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¥745 dead hollywood stars. smoke and mirrors. cd-ep. hymen records. june2005



the night country *.mp3
nectar *.mp3
tea with mr. yi *.mp3
ocean drive, 1984 *.mp3
bizango *.mp3
masquerade *.mp3

download pressrelease.pdf

three years after their critically acclaimed second album, junctions, deadhollywood stars are back with a brand new record - exploring once again a different facet of their twisted american dream.

admirers of the previous two albums will be in familiar territory, a feeling reinforced by the omnipresence of the slide guitars, ghostly melodies and the unique combination of acoustic with electronic elements. but smoke and mirrors quietly leaves the “desert ambient” of gone west (2000) and the more cinematographic realm of junctions (2002), so that it can dig deeper.

more song based and acoustic than before, delicately crafted, and yet disturbing, smoke and mirrors opens a new door to the odd universe of dead hollywood stars. a place where dusty slide guitars meet mysterious trumpets, 60's exotica infects old-school electronic pulses, and where the shadows of badalamenti and morricone are always near. a clash of spectral jazz, ambient americana, spooky boogie and psychotronic pop...

smoke and mirrors looks behind the curtain, searches for the blurry, mysterious and sometimes ominous world hidden under the familiar appearances.

each track is a little vignette, an open story, a scene of a long-lost script. it could be the soundtrack to charles burns' black hole series or to a fevered night in a lost motel (the night country); a gentle drive under a pastel sky or a wrong turn leading to an orwellian nightmare (ocean drive, 1984); a strange reception in the dead of night, or simply corporate business as usual (masquerade); a pleasant afternoon with a quiet golf player - but isn't there a hint of madness in his eyes? (tea with mr. yi).

magic, tricks, lies - a multi-faceted world of wonders that dead hollywood stars reveals through the six tracks of this ep, presented in a beautiful 3" cd embedded in a clear 5" disc.

on this record, john sellekaers (electronics, keyboards, samples) is joined by quentin de hemptinne (guitars) and alex grousset (drums). quentin has recently worked with imminent - his first appearance on a recording - and alex is a very active drummer on the montreal scene, playing regularly in a half-dozen bands, ranging from jazz and blues to punk-rock. mathias delplanque (known for his dub project lena on quatermass) makes a special appearance as well.

john sellekaers has produced about 40 records in the last ten years, and his most well known project is probably xingu hill. in early 2005, he released altmann's tongue (ant-zen), a collaboration with the writer brian evenson and tamarin. he also runs the metarc mastering studio in montreal, canada.

packaging: partly metallized 5"cd in slimline-case


de subjectivisten caleidoscoop
de canadees john sellekaers, die ruim 30 jaar in belgië heeft gewoond, is beter bekend als xingu hill en van dead hollywood stars en de metarc studios. hij heeft vreselijk veel uitgebracht en nog veel meer geproduceerd. wellicht dat we daarom 3 jaar moesten wachten op een nieuwe dead hollywood stars? met deze band verkent hij, voorheen in goed gezelschap van hervé thomas (hint) en c-drik, de verknipte amerikaanse droom. muzikaal levert dat aangename, amerikaanse gitaarlandschappen op vol “slide” gitaren en spookachtige melodieën. in aanvang nog vol maffe geluiden. op het wederom instrumentale smoke and mirrors is het geluid meer akoestisch en songgericht. sellekaers bedient de elektronica, keyboards en sampler, terwijl quentin de hemptinne de gitaar en alex grousset de drums beroert. elk nummer zou je kunnen beschouwen als een scène uit een film. een roadmovie die de amerikaanse droom met prachtige muziek te kijk zet. muzieklandschappen waarin ennio morricone, angelo badalamenti, friends of dean martinez en scenic een plek lijken te hebben. tot de verbeelding sprekend kleinood. (jan willem broek)

black issue 40
der amerikanische roadtrip der dead hollywood stars ist in eine neue phase getreten: mehr akustik, mehr melodie, weniger abstrakte elektronikschwaden. damit fahren sie nicht schlecht, denn ihre cowboy-elektronik wird so eingängiger, aber nicht weniger anspruchsvoll. lounge-exotica, saxophon, slide guitar dominieren diesmal mehr die brüchige elektronik, wollen mehr gespielt, als nur zusammengesetzt sein. und so dreht sich der reigen aus einsamkeitsblues und circensischem frohsinn durch weniger beats, weniger glitch und mehr singer/songwriter-poesie. diese beatnik-patina kitzelt ganz neuen charme aus der brillanten elektronik-western-synthese. sehr erfreuliche weiterenwicklung. (till)

