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The Poison Cabinet: Dark Embrace

Robert Spencer By

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Prepare to enter the Dark Side. If you succumb to the Poison Cabinet's cassette Dark Embrace, you will enter a world of darkness and distance, of shimmering midnight deserts and haunted desolate spaces. The dry and lushly acrid vocals of Louise Petts will beckon you further as she enunciates, crisply and patiently, the arch and ethereal poetry of these tracks. ("But wild within its trusted circle / pleasure, soon, did seem unreal / And, longing, lost . . .")

Lyricist and singer Louise Petts here is joined only by composer David Petts (tenor sax, electronics). The electronics must be pretty sophisticated, for there is an ominous acoustic piano rubato, for example, on "Ghostly Detachment" that, unless it somehow comes out of a can, is uncredited. By whatever electronic jiggery-pokery, this duo manages to create a large sound and, much more important, an encompassing and unbroken mood.

And the music: David Petts is a tenor saxophonist of enormous range, and one may only have wished that he had spent more time on this recording actually playing the thing. But the misty wash of backgrounds within which he envelops Louise's spooky vocals are always utterly effective, and full of intriguing textural variance.

This is a collection of highly distinctive, expertly played, and fantastically memorable vocal tracks, enhanced by deft electronic instrumentation.


David Petts, ts, electronics; Louise Petts, voc, electronics.

Track listing: The Attraction of Space and Paths / Six Stages of Man / Ghostly Detachment / Dark Embrace / Night Windows / Monstrous Embrace / Fatally Dawn / Four Stages of Woman / Shadow of the Walker / Early Evening Dissonance.

Title: Dark Embrace | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: General Ear, The


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