Throwback Thursday: Pip Proud – A Fraying Space LP

pip proud a fraying space lp em records 2014

PIP PROUD was a true psychedelic rock pioneer. Some consider him a punk before the term even existed and others consider him the Australian equivalent of Syd Barrett (some have even gone as far as to wonder if Syd might have even knicked a move or two from Mr. Proud). The fine folks at Osaka-based EM Records have done a stellar job with A Fraying Space; which is a collection of both previously unissued and otherwise difficult to get material drawn mainly from Pip’s prime 1960’s output.

Pip was a soul damaged early on by an unhappy childhood. A non-conformist who didn’t play sports, he grew up in a violent household and was a victim of abuse. He plugged into music as his main avenue of escape and therapy, early on. His first record, De Da De Dum was cut in an extremely limited edition press of 20 copies and funded by a stockbroker friend. It was enough to get him noticed and signed to Phonogram Records. He would go on to release two albums (Adrenaline and Richard along with A Bird In The Engine) for the label. Despite the success of these records in his home country, an unsuccessful trip to the U.K. to garner international success failed, despite initial interest from 1960’s U.K. movers and shakers such as John Peel and The Beatles’ own boutique label, Apple Records. Following news of his sister’s suicide, Pip came back home and called it quits for a few decades. He returned to work beginning in the late ‘90s and carrying on until his death in 2010 thanks in part to fans such as Alastair Galbraith who tracked him down.

A Fraying Space definitely paints the picture of a true outsider. By using his 1960’s output as the main source material for the compilation, we get a portrait of a cracked genius at his artistic peak. The Syd Barrett comparison gets thrown around a lot and songs like “An Old Servant” are definitely cut from the same cloth as some of the rawer moments of the Madcap’s solo output. Pip’s sound to me is more direct and also more obscure and lo-fi at the same time. In that sense, he almost hems more towards the like of an outsider akin to Daniel Johnston with his music’s great sense of childlike whimsy.

For a great example of this, see no further than “Jumped In My Rowboat.” Some tracks including “They Took Us All So Kindly” display a kind of stoned-alone lo-fi strangeness that leaves one’s head swimming. Some of the collections’ other resonant moments include the swinging, full band recorded “Purple Boy Gang” and the wild, paisley patterned fairytale-like “Adrenaline and Richard.” One can’t help but feel dislocated in time when listening to these songs, thinking about how ahead of the curve some of this material was. When the most obvious point of reference is one the 1960’s biggest acid casualties, you know you’re in deep waters and A Fraying Space does not disappoint. Let’s hope wherever Pip Proud is these days, he’s singing a happy song to oblivion.

Throwback Thursday #04
Genre/ Tags: Lo-Fi, Psychedelic, Singer/ Songwriter
A Fraying Space LP: Tracklist:
1.) Adreneline and Richard
2.) De Da De Dum
3.) Latin Version
4.) A Fraying Space
5.) The Sun was Yellow
6.) Purple Boy Gang
7.) A Bird in the Engine
8.) They Took Us All So Kindly
9.) French Girls
10.) An Old Servant
11.) Laughter and Laughter
12.) Eagle-wise
13.) She Dwindles Her Fingers
14.) Adrenaline and Richard

BUY the LP from Em Records
Pip Proud on Discogs

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