, whose organ-playing made the Yachts' 'Suffice To Say', one the very finest Stiff 45s. Indeed in and out of the mix, you can just make out Henry pumping up that same sound, though he also reveals a deft Artie Tripp side by playing a marimba he bought in a car boot sale ! 'You Have Just Been Poisoned was recorded in two epic 48- hour jams during 1998's autumn equinox fuelled by a local brew that goes under the startling moniker of Satan's Sperm (could do with some of that myself !) and then edited down, scalpelling out all the indulgent noodlings that such sessions invariably get caught up in. They also dropped in some bizarrer elements such as the sounds of acoustic guitar and flute played by an unknown bunch of musicians whom they chanced upon when they went to record at a burial chamber in Din Lligwy ! The result is surprisingly listenable - I was somewhat disappointed by the band's debut 7" but here it all slots into place. Whilst it embraces the surrealistic, free-form spirit of early Gong say, this is not a Haphash-style freak-out. It's a sequence of individual pieces that happen to hang effortlessly and beautifully together from the loopy Floydian opener, 'Flowers In The Basement' (with its teasing steel guitar lines) right through to the devotional chantings of the closing meditation of 'As The Sun Goes Down'. And some of it is very song-centric such as the delightful 'Acid Slug' sung by 'TFI Friday' girl Catalina Guirado. There's a kind of undefined spiritualism to it all that I've rarely heard anywhere else and a total lack of individual ego. It may go down as Ochre's most conventional release so far but for anybody whose shelves are lined with Can, Cluster or Spacemen 3 this will go down a treat. Oh, and the drumkit they used was the one on those Syd Barrett and early Soft Machine albums!

Nigel Cross - PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE (Italy) - Early 2000 issue