The Hope Blister

Underarms & Sideways

Image of The Hope Blister - Underarms & Sideways
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"Underarms" by The Hope Blister is one of those records whose reputation has grown steadily and stealthily over the years. It is itself a reconstruction - a seamless, variously-textured and entirely instrumental collection crafted by 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell using The Hope Blister's album "...Smile's OK" as a rich trove of source material. "Underarms" was originally released as a mail-order only limited edition CD in 1998. It quickly sold out, and it has never been repressed. But long after it became unavailable, word continued to spread about the record's wealth of quiet beauty, and in recent years copies have been changing hands for considerable sums. But despite this, a plan to reissue "Underarms" only took firm shape after a string of serendipitous events. Ivo encountered Markus Guentner's album "1981", loved it, and was immediately struck by the aesthetic match between it and "Underarms", and when 4AD contacted Markus, tentatively, to suggest some kind of collaboration, he responded immediately and enthusiastically, professing great enthusiasm for the label and for the music of Ivo's previous studio project, This Mortal Coil. And so a strange, three-cornered process began, with music moving between 4AD in London, Markus in Regensburg and Ivo in Santa Fe. The end result was "Sideways", a resonant, warm and completely involving reinterpretation which stands as a worthy companion piece to "Underarms". The new 2CD set – "Underarms And Sideways" - comes in an entirely new v23 designed package which should tempt more listeners to venture into The Hope Blister's singularly engaging world. And the fact that it appears at the same time as 4AD's 25th anniversary celebrations is a final sweet touch of serendipity.

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