steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Edward Ka-Spel

"A Long Red Ladder To The Moon" CD

Beta-lactam Ring Records

Genres: experimental rock

Beta-lactam Ring
POB 6715
Portland, OR

April 2006

The Legendary Pink Dots' Edward Ka-Spel brings us Long Red Ladder To The Moon, an album's worth of offbeat, industrial-esque yet sometimes jazzy avant-rock stuff; it's got a melodic aspect but a far more experimental and atmospheric edge. There's a dark quality that runs the course of the disc, provoking a sense of foreboding evil but keeping things vague and merely menacing. Some might tag this as "outsider folk" or "experimental psych folk," but that hardly prepares you for what you'll pay witness to. At its most accessible (and for a LPD-associated record, this is very poppy), Ka-Spel treats us to Cabaret Voltaire-esque electronics mixed with deadpan vocals ("Mechanical Sam"); other parts, meanwhile, are less heavy on the melody ("Black Widow's Kiss," "Never Say Never".) At the far end, we have the more experimental end of things - "Flipside" and its noisily desperate rush, the extended soundscape of "Gone Subterranean (Parts 1 and 2)", the manic and experimental record highlight "Treehugger"... At its simplest, I still treat this as a record whose main imperative is to convey a strong sense of atmosphere. Long Red Ladder is the soundtrack to seeing mysterious dark figures in the corners of your field of vision, but having them disappear just as soon as you turn your head.

Sound samples here.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2005]