Friday, November 12, 2010


The Death of the Enlightenment Project - Temple of Wounds
Pumf Records [Brown paper bag series]. PUMF679 CDR.

It took a bloody Yorkshireman to have the guts to pick Cage’s 4.33 for Desert Island Discs and what did the BBC do? Oh we cant play it all says presenter Kirsty Young ‘due to technical difficulties’ i.e. in other words if we have more than two seconds of dead air half the listenership thinks the transmitter’s gone down. But during that glorious brief period of ‘silence’ you could actually hear Ian Macmillan’s stomach gurgling and Young suppressing a giggle because, as any fule kno there is no such thing as silence. God bless Ian Macmillan, the Bard of Barnsley.
The Death of the Enlightenment Project like their natural sounds too - not that this is an homage to Chris Watson - for whilst there are all manner of everyday sounds on here [dogs, babies etc..] they’re all treated samples, all of them layered up and wrapped in an Industrial blanket as supplied by Throbbing Gristle. But lets not stop at Throbbing Gristle for I also detect hints of Illusion of Safety, guitar era Ramleh, Muslimgauze, Paul McCarthy, Andrew Liles, Steve Stapleton, John Duncan, Column One ... its not a bad bunch to be associated with.
Layering sampled sounds to create something afresh is nothing new of course but before you start you have to have the right ingredients and TDOTEP have plenty of the right ingredients. Lets start with the first track ‘Blood and Sand’ and its heavy raspy breathing, after a while there’s an American cop car siren, then a Muezzin call, barking dogs and finally, whiplashed elevator cables - the barking dogs mutate into their own rhythm underpinning it all before you come full circle and are left alone with the heavy breathing. And so it goes. TDOTEP’s only problem is that all those influences are squeezed onto one release so you have a track like ‘Slave Bait’ which sounds like the industrial version of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn with screams replacing the sounds of passing motor cars next to ‘Full of Eyes and Dead Skin’ the second section of which is comparable to Paul McCarthy vocal work in which a deep male vocal is distorted and manipulated to such an extent that it appear like an ethereal cross between a cow in distress and a moron. And then there’s the Ramleh-lite feedback and thump of Dog Pieces, the Muslimgauze near east beats of ‘Lost Child on the M62’, the Illusion of Safety abuse confessionals [a distressed female - ‘I had been urinated on’], the tubular bells, the shortwave fizz, the astronaut voices, the shotgun blasts, crying babies, CD skips - all of it layered and produced to an incredibly high standard but all of it desperately in need of some focus. For just because you have a paintbox full of paints doesn't mean that you have to use them all. Fortunately TDOTEP don’t overdo it too much, not to an extent that it detracts from the overall work but nine tracks with such differing styles is a baffling one [although this may go some way to explaining that this is a recreation of a live event]. There are cliches on here though and I’m not going to let the Charlie Manson sample pass without saying anything and those synth drums hurt.
What The Death of the Enlightenment Project really needs to do is decide which direction to take. This is the second release to come this way and if memory serves it has a lot in the common with the first. You could easily take half a dozen elements from just a couple of tracks here and build them into something really classy.

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