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.
12" £8.99 BLACKEST041
12" on Blackest Ever Black.
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- Archive: The Downwards Singles by Tropic of Cancer
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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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