Friday, February 22, 2008
Cupol, LIKE THIS FOR AGES/KLUBA CUPOL
4AD, 1980; original single out of print, but both tracks are available on the Gilbert/Lewis compilation 8 TIME
2 tracks, 24:53
Cupol was a one-off side project by Wire's Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis. The two artists would later collaborate under the names B.Gilbert/G. Lewis (or Gilbert and Lewis, or any variation thereof) and Dome, but Cupol is possibly the finest example of their synth work. The A-side, "Like This For Ages", is a concise four and a half minutes of crunchy synth sounds, pained vocals, and eerie atmospheres. It sounds a lot like Throbbing Gristle attempting a dance hit minus the irony of "United", or Clock DVA combining the early and later stages of their career. I wonder if this was a club hit back in the day; it certainly could fit in well with other post-punk of the time. The B-side, "Kluba Cupol", is a completely different prospect. Beginning with sine tones, "Kluba Cupol" extends over a massive twenty and a half minutes. It's essentially an extended instrumental take on "Like This For Ages", but it's extremely different and more experimental. What sounded oddly danceable on the A-side becomes bleak and cold, putting this more in line with Current 93, Sleep Chamber, and other purveyors of ritual industrial and dark ambient. "Kluba Cupol" can even be considered the first example of isolationist music. It's odd to have one side of a record be five times as long as the other, but Cupol makes it work. As stated above, this EP is now out of print, but the Gilbert & Lewis compilation 8 TIME contains both tracks in their entirety, and is well recommended for that fact alone. The other material on 8 TIME is good, but it doesn't come close to the atmospheric dread of Cupol.