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CINDYTALK - The Labyrinth Of The Straight Line

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Edition Mego EMEGO 219CD
Release Year: 2016
Note: with "Labyrinth of the straight Line" CINDYTALK returns partly to the industrial beginnings from the 80's, the album is much more noisy, pulsative-rhythmic and demanding as before, but also has beautiful dreamy tracks and merging field recordings, extremely surreal and ghostly... vocal extracts come from KEN McMULLENS film 'Ghost Dance' (1983), relating to JACQUES DERRIDA: "cinema plus psychoanalysis equals the Science of Ghosts"; this is CINDYTALKs masterpiece on E. Mego!!!
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"The Labyrinth Of The Straight Line is a compilation of chimerical poetry. Ambiguous haikus of agony, melancholy, obscurity and dissensus are unfolding over time. Walking on the shapeshifting paths of transgression, on the search for new realities since the early 1980s, Cindytalk's latest release pays homage to their industrial roots, comprising brutalist outbursts in abstract sceneries of beauty and abysmality. As surreal and introspective as a film by Jean Cocteau, as labyrinthic and enigmatic as a story of Borges, Cindytalk succeeds in spatializing subjectivity. These introverted detournements follow the logic of dreams and form the unsettling soundtrack of an unresting mind. The outcome can be abrasive and Balearic at times, but also delicate and melancholic. The Labyrinth Of The Straight Line forms an alphabet of dark and obscure detachment. Acid shivers of a body without organs and convulsive pumps of arteries alternate with poignant murmurs of the past that dissolve in tender shades of hushed despair and graceful debris. The listener finds themselves in spaces with walls crumbling down or concaved by glazed mirrors terrorizing the claustrophobic body. From time to time, you can hear a disembodied voice, speaking soft and clear like a narrator from a different reality. Sonic psycho-geography between somnambulist dark ambient, claustrophobic post-industrial and nightmarish techno. Delightful sketches of eschatology. Written and recorded by Cindytalk between 2013-2015 at Roi Vert, Okamoto, Japan and Thirteenth Floor, London, UK. Film clips on "Sea Of Lost Hopes", "Lost Unfound" and "Filthy Sun" from Ghost Dance (1983) directed by Ken McMullen. Design/images by David Coppenhall."


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"Cindytalk is a beautifully dark enigma. Having started life as a full band in the goth heyday of the 1980s, they now center on the figure of Gordon/Cinder Sharp, who use the name to explore deep and mysterious electronic psycho-geography. On the surface, the music of Cindytalk could be described as “industrial” but scratch deeper and the breadth of their humanity becomes starkly real and inescapable. 2013’s A Life is Everywhere threw that into the sharpest relief as it served as a meditation on death and loss, so on initial listens to The Labyrinth of the Straight Line it feels somewhat like a retreat into abstraction and aggression. Consider then the title: how can a straight line become a labyrinth? If any sentence encapsulates the intricate mysteries of Cindytalk, The Labyrinth of the Straight Line is it.

Could it be a gender reference? Cindytalk have in the past released songs like “Transgender Warrior,” a clear defiance of society’s ongoing attempts to thwart the lives of those who don’t adhere to gender binaries. With a title like The Labyrinth of the Straight Line, it could be argued that they are exposing the complexities of human sexuality and celebrating non-conformity: we may wish to be “straight,” or portray ourselves as such, but under each straight-acting individual lies a wealth of contradictions, emotions and desires. The music reflects such conflict in abrasive surges of electronic white noise and shifting sonic geographies, as tectonic plates of drone and empty cathedrals of sound shift, mutate and collapse around our ears.

That is, however, a perhaps narrow way of approaching this mystifying tapestry of an album. It’s a path worth exploring, and a reality I’m glad an artist like Cindytalk deals with, but it only touches on their full vision. The vocal extracts that crop up on “Sea of Lost Hopes,” “Lost Unfound” and “Filthy Sun in Diminished Light,” taken from Ken McMullen’s oblique experimental film Ghost Dance (1983), give a better idea of The Labyrinth of the Straight Line’s philosophical backbone. The film follows French philosopher Jacques Derrida and explores the mythologies and beliefs around ghosts, notably Derrida’s belief that “cinema plus psychoanalysis equals the Science of Ghosts.” On The Labyrinth of the Straight Line, Cindytalk take that philosophy into the musical realm, and so behind the deadened voices they conjure up, indeed behind artist and listener themselves, lie a myriad congregation of other souls, all being channeled by Cindytalk’s bank of machines and collection of sounds. This sharpens most acutely into focus on the epic “A Wolf at the Door,” on which a sustained and mournful synth line drifts through a haze of rain and distant birdsong. There’s a funereal, elegiac tone to the piece that stretches beyond its own 15 minutes to color the texture of the tracks around it, which suddenly bask in its emotional resonance.

“A Wolf at the Door” more or less marks the halfway point of the journey into a labyrinth that started with “Sea of Lost Hopes”’ oceanic samples and an ominous voice declaring “Sea of electric eels/Sea of unknown movements/Far below the surface/Sea of primitive desires/Sea of endless triangles/Sea of ritualistic murder/Sea of history/Sea of greed/Sea of guilt/Sea of eight million false faces/Sea of lost hopes/Sea of despair/Sea of occasional reason/Sea without time.” Those words are echoed in the melancholic drift of “A Wolf at the Door,” its combination of profound menace and unrealistic hope. The title track is almost perverse in its détournement of expectations, as thumping beats drum out a martial coda and synths hover in circular swoops overhead. There is no such thing as a straight line on The Labyrinth of the Straight Line, and we should have figured that from the moment that voice drifted out of the murk on “Sea of Lost Hopes”: everything lurks under the surface, and Cindytalk are brave enough to delve down and scour for beauty and madness. It’s their best album since joining the Editions Mego tribe, and a complex and haunting waltz of a ghost dance." [Joseph Burnett/DUSTED MAG]