artifacts of the no-audience underground: culver and fordell research unit

February 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Culver and Fordell Research Unit – “Everyone For Themselves, And God Against All” (Bells Hill, BH005)

Now, stop pouting – there’s no need to be jealous.  I know that I took a million years to review whatever you sent me and that this package from Scott of Bells Hill only arrived this morning, but I have been thinking about this release since I blagged a copy from Lee Stokoe at the gig a fortnight ago.  Scott is not getting special treatment – I love you all just the same (and before you ask: my spare copy has already been parcelled up ready to be sent to another good home).

The specifications: a 42 minute, 10 track CD-r (well, 47 minute, 11 track CD-r but the tenth track is five minutes of silence separating the odd, spiky coda from the main body of the album) packaged (t)artfully in the vintage smut that Lee cannibalises to serve his aesthetic nowadays.  I’m unsure as to how much of this is contributed by Fraser of FRU (hey Fraser!  hope all is well) and how much by Lee, or what their working method of collaboration was, but it is safe to say that this is not a new Dubstep/UK Funky hybrid.

The main deviation away from Lee’s usual product (apologies to Fraser but I haven’t been keeping up with FRU stuff – shame on me) is the number of tracks.  Whilst Culver/Inseminoid releases tend to feature one or two lengthy sessions of abyssal staring, this has 10 distinct segments.  A handful feature rhythmic or percussive elements – the forlorn sonar pulse of ‘Remember Me?’, the dismal pistons of ‘Truth Will Out’ for example – but most consist of carefully layered, hypnotic, droning roars of a type cherished by aficionados of Lee’s back catalogue.

It is interesting to move between so many Culveresque tones and textures in such a short length of time.  It feels like a greatest hits compilation, or a sampler album or, whilst not sounding like them of course, a Vibracathedral Orchestra LP.  I mention the latter because their albums featured tracks that sometimes felt like self-contained vignettes and sometimes were obviously excerpts from an epic, the rest of which lay tantalising on the cutting room floor.  During repeat listens – as the tracks ripened, flowered and became more distinguishable – sometimes a gestalt switch would be thrown and the vignettes would become excerpts and vice versa.  That disorientating flip definitely happens here as, like all Lee’s stuff, close attention is repaid with revelation.

Very highly recommended, of course, and limited to 50 copies so get a move on.  Contact Scott of Bells Hill via, more from Bells Hill can be inspected via their Discogs Page, and a pdf scan of Lee’s latest Matching Head Catalogue can be seen here – apologies for the hefty size of the file but it is illegible otherwise.

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