DC Fontana Communiqué: September 2011

Well Come to September’s Communiqué & though it’s sad to see the sun sliding south, here in the ancient (yet rocking) Kingdom of Mercia we look forward to autumn’s charms with continuing energy & excitement.

Although the season of light & warmth slips further from our grasp as we retreat towards the dark, yet comforting confines of wintertime, there’s a whole pile of stuff to keep the DC world burning brightly.

Our highlights of what will be a busy September include our first visit to Berlin when we play at the Berlin Beat Explosion 2011 plus our debut at the Blast Off Festival back in Blighty while we are also gearing up for the release of our newest record, ‘La Contessa‘ while unveiling yet another of our popular short ‘art & soul‘ films.

And paradoxically as the seasons change to the certain still peace of autumn & winter, we are FULL of renewed life & vigour & our creative juices are flowing like never before.

Flowers & leaves may start to wither & fall but the DCs are busily writing new songs for what will eventually be their second PROPER album. 

Actually, DC Fontana is blessed to have so many different song-writers with such an abundance of various of multi-coloured ideas & shades.

Every season, & each celebration, holds its own kind of magick & adds to our lives in ways that help us to explore the possibilities, survive the inevitable & move towards the future. So, as we emerge from what was a resoundingly great summer, DC Fontana eagerly await the coming of the unexpected.

This onslaught of new song-writing is already bearing wonderful fruits & I am delighted to report that upon hearing a home demo by our former Spectrum man Scott Riley the hairs on the back of my neck stood up & tore my dog collar.

Similarly guitarist Tony Russell has some beautiful new songs & founding member Mark Mortimer is also beavering away on at least a half a dozen newies.

But get this: as well as the prolific trio above we have some automonal delights coming from horn players Steve Trigg, Tim Nightingale & Jamie Ryder while singer Karla Milton is also composing….we also hadn’t better forget the group’s producer-extraordinaire, Donald Ross Skinner who contributes to the new tunes which will eventually form a brand new live set for the DCs.

Judging from what I’ve managed to hear so far the group’s wide diversity of sound has just got a little wider while the quality rises & rises & rises….anyone who enjoyed the group’s first batch of songs over the past year will LOVE the new stuff I can guarantee….

There are no dates in the diary yet for the start of recording the next album but DC Fontana are hoping to be able to make a start before Christmas.

In the meantime everyone in the camp is looking forward to the Berlin trip on Friday September 16 when they play at Feststaal Kreuzberg in Skalitzer Straße & the group jets back to England to be featured on the bill at the Blast Off Festival held in Nottingham on Sunday September 18.

Both gigs are eagerly anticipated!

Other gigs this month include their first visit to the delightfully-named Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire on Friday September 23 (The Talbot) which is the Autumn Equinox so expect a Mabon of true sonic delights.

The day after (Sat September 24) the DCs play fabulous venue, The Grand in Clitheroe, Lancashire.

As for ‘La Contessa‘, well the record will be released in CD & mp3 downloads format to coincide with Berlin, followed by a 12″ vinyl format which will follow a few weeks later courstey of those cool cats at Teen Sound Records in Rome (affiliated to Misty Lane Records)!

Grazie!

It’s a cool collection for all followers of the band featuring a number of brand new tunes alongside some excellent re-workings of tracks from the first album ‘Six Against Eight‘ though this time sung in French & Italian.

The CD features a great value-for-money cluster of 14 (that’s FOURTEEN!) tunes while the downloads format has a further TWO BONUS tracks to boot if you prefer to take your music digitally from the internet…. (you can buy & download DC tunes from the group’s website www.dcfontana.com & ALL other major download sites including I Tunes, Amazon etc).

Of the new tunes there is the breezy instrumental ‘Abbesses‘ written by Mark Mortimer & Steve Trigg & featuring young Tim Nightingale delivering a breathy flute performance of note while Giles Minkley, their Cotswolds-dwelling keyboard maestro, handles Farfisa organ duties & Tony Russell injects some dirty guitar pleasure into proceedings while drummer Nigel Horton pounds away at your eardrums, Karla seductively sighs over the top and both Steve & Jamie Ryder provide the melody on horns.

