EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON is the giant name of the huge new album by Chef Menteur. This album is very special to us. It represents 4 years of us working together three times a week (that's ~450 sessions!) and we wanted to release it officially on vinyl first. We're not planning on doing a CD version of this at all. A digital download of this album will however be available to our supporters.
(We just uploaded a new video! Please give it a watch, above. If you're looking for the original video with the cool lava stop-motion film, it's here on Vimeo.)
About the limited edition vinyl record
Editions will be limited somewhere between 100 and 250 copies, depending on project funding. This is a double record so there are four sides, totalling 70 minutes of music (which has already been recorded and sequenced). We plan to release this on 150 gram vinyl. If we go over more project funding, we will put more into vinyl mastering and quality control, and upgrade to a gatefold cover.
About the hand-pressed original art
The front cover artwork will be printed from an Art Nouveau-style design, drawn and block-cut by hand by our good friend and artist Thomas Peri on either woodcut or linocut. (The image you see here is a prototype but it will give you a rough idea of what it will look like.) Each jacket will be an original print pulled from the actual hand-cut block - not a reproduction, and not printed from a machine-produced plate. Similarly, for the back cover art we plan to use a local independent letterpress.
About the original music
We released our last album, The Answer's In Forgetting in 2007. Since then we've been busy writing and recording new tracks. With Brian Abbott joining Alec and Dan at the start of this recording project, a new level of musicianship and composition was achieved by the band as a whole. Our studio perfectionism now blended with our unbridled creativity, plus the luxury (and labor) of being in control of our time in the studio we built (with a little help from our friends) meant that we were rarely idle as new songs were constantly being imagined while the previous ones were being refined. All songs are new and composed and performed by Alec, Brian, and Dan. We thank our friends Court Batson, B. Aubrey Freeman, and Mike "potpie" Karnowski who also helped by contributing performances to several tracks.
We wanted to make sure that when trying to release a classic double album, in all its monstrous glory, there were still no excess or throwaway tracks: Just as much time was spent whittling songs down as it was building them up. At least as many songs didn't make it on the record as those that did in the interest of providing the most conceptually pure experience. This is an epic aural journey, containing songs for lovers of classic psychedelia, space-odyssey synth drones, Warp-records style electronica, krautrock and kosmische, doom drone, hints of early metal, folk-, math-rock and prog-rock sneaking in from time to time as well. "A symphony of space rock" one might even call it.
In summary: these are songs we have worked into as close to perfection as we're humanly capable of. It's an ambitious undertaking, some might even say grandiose. It's the exact opposite of the throwaway digital single on iTunes, and we wanted to piss against the prevailing wind while creating the art we felt best represented us at this time. We've always been a small and relatively unknown band with a small but appreciative fan base all over the world, and doing this on hand-printed vinyl with lovely art seems to be the best way to present this to the world and especially our fans.
About the supporter rewards:
Although we're 100% convinced this is our best album, we're still really proud of our previous 2 albums, We Await Silent Tristero's Empire (2005) and The Answer's in Forgetting (2007), so we are pleased to be able to provide these albums on CD or digital as rewards. If you don't have our past catalogue, it's an easy and affordable way to catch up.
What we're really excited about, though is a special reward for higher level supporters: a full length album of SUPER SECRET UNRELEASED TRACKS! This digital album will contain unreleased tracks as well as much-extended "dance/electro" versions of several album tracks plus some great originals both short and long that didn't quite fit on the LP. Also as a fun addition: a trippy Beatles cover! This will be a great bonus that true Chef Menteur fans will love and will be available ONLY on the UNRELEASED album that will be available to supporters at the $50 level and over.
Also: everyone that supports this project at $50 and over will receive a free test pressing from United Record Pressing. It's a really cool souvenir from the vinyl manufacturing process to have. Frame it and hang it on your wall, and then when we hit the big time, sell it online for millions later. (note to the irony impaired: officially, our lawyers have advised us to tell you that the auction value of the test pressings may not actually increase to this absurd level. But hey, the sentimental/bragging right value is still cool.)
What else? Oh yeah, we've still got a handful of super-cool "vintage" Chef T-Shirts. These went fast when they were in stores. Most of them disappeared in Katrina. Also cool: they were designed by Dan before he was even in the band!
Finally Dan has agreed to make a cigar-box guitar for one person who donates at the $500 level. He puts a LOT of time and care into these and they are built from scratch. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about any of the rewards, especially this one! To see an example of a homemade tamboura Dan built of his own design: http://blog.ganx4.com/?p=1281 (Used on the album. Sorry, this is just an example, not for sale).
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