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- / CD reissue of first cassette by Matthew Bower's (Skullflower) solo project Total on Turgid Animal
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- Hard + Low by Total
9/10 Ant Staff review, 03 May 2012
West Yorkshire's own Turgid Animal label have done the “noise” underground a major service in reissuing a remastered CD edition of 'Hard + Low'. Originally released on Broken Flag some 26 years ago. This was the first solo cassette released by Matthew Bower (Skullflower, Sunroof!, Hototogisu, Pure, Mirag, Voltigeurs etc.) A busy artist to say the least, and still going strong with the recent brain melting 'Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses' by Skullflower and the awesome Valley Of Fear CD that is also out this week on Turgid Animal's black metal sub-label Legion Blotan ,and is highly recommended. 'Hard+Low' still holds up after just over a quarter of a century after it's original issue. The Seven tracks still sound unique, innovative, ritualistic and simultaneously dark and psychedelic. This dark and white light aesthetic has been key to much of Bower's output over the years. Listening back it's easy to hear the foundation and roots of the projects and vision Bower would later pursue; and there are a a fucking lot of 'em! The disc sounds great, although having never heard the original tape (I'd probably be looking at around fifty quid to shell out even if I could get my hands on one) so whoever has done the remastering has done a grand job without making things sound too polished, retaining the raw authenticity of the original recordings. Some of the sounds are easily identifiable such as the guitar but many are difficult to determine, synths? horns? primitive sampling techniques, strange detached vocals, piano or just a wild setup of effects??? Who knows? 'Hard + Low' blurs the lines between noise, industrial and avant-garde. This is basically essential for any follower of Matthew Bower's work or indeed collectors of the legendary Broken Flag label and is a key document from one of the UK underground's most consistent key players. Let's hope that Turgid Animal will continue with some more reissue action.... I'd like to think that 'Sutra' would be up next for a remaster on CD. Edition of 500 copies with new artwork.
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