building on holes…

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CindytalkThe Labyrinth Of The Straight Line eMEGO219… release date 9.12.16

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: Ghost Dance (UK 1983), directed by Ken McMullen

Design/images: David Coppenhall


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 1980’s, Cindytalk‘s latest release pays hommage 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.

We find ourselves in spaces with walls crumbling down or concaved by glazed mirrors terrorizing the claustrophobic body. From time to time we can hear a disembodied voice, speaking soft and clear like a narrator from a different reality.

Sonic psychogeography between somnambul dark ambient, claustrophobic post-industrial and nightmarish techno. Delightful sketches of escatology.

DATACIDE Best of 2016 Chart
Here is the annual Best of 2016 Chart documenting many of the tracks and releases of 2016 played out frequently by Datacide contributors!

Best of 2016 Chart
(no order)

Gonçalo F. Cardoso, Ruben Pater: A Study into 21st Century Drone Acoustics (Discrepant 24)
CoH: Music Vol. (Editions Mego 222)
Radionics Radio: An Album of Musical Radionic Thought-Frequencies (Sub Rosa 423)
KK Null: Machine in the Ghost (Dry Lungs 007/Hirntrust Grind Media 41)
6.R.M.E.: ANRSE (Hintrust Grind Media 42)
N-rgle: Makété Kudasay (bandcamp self release)
Headland: FKOFd026 (FatKidOnFire 026)
Silver Waves: Ep3 (Portal Editions/ Howling Owl Records)
Ryuji Takeuchi: Outbound To Inner Self (Inner Surface Music)
Annihilation Operator: Bludgeon (Raketenbasis Haberlandstraße)
Ossia: Control (Berceuse Heroique)
Zombieflesheater: Bloodsport Soundclash EP (Kritik Am Leben 02)
Adjust: Titan Remixes (Low Res LOW027)
Messias: Omnivoid (Cathartic Noize Experience X-008)
Dr. Walker vs. Omsk Information vs. St.Tétik (Subsonic 003)
Alex Buess & Daniel Buess: Skin Craft: RIND & NOL (Praxis 55)
D.A.S. D.A.: Features Vol 4 (Repitch004)
Atomhead: Timeblind (AcreD23)
Umwelt: Days of Dissent (Boidae 001)
Cindytalk: Labyrinth of the Straight Line (Editions Mego 219)
Crotaphytus: Acanthosaura (Further Records 014)
Ontal: Ontal 2 (Ontal Series 02)
Honzo: Melancholia EP (Arboretum 003)
Scalameriya: Kepslok (Perc Trax Limited 008)
Martyn Hare: (Emetic XXVII)
SØS Gunver Ryberg: AFTRYK (Contort 006)
Blackmass Plastics: Under the Radar (Ugly Funk 009)
Oake: Monad XXIV (Stroboscopic Artefacts 024)
Disheveled: Mechasimulacria (Thac0 AC7)
Dimentia: Broadcast Frequency (bandcamp self release)
Perc + Randomer: Igneous (Perc Trax 072)
Impulse Controls: Devour (Instruments of Discipline 008)
Domenico Crisci: The Violinist (Summa Cum Laude 001)
A001: Nyctophobia EP (MORD031)
Wah Wah: No Borders (Kool Killer 001)

(Datacide is the fulcrum of The Invisible College.. cx)

Boomkat Product Review:
Like one of those dreams where you’re in a headwind down a dark tunnel and the light at either end never comes closer, The Labyrinth Of The Straight Line is a typically petrifying yet compelling transmission from Gordon Sharp’s Cindytalk, presented as “a compilation of chimerical poetry” where “ambiguous haikus of agony, melancholy, obscurity and dissensus are unfolding over time”.

Almost needless to say but, it’s a markedly different sound to Cindytalk’s previous techno travails with Ancient Methods as In The Mouth Of The Wolf for Diagonal, largely leaving the beats on the floor in favour of absolute abstraction and icy-fingered ambient noise gestures laced with his own, sparingly used vocals that lend a really uncanny presence at times.

At its most succinct in the opener, Sea of Lost Hopes’ recursive metallic matrices, the album expands and contracts, freeze and cracks between the sustained intensity of Shifting Mirrors and the guttural 15 minute chasm of A Wolf At The Door, with traces of brittle rhythmic structures coruscating in the bombed out Sleight of Mind and sparking under the surface of the title track and the skeletal stepper In Search of New Realities.

But ultimately it’s not all dank AF; the aforementioned glimmers of light do become clearer in the shoegazing resolution of Who Will Choose My Dress and with the alien, hyaline harmonies illuminated by Filthy Sun in Diminished Light, yet they remain deliciously just of reach, always sending you back under in to the cycle to be chewed up and spat out again. Top 100 albums of 2016

Number 26

Cindytalk, “The Labyrinth of the Straight Line” (Editions Mego)

“I have admittedly not had a chance to delve too deeply into this one yet (it is currently in my review pile), but so far it is an impressive modern take on some of the earliest 1980s industrial sensibilities.” – Creaig Dunton

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 Magazine January 10th 2017
Joseph Burnett’s Top Albums of 2016 (also Dusted Magazine)

Grumbling Fur — Furfour (Thrill Jockey)
Golfam Khayam & Mona Matbou Riahi — Narrante (ECM)
Catherine Christer Hennix — Live at Issue Project Room (Important)
Yves Tumor — Serpent Music (PAN)
Andy Stott — Too Many Voices (Modern Love)
Shirley Collins — Lodestar (Domino)
Kuedo — Slow Knife (Planet Mu)
Pye Corner Audio — Stasis (Ghost Box)
Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith — A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM)
Demdike Stare — Wonderland (Modern Love)
Aşıq Nargilə — Yurt Yeri (OtoRoku)
Kepler Quartet/Ben Johnston — String Quartets Nos 6, 7 & 8 (New World)
Laura Cannell — Simultaneous Flight Movement (Brawl)
Jenny Hval — Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones)
Frank Ocean — Blonde (Def Jam)
Babyfather — BBF Hosted by DJ Escrow (Hyperdub)
eMMplekz — Rook to TN34 (Mordant Music)
Kleistwahr — Over Your Heads Forever (Fourth Dimension)
Jack deJohnette — In Movement (ECM)
David Bowie — Blackstar (Sony/Columbia)
Fatima Al Qadiri — Brute (Hyperdub)
Graham Lambkin — Community (Kye)
Gate — Saturday Night Fever (MIE Music)
Cindytalk — The Labyrinth of the Straight Line (Editions Mego)
Pauline Oliveros & Connie Crothers — First Meeting Still Sounding (Important)
Tongues of Light — Channelled Messages at the End of History (Pre—Cert Home Entertainment)
Ian Humberstone — Folklore Tapes Occultural Creatures Vol.1: Black Dog Traditions of England (Folklore Tapes)
Oren Ambarchi — Hubris (Editions Mego)
Hen Ogledd — Bronze (alt.vinyl)
Neil Young — Peace Trail (Warner Reprise)