Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cruudeuces - Various Skin Figurines (Skell 007)

thanks to the great site, fadedfools, for the oily goodness

 Play this tape loudly, take two rips to the head and repeat the behavior as needed.  This is apt advice for the sounds that will soon pervade your head.  Cruudeuces is Nathaniel Brennan, proprietor of Ghetto Naturalist Series.  Various Skin Figurines, from Skell Records, is my introduction to Nathan's music.  His discography contains many releases from Kim Dawn; Tape Drift; Existential Cloth; Nathan's label, Ghetto Naturalist Series; and others.  Skell Records is a nascent label operated by Parashi and Burnt Hills member, Mike Griffin.  Recently, the new webzine, Amour & Discipline, had Eric Hardiman interview Mike.  Brew a small cup and read this informative interview.  And if these sounds are a harbinger, then jump on all three of the new releases - Cruudeuces; Fossils from the Sun vs. Parashi/Xanthocephalus; and Toning - before they go out of print.  

Side A presents a blissful amalgamation of swirling sounds, percussion, thick-low end rumbles, interference and tape noise.  The clarinet, which appears more conspicuously on the flipside, barely registers on this track. "Philadelphia Thieves", the first track, feels like traversing some otherworldly sphere, coming into contact with denizens of the land and then walking uneasily towards the destination – ambivalent of the path ahead and unsure if something is following.  The sonic tapestry rides high on the waves of crunchy low-end tones.  Halfway through, one can sense an immediacy to the music, as the mix becomes heavier..  Real dense, thick emanations fill the frame and until suddenly, it becomes quiet…too quiet.  Then, unannounced, the dense, swirling sounds begin to chug.  Nothing stays fixed for too long, as Cruudeuces is adroit at manipulating sounds. 

The flipside presents the stellar track, "Every Dot That Passed".  It is a completely different track altogether. The clarinet takes center stage and emits a multitude of tones mixed with crunchy tape sounds, percussion, and interference.  Beautiful tones, full of character, sing toward the sky and then trail off into the mysterious night.  The clarinet is a beautiful instrument and I love the tones Nathaniel is able to conjure.   Also, it sounds like percussion with an echo effect is being used.   It adds nicely to the overall ominous feel of the track. Even though I mentioned that the clarinet takes the center stage, it does not dominate the track and Cruudeuces selectively adds the clarinet into the mix.  This track has the feel of an elegy dedicated to a once celebrated, now ignominious figure.  It’s as if the guttural shrieks from the clarinet signal the purging of sin, seeking to redress wrongdoing and promote reconciliation.  This music emits a palpable energy.  Anything can happen, and the listener is reminded of that by the crunch of tape and the spiritual energy emitted from the clarinet.  I adore the heavy, loud buzz and sounds coming at the end of the tape.  If you listen closely, one can hear the subtle shifts of the buzz as the clarinet and tape sounds continue to ascend. One of the better tracks I have listened to this year. 

After zoning out to that heavy B side, it's time to load up again.  The entire Skell package is full of quality.  Julie Watts is the person behind the lovely artwork for all three of the recent cassettes. As with all the art on this site, do not hesitate to purchase.  Skell is burgeoning label and this release, along with the other two, will sell quickly.  Do the right thing and buy this tape from Skell or through Flipped Out Records.