The Siamese Pearl – Death-Darting Eye MC Spine Scepter 2012
One of the joys of writing about underground music is that quite out of the blue you can made aware of obscure hidden gems. ‘Death-Darting Eye’ from The Siamese Pearl is one such obscurity and whilst there is limited information on the project, here we have a super limited, deluxe packaged 30 minute cassette. With its dank and occult infused atmosphere, it is immediately evident that The Siamese Pearl channels an 80’s lo-fi analogue industrial sound, which also contains selected rhythmic elements which hint at cold wave / post punk synth tone. Interesting this release is far more ‘European’ in style, appearance and flavour and by no means typical of what you might typically assume from an underground project hailing from Miami, USA (…of all places). To provide a sonic marker, some particular parallels for this would be the early ritual/ ambient/ experimental/ industrial based sounds of Coil or Current 93, and to a lesser degree the early works of Archon Satani. In other words The Siamese Pearl comfortably sits alongside some positive company.
On ‘Stretch of the Unkind’ it opens the tape in fine form, being a brooding ritual industrial / dark ambient track, containing a variety of layered loops and drones. The following track ‘Hermetic Hermit’ then steps things up a notch, being based on a pulsing coldwave synth line, mid range distortion and echo treated, monotone spoken vocals. A similar programmed synth, is also evident on ‘Night Specter’, but here follows the introductory segment containing abstract dark ambient, tape manipulations and distant horn like wails. ‘Chimera’ then opts for a composition of loosely scattered noise and abstract grinding industrial soundscapes, prior to ‘Oedipus Of The Black Orifice’ rounding out the first side of the tape with a short display of abstract tape loops, again featuring the nihilistic spoken vocals.
‘Attributable Decay’ opens the flip side which again displays a relatively melodic piece, again with coldwave synth characteristics coupled with grinding manipulated loops. Interestingly on this track an additional vocal line is paralleled with the monotone spoken vocals, which are almost rap like in their delivery. Whilst this second vocal is rather perplexing at first, these are not as jarring as might be expected and in the end works well within the tracks sound. Up next is ‘Turnip Blood’ which presents one of the tape’s heaviest tracks, featuring looped grinding industrial factory clatter and again with the obligatory echo treated spoken vocals. ‘Axe’ changes things up slightly with a ritual atmosphere being driven by synth drones and militant rhythms (which upon closer inspection are a looped breathing sample), constituting a solid basis for the stoic vocal invocations. ‘He’s Not Kind To Other Wraiths’ arrives as the final of the nine tracks, and concludes the tape with a lo-fi analogue windswept soundscape of Archon Satani-esque factory ambience. Excellent to say the least.
On the packaging side of things, the snake-skin printed cassette is housed in an oversized, screen printed cardboard box (adorned with with serpent motif no less), and includes a separate lyrics booklet. From its musical content, through to its packaging and associated occult themed visuals, ‘Death-Darting Eye’ manages to hit all the right ‘esoteric’ markers.