Hugo Race “Fatalists”

  • IBR004_cover_low

Album: “Fatalists”
Format: purple LP + MP3
Catalog number: IBR004
Genre: Rock/Folk
Release date: 10/10
Distributor: Broken Silence

Australian songwriter and producer Hugo Race is a prolific and visionary performer, musician, writer and producer. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Hugo’s creative journey has given him ‘world citizen’ status, having lived over the course of the last 25 years in Sicily, France, Germany, the UK and the USA. Hugo’s songwriting draws on pop culture from rock n roll to soul to delta blues to avantguard electronic soundscapes.

First introduced to the international stage as a founding member of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds (he appears on the debut, “From Her to Eternity”, and features on several other Bad Seed’s cds and various compilations), Hugo then founded the seminal Australian art-punk cult band The Wreckery (1985), released through the White, Rampant, Citadel and Normal labels. (A Wreckery retrospective,”Past Imperfect”, was released in 2008 through Memorandum/Fuse Records, Sydney).

In Italy, Hugo has produced albums for Cesare Basile (amongst many others), appeared live and in studio with Afterhours, and created genre-bending projects like The Merola Matrix and Sepiatone (with Marta Collica).

With his band The True Spirit and his various Helixed productions and collaborations, Hugo defies any easy label and has staked out a creative territory between rock, experimental and psychedelia.

Hugo Race’s most recent releases are with the internationally acclaimed “BKO” by Dirtmusic (recorded in Africa and released by Glitterhouse Records), the electro-acoustic instrumental “Between Hemispheres” (Gusstaff Records), and the French/USA Lilium’s new album “Felt”, (Glitterhouse).

Hugo Race’s new solo album Fatalists is raw, moody and lyrically driven. Recorded in Italy, guitarist Antonio Gramentieri (Sacri Cuori, Delavega), Arizonan violinist Vicky Brown (Desoto Caucus, Lilium), percussionist Diego Sapignoli (Sacri Cuori, Delavega), and Dutch bassist Erik Van Loo (Willard Grant Conspiracy) create an acoustic, melodic sound that casts Hugo’s songwriting and voice in a whole new light.

“We all met up in an old villa in rural Italy on a cold autumn day. I’d just finished a month on tour with the True Spirit and in the tour’s closing stages had come down with pneumonia. Because most of the songs I had for Fatalists were about death, this seemed a fitting background, and for the duration of the recording sessions I was laid-up with a fever in a room adjacent to the studio. I could hear the band tracking my songs but couldn’t participate. So the sessions were really produced by Antonio and the other Fatalists, and they gave the songs a different slant. Having self-produced my recordings for a very long time I thought that here was a chance to step back and let a whole new album materialize, if I could just trust in the process. Cal and Andy mixed the album at the Mill studio on a hill overlooking the Southern Ocean where the wind blows in off the grey water with a cold metallic edge. There are few neighbours, and like the Cosabeat studio in the Romagna, a sense of nature and desolation and human insignificance predominates. I never planned to make this record, it just kind of happened – hence the title Fatalists – because often fate has other plans for us…”

The songs:

Call Her Name. In the depths of a German winter, in between summer spells in Australia and the Sahara, everything appearing further and further away. She and he were real, but at the same time just a memory. The connection still exists, stretched and tenuous from time, distance, necessity.

Too Many Zeroes. Planetary pathos is an everyday thing – to the extent that we become desensitized to it. Binary overload, so much information and not enough psychic space to digest it. As individuals we’re a transient blip on the radar of something huge and indifferent. Make of that what you can, and get used to it.

Slow Fry. Despair is useless unless you can find a way to harness it’s force. Sometimes a little grilling can get you over it, like walking on hot coals without burning your soles, the torment we endure before we choose action as its remedy.

Will You Wake Up. This song haunted me since I first heard David Creese sing it with his band, Mysteries. When Kenichi suggested we do a duet in Berlin, I taped it in Catania with friends from the Sicilian project Kill Your Song and gave it to her to sing. Antonio and Erik cut their tracks in Italy, Vicky recorded her violins at home in Arizona, the kora came from Mali and by the time we’d mixed it near Melbourne the track had been stretched right around the globe.

Coming Over. It could be about two people separated by the mass of a city, in different cities, or on different continents. We are many, we are diffused, and time and distance don’t mean what they used to.

Serpent Egg. The more I thought about this particular dream, the realer it seemed. This song became a way to exorcise it. At the centre is a third party, but her name we do not know, or she is known by many names – then you have to choose.

In The Pines. This is old Leadbelly, and before him, from way back somewhere else. It will never date because it says so much with so little to so many. There is no resolution here, no redemption, just the tall trees.

Nightvision. I was reading some reportage on clandestine operations in the Sahara desert, and listening to the Fatalists from down the hall. But the fever was high and the pages of the book erased themselves, then the paper dissolved, and there was a galaxy of stars to read instead. On careful examination, they told me nothing.


Side A
1. Call Her Name
2.Too Many Zeroes
3.Slow Fry
4.Will You Wake Up

Side B
1. Coming Over
2. The Serpent Egg
3. In The Pines
4.Night Vision