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The Shy Volcanic Society At The Bear And Bird Parade

Split CD with Volcano The Bear

CD issued early May 2009 as an edition of 500 copies in a full color gatefold sleeve. A split album with Volcano the Bear and La STPO. VTB tracks 1-5 and STPO tracks 6-9.

6 Guayaki
7 Les Oreilles Internationales
8 Invalid Islands
9 Colonies

You can order it here .

Note : Colonies also appeared on the Beta-lactam Ring Records CD Sampler "Mental Mood Music" (Catalog: bb09) in Nov 2007 in an edited version.

Some reviews :

Brainwashed, 21 June 2009

Written by Henry Smith

Volcano the Bear / La STPO, "The Shy Volcanic Society At The Bear And Bird Parade"

As fitting a split as could be, this album joins two of rock's most experimental experimentalists in a meeting of minds that, as any split should do, provides new insights into the output of both artists, creating a fitting relationship between these two diverging takes on weird.


La STPO, a relatively large ensemble of like-minded musical players (and I mean that in both senses) takes over from here, displaying their knack for oddly orchestrated mini-symphonies on tracks like "Guayaki," which could just as well be a meeting between gamelan classicists and early Zorn game pieces, and "Les Oreilles Internationales," whose silly and sputtering stop-starts, overrun with vocal antics, lunges deeply out of sync with any conventional genre trappings.

"Invalid Islands," opening with bent reed and string slides, eventually drifts into a kind of ether-drenched poetry before turning around and harkening toward a downtown aesthetic that's as much Pere Ubu as it is Branca, let alone Material. The closing "Colonies" is just as chaotic, jumping between sytles and approaches at a moment's notice while remaining entirely together and cohesive.

Given the strength of the music here, and the vast potential of such a tag-team as this, it seems a shame almost that the split wasn't done track by track. Given the world music influences, open sonic stances and moment's notice phrase changes of both groups, it seems like, rather than splitting the disc down the middle, this offering could just as easily alternate every other track. While the relationship of both groups is highly apparent here, perhaps there would be even more to discuss were they presented side by side and title by title. That said, this works too.

Octopus, 23 July 2009

Le CD de la semaine,
semaine du 23 au 31 juillet 2009

Volcano The Bear / La STPO
The Shy Volcanic Society At The Bear And Bird Parade, (Beta-lactam Ring Records / Import)

Entre la folk-concrète mutante de Volcano The Bear et le post-punk théâtro-tortué de La STPO, les points communs étaient-ils suffisant pour asseoir la pertinence d’une telle entreprise, à savoir un split-album au titre aussi énigmatique que son contenu musical ? La réponse est oui, vous en doutiez ?

Objet de convoitise collector, voire parfois tremplin obligé pour pas mal de groupes dans les années 80, le split-album avait quasiment disparu de notre univers discographique. Rien d’étonnant à ce que soit les pourfendeurs sonores du label Beta-Lactam Ring qui s’attellent à remettre le dit objet sous presse, à l’occasion de ce numéro de duettistes absolus réunissant Volcano The Bear et La STPO. Entre les premiers, dépositaires d’une minimale-folk bricolée, rituellement nourrie à base de sources concrètes et d’instrumentations vacillantes ("The Open, The Closed", la trompette errante de "The first circle in my eyes "), ne reniant pas quelques passages mortifères délicats (" Death sleeps in my ear ") et un sens du tribalisme perché les connectant immédiatement aux univers déviants de Sunburned hand of The Man et consorts, et les seconds, défenseurs acharnés d’un post-punk théâtral, version cabaret d’un The Ex (" Invalid Islands ") allant parfois fricoter du côté d’une lourdeur noisy/métal graveleuse et sépulcrale grâce à des riffs acérés et aux vocalises possédées de Pascal Godjikian ("Guayaki", "Colonies"), les points d’accointance peuvent sembler relatifs. Ce serait oublier un peu vite la frénésie libertaire sonique qui unit ces deux entités dans ce projet résolument iconoclaste et habilement complémentaire, et cette tendance à l’expérimentation improvisée et mutante qui jonche chacune des pièces balisant ce parcours enivrant. Une collaboration autant impromptue qu’atypique qui a d’ailleurs trouvé sa concrétisation matérielle dans la tournée commune qu’ont effectuée ces deux groupes.

Laurent Catala

Mark @

missive 215 17-06-2009

Volcano the Bear / La STPO

The Shy Volcano Society and the Bear at the Bird Parade
Beta Lactam Ring

Must admit that there’s been a fair amount of expectant joy around this here parish at the prospect of this split release, alas not a collaboration - (now that kids would be just to freakish eh?) but a groove space sharing head to head pairing the talents of these most screwball of avant alchemists.

Just 500 of these CD only blighters in existence and all housed in a colourful and attractive gatefold sleeve featuring the much admired artwork of both collectives (VTB have the front / back credits while La STPO take care of the middle section).

Volcano the Bear should of course need no introductions in these pages, they are the most quintessential of English ensembles, since our ears went on a crash retuning course when revealed to the weird and ominously unsettling delights of their official debut full length ‘yak folks y’are’ we’ve been to differing degrees - some all at once on occasion - pleasured, puzzled, prickled, perturbed and petrified by their releases and most peculiar want for the defying of pigeon holing and generic identification. The French collective La STPO - are equally impish and similarly defiant of easy categorisation, their sound an eclectic embracing cornucopia of subtly traced reference markers rooted with a sometimes terrifying and often theatrical mindset to which end their ‘slices of thrown time’ curio from a few years ago was for a period never far from the gazing reach of our hi-fi.


While’s there’s certainly no dispute in the fact that Volcano the Bear win hands down any that happen to be passing accolades for being the weirdest, La STPO (or La STOP as my spell checker keeps retyping them as) or to give them their occasionally used full name La Société Des Timides À La Parade Des Oiseaux are by far the most freaked, while the former appear to be by any other definition folk archaeologists and explorers of the strange and curious, La STPO are informed by a more rudimentary rock based lineage that’s possessed with an irrefutable nod to cabaret. At first glance you could conceivably describe it as some bizarrely macabre absurdist theatre that finds a mid career Tom Waits supported by the Penguin Café Orchestra while both finding themselves musically directed by Kurt Weill (none more so is the case than on ‘invalid islands’ - a true force of nature that incorporates so many freewheeling facets its advisable that you don a neck brace for safety). The joyful aspect of La STPO is the way they make the sounds appear so visual and vibrant, blessed with an acutely schismic nature the type of which whose pronounced off the wall dynamic draws at times parallels with the no wave scene, not content to merely appropriate a secondary musical backdrop while the listener busies themselves doing other tasks they demand your unfettered attention. Each track here - and there’s four to be getting on with - evolves, splinters, fractures into mini suites within suites, the subtle sub plots make it such that you’re compelled to draw close for fear of missing some minutiae detail. Another attraction to La STPO is their innate handle on freeform and their ability to cross wire from various generic pools while never once losing momentum, attention or effect. Between the grooves these twisted operattas coil and curdle amid an erupting circus stage of punk accents, fried jazz dialects, contortionist pop, even elements of the early ‘goth’ movement releases (how I so hate that term alas though bound by convention) - Marc Almonds immediate post Soft Cell work springing to mind on more than one occasion, classical, noise and industrial - the list as you might suspect is not an exhaustive one. Without question the best cut of La STPO’s set is the parting ‘colonies’ - its here that it becomes plainly obvious as to who La STPO most clearly identify, amid the rhythmic calibrations, the frankly drop dead RL Burnside meets Ry Cooder like side winding riffage and the mocked up macabre recast of the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ as were - therein lies and lurks with ominous glee a bloodline whose ancestry can be traced directly back to Captain Beefheart’s ‘trout mask replica’, a truly magnificent feat of intricately wound grim groove marked out it should be noted by a thoroughly inspired and dare we say totally fried Don Van Vliet styled vocal performance that shrieks, screams and caterwauls with such intensity it leaves you rigid in your seat - also keep an odd ear out for the momentary nods of psychosis via ‘Scream’ era Banshees and ‘metal box’ era PIL. Did we say recommended?

Volcano The Bear / La STPO

The Shy Volcanic Society at the Bear and Bird Parade (UK/F,2009)****

Although both bands are musically not completely related, their approach, based upon constructive and imaginative improvisation, on this album there is a closer comparable perspective, both with their own aspects. Volcano The Bear never sounded so theatrical-architectural constructive, building up a kind of ritualistic event with peeping and bowed iron sounds with wind and wood instruments, some trumpet and voices and some intervals focuses, until the piece finds it’s conclusive idea like some kind of inspired middle eastern improvisation (oud,trumpet,rhythmic ideas,..). La STPO doesn’t break the mood, but only directs the music to a different chapter. Also they make use of bowed iron sounds, higher pitched tensions while adding a new fundament of electric guitars nearer to occasional metal, with guitars, and a lead voice, within a total, free and improvised music perspective. Weird oral submissions with real word layers are added, as one of the elements that keep the range of expressions from sonic mood meditation to free-bordered heavy rock. A strange experience, with visual becoming. (3.11.2010)

