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Cul De Sac

Post Rock/Math rock

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Cul De Sac Ecim album cover
2.67 | 13 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Death Kit Train (6:51)
2. The Moon Scolds the Morning Star (4:42)
3. Stranger at Coney Island (1:54)
4. Homunculus (7:52)
5. The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California (4:11)
6. Nico's Dream (5:45)
7. The Invisible Worm (4:15)
8. Song to the Siren (3:37)
9. Electar (4:57)
10. Lauren's Blues (5:13)

Total Time: 49:38

bonus tracks on 2006 re-release:

11. Cul de Sade (3:01)
12. The Bee Who Would Not Work (3:35)
13. Negligee (0:38)

LP track list (1992):

A1 Death Kit Train
A2 The Moon Scolds The Morning Star
A3 Homunculus
A4 Portland Cement Factory At Monolith, California
B1 Nico's Dream
B2 The Invisible Worm
B3 Electar
B4 Lauren's Blues

Line-up / Musicians

Bass - Chris Fujiwara
Guitar - Glenn Jones
Guitar [Steel] - Ed Yazijian
Percussion - Phil Milstein
Percussion, Drums - Chris Guttmacher
Synthesizer, Vocals - Robin Amos
Violin - Ruthie Dornfeld
Vocals - Dredd Foole

Releases information

CD Capella PELL 0012 (UK),Northeastern Records NR 5503-CD (1993,US), Strange Attractors Audio House (2006,US,three bonuses)

LP Capella PELL 0011 (UK,1992)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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CUL DE SAC Ecim ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(8%)
Good, but non-essential (62%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

CUL DE SAC Ecim reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
1 stars I was just curious to check out this band, because I never heard the name before. Okay now I know that it's absolutely not interesting for a prog-fan.I don't know how their other releases are, whether they have improved later on. But their debut is definitely boring. The same stupid grungy guitar riffing all over the whole record with some noisy electronic bits inbetween. Actually the music reminds me more to some post-punk or grunge type, one reference might be PIXIES, but even they did better stuff. As a summary if you're looking for interesting art rock, forget about this band.There are much better ones, like DJAM KARET for example. 1 star is really the maximum I can give!
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Ecim is Cul De Sac 's debut album and spells Mice backwards. As evident by listening to later albums CDS has been very influenced by Krautrock and more precisely Can. Right from the first track are those influences felt and they are not yet digested correctly since they are too evident and sometimes over-powering.

Highlights include Death Kit Train , Nico's Dream, Electar and Lauren's Blues with a slighly arabic sounding violin. Also worthy of note is Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren done very correctly (especially in the singing dept.) and more faithful to the original than Robert Plant's version (on his superb Dreamland album). On the downside of things Homononculus suffers from bad sound and there is horrible singing in Invisible Worm. Overall a good debut album holding many promise for the future.

Although I deeply respect Dieter's opinion , I can only advise him to listen to this album again because obviously something slipped by him and this album is much more worthy than his rating!

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 4 stars for CAN fans.

Cul De Sac are a band with a clear influence from Krautrock specially the band Can. Right from the start of the album, "Death Kit Train", you know the band has its toes dipped in Can goodness. The influence can at times be a little too much, but really, it isn't a problem unless you know Can and do not enjoy them. For fans of Can this would be like their reincarnation in the 90's, but a tiny bit more varied.

Even though the band is in the post-rock genre, there aren't any characteristics from the genre that can be spotted. One of the reasons is that it's still 1992 which means that the whole post-rock boom didn't quite exploded yet and that they first started as a Krautrock inspired band and then, as time passed, they grew out of it and went into a more post-rock sounding band (this is solely biased on the two albums I own from them, "Ecim" and "Crashes to Light...").

Their sound is playful and energetic with repetitive pounding drums and bass lines. The guitar and keyboard add their playful and varied themes in their sound. In one song you're in the middle of the ocean and in the next you're listening to a theme song for ancient Egypt, so it has a good variety of themes. One of the songs that particularly stood out for me was "Song to the Siren" which is the only song that has vocals (yes, the album is instrumental although they sometimes babble, mumble, chant and other non-lyrical stuff), and what lovely vocals they are! It's quite emotional, but still staying away from being serious. We can't leave out their psychedelic sound. The keyboard player often makes trippy effects adding a nice touch to their sound and making the album more exciting, enjoyable and fun to listen to specially for fans of krautrock and psychedelic rock which is what this review is more directed at.

