Cul De Sac CD review [Strange Attractors Audio House]

Music Reviews
Cul De Sac CD review [Strange Attractors Audio House]
Feb 18, 2003, 01:32

CUL DE SAC Death of the Sun CD

Canadian scholar Northrop Frye said: “In listening to the Kyrie of Bach B minor Mass we feel what amazing things the fugue can do; in listening to the finale of Beethoven's Opus 106, we feel what amazing things can be done with the fugue.”

Long running instrumental outfit Cul de Sac are intrinsically aware of such distinctions. On Death of the Sun, their second release since their collaboration with the late John Fahey and first since 1999's transcendent Crashes to Light, Minutes to It's Fall, the band further incorporates digital technology into their oeuvre, and, in doing so, continue to show what amazing things can be done with instrumental music.

While the ethereal, wordless vocals of “Turok, Son of Stone” are trance-inducing, the ominous title track pits cascading cymbals and distorted guitar against electronic buzzes and whirs. However, it is on the achingly beautiful “I Remember Nothing More” in which Cul de Sac's quest for an elaborate synthesis bears its most coherent rewards. Using as its source a well-worn 78 by long-forgotten Creole singer Adelaide van Wey, the delicate acoustic picking and insect sounds follow the treated sample into a haunting soundscape that ends far too soon.

Death of the Sun is the product of three years work, and it shows. There are minute details at work that contribute to the dreamlike vibe, and Cul de Sac's masterful integration of turntables and sampling technology could not have been more seamless and exquisite. The resulting music sparkles with the life and imagination of a Surrealist's eclipse.  [Strange Attractors Audio House]

-James Jackson Toth

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