The tune finishes with the alarm of Parisian Métro train & the doors slamming shut.

Another new track is the left-field offering ‘Les Fantômes du Père Lachaise‘ which is an evocative poem written by Mark set to a psychedelic musical backing that features droning ebow guitar, gentle folky acoustic guitar, Mellotron, cimbalom, accordion, solo trumpet & a musical “dance of the dead” finale that features mediaeval musicians & acid-folkies Brandywine Bridge to add perhaps a curious Circulus or Pentangle angle!

Hearing this newie for me was a bit like strolling down the Boulevard Saint-Germain, pulling up a chair at the Café de Flore & eavesdropping on an imaginary conversation between Serge Gainsbourg & Jacques Brel while being served at the table by Scott “Walker” Engel.

No doubt we’d all talk about virility with some old grandmother that might be decked out like a christmas tree….

This tune evokes imagery of famous dead people entombed in the famous Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (cemetery) in Paris…as night falls & the tourists head off to the bars & nightclubs, the ghosts of these great names materialise in the gloom of the night.

The spirits of Honoré de Balzac, Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Édith Piaf, Colette, Alice B. Toklas & Gertrude Stein, Jean de La Fontaine, Héloïse d’Argenteuil & Peter Abelard & even mime artist Marcel Marceau appear & dance together to a macabre bourrée, mocking the tourists.

It’s a track which proves the music of DC Fontana is ever evolving & ever reaching out to a wider audience.

Other new tracks include two fascinating cover versions, the first being a live-in-the-studio interpretation of Eddie Harris’ soul-jazz classic ‘Listen Here‘ in which the band adds totally new musical passages plus the Italian torch ballad ‘Se Telefonando‘ from Ennio Morricone & co which is psychedelecised by Donald Ross Skinner’s guitar soundscaping.

Firm DC live favourites like ‘Satisfied,’ ‘Switchblade Love‘ & ‘Snake Charmer‘ are transformed into ‘Dammi Tempo,’ ‘Tu Es Parti Si Loin‘ & ‘Snake Ammaliatore‘ respectively & the album is a most fulfilling listen!

DC Fontana were delighted to engage the assistance of their great friends Kicca Andriollo & Oscar Marchioni (two talented Italians living yards from the Sacre Coeur church in Paris) plus actor Michel Rousseau from Carpentras in southern France & this is a beautifully evocative collection of French & Italian sung songs (plus the odd track sung in their native English to boot).

And the CD features sleeve notes from jazz legends Keith & Julie Tippett which adds a more collectable feature (for those of you who may not know: Julie Tippett is a REMARKABLE & famous singer who enjoyed great success in the 1960s with the huge hit ‘This Wheel’s On Fire‘ plus hugely cool anthems like ‘Indian Rope Man‘, ‘A Kind Of Love-In‘, ‘Break It Up‘, ‘Road To Cairo‘, the list goes on and on….of course all credited to her previous namel…you know who she is don’t you!?!?!?)…. :)

To help spread the word about ‘La Contessa‘ you will see the latest DC Fontana short film any day now.

It was shot in Paris a month ago when the group made one of its frequent visits to the beautiful French capital & the new video shows the group teaming up with the wonderful French go-go & burlesque dancer Mimi de Montmartre.

Mimi graced the DCs’ gig at La Mécanique Ondulatoire in Paris as a go-go dancer of magnificent brilliance & was accompanied by fellow groovy go-go girl Celia Aloha on the night….

A handful of hours later in the early morning heat, I was stood outside the milk-white Sacre Coeur church in beautiful Montmartre overlooking Paris for the start of the ‘Abbesses‘ video film shoot.

I can clearly remember marvelling at how DC singer Karla & Mimi could manage to look so lovely & fresh despite having virtually no sleep. I looked like I had been dragged through three Parisian hedges backwards but the girls were immacutaley turned out & full of beans!

