The New Zealand-based Cooper Cult is a label clouded under relative anonymity due to the limited coverage it has received in Europe. Their first musical affirmation was back in the 2011 with a spectral cassette release from Brother Sun, Sister Moon, but since then, the label has gone on to release a couple of similarly mystical albums, full of naturalistic drone and intrinsic beauty. But the turn of the New Year seems to have brought about a new urgency within the label as the release of this new mixtape proves.
Compiled of excerpts from tracks to be released in 2013, the mixtape titled ‘the sun warms the skins but also burns it too’ exhibits a new sense of direction and purpose for the label. Eleven artists are featured all with a distinctive sound, but agreeably, continuing on with the lineage created through the label’s previous releases. Snoqualmie Falls’ "Red Fire Dark" is a track very much of the Cooper Cult Sound. A morose guitar is plucked through a discourse of ambience, drone and slight vocals. Roof Light’s "Untitled" with its distinct owl sample, also follows suit, however the rest of the mix produces quiet unexpected outcomes.
Most Cooper Cult tracks invoke the imagery of piety and nature, but tracks such as the UK Base sounding "Interested in You" by VVV and in particular Ensemble Economique’s "The Sun Going DOWN (live)" are wholly urbanized. With sound recordings of sirens, horns and a buzzing that mimics car acceleration, you could be forgiven for thinking it was being released on a different label. Further unusual qualities can be found with the schizophrenic but brilliant "Untitled" track from Crippling which leads onto the equally brilliant Midnight Tales – "Hibernate", whose name perfectly describe the emotions of the track. There is also time for a release from the Russian duo Love Cult, who released "Fingers Crossed" on Public Information LTD last year.
All together this is a hugely satisfying sound, full of immaculate details that necessitate the listener to contemplate. There is also simply an abundance of music to consider, as all the tracks have eccentricity to them. But through some masterly curation the tracks are compellingly bound together with a running narrative that as a collective, makes for a hugely exciting year of releases from Cooper Cult Records.