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Cul de Sac
Strange Attractors Audio House, 2006

Long out of print, Cul de Sac’s 1991 debut still sounds great in the 21st century — maybe even better now that it’s been given a fresh remastering. The band has gone in a dizzying array of directions in the ensuing years since its release, but ECIM remains a good gateway into the band’s catalog; many of the songs here hint at their future explorations. An oddly successful amalgam of kraut-rock, John Fahey-style avant-folk and electronic mayhem, Cul de Sac never fit in with any particular scene. But that’s ended up being to their advantage as ECIM hasn’t dated a whit in the last 15 years. Guitarist Glenn Jones and Co. blast through the Can-ny “Death Kit Train,” Fahey’s “The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California” and the gorgeous “Nico’s Dream,” among other highlights. The three bonus tracks added to the album don’t add anything essential, but even if you already own the original, this new reissue is worth getting for the revelatory sound quality improvement. And unlike most self-congratulatory retrospective liner notes, Jones’ essay here is refreshingly candid. He even tells you which songs to skip.

By Tyler Wilcox.
November 16, 2006

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