Showing posts with label Chem Com. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chem Com. Show all posts

''Royal Swan''

(Split with Katie Stelmanis)

To bid death farewell the journey ends with a swan at the top of the earth...

Sleeve - FU Side:
Some swans at the top of the earth
Sleeve - Katie Stelmanis Side:
Stelmanis duets (spars) with Damian on ''Royal Swan''
Appears here colour coordinated and with symbolic upside-down FU logo.
Vinyl: Black labels; the other two ChemCom singles repeat the sleeve artwork on the label

Insert - Front:
Sempervivum image by Albert Renger-Patzsch
The name Sempervivum has its origin in the Latin semper ("always") and vivus ("living"), which may or may not be relevant; likewise the fact that it has hermaphrodite flowers (more on that later) 
Insert - Back:
Lyrics / credits


Tracks: Royal Swan B/W I'm Sick (Katie Stelmanis)
Released: 2008
Label: Matador Records OLE 848-7
Matrix A: OLE 848-7-A         GOLDEN
Matrix B: OLE 848-7-B          GOLDEN
Pressing Info: One Time Pressing of 1000 (September 3, 2008)
Inserts: Regular insert as pictured above
Variants: No variants

Originally intended for distribution only at the 12 hour "Chemistry of Common Life" release show, subsequent lack of availability lead to ebay madness remaining copies were made available some time later via the FU online store.

LFG Post (Dec 12 2008)
So in case you were wondering why this song is called Royal Swan in the first place - the term comes to us (me) by way of the Russian Esotericist Boris Mouravieff (by way of the ancient "Orient"), who explains that once existed a royal race of birds that when presented with a mixture of milk and water, could separate the liquid to drink the milk and leave the water behind. The appeal of this myth to Fucked Up should be plain to even the most casual observer.

LFG Post (Dec 27 2010)
All the artwork associated with the ChemCom album shared the sunlight theme. All of the 7"'s (No Epiphany, Royal Swan, Crooked Head) had the sun very prominently displayed on the covers, as did obviously the album itself. This picture was therefore a no brainer - a bunch of swans, the sun. I just found it in the library's image bank in the "Swans" folder when I was looking for LP artwork. This 7" only really exists
 because this picture is so perfect - if we'd have found a picture that perfectly represented the lyrics to "Days of Last" or whatever, that would have been the 7" instead of this, but I couldn't find this picture and not make
 it the cover of a record. The song title refers to a G I Gurdjieff anecdote about these ancient swans used by royalty who had the ability to separate milk from a mixture with water. This goes back to the alchemy theme, wanting the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, in the parlance of our times.

G I Gurdjieff

From Wikipedia:
Gurdjieff was an influential spiritual teacher of the early to mid-20th century who taught that most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.

Royal Swans:
''In Search of The Miraculous'' By PD Ouspensky
''Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Fragments'' By Boris Mouravieff

Commodity Fetishism:

Test Pressing:
Generic white sleeve with handwriting, generic labels

''No Epiphany''

Son of Heaven, The Sun of God...

Sleeve - Front: The Sun
Vinyl - 'A' side: The Sun
Sleeve - Back: The Sun
Vinyl - 'B' side: The Sun
Insert - Front: The Sun (and a boat)...
Image originally used on ''Carried Out To The Sea" 7" (Which doesn't exist)
Insert: The Sun
Top: Unidentified 'Solar Calendar'. Sun surrounded by repeating pattern of four symbols contained by ouroboros
Bottom Left: Final lyrics by 10K
Bottom Right: Original Lyrics by Mr Jo - this version appears on 'Couple Tracks'


Tracks: No Epiphany B/W No Epiphany (No Age Remix)
Released: 2009
Label: Matador Records OLE 838-7
Matrix A: OLE 838-7-A         GOLDEN
Matrix B: OLE 838-7-B          GOLDEN
Pressing Info: One Time Pressing of 3000 (February 3, 2009)
Inserts: Regular insert as pictured above
Variants: No variants


FU Tom Jones 'Poison Idea' Shirt -  Front
FU Tom Jones Shirt - Back

LFG Post (Feb 11 2009): 
Hi, we are releasing the No Epiphany 7" single on March 10 ... it's the 3rd single off the ChemCom album, the first being Crooked Head, which you can get anywhere, the 2nd being Royal Swan, which you can get nowhere.

