Monday, 18 October 2010

Helios Creed: Lactantes Púrpura

Even though Lactating Purple was the last of the three records under review here to be released, I've decided to put this up before the Boxing The Clown article, because these three records (massive pretentiousness alert!) feel like a triptych to me, and the centrepiece which is BTC is best viewed in the light of, and between the outer panels, namely The Last Laugh and this glorious bugger of a record, the exceedingly bizarre, yet curiously catchy (by HC's standards anyway) Lactating Purple. It's the most traditionally (again, I'm using that word advisedly here) song-oriented album of the three, and the first to feature what would become his (almost) regular band for the next few years, but it's recorded before they'd settled into the more fixed style his records would display for the next few years.

It's the first with a four piece line-up as well, instead of the previous ever-changing power trio, consisting of the man himself (obviously), Paul Kirk on bass, Paul Della Pelle on drums and Z Sylver on synths and sampler, the slightly higher emphasis on synthesizer lending the record a more Chromeian feel than the previous two, as reflected in the cover art which is a fucking dead ringer for one of Chrome's magnificent sci-fi collage sleeves, yet still retaining that totally fried atmosphere of the previous two LPs, just contained within some of his more coherent and concise songwriting as opposed to the more freewheeling feel of much of the previous LP. 

In that, it feels more like a sequel to The Last Laugh, especially as it launches off with another triple header, beginning with the sublime title track, a mid-paced monster featuring some his most densely effected vocals ever, something of a hallmark of this particular release, the (for HC anyway) guitars not quite so prominent, but still squallingly fucking odd spiralling together with the synths to create an tapestry of sublime oddness where it's hard to tell what's what, and we all know how I love that shit. This leads into Flying Through The Either, a piece of psychedelic, weirdly ambient chicken scratch funk smothered in some of the most filtered guitar imaginable and underpinned with that almost ancient feel that creeps into his music courtesy of Z Sylver's droning synth overlaid with seriously fucked with spoken word that smacks into one of those whirling backmasked Chrome jump cuts and launches into Ub The Wall, where that lysergic angle grinder guitar finally roars in with a fucking murderous intent pushed ever higher by the fucking hurtling rhythm section and an hysterical vocal just on the edge of feedback until the whole thing unexpectedly flies backwards again, only to return with increased aggro. I love it so much, just one of the finest ways to open a record I've ever heard.

Next up is the whirling maelstrom of Nebuchadnezzar, another middling speed track featuring yet more astonishing guitar/synth interplay that rides in on some of the best vocal fuckery I've ever heard, then the slower, darkly melodic Modular Green which boasts a vocal so heavily flanged that you may well be sick and acts like this album's parallel to Nirbasion Annasion. The next real standout though is track 7, The Radiated, two minutes of angular spacerock that harks back to the rhythmic complexity of BTC, contains more great guitar than most fucking albums, ends with a fucking big explosion and sets the tone nicely for the next song, Spider. A genuine so-fucking-wrong classic, which crawls along on a bed of profoundly fucked riffage, a spinning, almost Fripp like guitar line and a completely screwed and pitchshifted vocal which tells a warped tale of fuck knows what kind of cosmic degradation before ramping the speed up into a rolling muted riff driven groove that eventually just flies out of orbit before dropping you into the most fucked track on the LP, the gloriously titled Martian Sperm & Bagpipes*, which seems to be an attempt to beat the world record for the most gratuitous flanging and phasing, the vocals pitched even fucking lower and every sound circling and twisting round every other in a desperate attempt to communicate... something. The LP ends on an elegiac note with Amenti, all slow motion synth and guitar held down by the minimal rhythm section, slowly bring you back down to earth in a quite wonderful manner.

*Probably best not ask. 

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