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Artist: Purple Brain

Album: Rvng Prsnts Mx7: Purple Brain

Label: Rvng Intl.

Review date: Jun. 30, 2009


Purple Brain - "???" (Rvng Prsnts Mx7: Purple Brain)


This first mix CD from indefatigable vinyl trawlers Andre Bumrocks and Jason Convict! is exactly what you’d expect if you’re familiar with the prior’s excellent mp3 blog. The website unearths obscurities and oddities from across the spectrum of recorded music, erring on the side of the exotic and narcotic with a taste for kitsch that crosses over into experimental realms, and vice-versa. This same curatorial slant is retained on Purple Brain, commissioned by New York’s RVNG Int. label and limited to 1100 CDs, 300 of which randomly include a small slice of translucent colored vinyl (purple, naturally).

Purple Brain creeps in, seemingly mid-song, with the imploring horns, soulful vamping and crackling bongos of Isis’s “Servant Saviour,” a somewhat deranged bit of widescreen psych that melts away in an inferno of tape delay. It’s a record filled with true obscurities: good luck figuring out who’s responsible for the lilliputian electronics and sing-song children’s chorus on Track 8 that, like the rest of the disc, is entirely devoid of authorial credits. You may find yourself wondering whether that’s truly the familiar moog-scrawled chug of Stereolab you hear two tracks in, or if it’s some newly unearthed predecessor. (Spoiler: it’s indeed the former, in “Yper-Yper Sound” mode, with asthmatic flutes and lysergic guitar trails courtesy of Nurse With Wound).

Likewise, there’s some shock in discovering that’s Jimi Hendrix unspooling reverb-mangled coils of electricity among improbably goofy whinnies and gurgles from analog cabinets. It’s “Captain Coconut,” a cut from arguably the most controversial Hendrix posthumous cash-in, Crash Landing, that also manages to look ahead to the post-punk tribal minimalism of Cabaret Voltaire, with its tense rhythms and forbidding clouds of texture.

And perhaps one can credit the surgical editing skills of Bumrocks/Convict! for excising a non-execrable minute and change from the Robert Palmer discography – the lashing metallic convulsions and frantic nano-rhythms of “Si Chatouillieux” sandwiched between Alan White’s strutting and somewhat Balearic “Oooh Baby” and the raucous crime and dissonance of Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin Jr.’s calamitous “The Riot.”

The CB chatter and disembodied lap steel crystals of Joe South’s “A Million Miles Away”; the iced exotica and gold-leaf trot of Gong’s “Percolations, Pts. 1 & 2”; the cold, metal and rubber of Eroc’s “Der Prophet”: Purple Brain’s binge of mutant, unidentified sub-genres should be commended not just for the scope of its perception but the sheer potency of its flow.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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