As you can see from this picture the single arrives fraught with mystery and hilarity. Why did the NME name it "Single of the Week" 4 months before it was even released? What on it made Katy Perry call us "good musicians?", and why did Tom Jones admit that it was "not something (he) would play"?

Originally this 7" was planned as kind of a double aside - the actual aside containing the album version of the song, and the more symbolic aside (ie the bside) containing a demo version of the track.

When we recorded the song we did a few versions of it. Jonah wrote this song, and he really likes punk, so No Epiphany was originally conceived as a faster piece. I kind of like punk, so I decide it would sound cooler if it was slower, and had some ridiculous guitar tracks all over it...if you are on this website you've heard the press - No Epiphany has 1546 guitar tracks in total, mostly all written on the spot. I digress - the bside for this 7" was originally going to be the faster version of the song that was eventually completed - the faster music and lyrics written by Jonah Himself. Also he played all the instruments. We got No Age to do a remix of the original album version, and now thats on the 7" instead, but I feel bad for Falco, because his version got bumped (twice now), so here is a little tribute to his vision:

Jonah's Lyrics:
- the sun of heaven, its message sent
- gaze in the blaze of incendiary judgement
- present a life or a static catastrophe
- no epiphany

- regard the victor - his splendour, foiled
- unveil the laggard in all his spoils
- worst of its vision makes all liquid boil
- no epiphany

- perchance to glance a glimpse thereof
- a salty tear tended by a mother's love
- reveals the sun-kissed shade of ennui
- no epiphany

- I see the cover but never the book
- you can change but i'll only ever look
- no amount of time can be took
- no epiphany

- nothing new and nothing old
- facet the diamond or burn the coal
- the gleaming essence of miscellany
- no epiphany

- do what you will to incense, to make irate
- shatter life's foundations with a pathetic shake
- a callous smirk at the shifting plates
- no epiphany

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is an experience of sudden and striking realization...

The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine. Today, this concept is used much more often and without such connotations, but a popular implication remains that the epiphany is supernatural, as the discovery seems to come suddenly from the outside.

No Epiphany:
Where none of the above happens.

Son of Heaven...
Hidden World Show Poster:
Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest heavens ''Dude, is that like a big 'F' in a circle?'';
from Gustave Doré's illustrations to the Divine Comedy.

Commodity Fetishism:

Test Pressing - No Epiphany - No Picture

''Crooked Head''

My trajectory is so true, they float away and I don't move...

Sleeve Front:
Tribal kids  
Vinyl - Side A:
Label repeats sleeve image
Sleeve - Back:
Western kids
Vinyl - Side A:
Label repeats sleeve image
Insert - Crooked Head: 
Dog eat dog / Dogs fighting over a bone. This together with the other images can be (mis) interpreted as a comparison and contrast of western global culture with indigenous tribal cultures. 
Insert - I Hate Summer:
Continuing the 'two heads' theme... 


Tracks: Crooked Head B/W I Hate Summer
Released: 2008
Label: Matador Records OLE 837-7
Matrix A: OLE 837-7-A         GOLDEN
Matrix B: OLE 837-7-B          GOLDEN

Pressing Info:
First pressing 2500 on August 11, 2008
Second pressing 500 on January 23, 2009

Inserts: Regular insert as pictured above
Variants: No variants

LFG Post April 16 2008:

Crooked Sombrero

CrOoKed hEad
Colour cover:
Fake or rejected sleeve showing (Amazonian?) tribal people.

