THE JEAN-PAUL SARTRE EXPERIENCE
Issued under exclusive license from Flying Nun Records, the 3 LPs and assembled bonus tracks showcase the group that best encompasses that label’s difficult arc from scrappy cult label in the 80s to a corporate-minded takeover in the 90s. From wildly crashing Christmas parties, to watching the brilliant album that could have changed their fortunes sit on the shelf, and international tours that left them undone, the band evolved, for better or worse, with the shifting fortunes around them. Now you can experience the full story, both via all of their collected studio recordings, and an extensive and entertaining oral history culled from hours of interviews with the members.
Emerging with one of the definitive songs from the scene, “I Like Rain”, The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience began as a band filled with charm at every turn. Making the most of limited recording budgets to find inventive melodies, harmonies, and percussion, and combining them into unique and oddly joyous kiwipop gems. Besides trumpeting a new voice on the New Zealand musical landscape, they also brought us one of the greatest band names in the history of indie rock. “Love Songs” captures all of those early EPs and singles, along with their earliest demos, that were previously delivered famously on cassettes in dog food tins.
A dark and confident JPSE would emerge with the bracing “The Size of Food”, awaiting their big break overseas. At the same time, their record label was seeking a corporate cash infusion that would come with heavy strings attached. The resulting delays would cause “The Size of Food” to stand as a lost classic of the era, released without fanfare almost two years later. The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience were doing their best to regain momentum and look ahead, but it wasn’t to be easy. “The Size of Food” collects the US version of the album, including the crucial tracks “Cut Out” and “Mothers”. Also included as bonus tracks is the difficult and transitional “Precious” EP.
Finally afforded a sizeable recording budget and surrounded by label glad-handing, “Bleeding Star” would see the songwriting axis shift, but also produce some of their strongest material. Able to embrace technology in the studio fully for the first time, the band vowed to make the most of their chance. Supported stateside by Matador Records, they would tour internationally, going from undeniably gleeful to slowly unraveling with each stop along the way. By the time they were ready to return to New Zealand, it was obvious that all four members would not be making this trip again. “Bleeding Star” collects the original album on LP for the first time, along with bonus tracks encompassing the final maxi-singles and EPs.
Fully re-mastered and re-packaged with aching care, “I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience” will allow old fans and new audiences alike to be able to enjoy the sound of what makes The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience so special.
Fire Archive is a continuation of the celebrated efforts of the label to reissue important records from the past, prepared with loving care. Each release receives special attention to audio and packaging as we strive to provide the definitive version for decades to come.
“One of the great underground bands from New Zealand’s pop heyday”NPR