Various Artists – Spectrum – Ten Years of Cruel Nature Records – album review

Various Artists – Spectrum – Cruel Nature Records

DL – Double Cassette

This is a twenty three track double limited edition cassette celebration of a decade of releases on Cruel Nature Records. Who are a ‘Northumberland (UK) based DIY label specialising in limited edition cassettes for eclectic tastes.’ I’ve got a few of their releases on my shelves at home. Here’s what we thought of this compilation.

The first Cruel Nature release came on the 20th April in 2013, after 254 releases they have reached ten years of existence and have, during that time, released pretty much every genre of music you could invent in your head. All the proceeds from this release will go to the Toby Henderson Trust, supporting autistic children, young people and adults, their families and carers in the North East of England. 

Right, let’s get down to it. This is a work of art, created by unstable, possibly insane in some cases, people. How they compacted ten years of this unpredictable, many layered, any genre you can think of sound into twenty three tracks is beyond me, I’m hoping bribery in the form of cake and crisps, blatant favouritism and just picking names out of a hat were involved but I don’t really know. Sorry. However they did it, they did it right because this is exceptional.

I’ll try and sum it up without doing a detailed review of each track which I know you won’t read. Although the first track, a throbbing synth fest of goodness with a lyric about receiving a new box of Cruel Nature Goodies needs a mention to itself just because, well, just because it’s ace. Along with that you get any number of drones, static bleeps and washes, jazzy drones, high static drones and impenetrable noise drones. Rolling muffled techno beats, periodic odd jazz percussion, grindcore battering drums and fuzzy relentless beats. There are synths, guitars and what sounds like a tuba. In fact you get pretty much every type of thing that Cruel Nature have released. So from folk to grindcore, from jazz to techno and from drones to, erm, static. 

It’s a treat for the ears and a mighty celebration. My double tape arrived yesterday and it’s thing of beauty, I advise you get hold of it before they are gone.

Adrian Bloxham

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