Extract From Record Release Announcement - LFG Post (September 28 2008)

...Say, but haven't all the last records we've released been "total bullshit"? Like Year of the Dog, and Year of the Pig, and all those YOTP 7"'s and shit, and Toronto FC, and David Christmas, and all that stuff? Well yeah, but this one is different! The ASIDE is from the new ALBUM, but its an EDIT, which means its a bit different, but not in any sort of way that cost us any more money to make in the studio, and then the BSIDE is this killer little tune that isn't on ANY OTHER RECORD OUT THERE, and is about how Damian hates summer because, well you can read the LYRICS! They are INCLUDED on the INSERT, which is a little piece of paper stuck into the 7" sleeve that has the lyrics on it, as well as the LINER NOTES. THE SONG IS REALLY SHORT, its like less than 2 and a half minutes long, and its PRETTY FAST and SORT OF SOUNDS LIKE THE UNDERTONES because we use that drum beat we used on TEENAGE PROBLEMS and NEAT PARTS and maybe one other song in our discography. Anyhow, this 7" is 100% NOT BULLSHIT except for the fact that the aside is already on the album, but not really, as I was just talking about, but its got its own ARTWORK, and the bside art looks a little like the album cover because its got the sun in there and everything, and I can tell you now that we're gonna make a bunch more 7"'s that have the sun on the cover, so you might want to start COLLECTING them ALL so that if you ever want to make that VIDEO I was talking about WAY before, you won't be missing the CROOKED HEAD 7", which is now for sale over at MATADOR RECORDS and pretty much no other websites I could really find on google.

Review By Norman Records
Good stuff really and you've got to admire the picture of two dogs ripping each others' faces off on the insert.

Crooked Head (Cropped From Wikipedia)

Spoiler: They don't collect records
The Pirahã people are an indigenous hunter-gatherer tribe of Amazon natives. As of 2010, they number 420 individuals. The Pirahã people do not call themselves Pirahã but instead the Hi'aiti'ihi, roughly translated as "the straight ones".

The Pirahã speak the Pirahã language. They call any other language “Crooked head.”

As far as the Pirahã have related to researchers, their culture is concerned solely with matters that fall within direct personal experience, and thus there is no history beyond living memory.

Daniel Everett states that one of the strongest Pirahã values is no coercion; you simply don't tell other people what to do. There appears to be no social hierarchy; the Pirahã have no formal leaders. Their social system can thus be labelled as primitive communism, in common with many other hunter-gatherer bands in the world, although rare in the Amazon because of a history of agriculture before Western contact (see history of the Amazon).

Their culture is remarkably economical. For example, they use canoes every day for fishing and for crossing the river that they live beside. However, when their canoes wear out, they simply use pieces of bark as temporary canoes. Everett brought in a master builder who taught and supervised the Pirahã in making a canoe, so that they could make their own. But when they needed another canoe, they said that "Pirahã do not make canoes" and told Everett he should buy them a canoe. The Piraha rely on neighboring tribes' canoe work, and use those canoes for themselves.

Pirahã build simple huts where they keep a few pots, pans, knives, and machetes. They make only scraping implements (for making arrowheads), loosely woven palm-leaf bags, bows, and arrows. They take naps of 15 minutes to, at the most, two hours throughout the day and night, and rarely sleep through the night.

They often go hungry, not for want of food, but from a desire to be tigisái (hard). They do not store food in any quantity, but generally eat it when they get it. Pirahã have ignored lessons in preserving meats by salting or smoking.They cultivate manioc plants that grow from spit-out seeds and make only a few days' worth of manioc flour at a time.They trade Brazil nuts and sex for consumables or tools, e.g. machetes, gunpowder, powdered milk, sugar, whiskey. Chastity is not a cultural value. They trade Brazil nuts, wood, and sorva (rubbery sap used in chewing gum) for soda-can pull-tabs, which are used for necklaces. Men wear T-shirts and shorts that they get from traders; women sew their own plain cotton dresses.

Their decoration is mostly necklaces, used primarily to ward off spirits. The concept of drawing is alien to them and when asked to draw a person, animal, tree, or river, the result is simple lines. However, on seeing a novelty such as an airplane, a child may make a model of it, which may be soon discarded.

According to Everett, the Pirahã have no concept of a supreme spirit or god, and they lost interest in Jesus when they discovered that Everett had never seen him. They require evidence based on personal experience for every claim made. However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.

