Title: Salmon Custard
Artist: Cuckoo Spit
Release Date: Aug 15, 2013
License: CC BY-NC-SA
This is one of those releases where it would have been easy to say “this is too weird” and just pass it up. But if you’ve read my reviews for a while, you will know that I have this tendency to be attracted to odd and unique releases occasionally. This release was definitely one of them.
Possibly the big attraction of this release for me is that it hearkens back to an older (early 1980’s) album by Todd Rundgren. On his ‘A Capella’ release, Todd manipulated his voice to create songs in many different styles: from Doo-Wop four-part harmonies, to middle-eastern prayers. Of course, Rundgren was likely not the first to do something like this. There have been lots of experimental works done using musique concrete techniques, tape manipulation, etc. ‘A Capella’ was unique in that it was the first application of a digital sampler to effect this wide range of musical styles.
More recently, I was captivated by Joe Frawley’s ‘Angel Boxes’ release, where he took recordings of singer Rachael Rambach’s voice, and manipulated them into complete compositions. Each piece having a completely different feel and texture to it. This was an extension of electro-acoustic ideas into a new form of abstract classical music in my opinion. (And it is a release that is in my permanent collection, and I’ve played more than once on the CerebralMix).
So, ‘Salmon Custard’ is a new experimental vocal manipulation release from Cuckoo Spit. From the start you get the feeling that there is something a little different about this release. It sounds like bubble-gum pop, yet some of the lyrics are definitely twisted. References to torture with bamboo and rectal penetration are set right alongside images of rainbows and butterflies. Yeah, this isn’t the bubble-gum pop you heard back in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
But if this were only bubble-gum, it wouldn’t be an interesting release. Instead the soundscapes evolve in such a way that you have the feeling that you are in some kind of child-like cartoon gone very dark. From bubble-gum pop, to dark ambient drone (on ‘Basting The Turkey’), this is a recording that expands on the range of vocal expression in unique and dark ways.
This is one of these releases that shows an artist that has an interesting vision, and a good musical vocabulary for painting these audio images on a canvas. How far it will go? I don’t know. I hope it’s going to be a longer voyage as I think this is only the perimeter of what Cuckoo Spit can accomplish.