Cul de Sac
Nine tunes: Etaoin Without Shrdlu- Chasing Lint Particles in the Pale Moonlight - Immortality Lessons - Tartarugas- Frozen in Fury On the Roof of the World - The Dragonfly's Bright Eye - Liturgy - Flying Music from Faust - Blues in E
is the only thing we've recorded live where pretty much everything came
together. We think it representative of whatever it is we do." --Glenn
Jones, Immortality Lessons liner notes
Anyone even remotely hovering the periphery of the independent avant rock/psyche/experimental underground should be well aware of Cul de Sac. First blazing into the stratosphere with ECIM in 1992 (Northeastern/Rough Trade), Cul de Sac quickly drew universal praise for its' heady bricolage of 60's psychedelia, Krautrock grooves, surf guitar trajectories, electronic washes, American folk influences and Middle Eastern trance. Cul de Sac have since released four classic albums for Thirsty Ear/Flying Nun/Nuf Sed and a slew of 7" singles. For their first release in three years, Strange Attractors mines the vaults and unearths a stupendous diamond in the rough, the cosmically happy "accident", Immortality Lessons.
Planetary alignment must have been underway in the cosmos that day, for Immortality Lessons congeals a seriously magical performance under the weight of some unflattering technical odds. Captured live in a tiny studio on WBRS radio one afternoon in 1999, what seemed like everything gone wrong (as detailed in Glenn Jones' liner notes) resulted in a performance of the ages. Immortality Lessons documents a fantastic Cul de Sac set, one that finds their heady music moving along with liquid grace, linking tune after tune into a brilliant suite of sound. Featuring previously unreleased material plus reworked and totally unique versions of a couple classic tunes, Immortality Lessons billows forth in a flowing stream of composition and improvisation, a bold and seamless display of the very crux of Cul de Sac's elaborate, multi-hued soul. "Etaoin Without Shrdlu" begins the excursion, swaying drunkenly through electronics-laden Middle Eastern/surf mutations. Blossoming like an iridescent lily hell-bent on life, it eventually spills into the fabulous improv percussive pulse of "Chasing Lint Particles in the Pale Moonlight" and the journey is on, launching into the mysterious ether. The title track "Immortality Lessons" is cause for celebration alone; originally recorded with John Fahey during the sessions for the infamous The Epiphany of Glenn Jones album (Thirsty Ear, 1997), this fiery blast of molten psychedelia was omitted from the album, surfacing here for the very first time. Tunes such as the elegant "Flying Music From Faust", the subtle and pastoral "Blues in E" and the manipulated field recording of "Liturgy" have never been recorded before or since and are likely not to be, existing solely via this release. Cul de Sac weave and bob vigorously in a steady trajectory, creating a headstorm of sound all across the musical map. Here the entire spectrum of Cul de Sac's prism is on display, oscillating across the vast expanse of their truly idiosyncratic instrumental psychedelic avant-rock with dexterous ease.
Reminiscent of Cul de Sac's uber-classic live rehearsal recording I Don't Want to Go to Bed yet benefiting from the studio environment, Immortality Lessons is a special treat for hardcore fans and new inductees alike. Given the fact that many of the compositions were never recorded before or since and only exist via this remarkable live document makes this recording truly extra special. Immortality Lessons could be considered a "lost" Cul de Sac album, unearthed for the delight of old and new fans alike. What is certain: Immortality Lessons is the consummate Cul de Sac performance. And that is cause for celebration for the experimental rock underground.
Discography: ECIM CD/LP (Northeastern/Rough Trade, 1991/92); I Don't Want to Go to Bed CD/LP (Nuf Sed/Flying Nun/Thirsty Ear, 1995/97); China Gate CD (Thirsty Ear, 1996); The Epiphany of Glenn Jones w/John Fahey CD (Thirsty Ear, 1997); Crashes to Light, Minutes to its Fall CD (Thirsty Ear, 1999); "Sakhalin" b/w" Cant" 7" (Shock UK, 1992); "Doldrums" b/w "…his teeth got lost in the mattress…" 7" (Nuf Sed, 1992); "Frankie Machine" b/w "K" 7" (Lunar Rotation, 1993); "Milk Devil" b/w "Rain Moths" 7" (New World of Sound, 1993), "The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California" b/w "Hagstrom" 7" (Earworm, 1999)