Thursday, 25 February 2016


Thinking back to when it all started
wearing a tie and awful shoes
you said "I am yours", I answered "Don't bother"
but then I was caught even though I knew

Asking myself to think a bit harder
whatever you said made me see
that we would end up beating each other
and things that I want are in my dreams

You say how endlessly and helplessly
love me endlessly and hopelessly

I am alone and you look smarter
driving around in your fancy car
haven't been sad since we parted
'cause now I can do all I want to do

You say how endlessly and helplessly
love me endlessly and hopelessly

[from the lyrics of "Hopeless Case" by Cinnamon]

"Hopeless Case EP", Japanese Edition CD single, Booklet front and rear

The Swedish group Cinnamon was formed in Stockholm by Jiri Adamik-Novak and Frida Diesen sometimes during 1993, as one of the many local Indie Dance / Twee Pop bands in the wake of The Cardigans and Saint Etienne.

Guitarist Jiri Adamik-Novak ( a successful designer...) was born and raised in Prague and lived in Sierra Leone for a while. He and Frida met for the first time in 1992 when she joined Jiri's band of that time (Love on Ice, named after a song by Momus).

In 1993, after having dissolved the band, they started co-writing and recording songs that eventually found their way to Lars Tengroth, Soap Records' A&R man, who simply loved what he heard and signed the band.

The duo became a trio in the spring of 1994 when guitarist Björn Öqvist became a permanent member of the group. At this time Magnus Karnock (bass) and Krister Svensson (drums) also participated in the project as added members.

During summer of 1994 Cinnamon moved to Longville-sur-Mer, France, just in front of the Atlantic Sea, to gather ideas and write songs for their debut album. That summer was one of the hottest in decades, but the rain helped the band to control the situation and they returned home with a bunch of cool songs.

"Hopeless Case EP", Japanese Edition CD single, Booklet inside

The "Vox EP" (...the subject of a previous post...) was released in March 1995 and "Backwards", possibly the most commercially appealing number, soon turned into a minor radio hit in Sweden:

«Our debut EP - We started the recording shortly after signing to Soap Records with ambition to show the world (and hopefully release a vinyl single). The lack of budget forced us to record most of it at home on a four track. Who would have thought that some of the songs could end up on a major release in 1997?! But maybe that's the charm of it.» [1]

The album "Summer Meditation" (...which we have already discussed here...) was released in Sweden a few months later, aptly during... summer. Partly co-produced by Graham Lewis of Wire fame, it received a fair amount of critical acclaim and was also released in Europe and Japan.

The Japanese edition includes four extra tracks taken from the "Vox EP", while the European edition on Form Records comes with a different cover and also has a different tracklist / running order:

«Bigger budget, but we were still recording most of it on an eight track at home. This debut met the sometimes unreasonable high expectations with ease. Later regarded as one of the influential albums for many Swedish (and foreign) bands.» [1]

"Hopeless Case EP", Japanese Edition CD single, Inlay Card and Obi Strip

The "Hopeless Case EP", the subject of this post, was published shortly after the album in August 1995 in the form of a CD single. According to the band, the single was «released mainly for radios; it includes a different mix of "The Promenade" and the previously unreleased "For My Own Sake".» [1]

In 1996 Soap Records signed a worldwide licence deal with Island Records and Cinnamon began to be exposed to a larger audience. In March the "Hopeless Case EP" was also released in Japan, a Country where the band immediately conquered a large fan base, while April saw the release of a U.S. promotional 10" vinyl whose gatefold cover was - strangely enough - identical to the one of the "Vox EP"...

With this release, which also includes an exclusive live rendition of "The Playwright", «Cinnamon finally hit American radiowaves for real.» [1]

"Hopeless Case EP", U.S. promotional 10" single, Outer gatefold

In the meantime, Karnock, Svensson and Öqvist had left the group immediately after the release of "Summer Meditation" to form their own band named Planet of the Poodles (...and later Wan Light, without Björn Öqvist).

Since then, Cinnamon has been centered around Jiri (, keyboards, programming and other instruments...) and Frida (...vocals, keyboards and extra bits...) who were helped in the studio by various guest musicians, most notably Per Linden on further guitars and keyboards, Samuel Laxberg on bass and Christian Ekwall on drums.

"A Northwest Passage", Cinnamon's second album (...or long EP if you prefer...), was released in August 1996 both in Sweden and Japan, with the Japanese edition offering a couple of extra tracks as usual:

«Ah! The Brenner passage, the Alps and Bergamo, St. Moritz and Sudett heights, Donau delta, industries of Turnow, Kafka's birthplace. All the places I know so well... Listening to Don Ray and The Mad Lads on a car stereo, watching my old school while pupils sell drugs in the schoolyard. The summer of 1996 we decided to take a long well deserved holiday. This EP summarise the feeling of the Old world's futuristic transformation, the war, the discovering of the forgotten... Recorded in one week at Decibel studio in Stockholm.» [1]

