Friday, October 21, 2011

Cured Pink / Penguins split on Vacant Valley Records

This single came from halfway around the globe via Vacant Valley Records out of Melbourne Australia. A white vinyl split single between Cured Pink and the Penguins. If you believe that sleeve, Cured Pink is whipping a guitar with a chain and Penguins are carefully performing some kind of underground open heart surgery in their rehearsal space...with a drill. Their faces have been obscured to protect their identity, but the photos are enough to make this single go immediately to the front of the line. I kept imagining what these would sound like.

The Cured Pink track, "4:40" on the A-Side, delivers on that guitar whipping. Bad guitar. A single repeated pile of tones...some strummed chords, a bunch of single notes, some hit objects, far away metal objects. Some massive long delay thunder sounds, a sort of whine, from a bowed string? Low howls, metal pots and pans (according to the liner notes, played by unidentified children...pretty good). The entire track, Andrew McLellan is vocalizing lyrics with a heavy echo...which is probably that huge concrete studio he's in. But how does it make you feel 7inches? Well, it's a lot like a dungeon nightmare. Where there's some kind of machine, the repetitive thudding of a huge amount of never ending work. The voice far away screaming isn't too happy to be there. It ends up possibly hypnotizing the workers/slaves involved so the insanity takes longer to set in, and they throw themselves into the blast furnaces. It's a grim recording made from going out in the world and field recording these rooms and nontraditional musical that way it is awesome. His car was also broken into while he was banging away in the studio. At first I thought, "Did he have a microphone in the car? Oh, no he means that just sucked." The louder it's played, it gets exponentially disturbing.
The Penguins track, "4:17", (coincidentally these are also the length of the tracks) is more traditionally composed with heavy hit big room drums, all sorts of banging loops are repeated while a heavy distorted guitar works against this tom exercise, with bursts of crunch. This time signature only changes by which hit is being emphasized and the velocity of the instrumentation. It's a logical contrast to Cured Pink now sounds decidedly organic compared to this mechanical robotic rhythm. I'm almost convinced this percussion track could have been sampled's a little too perfect. That goes for the guitar as well. Cut and paste the scuzzy chord together with a hundred others. It's got that The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste feel in the heavily gated guitar. There's some whispery growls and when a trombone eventually comes in it takes a while to actually hear it, providing this weird sliding unsettling terrible carnival feel. By the end of this, an entire orchestra is going at the stomping rhythm like that Ajemian brothers backwards "Into The Void".

Contact Peter at vacantvalley@gmail dot com for mail order, especially if you're not local to Australia. Pure white vinyl, with detailed recording insert (nice) and mysterious photo sleeve.

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