Earth Is Heaven /Heaven Is Hell is the paradoxically named EP from Red Stars CPR, a collaboration between Red Stars Over Tokyo and CPR where they found unity in their difference of approach. Warm and uncanny loops bleed into something more sinister and darkly psychedelic. Earthly and heavenly and hellish. On Testtoon.
Vinyl 12" £8.49 TTTB27
12" EP on Testtoon.
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The ‘Earth Is Heaven / Heaven Is Hell’ EP on Belgium’s Testtoon label is a collaborative effort involving Red Stars AKA Red Stars Over Tokyo producer Jeroen Lauwers -- who has previously released records on Testtoon as well as his own Hot Hair imprint. CPR appears to be the mysterious Berlin duo of Alexandra Ismalone and Tobias Lisius. The latter released a somewhat below the radar disc on Hospital Productions as Liziuz. Together they conjure a sound that paradoxically traverses dark and light - a sort of dark ambient music punctured by rays of light. 'The Killing Of A Sacred Place' comprises the first side of the EP, clocking in at thirteen and a half minutes and unfurls into a gently hypnotic, transportive and otherworldly trip that seems to float upwards and spiral downwards simultaneously. Beyond the framework of loops are lots of intricate, transient sounds that flutter in and around the spectrum. It’s immaculately produced and dark in an intriguing, mysterious way rather than foreboding. The black and white elements like paint mixed but not to the point where it turns grey. Rather, dark and light are intertwined and bleed into one another. ‘Cedar’ has a more stirring, initially slightly optimistic atmosphere. There’s a sort of smothered, opiated, spectral dreampop buried deep inside somewhere with breathy choral female vocal apparitions deployed very economically to ghostly effect. The increasing sense of melancholy elevated by gorgeous, fragile glassy piano keys that seem to hover and hang momentarily. At its most hazy, the track makes me imagine that in a parallel universe it could lurk inside a very early 4AD sleeve designed by Vaughn Oliver, and thinking about it, the cover art does have something of that aesthetic. ‘White Blood’ evolves with muted siren-like loops beneath sparse martial drums into something resembling the dark ritual incantations of OAKE, complete with vocal drones that transport us into some occult ceremony - somewhere in unknown space and time.
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