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Orchestral Variations V.01 by The Separate
The Separate is the project alias of renowned producer / engineer Rob Kirwan, who has recently worked with the likes of PJ Harvey, Glasvegas and The Horrors, Keith Cullen, owner of Setanta and acclaimed string-arranger Fiona Brice
The concept is, by Cullen’s own admittance, a self-indulgent one. Having run the label 1990 since Orchestral Variations V.01 will be its last release, therefore as a sign-off Cullen decided to record an album of cover versions of his favourite tracks by artists he loved and admired.
The album features covers of tracks by The Specials, The Ramones, The Smiths and Talking Heads amongst others sung by mark Lanegan, Martha Wainwright, Patrick Wolf and Joan As Police Woman.
The track listing is as follows:
I've run a record label most of my working days and music has been (and continues to be) an enormous part of my life. However five years ago I stopped signing bands, making records with them and releasing music with the gusto that kept my record label afloat for the best part of fifteen years. I felt old and had no desire to keep going to the same gigs, going through the same rigmarole of spurting over enthusiastic shite talk about how some new artist was going to be huge. I didn't want to feel embittered about how old fart my taste had become, being the bald old bloke at the back of the venue trying to be enthusiastic about some hot new band who didn't quite have the attitude of the Ramones, the art house take of Talking Heads, the spunk of the Pixies, the youthful energy of early U2, or the kookiness of The Cure. So I stopped releasing records and started writing instead.
The record you hold in your hand (or have on your computer) is the only music related thing I've been involved with for a long time, and its taken a long time to finish because I've been focused on other non music things in life. Sometimes I think about how my record label's profile ceased to have any relevance when other like-minded labels, like Domino, Bella Union and Wichita kept going, and through their own perseverance and determination found great breakthrough acts and I feel happy to be out of the game.
I still listen to music as much as I always did, but now I'm a fan rather than an industry person. The tracks on this record are songs I have always loved, sung by singers I love. Making this record has been a selfish exercise, and all the more enjoyable for it after years of being the person whose spent most of my working life finding an audience for other peoples 'art'. Not that this record is 'my album' in any way, I didn't do anything, just paid the musicians, picked the singers and the songs and paid the recording costs. But it feels like a good 'final' record to put out on my label. I like it, I hope you do too.