"Hopeless Case EP", U.S. promotional 10" single, Inner gatefold

"The Courier", a.k.a. the band's long-awaited debut on Island Records, finally hit the stores in May 1997. Aimed at a worldwide market, this CD is mostly a compilation of tracks culled from Cinnamon's previous full-lenght CDs ans EPs, but it also contains new and/or remixed versions of already perfect songs like "Me As Helen of Troy", "Backwards" and "I Wanted It, But Now I'm Not So Sure Anymore", along with the previously unreleased "And Suddenly Clarity". Unsurprisingly the album received enthusiastic reviews in the press, here's an example:

«Pair excellence! Produced mostly by Jiri Novak, "The Courier" is contemporary music perfumed with nostalgia. That's apparent both in the warm and intentionally somewhat muddy analog sound and in the cryptic lyrics of songs like "Missing Persons File" which plays on the twosome's fondness for '60s spy movies. Diesen's breathy voice lends itself to such sauntering tunes as "Me As Helen of Troy" and "And Suddenly Clarity", but songs like "Hopeless Case" get up to speed without mussing the group's vibes-tinkling cool..» [2]

Cinnamon, circa 1994-95

During the year the band extensively toured Europe and the U.S. to promote the album. A special single containing two versions of "Me As Helen of Troy" was also released as a promotional item for radios:

«Now this is a hardcore collectors item! First mix was done by Ted Nicely (Girls Against Boys, etc...) Ted is a hardcore New Yorker. The second mix was done by Chris Blackwell. Yes, the legendary founder of Island Records! And he is a Cinnamon fan! There's some phaser on it!» [1]

At the same time, the "Clarity EP" was released for the Japanese market; it contains a few of the U.S. versions/mixes that were released on "The Courier".

Before ceasing their activities in 2000 - for reasons that I wasn't able to discover - Cinnamon recorded "Vertigo", an album whose perfect and rare beauty leaves the bitter taste of farewell. This work was co-produced by Bernard Burgalat, with string and horns arrangements by Louis Philippe: how couldn't it be a masterpiece?

Cinnamon, circa 1994-95


[1] all Frida Diesen quotes are taken from the now defunct Cinnamon website available here courtesy of the Wayback Machine;

[2] from The Washington Post, July 20, 1997.

"Hopeless Case EP", Japanese Edition CD

The "Hopeless Case EP" was Cinnamon's second CD single and was first released by Soap Records / MNW in Sweden in August 1995. It includes the following four songs:

01. Hopeless Case (2:46)
02. The Promenade (Original Cinnamon Version) (4:22)
03. For My Own Sake (4:25)
04. Theme From 'The Death of a Casino Dancer' (0:49)

The following bonus tracks are taken from the U.S. promotional 10" single released in April 1996:

05. The Playwright (Live) (2:57)
06. Backwards (Acoustic) (3:04)

All tracks are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artworks.

Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.

"Hopeless Case EP", U.S. promotional 10" vinyl, Side A

The Swedish edition of the "Hopeless Case EP" was released in a cardboard gatefold sleeve similar to the "Vox EP". The one featured on this page is the Japanese edition which offers the same tracks but comes in a jewel box and is completed by an additional black and white booklet with a biography (in Japanese) and lyrics (both in Japanese and English), plus an obi strip.

In my opinion, the original Cinnamon version of "Promenade" included on this release is the best. Some of the differences are the following: the piano is more reverberated, no real drums are used - just a sampled loop, different instrumentation is used - more effectively - during the chorus.

"Hopeless Case EP", U.S. promotional 10" vinyl, Side B

Here's the complete credits and personnel list of the "Hopeless Case EP":

Written, produced and played by Cinnamon.

"Hopeless Case" was recorded and mixed at Decibel Studios, Stockholm, by Adam Kviman and is taken from the album "Summer Meditation".

"The Promenade", "For My Own Sake", "Theme From 'The Death of a Casino Dancer'" and "Backwards (Acoustic)" were recorded and mixed by Cinnamon at home.

"The Promenade" is the original Cinnamon version, "For My Own Sake" and "Theme From 'The Death of a Casino Dancer'" are previously unreleased.

"The Playwright" was recorded live for Radio P3 by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and is exclusive to the U.S. promotional 10" single.

"Backwards (Acoustic)" was previously released on the "Vox EP".

Design by Lars Sundh at Dynamo.

Photo by Irmelie Krekin.

Cinnamon, circa 1994-95

The following clips offer a preview of the "Hopeless Case EP", please enjoy "Hopeless Case", "The Promenade (Original Cinnamon Version)" and "For My Own Sake"!

...and here's an acoustic live rendition of "Backwards" performed in 1995 for the Swedish television channel TV4.

A few more information about Cinnamon is available here:

If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Here I am once again asking for your kind help...

I need to translate a few pages that contain important information related to some posts I'm working on for the future, so please: if you can translate from Japanese / Chinese / Finnish to English please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below.

I really do my best to maintain a high standard of quality in my posts, but of course I have limits and foreign languages is just one of them.

I can't make it without your help, THANK YOU!

The Candyman
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...