john sellekaers' dead hollywood stars project returns to dissolve the exotic and the surreal into the dusty ambience of the faded memory of the american west. the smoke and mirrors ep finds sellekaers collaborating with quentin de hemptinne (guitars) and alex grousset (drums) for a stronger pop record feel as de hemptinne's slide guitar and grousset's drums anchor the songs. the six vignettes of the ep (for they have left behind the desert ambience of gone west and gone beyond the widescreen cinematic sense of junctions) open doors into off-center stories of the wild west, places more westworld than once upon a time in the west as sellekaers' deft placement of whispering electronics and buzzing samples warps reality into a spectral place filled with ghosts and apparitions. "the night country" spits us off onto the infinite horizon of the high desert where de hemptinne's slide guitar can echo forever while grousset's percussion rolls beneath us like a familiar horse. sellekaers sneaks back-masked voices, the snick-snick of sharp metal and the bee-like burr of white noise into the mix, alien sounds that nip at our heels as we roll across the empty desert as if the ghosts of an entire frontier town are dogging our trail. the psychotronic pop of "nectar" where the slide guitar engages in a drunken dance with a band of wild trumpets is fueled by an excess of tequila and peyote. "tea with mr. yi" tries to put you at ease with the slow back-and-forth rhythm of grousset's brushes against his snare while the guitar picks out a slumbering melody against a star pattern of cascading electronics but sellekaers leaves enough holes in the melody for you to see beneath the indolent facade. like everything in his twisted vision of the american west, there are strange elements at work beneath the surface. tiny noises squirt and dart like bone fish in a sea of dust. even as the rollicking percussion takes us for a spin along "ocean drive, 1984," we can't help but to keep looking over our shoulder, can't stop looking for the source of the unease which continues to haunt us. the smoke and mirrors ep is the dead hollywood stars'most subversively accessible record yet: a veneer of the ennio morricone's old west stretched tight across an alien construct of aberrant americana. the west continues to haunt us, twisting in our psyche, and sellekaers' dead hollywood stars continues to provide the soundtrack for our spectral dreaming. (mark teppo)

vital weekly
this is certainly an unusual release by german technoid label hymen records! third album by dead hollywood stars is very much based on acoustic expressions. brain-man behind the project dead hollywood stars is john sellekaers who is best known for his quite different electronic project xingu hill. on this cd-ep, sellekaers has joined forces with two acoustic instrumentalists. guitarist quentinne de hemptinne plays his instrument in a long gone western style meanwhile  drummer alex grousset keeps the rhythmic texture on the album at a cool and relaxed pace. the overall expression comes out as a blend of  authentic americana meeting chilling ambient. as said a quite unusual experience from the ambient side of electronic music (nmp)

"die gitarre darf zurückkehren, wenn sie weiß, warum sie weg war," hiess es bei ideologischen wortführern von house, techno, breakbeat, electro, idm, als sie noch jung und selbstbewusst in eine zukunft schauten, die exklusiv ihnen zu gehören schien. in einer atmosphäre der instrumentenfeindlichkeit fristete die gitarre ein nischendasein, klingelte mal balearisch, mal als reggae-offbeat oder high-life-linie, auf jeden fall aber anonym im ornamentalen bereich der musik herum. viel zeit ist seither ins land gegangen, und längst gibt es mit mice parade, guido moebius und anthony read wieder verteter der im besten sinne "aufgeklärten gitarre". dazu gehören auch dead hollywood stars: sie haben ein herz für die düsteren stimmungen des lebens und schwelgen auf dieser mini-lp noch mehr als im begeisternden spätwestern "junctions" im klang der slide-gitarren. auf ornamente wird verzichtet, auch der tief empfundene roots-bezug der friends of dean martinez, deren experimentellen ansatz die dead hollies teilen, wird hier zugunsten eines stilisierten expressionismus an der kurzen leine gehalten und fällt manchmal auch ganz weg. kein fake-tex-mex-mix mit filme im kopp also, sondern nur ein bewusst eng gehaltenes limit, eine begrenzte farbpalette für ein stimmungsschwangeres, eher statisches als cinematographisches klangbild. leider fehlt den pinselstrichen mitunter die kraft und entschlossenheit, die selbst bei einem luftigen projekt wie mice parade, und erst recht eben im toten hollywood von john sellakaers die halbe miete sind. dafür gibt es extrapunkte für wieder mal ausserordentliches cd-design. (thaddi)

discography 06.2005:
wagon of miracles. 12". mad monkey records mmr1201-1. 2000
gone west. cd. mad monkey records mmr05. 2000
junctions. cd. hymen records ¥724 /mad monkey records mmr09. 2002
gone west. cd. hymen records ¥724.1 /mad monkey records mmr05.1. 2002
smoke and mirrors. cd-ep. hymen records ¥745. 2005

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