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Ka-Spel, Edward: A Long Red Ladder To The Moon

Entering the mysterious and mystical realms of a musical pioneer such as Edward Ka-Spel is not something you take lightly or do on a whim. One must be prepared to take a musical journey to the cosmos, just as you would for example not partake in the consumption of hallucinogenic chemicals without first ensuring you had the proper setting, and maybe at least day to kill. Ka-Spel built his long standing reputation as one of the founding members of The Legendary Pink Dots, a band who helped create the psychedelic blue print for experimental, dark music at the beginning of the 80's. The Dots are still around today with both Ka-Spel and Phil Knight left as sole original members. Just as the Dots have always maintained a very prolific output, this is also something Ka-Spel has done as well, releasing over 20 recordings under his own name as well as working in collaboration with artists such as Cevin Key from Skinny Puppy in Tear Garden and Christophe Heemann in Mimir.

A Long Red Ladder To The Moon is Ka-Spel's latest release for Beta-lactum Ring Records and the first thing one notices about the CD is the absolutely exquisite packaging which comes in a cardboard digi pack layout. The cover image is simple yet incredibly detailed, that of a girl holding a basketful of eyeballs, next to a tree whose leaves are also eyeballs, very bizarre indeed but nothing like what you are about to experience once you put the CD on. The music on Red Ladder is similar to the cover in the sense that it appears to be straightforward and simple, but while the music is for the most part quite minimalist in it's instrumentation and structure, there is a lot more going on underneath the surface, and it may take more than a few listens for the average listener to digest it all. Ka-Spel's vocal delivery is for the most part laid back, drug like and hypnotic and has the capability of luring the listener into a trance as the vocals weave their way in and out of the mix while ambient electronic sound capes swirl around you. It's an effective mix that truly takes you on a special journey. At times vocally Ka-Spel reminds me of a cross between Marc Bolan from T. Rex and Genesis P-Orridge from fellow musical pioneers Throbbing Gristle. If that isn't a strange and unique combination than I don't know what is. Another element of the music which just added to the overall beauty of the whole CD for me, was that I was never really 100 % convinced I knew where the musical direction was going to lead or eventually end up. Many of the songs start out one way and end up quite differently, and this was something which really enhanced my listening experience immensely. Ka-Spel has never been afraid to take risks with his music, and A Long Red Ladder To The Moon is no exception. It's transcendent and subversive all at once, making for a truly potent and ultimately rewarding mix.

Track Listing
1) Black Widow's Kiss
2) Mechanical Sam
3) Flipside
4) Hey Rainman
5) Gone Subterranean (parts 1 & 2)
6) It's Just a Job
7) Never say Never
8) Treehugger (parts 1 & 2)

Added: April 30th 2007
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score:
Related Link: Beta-lactum Ring Records
Hits: 3292
Language: english

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Ka-Spel, Edward: A Long Red Ladder To The Moon
Posted by Kerry Leimer, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-30 15:53:51
My Score:

The definition for the word "solipsist" does not appear to carry any qualitative determination. It's not inherently good, not intrinsically bad. It simply describes a certain way of thinking about being and, more broadly, a certain way of behaving. Musicland is ironically enough populated by an uncountable number of solipsists even though you couldn't prove it because, according to a solipsist, you probably don't exist.

With that in mind, A Long Red Ladder to the Moon can probably bear the weight of only one person. How or why we get invited along is in fact the mystery. The work here is a sort of meta-rock, meta-pop, trying not very hard to stick to the perfunctory conventions of the form(s) while at the same time deploying them in an ironic or at least casual way. At turns it's as self-indulgent as anything by Wild Man Fisher or The Cure and as purely an aside here, somebody help me out with Sofia Coppola's decision to close Marie Antoinette with "All Cats are Grey". At other moments it manages to escape the predictability of striving to be unpredictable and delivers a few moments, here and there, of genuine lunatic style, dash and thrust. But generally, the presence conjured up between the speakers seems one of a very self-conscious and working-things-out right there between your ears kind of project that does not have the stamina or velocity to escape the yet juvenile layers of our atmosphere. If, and it's a big if my friends, you actually exist anyway.



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