Handful of Snowdrops

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Handful of Snowdrops synthpop band from Quebec. They started out in the early 80's, released an album in 1990 (Land of the Damned), released a second album in 1992 (Dans L'Oeil De La Tempete), and called it quits in 1993, releasing a final collection of live songs (Mort en Direct). They were published by the now-defunct C'est La Mort records, about which more can be read here. They're best known for Area and Controlled Bleeding, and some C'est La Mort releases were much later reissued on Projekt. Many C'est La Mort albums remain out of print, though, including Handful of Snowdrops.

Handful of Snowdrops wasn't a great studio band. Land of the Damned suffers from very raw production-- lots of big dry synths, fakey choir samples (not that I don't love fakey choir samples...) and very mechanical drums and sequences. Dans L'Oeil De La Tempete was almost overproduced and sounds way too clean and deliberate, and the drum programming is still very mechanical. Drum machines aren't necessarily bad, but the rest of the instrumentation seems to be striving for lushness and expression and the drums just don't support that well.

It's no surprise, I guess, that Mort en Direct really stands out as the best document of the Handful of Snowdrops sound. Even the sequenced parts sound better onstage, and rather than sampled guitars, they appear to be playing with a live guitarist. If you'd heard their studio albums and wondered what the big deal was, Mort en Direct could convince you that they really were worth paying attention to.

Here are a couple of Handful of Snowdrops songs. "Now, Then, and Forever" was only available on Volume 4 of the Doctor Death compilations, Marvels of Insect Life. "Land of the Damned" is the Mort En Direct version of the title track from their first album. "Godhood" is also live, and doesn't seem to have been released elsewhere.

Now, Then, and Forever
Land of the Damned
Godhood

3 Comments

Mmm - I like...

My name is Jean-Pierre Mercier and I wrote every song and played every instruments on all HOS recordings except our live album obviously :)
First I'd like to thank you for you comments.
As for the rest, It won't be of any surprise to you if I mostly disagree :)
And I must point out that my comments are only meant to be informative and lighthearted so please don't take any of these personally.

Put any band in a bad studio with bad engineers with no money or resources to afford any better and the result will be accordingly for any band whether or not they are a good or bad studio band. Furthermore, you just can't take those recordings out of their context and their era. Which is 1989 and half of those songs where taken from a demo we recorded in 1988. And there are no other means to "sequences" than being mechanical.

Funny you would refer to Dans l'Oeil de la TempĂȘte (recorder in 1990) as being overproduced because it was actually underproduced as we had even less time and money than for our first record. And again, I certainly would hope that drum programming would sound mechanical, to this day I don't see the point to non-mechanical drum programming. Why not use a live drummer then? You make deliberate sound like a bad thing :) I sure hope it was deliberate otherwise I would have been a complete idiot. Maybe I was then :)

Now here's the best part about Mort en Direct, there's no way the sequences sounded better on stage since I recorder our two farewell concerts on 16 tracks ADAT and I took the precaution to save a track for a SMPTE click so we could sync those sequences live in the studio as I mixed the album. So everything was live BUT the sequences ! Yes we actually played guitars and all instruments live and so did I on every LP. Sampled guitars ??? There was a "deliberate" guitar sample on one song of our entire catalogue!

Thanks for the time warp!
Sheers
JP/HOS

I LOVE the song "Gabrielle"!!

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This page contains a single entry by solipsistnation published on February 23, 2006 2:42 PM.

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