Friday, February 8, 2008

Sunburned Hand of the Man - A Taste of Never (Ecstatic Yod LP)

Alright, I know I haven't been so great about consistent posting, but I'm in school and I'm busy, damn-it. I also don't mean to be overdoing the Sunburned material, but that last release was so disappointing (despite the obtuse, polite description I had to give for the folks over at blogcritics) that I felt I needed to post another about one that's actually quite smoking. A Taste of Never is a vinyl reissue of a previous CD-R that was released in 2007 (or 2006?) containing music that as far as I can tell dates back to 2003, but that release, which came with a poster by Hexit, was limited to 32 copies, so odds are you don't have it, making this beauty a (slightly) more viable option. If that's not a convoluted start to things, I din;t know what is!

Ok, on to the music. But first, allow me to weave you a tale. I have just gotten back to school, moved into my new digs in an old converted barn, and am settling in nicely to the trash heap that was becoming our living space. All the moving and schmoozing exhausts my poor little body though, so I come down with a bit of a bout with a head cold. Engulfed up to my britches in congestive grossnesses, and sprawled on the couch in a blanket, I thought that it might be a good idea to catch up on my music accumulation from over break. Figured this groggy state warranted dabbling in some new sonic territory that typically would call for a much higher aspirin dosage. Turns out this was the right medicine after all.

So what's it sound like you ask? This is the kind of meandering layering that Sunburned have always been so good at. Chock-full of bubbling vents of sound, Sunburned maintain their spacious constructions in just the right way; always, there seems to be too much going on for it not to be a mess, but they never let it get there, patiently building, each member sometimes repeating lines for entire tracks, never giving into to the urge to break out of it all and let loose. You know, really express their feelings! Nay, Sunburned is a wise collective of gents and dames, working together to weave a collective tapestry (cliche, no?) like some medieval wall-hang of a deer and men with funny haircuts and petty coats romping amongst maroons and yellows. If this was a carpet, it would be have to be a damn big outdoor one. Maybe it would be orange and cover a mountain. If it were a tree, it would be a weeping willow who's so zonked out that he's stopped his blubbering. If I were a good reviewer, I would be less obvious when I'm making analogies.

Despite one lame attempt at a "song" on the first side, the whole thing is just good. This is what Sunburned is best at. And of course, as usual, the package is totally beautiful. Letter-pressed cardboard sleeve, clear vinyl, and each one comes with an insert, though everyone I've seen has been different. Mine came with a little sticker and a xerox of some bizarre note speaking of mixing, cheese, and how "in order you have to play you have to remain alive." Pretty esoteric stuff. It also happens to be Ecstatic Yod numero uno, the first release of a label that has no reason to continue putting out exceptional, beautiful releases. These guys know what they're doing. Limited to 400 (why can't everyone just have one?!) and absolutely worth picking up if you can snag a copy.

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