Friday, June 21, 2013

Quick Review Of Clay Cutlery From Pulco

Ash Cooke, Mr. Pulco himself, is back with Clay Cutlery. Details on Pulco's website:

The record is a collection of "field recordings" but don't let that fool you; tracks like "Gnarl Chess" and "Cat" are just lovely. "Cat" sounds like some mix of early Lilac Time and a hint of Gruff Rhys, while "Gnarl Chess" is like some sort of combination of Derrero and Jason Lytle from Granddady (a band which Ash's Derrero opened up for).

Still, some of these cuts are a good deal more experimental: "Cathedral" mixes organ samples -- from St. David's Cathedral, presumably -- with trippy, sampled, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. It's like what Major Tom would have listened to in his space capsule. And the throbbing "Trial of the Lanyard" is Squarepusher doing disco.

But Ash Cooke has a natural ear for a great tune. Using his iPad apps and a cheap guitar (according to the press), he can find a SFA-worthy melody and turn it into something like the sublime "Who Are You?", all sad vocals and percolating bits. Ash makes the sort of music that sounds throwaway -- not over-produced, simple stuff -- but when he finds that hook he can make music of real beauty. Seemingly casually created, Cooke's tunes -- stuff like this one -- are haunting and touching.

Part sonic collage, part lo-fi grab-bag, Clay Cutlery is typically Pulco. I picture Ash roaming the fields of Wales recording bits of things -- ramblings from some drunk guy, bird-song, the wind, a church organ -- and then he pulls out the guitar and somehow pieces it all together. For all the really odd bits on this record, there are just as many lilting melodic ones.

Clay Cutlery will be out in July, presumably on Folkwit Records, but for now find out more via the links below.

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