4AD press release from the past # 1

Written by Jeff Keibel on Fri, 9 May 1997 12:13:51 -0400.

In an ongoing series, here is the first of a batch of old 4AD press releases. It's either this or read pages of my warblings on unsatisfactory past relationships...

Out Of The Trees

DIF JUZ come "Out Of The Trees" for their debut Canadian release!

...well, not exactly. DIF JUZ do in fact hail from West London, where they first began performing (in the city's seedier venues supporting the likes of The Birthday Party, Mass and Jah Wabble) in 1980. Primarily instrumental in orientation, the four-piece band earned considerable acclaim for their spontaneous approach to live performance and intriguingly atmospheric brand of music, which Melody Maker described as "filling spheres with intense musical activity. An arena of atmosphere. Ability that has been sculptured, tendered and mastered... an impression lingering in the air. A monument sound that may, given time and understanding, become widely appreciated." Wrote the New Musical Express: "DIF JUZ creep quietly in, leave a deposit of sound and slip quietly away again. The exclamation mark is in their understatement... tightly structured yet subtly shifting columns of music." Sounds called it "music that's elusive as their name. DIF JUZ defy categorization. Maybe there's a hint of reggae in their use of rhythm, and inkling of Indian raga, the barest suggestion of rock's raucousness. But then again, maybe there isn't. What can be said is that they are unique, intuitively inspiring, a welcome antidote to... other things. Music to listen to." Music week summed it up as "Deceptively simple excursions in pastorale elegance."

Their unique sound and sporadic live appearances also earned the respect and admiration of Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde aka Cocteau Twins, who became avowed fans of the group. In 1981 DIF JUZ linked up with the Cocteaux' record label 4AD, and released two 12" EPs, "Huremics" and "Vibrating Air". The latter was partly re-recorded and entirely re-mixed in the summer of '86, and now it and "Huremics" are available on one 12" package entitled "Out Of The Trees". It's the band's first domestic release, prefacing their forthcoming new album "Extremities".

In 1983 the group recorded "Who Says So", a mini-album, for the indie Red Flame label. Next came a full-length cassette only release, "Time Clock Turn Back", on the Pleasantly Surprised label in '85; with much of the material committed to tape as it was being written, the cassette illustrated the very essence of the group's unusual (but very effective) approach. DIF JUZ again met up with Cocteau Twins who invited them on their first British tour of '85, which included the Royal Festival Hall on the itinerary. Twin Robin Guthrie subsequently volunteered to produce the band's first full-length LP for 4AD, "Extractions", which included vocal contributions from Elizabeth Fraser and saw release in mid-'85 in the UK. DIF JUZ -- whose lineup features brothers David (guitar, keyboards) and Alan Curtis (guitars) and Richard Thomas (saxophone) -- then set out on their first tour of Europe with their newly-recruited bassist Scott Rodger, formally of 4AD label mates Dead Can Dance in November of '86. Along the way they joined up with Cocteau Twins in Holland and proceeded to perform as special guests on the latter's 9-city European jaunt and subsequent British dates, all the while continuing to reap high accolades from the music press. Listen to "Out Of The Trees" and discover why.

Mini-album : MAD 612
Cassette : 830 949 - 4

...three things: Is Canada the only place "Out Of The Trees" was issued on casstte or what? PolyGram even issued "Come On Pilgrim" on tape too. The Canadian version of MAD 612 has a domestic record inside a specially printed UK sleeve. At the bottom of the back cover it says "sleeve printed in England/record manufactured in Canada"... Whatever the heck became of the aforementioned "Extremities" album?? Hmmmmmm... one wonders if 4AD has any leftover Dif Juz in the vault.

Jeff Keibel
Scarborough, Ontario

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