Album Review

Ellard, Tom – “80’s Cheesecake” – [Dark Entries]

Thurston Hunger   10/16/2014   12-inch, A Library

Culled from two 1982 cassettes, Ellard was a brain working
outside the body of the Severed Heads. Jump to today and a
modern meme, Ellard had seen copies of the original Cheesecake
eBaying about for horrific prices, so that helped spur him
to reissue the work granted with some help from Josh of Dark
Entries, who thankfully also persuaded Ellard to include
some of the trashier passion (plenty of barking dogs to
bite off the second side). Samples are strewn throughout,
radio and TV speaking tongues; all captured (and not so
easily) with tape and splicing, and panning/potting and
other mad scientist work. Things today that might have
an app on your infant’s iBib, were a lot messier then.
(And to be fair, it appears Ellard may have post-processed
three of the tracks on the first side, although post-milennial
equipment was fed only vintage sources. Willful drum machines
and other analog anicents, get hammered into herky-jerky
rhythms, built from scratch. Ellard may have found his own
Bush of Ghosts in Australia. It’s not just the samples, but
the clutterfunk, and dirty sweet industrial. “The Ritualistic”
features a detached lecture juxtaposed with a wafting siren
snippet. Ecstacy in clinical and more physical forms! Another
contrast between the end of side 1 and the start of side 2,
both jump-cut upbeat, but “These Are The Words” more smooth
and sinewy, with bassline and some coherence, while the “Word”
on side 2, blitzes and fritzes out excellently. Even before
the big thick quick oscillations strike, it’s a scattered
series of torn transmissions. “Cross” speaks to the danger
and promise of accidents, “almost hit by an ambulance.” Ellard
manages to dodge a similar risk here, in rescuing old sounds,
he did not kill them at all. Didn’t remember the 80’s
tasting this good.

-Thurston Hunger

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