Cul de Sac — Ecim
(NR-5503, 1991/1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01This four-piece from Massachusetts offers a free-wheeling neo-psychedelic sound that finds itself at home somewhere between current bands bands like Porcupine Tree, and the experimental music of earlier times like Faust or Fifty Foot Hose — a swirling miasma of novel ideas delivered with unbridled urgency. Completely liberated from any convenient labels, the material (mostly written by guitarist Glenn Jones) delivers on a multitude of levels. Most of the tracks are instrumentally oriented, but when vocals are used (tracks like "Nico's Dream" or "The Invisible Worm" — the latter co-written by synthesist Robin Amos) they are never done straight, but always treated, always deranged somehow, whispered, or barely intelligible, which all adds to the pervasive mysterious quality of their music. Most of the songs are permeated with electronic tweedling, either at the surface or just below, but unlike bands like Ozrics, who employ similar techniques, Cul de Sac does so in a way that often seems completely irreverent, giving their music a jagged feel which adds an additional layer of subliminal interest. Even a cover of John Fahey's "Portland Cement Factory" begins fairly normally, but halfway through is ripped apart, scrambled and reworked with an industrial vengeance before coming back to the familiar finger-picked solo guitar style. Like Djam Karet, Cul de Sac's music eschews instant accessibility, taking the long road and growing on the listener over a period of time, but that grip grows stronger with each play. I'll recommend this one highly to fans of any of the other bands mentioned herein, or anyone looking to approach from a more adventurous and experimental angle.
Related artist(s): Cul de Sac
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more