William Bennett's new record under the percussive Cut Hands moniker, 'Festival Of The Dead', is based around aggressive, deathly drums, as you'd expect by now -- it's the ex-Whitehouse member's third record under his new alias, and this particular branch of noise continues to sound more organic and rhythmic.
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If you’ve recently caught a performance by William Bennett as Cut Hands chances are you’ll recognise some of the material on his second long player for Blackest Ever Black - ‘Festival of the Dead’. Likewise if you’ve been picking up the 12”s you’ll already own a small handful of the tracks, but there’s plenty of previously unreleased material present to make this essential for any Cut Hands fan.
‘The Claw’ opens and immediately conjures memories of a small but dedicated crowd losing their shit when he played at Golden Cabinet over in Shipley. Fairly early doors, little to no intoxication but bodies driven by the energy of Cut Hands African influenced rhythms. There are distinct parallels with techno; a testament to the power of the banging drum.
“I Know What I Must Do’ offers a brief interlude, making way for the ass shaker that is ‘Damballah 58’. Although the percussion is organic sounding there is a rigid electronic feel at times, however this is then broken by more dynamic rhythms, saving it from sounding too “computerized”.
Of most interest to me at this point in time are the less rhythmically driven tracks; like the nightmarish ‘Parataxic Distortion’, the beautiful melancholy ambience of ‘Belladonna Theme’ and the ethereal, dreamworld of ‘Inlightenment’.
‘Vaudou Take Me High’ is basically a variation of ‘The Claw’. Meanwhile ‘None Of Your Bones Are Broken’ has some lovely sounding instruments whose names are beyond my knowledge of traditional African Instruments. It has a wonderfully uplifting spiritual feel that really soothes the soul.
‘Madwoman’ previously appeared on Downwards but is present here in the form of a ‘Festival Mix’. A high octane party of percussion and searing synth. ‘Fruit Is Ripe’ is like a boat ride along the Congo after a monsoon. Closer ‘Fire Ends The Day’ has gloopy carnival rhythms complete with techno compatible bassline. If you’re a Cut Hands virgin then I’d say that ‘Festival of the Dead’ would be a great introduction, offering a good overview and insight into Bennett’s vision of primal rhythm fused with contemporary electronics.
Lovely artwork as always by Mimsy DeBlois, this time in glorious technicolour
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