duke st. workshop

Last up from Static Caravan comes from the much admired Duke St. Workshop. We haven’t seen finished copies yet ours appears to be a specially packaged promo housed in a DVD case inside of which all manner of inserts are tucked such as floor plan acetates, maps, polaroid photographs and a sticker – very eye catching. ‘Cabin 28’ is Duke St. Workshop’s second album following last years highly regarded ‘lexicon of paragon pines’ and that quite dandy ‘hospital’ 7 inch released earlier this year (oh and that ridiculously ultra limited ‘alpha / beta / gamma’ CD released to celebrate RSD14). To give you a flavour of ‘Cabin 28’ is to draw from the press release the following ‘a cold case from 1981…a remote rural setting…the keddie resort…soundtracking the case from dawn to midnight and beyond….the mood of the case the narrative dwelling not on the macabre but on family, love, loss and hope’. Cryptic. Nine tracks clocking in at just shy of the 26 minute mark, Duke St. Workshop appear to occupy an aural outpost that sits awkwardly refusing obvious categorization, one minute tweaking kosmiche corridors (exemplified here to perfection by the Karl Bartos hatchling ‘night draws in’), sometimes as is their want frequenting ghost walks along hauntologists sights at other times crafting strange sonic manifestations the imagery of which sits coded and in hibernation deep in the minds of children of the late 60’s and early 70’s. ‘Cabin 28’ sits and feels like a photograph album, each moment a recording for posterity a fleeting experience, each different yet uniquely bonded to its viewer – more so a field journal occasioned by moments of pure pop clarity such as that of the sweetly harvested title track that sits at its heart whose milky mirages and dreamy folk elopement traces its lineage back to a youthful ‘shorley wall’ era Ooberman. Distant brethren of Wizards Tell Lies (a long overdue mention for them is imminent) their world one suspects is pre-occupied by the mysteries of pylons and number stations and with the apocryphal writing of JG Ballard read to the soundtrack of Tristram Cary (as characterised albeit briefly on ‘hitch hikers on HWY 70’). Here you’ll encounter the cantering pastoral beauty of the Budd-esque minimalism that is ‘Sue and the Kids’ serenely swimming into the sun lit distance crookedly sitting aside the penetrating darkly hypnotic glare of the noir cradled Goblin like sparseness that fleets ghost like through  ‘Spanish Oaks’. Elsewhere ‘April 11th’ is pure Wurlitzer Jukebox flashbacks to a time in the mid 90’s Birmingham scene taking in a snapshot of such lost ensembles as Broadcast, Pram, Plone and L’Augmentation. As you’d rightly expect of a track titled ‘midnight’ it appears apparition like couched in fracturing disturbia, a nightmarish trip of tribal voodoo visitations and disorientating oddness brought to bear by freaky flutes and an obsession with soundtracks from 70’s styled east European children’s animation. Strange though curiously rewarding, DSW are the white noise crackle when the white dot fades from the TV. They are the shadow forming just out of eye shot. They are essential listening – but then if you miss out this time, hang around about 15 years or so and ‘Cabin 28’ will no doubt appear on Trunk records – yeah that good.  www.staticcaravan.org

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