Tropic Of Cancer ‎– The Dull Age / Victims



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October 10, 2013
edited over 5 years ago
referencing The Dull Age / Victims, 2xFile, FLAC, Single, DO02
Following from the previous curveball sent by Mick Harris and Regis, Downwards resort to darker tactics with an extraordinary release by Camella Lobo & J Mendez, who's probably better known as Sandwell District's Silent Servant. Recorded live in the spring of 2009, 'The Dull Age' is a harrowing compositon of arcane folk drones and smacked out vocals, driven by Suicide style drum machine minimalism and shuddering within some of the bleakest soundscapes this side of Sunn O))). 'Victims' on the underside was recorded in winter of 2008, and follows the same shady path inspired by a wealth of classic darkside influences to end up with a dank basement sound bearing traces of everything from The Velvets to MBV, with distant drum loops and miserablist guitars trawling the surface. Despite not being remotely techno, the sound perfectly suits the sinisterly irony-free Black country aesthetic of the label and come with our highest recommendations to any lovers of the Type imprint, Deathprod, Cold Cave, Mordant Music's 'The Tower' project or classic darkside material.



October 10, 2009
referencing The Dull Age / Victims, 10", Ltd, Whi, DO 2
Tropic Of Cancer might be an incognito name to many, but it is only a new alias of John Mendez, AKA Silent Servant, who released a few impressive releases on the great Sandwell District imprint.
Now he's out with an experimental ambient 10'' on the Downwards power house. Aiming more in the direction of their previous release "Radical simple practice" than the former harsh and acute techno, Tropic Of Cancer delivers two relaxing music, which does not quite fall in the ambient bin but can easily earn its place in any decent chill session. The A side, The Dull Age, has bleak percussion, a deep and droning bass line, some distant and indecipherable chants, while the flip side has Victims, an atypical tune, with percussion barely audiable as it is pushed way into the background, making it sound like it was a demo recording of some talented garage rock band drummer. The bass line takes a back seat too. To compliment that feeling, Victims also has soothing, dominant guitar riffs all over, which despite their steady presence, do not tarnish the overall laid back feel of the music. Occasional, but brief outbursts of vocals enter every once in a while, but nothing you will understand.
Overall, this is an interesting release. I cannot say I am all that impressed, but I am eager to see where will Downwards take their sound and aesthetics next. This is a step away from their previous release, which was already a solid parting from their sound of the past.