Velvet Cacoon - Dextronaut
(Full Moon Productions) Keith Boyd 02.16.07
The internet aura surrounding this "band" is enough to give even the most steadfast conspiracy theorist a migraine. They've spread so much information and disinformation about themselves it's become something of a mirror facing a mirror. Are they "Ecofascists"? Are they drug-addled cave dwellers? Do they worship Satan and plagiarize over half of their music? On and on and on it goes. Although I normally love weird-assed turns of events and stories within stories this one just strikes me as beside the point. Instead of adding to the layers of this mystique I'll simply reference the controversy, let you find all of the juicy details on your own and get back to the music. And what a massive collection of awesome music it is!
This two disc set is a re-recorded and remastered edition of some of the first Velvet Cacoon material. The recorded quality is quite nice and it serves to highlight some of the unique and bizarre elements of their sound. Perhaps the word to describe VC's sound is smeary. Other opaque words and phrases might work as well. Vaseline comes to mind or how about, gauzy-metal. Do you get the picture? It's a dense sonic buzz of static crackling guitars, motorik drum machine beats and garbled cookie-monster vocals. Vocals, so buried in the mix and so guttural, that they serve more as just another sound element rather than traditional singing. So reading back over this description I find myself a little underwhelmed. It's not the music's fault believe me. The music on this disc is amazing. It's just that this type of ambient Black Metal is hard to explain to the uninitiated. Having heard TONS of it myself I can identify the constituent elements and find beauty and skill in VC's execution. Although they might not qualify as a "real" Black Metal band, they've mastered some of the essential components of it and they do it with style and grace. The sound of this disc really comes alive when cranked up to a high volume. Once a suitably crushing loudness is in effect you start feeling more than anything the hypnotic, even embracing, timbre of this music. Velvet Cacoon is a good name for the band. Despite whatever it might mean to them (misspelled Cacoon and everything) the feeling it conveys to me is the same feeling I get while listening at high volumes. It's a slightly alien and insect sonic womb that cradles your mind and sends you into a trance. Like a cocoon is to a caterpillar, after a listen you come out transformed. Your head and chest buzz and hum with the after effects and you find yourself reaching back to the play button for more.
The "songs" on "Dextronaut" aren't really that distinct from each other. That's not the point at all. The point is the cumulative effect and that is where the power and beauty of this CD are. Velvet Cacoon's music probably isn't for everyone. It's not the most democratic sound on Earth, that's for sure. Like its deformed twin Black Metal, this is uncompromising sound in the extreme. That being said I would still recommend it to all adventurous souls out there. If you have a love of sound in all it's many and weird forms Velvet Cacoon will provide you with many rewarding listens.