Music

Cold Cave: Full Cold Moon

This vinyl reissue of a year’s worth of singles serves as an ideal introduction to Cold Cave’s icy aesthetic.


Cold Cave

Full Cold Moon

Label: Deathwish Inc.
US Release Date: 2015-06-16
UK Release Date: 2015-06-15
Amazon
iTunes

After seeing a CD release last year, Deathwish saw fit to reissue Cold Cave’s Full Cold Moon on vinyl. Regardless of the current trend towards the fetishizing of vinyl, the singles collected here feel largely plucked from another era, one full of primitive, pulsating drum machines and analog synthesizers, and thus ideally suited to the often impractical, though tremendously aesthetically pleasing format.

Neither a proper singles collection nor a career distillation, Full Cold Moon rounds up the dozen recordings Wesley Eisold released individually in 2013. Full of primarily minimalist compositions, Full Cold Moon offers little in the way of levity throughout its 47-minute running time. But there are enough hooks and compelling melodic ideas present to help transcend the often same-y feel that afflicts so many darkwave acts who rely solely on buzzing synths and minor key modes to get by.

Practically anthemic by comparison, “Oceans With No End” is the collection’s most immediate track. Featuring a driving rhythm and synth line reminiscent of countless early ‘80s gloom mongers, Eisold delivers a series of heart-on-sleeve lyrics in his trademark though somewhat paradoxically yearning monotone. “I thought of you for the first time in five years,” he sings, assuring us he’s made peace with his past and simply wants to know what happened to a long-forgotten friend.

“God Made the World” is bleak, autobiographical synth pop with the somewhat meta chorus of “God made the world / but I made this song for you”. Crooning like a gothic Morrissey, Eisold sounds very much of the era he seeks to evoke not only instrumentally, but also philosophically, displaying a sense of vulnerability and hurt that cuts holes in the genre’s nascent nihilism.

“Some people lead very meaningful lives / dedicated, devoted husbands and wives,” he sings in a voice saturated with melancholy on “Meaningful Life”. Flipping this, the second verse becomes, “Some people lead very meaningless lives / dedicated to nothing, slaves to time.” It’s a depressing assessment of the black and white terms in which Eisold seems to view human existence. “I want to lead a very meaningful life” he pleads over and over, attempting to reassure himself as much as the listener. It’s a bleak moment on an album full of them, the sadness briefly cut through by a few major key flourishes.

The lone white sheep within a herd of black, “Tristan Corbiere,” named for the French symbolist poet who died of tuberculosis at the age of 29, features an Aphex Twin-like electronic fluidity and lightness that stands in sharp contrast to the collection’s harsher elements. It’s a fine reminder of Eisold’s compositional skills often lost within some of his more deceptively basic melodies and chord progressions wrapped in abrasive sheets of sound.

Moody, dark and brooding, Eisold’s darkwave gothic minimalism offers a surprising level of personal and emotional detail and depth that helps showcase why he’s held in such high regard. Spanning the whole of his stylistic spectrum under the Cold Cave guise, Full Cold Moon could well serve as an abbreviated retrospective of sorts, pulling in his minimalist darkwave experiments alongside his more overtly synth-pop compositions. For an artist as prolific as Eisold, it’s as good an entry point as any for those looking to delve into the gloomy world of Cold Cave.

7

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image