Suddenly that three-year gap between the first two Folk Implosion albums doesn’t seem so empty anymore.
One half of the duo, Lou Barlow, put out two Sebadoh albums in that time — Bakesale (1994) and Harmacy (1996) — and now we finally get to hear the missing Folk Implosion album from 1995, Music For KIDS.
KIDS was a feature film written by then-teenage Harmony Korine, who reached out to Barlow about doing the soundtrack. Not only did he have a full script for his perusal, but the movie was already in production and there was even a bit of money to sweeten the deal. Barlow had a pretty decent track record when it came to responding to fan letters — that is, after all, how he connected with the other member of the Folk Implosion in the first place. John Davis wrote to Barlow in the late ’80s, when he was just getting Sebadoh off the ground and was better known as the bass player in Dinosaur Jr.
Their debut Folk Implosion album Take A Look Inside just got a re-release in August. It’s raw, light, tuneful and especially fun listening for musicians. The next record Dare To Be Surprised (1997) was significantly more polished, despite the fact it was recorded on videotape. Between the two is when Barlow and Davis crafted this soundtrack — which is in fact an actual soundtrack at times. Several pieces of music were crafted specifically to fit particular sequences in the film.
An official soundtrack album overseen by Barlow was released in 1995, but it didn’t contain all of the music crafted by the duo for the project. This version does. Seven of the 13 songs on the 1995 soundtrack album were by Folk Implosion, but one of them — Natural One — wasn’t actually used in the movie. Maybe it should have been, because Natural One turned out to be Folk Implosion’s surprise hit.
Davis and Barlow had a falling out after completing 1999’s One Part Lullaby. They reconnected during the pandemic and this year made new music — including a redo of Natural One.
It’s this new version of Natural One that graces Music For KIDS — which has 18 tracks compared to the 13 on the 1995 soundtrack, and this time they’re all by The Folk Implosion. One of the new ones is NASA Theme, a six-minute bit of madness — a steady beat, synth and then full-on frenzied electronic noise.
Cabride is also new. Another instrumental which could be described as nearly three minutes of an ambling bassline with what sounds like duck calls or bagpipe chanter squonks overtop, throughout.
Then you get five songs which wound up on Dare To Be Surprised: Burning Paper, Insinuation, Wide Web, Park Dub and Checking In. I’ve always loved Burning Paper so much. One of their best songs. These don’t seem like different versions of the tracks at all.
There are three more tracks not on the original soundtrack — one is an instrumental version of Nothing Gonna Stop. The vocal version was on the 1995 album. The final two tracks are remixes — A Dust Brothers mix of Insinuation and an UNKLE remix of Natural One.
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.