Blackest Ever Black consider Tropic Of Cancer’s The Dull Age / Victims to be more or less their foundational text apparently, so fans of the label will be glad to see it brought into the fold and re-pressed (alongside 2011 tunne Be Brave) as Archive: The Downwards Singles. Dark post-techno of premium quality.
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- Archive: The Downwards Singles by Tropic of Cancer
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 10 November 2015
Here are our original reviews of the two 12"'s from back in that little ol' thing we call the past....
The Dull Age by Brian 8/10
God, the atmosphere on the 'A' of this record really reminds me of 'Garlands'-era Cocteaus but with no gothic guitar scree or possessed Liz Frazer histrionics. On 'The Dull Age' a ghostly drum machine waltzes in the background while an absorbing wall of warm thrumming melancholia wraps around your mind like black silk. It's a simple but effective piece with a deep, minimal sound and a surprising amount of atmosphere. The flip is more akin to Moon Duo writing a piece for a doomy road movie or a modern spaghetti western. That sparse drum machine thuds away metronomically in the background as spidery, dubby neo-gothic elements shimmer, fizz and echo intoxicatingly. There's a human voice intoning, nay mumbling, somewhere within the sonic murk but it's largely unintelligible, yet completely adds to the powerful feel of the song! This moody track would mix into a set nicely after, say, a Forest Swords tune to give you some idea of the dynamic and style. 'Victims' is marginally even more appealing than the other side. Great tunes - minimal, eerie and quite timeless!
Be Brave by Ant 9/10
This is the duo of John Mendez (Silent Servant) and Camella Lobo and previous to this they did a corking 10" called 'The Dull Age' which I've caned a fair bit so when this dropped I was twitching with excitement. It totally hits the spot too with a delicious post-industrial/new-wave/goth darkness emanating from the grooves. The barely decipherable vocals add an extra dimension of mystery to proceedings and the drum machines drive it along at a sweet sluggish pace backed up by a classy bassline from Lobo, with both members providing shards of crystal electronics. Searching the recesses of my frazzled brain for an old skool comparison, Brian throws in a more contemporary reference with his "slower Soft Moon" suggestion. A beautiful track indeed and given a good splicing on the flip by Sheffield's finest, Richard H Kirk (Cabaret Voltaire!!!!!!) working the groove into a more linear track with emphasis on repetition and a low, throbbing, droney bottom end. Slowly building, it's a masterclass in hypnotic electronics. Limited clear numbered vinyl and probably wont hang around for too long. Love it.
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