Commodity Fetishism:

Test Pressing on RHS (probably)
Test Pressing on LHS


Chemistry is just a word we use to describe what occurs, when subtle changes in our minds make energy from common lives
Jacket - Front

Jacket - Back
Jacket - image on inside of gatefold

'A' side & 'C' side
'B' side & 'D' side

Lyric Sheet - Front

Lyric Sheet - Back


Year: 2008
Label: Matador Records OLE 807-1
Matrix A: OLE-807-1A RJ STERLING 17723.1(3)
Matrix B: OLE-807-1B RJ STERLING 17723.2(3)
Matrix C: OLE-807-1C RJ STERLING 17723.3(3)
Matrix D: OLE-807-1D RJ STERLING 17723.4(3)
Inserts: Double-sided insert, as pictured above
Variants: First Press and Repress

Year: 2014
Label: Matador Records OLE 807-1
Matrix A: OLE-807-A S-90377
Matrix B: OLE-807-B S-90378
Matrix C: OLE-807-C S-90379
Matrix D: OLE-807-D S-90380


Announcement - end of 'Tentative' Post LFG (Sept 09 2007)
Also tentatively we're starting to work on our next record tentatively entitled The Chemistry of Common Life. Get some knowledge.

''Interview'' extracts from LFG Post (July 15 2008)

Hi so the new record has been announced for Oct 2008 and its called "The Chemistry of Common Life" - what does it mean? 
The title comes from a book of the same name printed around the turn the last century,
which was about the chemical properties of different types of edible and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Originally the title was going to refer to drugs and nature somehow, but now I'm having a hard time remembering how the title was connected to those ideas. It was also along the same lines as "Looking for Gold" was, using the alchemy-fascist metaphor to refer to the spiritual re-organization of society. It doesn't really have any practical value as an idea to me, but there is hierarchy and order at all levels or nature that I like to think about when I'm thinking about people and how we're all arranged socially and spiritually. And somehow at the base of that is this scientific order that's governing the smallest particles and molecules whose organization is what's governing everything at the top in the first place, and the idea was to try and stretch that elementary social cohesion all the way up to the top and try to make sense of how things run up here.

We sort of lost the trail on that idea and the song "ChemCom" is about the beginning of life on earth and how intense it is to think about the molecular division between living and non-living matter, and what it is. At the base of all life is this magical chemistry that is pure science that somehow turned the switch on at some point millions of years ago,
but how did it happen? One idea is that these small pools of proteins got charged by lightning and turned into proto-living material, but how? It's hard to think of the start of life as a linear process, where these little particles joined together somehow
into strings of proteins that somehow clicked on and joined together, all the way up to cells and then multi-cellular organisms, and then larger creatures and so on. Its just such an mind-bending thing to try and think about - everything in the universe is just these arrangements of particles, these relationships between the resulting molecules - of all the millions of combinations, somehow life happened, it could have been anything, but from somewhere life started. It just tells you that life isn't about properties really, or individuals. It's about the interaction between those single properties that makes things happen - it's not about like hydrogen, or oxygen alone - it's the interaction that makes water. It's heartening to carry it forward - it isn't about you, but about how you interact with the world and people around you.
Same stuff as Hidden World, but different
We've always been interested in evolution, and Chemcom basically refers to the first evolution, from inorganic to organic. The insert art is crystals and rocks handing a baby over to trees and birds, its crazy.   
What makes you want to write about those types of things? 
I think life is the best idea anyone ever had - I want to pay tribute to it. A lot of people have wondered if Fucked Up became a religious band because we talk about god all the time, but thats not really the case - we are a bunch of people who don't believe in god but know that life would be a lot easier if we did. All the lyrics I write are about trying to find god in nature, like looking for these unexplainable and mystical processes that you can look at with a microscope, you know the memory stored in DNA, or the brightness of the sun - thats god I think and thats what's important for me to think about.

CMU Interview extract from LFG Post (July 16 2008)

What inspired your latest album?
I tried to bring the natural elements of 'Hidden World' further into the record this time. The LP isn't about ideology, it's about reality - things that never change. The songs are about lightning, the sun, birth, death, these elemental fixtures that are the basis of everything else. Look into the sun and empty my mind.
Hidden World
What process do you go through in creating a track? 
This time we were in a rush so we only gave ourselves enough time to write the most basic pieces of the song before we went into the studio. When we started recording we only knew about 25% of each song, and just wrote the rest in the studio. The entire process took about nine months - two months to write in the practice space, and six or seven months to record. We recorded the drums and bed tracks, went out tour with the rough mixes for a few months, and then went in every few days to add new things when we had ideas. It was like painting a picture over a really long time period. If we wanted in the middle of something, to have a French horn, or a guest vocalist, we would just call them and resume recording when that person would come in. 
Which artists influence your work? 
The sun, thunder, lightning, Mucha, Fernando Torres.