Volcano the Bear / La Société des Timides à la Parade des Oiseaux

The Shy Volcanic Society at the Bear and Bird Parade - 13/15

Von: Jochen Rindfrey
Diese Split-CD vereint Stücke zweier experimenteller Bands, Volcano the Bear aus England und La Société des Timides à la Parade des Oiseaux aus Frankreich. Beide bieten, so viel vorweg, alles andere als leichte Kost.
Volcano the Bear zeigen sich bereits reichlich unkonventionell. Die bis auf einige textlose Lautäußerungen instrumentale Musik wälzt sich wie ein zeitlupenartiger Klangstrom aus den Boxen, ohne dabei eine rechte Form anzunehmen. Streich- und Blasinstrumente mäandern entlang, allerlei Schlagwerk rumpelt vor sich hin, dazu knurrt oder brummt ab und zu jemand, was letztlich wie ein weiteres Instrument klingt. Einige undefinierbare Geräusche vervollkommnen das Ganze. Da hört man gelegentlich schrilles Kreischen wie von einer Kreissäge, oder wurde da ein Instrument malträtiert? Wer weiß. Ein andermal spielt eine einsame Flöte (oder ähnliches) eine seltsam schiefe Melodie, nur von sporadischen Beckenschlägen begleitet, oder Blechbläser stimmen eine Art ländliche Weise an. Äußerst kurios.
So strukturlos diese Klänge sich über weite Strecken zunächst präsentieren, herrscht doch nicht völlige Planlosigkeit, es scheint doch irgendein System dahinterzustecken. Auf jeden Fall entwickelt diese Musik nach anfänglicher Skepsis eine starke Faszination.
LaSTPO agieren hier noch ein ganzes Stück avantgardistischer als auf ihren mir bisher bekannten Alben. Vor allem die Stimme von Sänger Pascal Godjikian schlägt hier noch wildere Kapriolen, es ist kaum möglich, dieses permanente Knurren, Bellen, Heulen, Brüllen, Würgen mit Worten adäquat zu beschreiben. Da glaubt man, der selige Demetrios Stratos von Area sei wieder auferstanden! Dazu liefern seine Mitstreiter Klänge, die mit dem üblichen Verständnis von Rockmusik, auch von progressiver, kaum noch etwas gemein haben. Das ist zu großen Teilen schon radikale Anti-Musik! Da knarzen Streicher in Zeitlupe, als würde ein alter Holzschrank quälend langsam über einen Dielenboden gezerrt, Bläser schnarren, Schlagwerk rasselt, bis unvermittelt eine gigantische Lärmeruption einsetzt, in der die einzelnen Instrumente nur noch durcheinander purzeln. Les Oreilles Internationales treibt es in dieser Hinsicht auf die Spitze, es wirkt wie ein einziges Konglomerat unterschiedlichster Arten von Lärm. Und immer wieder die brutalen Lautäußerungen, als deren Urheber man kein menschliches Wesen annehmen möchte.
Diese Lärmorgien sind wirklich so ziemlich das krasseste, das ich je gehört habe. In Worten lässt sich kaum beschreiben, was hier auf den Hörer einprasselt. Grandios! Mehr davon! Warum gibt es nur so wenige CDs von LaSTPO? Tipp für alle abenteuerlustige Hörer! Und wer die Gelegenheit hat, die Band live zu sehen: Hingehen! Es lohnt sich!

Il Fogliaccio Di Pisa, n.325 dal 08 al 21 maggio 2009

"ILDISCODELLASETTIMANA (record of the week)


Volcano the bear / La STPO (9 brani) BETA - LACTAM RING RECORDS
Il nuovo album dei Volcano the Bear in uscita il 14.05.09 è uno split con La STPO un limited edition di 500 copie. Una giustapposizione così, scatena l’immaginario, da una parte i Volcano con il loro minimalismo tribale che sembra un dialogo tra insetti giganti, un ambientalismo rituale fatto di musica concreta e rumori al limite dell’udibilità, come d’uno sciame d’api che volteggi dentro un intrico di rami spezzati, una folata di vento che sonorizza un vecchio tubo arrugginito tra l’erba. Mentre La STPO dal canto loro, bilanciano con un suono cupo e industriale, mantenuto in costante tensione da un basso minaccioso che sembra il respiro di un animale ferito ma ancora rabbioso. Un disco bellissimo e immaginifico, un contrasto sonoro che si fonde in un unico umore inquietante come di un apocalisse prossima."