The first hitch came when we realised there was nowhere for Mimi to change into her racy costume for the film & so the two girls retreated to some bushes close to this tourist hotspot before emerging a few minutes later clad in figure-hugging black leather & lycra catsuits….

This was very much a DOUBLE ‘Girl On A Motorcycle‘ vibe & the two girls certainly set pulses racing in the pre-petit déjeuner sunshine gathering of people at what is one of Paris’ most popular tourist attractions.

Dazed revellers who hadn’t yet gone home after a night on the tiles, mingled with tourists & those whose home is the street & all were stopped in their tracks as Karla & Mimi appeared in the full glare of a cloudless scorchio morning.

Film director Timothy Parsons, concerned at the gathering crowd  (of mostly goggle-eyed men) opted to move the shoot to a quieter spot at the rear of the Scare Coeur & so began the shoot although the first two hours were continually interrupted by intrigued locals taking their dogs for a Sunday morning promenade.

More bizarres till there was a cavalcade of vintage cars, motorcycles & scooters which snaked its way up the hill of Montmartre & proceeded to parade past the two kinky catsuit-clad girls plus DC-ers Mark & Steve who were appearing in the scene.

The two-day film shoot proceeded with thousands of tourists & Parisians looking on in a mixture of wonder, genuine interest & pleasure as Mr. Parsons & the crew worked tirlessly under a sweltering sun to secure the footage he needed.

Most of the shoot was centred around the beautiful cobblestone streets of Montmartre (& in particular close to the ‘Abbesses‘ Métro station.

One of the locations, the small restaurant ‘Zouave des Abbesses,’ turned out to be a suitable oasis retreat from the sunshine & prevented some members of the cast from suffering sun stroke.

One of the key people in the video was Jeanette Cranfield from Godalming in Surrey, England whose beautiful (& vintage) Citroën DS car adornes the cover of the new record. This lovely lady drove the DS from England to Paris with her partner Mick Skerry on his vintage Lambretta scooter & both people & vehicles feature in the film.

Talking of scooters the group were joined on set by a few members of the Vulcan Secte Scooter Club in Paris & a handful of other fans & characters who became ‘extras’ during the film. Parisian musician & long-time friend of DC Fontana, David Chinaud was a great help in organising the shoot while French cartoonist, scenster, cartoonist & bon vivant, Alteau performed admirably as the evil mastermind in charge of the so-called ‘baddies’ in the film.

He spent most of the shoot sat on the back seat of the DS with sax player Jamie Ryder who appears to be Alteau’s right-hand goon, complete with eye-patch and retro 60s telephone as props.

Watching these two characters being driven around Paris as they looked full of angst while screaming at the top of their voice into a red British telephone (while people on the streets of Paris stared at them full of confusion) was a sight I shall never forget…

Following on from the ritual madness of the ‘Meshkalina‘ video more of the group appear in this new film wearing animal masks while Karla had the pleasure to engage in punching and kicking people…. Steve wielded nunchucks about like an experienced mobster while guitarist Tony managed to retain his cool at all times.

One of the funniest moments was during the scene shot at the restaurant when “baddies’ Steve & Mark had to chase after the catsuit-clad Karla & Mimi… director Mr. Parsons asked Steve to let out a small shout to signify the start of the chase but the primal roar that this trumpet player managed to emit was so staggering that Karla almost passed out & passers by ran for cover.

Certainly watching the video proceed in front of my eyes was a fascinating (& at times hilarious) spectacle. I feel sure the finished thing will tantalise and tickle your fancy!

September? Autumn? BRING IT ON!!!!!

THE REVEREND DELIRIUM

with help from Æthelbald & Tomsæte, morris dancing from the otherside & warping the lowlands of belief & the highlands of imagination into a mind-melted slop of psychodrama in Mercia, a land where wolfsbanes once roamed, factories dreamed & robins were reliant betwixt the rivers anker & tame close to offa’s palace