Rema-Rema, ‘Wheel In The Roses’ CD EP (4AD, BAD 5CD) / Various artists: ‘Natures Mortes’ (4AD CAD 117CD)

The original release of the ‘Wheel In The Roses’ EP was one of the earliest 4AD releases, coming after the initial batch of four singles that had gone under the label’s original name of ‘Axis’. It was the only release from Rema-Rema, a short-lived band but from whom the seeds of a good few other acts would evolve or intersect, including Wolfgang Press, Renegade Soundwave, Psychic TV and of course most famously Marco Pirroni’s saddle-up with Adam Ant.

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - front cover, inner sleeve (front), insert (front) and CD label

^ ' Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - front cover, inner sleeve (front), insert (front) and CD label

What I love about this small object of desire is that despite it being so wilfully obscure and the band’s only proper release (two other songs did appear as live recordings on a tape-only compilation, ‘The Men With the Deadly Dreams’) (the songs from which can be heard on the Rema Rema MySpace site), 4AD saw fit to lovingly reproduce it in CD form. Perhaps it could be down to the fact that despite it’s obscurity, two of the songs had been covered subsequently – ‘Fond Affections’ appearing on the first This Mortal Coil album, ‘It’ll End In Tears’, with Big Black taking on ‘Rema-Rema’ itself.

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - back cover, inner sleeve (back), insert (back) CD label

^ 'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - back cover, inner sleeve (back), insert (back) and CD label

Tracklisting;

  1. Feedback Song
  2. Rema-Rema
  3. Instrumental (Recorded Live)
  4. Fond Affections (Recorded Live)

'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - insert centre spread

^ 'Wheel In The Roses' CD EP - insert centre spread

As well as the original sleeve design reproduced in miniature, the CD comes with an inner sleeve design and additional gatefold insert.

'Natures Mortes' CD - front

^ 'Natures Mortes' CD - front

The track ‘Feedback Song’ itself had also appeared on the Japanese-only compilation album, ‘Natures Mortes’ (4AD CAD 117) in 1981, in a slightly extended form. This extended version (by virtue of its wailed intro) is what appears on this CD EP too, which is the major difference to the original 12 inch vinyl. ‘Natures Mortes’ itself was given a later CD release (CAD 117CD), with a number of additional tracks not present on the vinyl edition, and is certainly one of the most signature-style works of the 23 Envelope design house.

'Natures Mortes' CD - back case and label design

^ 'Natures Mortes' CD - back case and label design

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