Title: Salmon Custard
Artist: Cuckoo Spit
Release Date: Aug 15, 2013
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Fwonk*

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.

Cuckoo Spit: Salmon Custard




Posted by George De Bruin