For Can fans this is definitely a worthy listen and you won't be disappointed with this album, the same goes for psychedelic fans.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Really interesting debut album of Bostonian band. Music is quite eclectic and not very usual for American band: mix of neo-psychedelic experimental rock, Krautrock rhythms,electronic loops and aesthetics and post-rock ambient sound and some characteristic guitars.

Songs all are very various and in separate compositions you can hear more Can-like influences, or freaky psychedelic vocals, acoustic guitars and post punk atmospheres. Besides of some aural post-rock external attributes, music by its nature is heavily psychedelic, usually down or mid tempo, with accent not on complexity or musicianship technique,but on hypnotic rhythms and krautish aesthetics.

There are too many fillers to name this album really great release, but in many moments its music really attracts by its freshness and some great post-punk atmosphere of late 70-s.

Really interesting debut of not very known band, could attract psychedelic prog and krautrock fans, hardly the release for post-rock lovers though.

My rating is 3+.

Review by Guldbamsen
3 stars Going against the grain

I've often come across folks who adore the alluring stuttering trades of Can - searching high and low for something close - something illustrious and new in the same ballpark, and while Can always were unique and without any real successor, you'l certainly find a lot to like on this debut album by Cul de Sac, if you enjoy motorik laden grooves and small swirling guitar patterns that continue to colour those small spaces between the beats.

Cul de Sac are a Boston based act that disregarded all matters of fashionable trends set by the raggedy grunge hordes coming out of Seattle at the time. We're talking 1991 and bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and a truckload of others were enjoying their day in the sun. Literally sweeping across the world like a wildfire, grunge had taken a hold on teenagers - the way they dressed, acted and attended gigs - gigs that now entailed kids on top of each other or ecstatically bouncing into one another with brute primal force. Cul de Sac drew their inspiration from the same place as grunge actually, but whereas the latter focused on the easy digestible ear-candy of a guitar riff, the lads out of Boston looked overseas to the lands of mushy convoluted experiments - preferably coming out of Germany. The ritualistic dance music of Krautrock.

Today the music scene has nearly dissolved - blown up into a million fragmented pieces. Download culture and the everything goes attitude now prevails leading big business music labels to change their ways or lay down die and whither away, -and just like in fashion where designers now have opened up the floodgates to every style and trend from the preceding century, music now seems similarly shattered into tiny fragmented societies for then to be glued together like some sort of sonic Frankenstein. Sadly though this change has also turned everybody into a dedicated fan that 'likes' his/her stuff on Facebook and Twitters all over the place like some mental stork advertising post prog rock pop metal funk in higher altitudes and beyond. Luckily so this does also mean that styles and genres now are blending at a furious rate, and we need not look any further than here on our beloved site, where black metal bands have crept in the back door. Back in the 90s, this musical gang bang was only in it's pyjamas, and it was bands like Cul de Sac that pioneered these changes within the music scene.

The music here is a powerful blend of late 60s psychedelia and a German styled stuttering rhythm section that tjuh tjuhs it's way all down the line like a reliable steam engine. Sure the obvious nod to a band like Can is inevitable, but I hear just as much LA Düsseldorf in the rhythm section and the meaty incessant drive of things. A trade that a lot of the more 'skilled' punk bands sucked into their sound, and practically claimed as their own during a couple of tumultuous years, where it was okay to be experimental - as long as you didn't flaunt your skills or played a solo.

There are heaps upon heaps of underground bands today that owe their existence and sound to a band like Cul de Sac. The marriage of danceable snuffling beats and those psychedelic sways of surfer guitar is a quick way of satisfying even the most hardcore music critic, and indeed: there is something here for almost everyone into rock music. As this band continued to evolve, and even got to play with one of their biggest heroes in Damo Suzuki, their sound progressed naturally and brought with it a sense of maturity and a way of opening up to all the different ideas they had floating around in their young and naive heads anno 1991. As it is Ecim is still a very cool album that unassumingly leads you on your way into the colourful, stuttering and industrial psychedelia of Cul de Sac. 3.5 stars and highly recommended to fans of modern prog rock that doesn't necessarily sound like it.

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