Naturally I caught on pretty late — around the tenth anniversary, to be precise, which this album was compiled to celebrate. Chickfactor seems to have pulled off several things very well. It probably helps being co-founded and run by a photographer with lots of friends who write very well. But also having a very clear and strong vision, based in the part of New York that sees that city as the centre of a cultural triangle that has Paris, London and Tokyo as its corners.
We (Jeremy, Alex and I) went to the second night of the first Black and White Chickfactor Ball in 2002. Why? Because the Future Bible Heroes were playing (actually, I remember now, I already mentioned this). It was a good bill that night, including The Clientele. But we missed most of it, because we'd found a spot on the balcony of the Bush Hall and then Stephin Merritt and the rest of the FBH entourage joined us, and we just had to stay there inhaling the aura (still rich with Camel Lights in those days). Though of course we didn't speak to anyone.
A couple of years later, Jeremy, Alex, Fleur and I went to the next London Chickfactor Ball. Why? Because we'd enjoyed the first one and knew better how to dress appropriately this time (a different colour wig for Alex). Also Chickfactor pulling power had got Bridget St John and Stuart Moxham to make very rare appearances.
I remember a couple of the Stuart Moxham songs being a bit cringe-inducing, though his track on this album is fine. Because of the Chickfactor vision, this album hangs together particularly well — even better than Comes With a Smile. This album completes the third in a series of trilogies. First we had three A.R. Kane EPs (1, 2, 3) inside three weeks, then three albums from Stephin Merritt's 100 great recordings of the 20th Century (1, 2, 3) inside two weeks. Now three fanzine-produced albums in little more than a week. This one has a track by The Magnetic Fields, in common with Oh, Merge, and a track by Flare, in common with Comes With a Smile.
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