In the same spirit:
See the Hidden World lyric sheet  for more on Vibrations and Hums

Extract From LFG Post (Feb 07 2011)

You may remember last time we finished a full length album I made a funny post that counterpoised the mastered CD I got sent in the mail by the mastering company against a screen shot from my laptop computer of 2001 "A Space Odyssey" where the earth is eclipsing the moon and the moon is being eclipsed by the sun at the same time or something, and then put the CDR right on the screen as if it was eclipsing the entire thing. A lot of you probably didn't understand what was going on in the picture, especially because I posted the lyrics from the title track that contains shit like "The Vale the midwife birth the key", which I myself don't even really understand. 

Sleeve Notes:

The Chemistry of Common Life LP - (LFG Post Dec 27 2010)
This was the first time we commisioned a photograph for an album cover that wasn't a picture of the band. Our friend Mimi Cabell ( took about 600 different shots over a few weeks in mid town Manhattan in July of 2008. What we realized later (by reading the wikipedia of our own album) that what she'd inadvertently captured was Manhattanhenge, where the sunset lines up perfectly with the street grid of New York, something that only happens twice a year, and allows a perfect view of the sunset looking west on the major streets of midtown. The shot is somewhere between 30th and 40th if I remember correctly. If you look closely you can tell that its not just one image, but a composite of about 35 different shots line up ontop of each other, which is why you have some people and cars overlapping, and explains the relative brightness of the sun and the lense flare everywhere. The shot is supposed to represent the main idea behind the record, which is the unity between culture and nature, and the idea that the literal source for all human culture and life is the sun. Even though the title is taken from a 19th century book on wild mushroom identification, what it means for the album is how everything thats cultural about our lives has its source in nature and science, and that there really isn't a divide between the two spheres. The song ChemCom describes the theory of the origin of life on our planet that states that tidepools containing abiotic proteins were zapped by lightning bolts continually for millions of years until finally the electricity (the sun) and chemicals (chemistry) fused to create the first living matter (common life), which describes the title and also the album cover.

Not the Sleeve

The Sleeve

Show Poster:
Pictures HERE

"Alternative Cover" by Enkeling

Polaris Prize:
Universal Praise

Son The Father (From Song

Father, father, come see what I've built
Made civilization out of the Nile silt,
Built your monuments out of my brother's bones,
Exalted your words in flesh-bound tomes

It's hard enough being born in the first place,
Who would ever want to be born again?
It's taken this long just to get to this place,
So what's the point in ever being born again?

Papa, papa, come and watch me play
The whole world before me I laid to waste
Built Jerusalem out of these hidden worlds,
But I won't share it with the other boys and girls

More embarrassed than I'd hope to admit,
The living embodiment of perfect.

Daddy, daddy, are you proud of me?
I did it all for you because of what I believe
The sins of he father carried out by the son
From Cain and Abel until the last living life is done

Again we stand slack-jawed 
As our fates are moved by the hand of God
A God is what we see as we stare into his Papal eyes.

  • 0
    Song Meaning:"This song is about how we've wasted our lives in history, on bullshit.". That's from lead singer Damian Abraham's mouth while on tour.
    lazyoldsunon May 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation:I believe it's about taking the power of the father (representing the government or higher power (possibly God?)) and taking it as your own to save the mother (Mother Earth or humanity) "A reversed Oedipal complex based on power and not on the sex"
    ndocon December 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Awesome song. It's about the futility of religion, tying to look at the bible with an open mind, from a different point of view. It's about mistakes and evil being inherent and being passed down.
    cizzydoon January 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion:Yea, it's definitely about religion -- specifically Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The verses focus on, as cizzydo said, evil and corruption and how they are passed down from father to son [generation to generation]. Then I believe the chorus is essentially asking why anyone would want to be born again back into all this evil/corruption? It's a really well written, intelligent song.
    RainyDaze3on June 05, 2009   Link

Commodity Fetishism:

Test Pressings: