Review

Entente Cordiale / Stone Baby - our lungs are bleeding, but we keep breathing

Crucial Blast

When it comes to delicate, beautifully constructed handmade CD-Rs of crazed improv-noise and droning, rumbling free-rock, the Carbon Records label out of Rochester is one of the coolest. We've been carrying their heavier titles for years and some of the more recent stuff that the label has been putting out (Entente Cordiale, Crush The Junta) has been really massive in a Dead C-on-steroids, buzzing amp-noise and spontaneous riff-mangle sort of way, and every one of these CDs and CD-Rs looks amazing. This split release is the latest from Carbon, a two-disc set that features a different 3" CD-R from the Rochester bands Entenete Cordiale and Stone Baby, and both of 'em deliver about twenty-some odd minutes of dark, shadowy free-sludge/psych/drone that hits the spot.

The first disc is from the mysterious Stone Baby, who I'd never heard of before picking this up, but who craft these really dark and creepy free-drone ambient scrapescapes. Their twenty minute disc features the three-part "Silicosis Suite", which begins with echoing plucked strings of some sort looped over what sounds like a violin being slowly played and a dark expanse of shimmering ambience and distant, pulsing tympani-like thuds. The piece slowly becomes more detailed as creepy distorted voices, warbling electronic melodies and heavy, Earth-esque dronemetal guitars begin to appear, the latter being a slow rumbling cloud of looped amp-crunch that hovers over everything like a toxic thundercloud. Things become heavier and darker as moaning choral voices and some really depressing violin melodies rise to the surface, and the distorted guitar textures swell in volume, sometimes forming into a murky droning riff. The third and final part of the suite drops the distorted guitars and has processed violin weeping over waves of blackened droning drift. Imagine a doped-up Tony Conrad playing with doom-psych basement trogs Robedoor and yer almost there.

Moving on to the Entente Cordiale disc, we get a single twenty two minute track called "96/89", an epic piece of dark free-drone-rock that starts off with softly rising swells of low-end feedback and a softly plucked melody, simple and pretty, played over and over. Droning bass notes and scraping guitar strings drift around as the playing slowly builds steam and the volume gradually rises, and as the melody and chords start to change, the sound moves from airy prettiness to darker shadows of buzzing bassy rumbling and droning strings that seem to slip in and out of tune. The sound melts and distends, turning sickly as all semblance of melody evaporates leaving only the nauseaous warbling feedback and atonal humming of guitar strings. But then it all transforms again in the last eight minutes when a simple tribal-type drumbeat enters and another melody appears, a basic, catchy indie rock hook on one of the guitars that kinda sounds like Sebadoh or something, played for a couple of minutes over the murky tom-tom beats and then swamped by waves of loud amplifier feedback and guitar noise. Definitely poppy by Entente Cordiale standards, but still in the vein of their dark Dead C brand of free-noise-rock jamming.

Amazing packaging as always...this set comes packaged in a brown kraft gift box with full color artwork glued to the front, the two mildly spray-painted discs enclosed inside with an insert card, and tied together with a thick piece of twine. Limited to 100 copies.




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