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China Gate

4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 21, 1996
"Please retry"
$17.03
$12.99 $4.83
$17.03 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A thoughtful musical exploration through controlled psychedelia inspired surf rock, yet offering something entirely different, Cul De Sac continues the tradition of energetic, phantasmagoric interludes with this offering of 12 tracks, all taken from one extended and remarbably copious jam session. A journey through ideas represented in adept musicality and out-o-the-box thinking, this cd is for any lover of music with a hard edge and an open mind.

Review

Beginning and almost ending with an interpretation of the title track, a lesser known collaboration from the mid-century musical figures Victor Young and Harold Adamson, China Gate, edited down from one lengthy recording session, finds Cul De Sac fully coming into its own. Smack-dab in the middle of a post-rock craze which the band itself had no real part in or immediate affinity for, the quartet's combination of artistic inspirations from around the world into an at-once dreamy and energetic series of compositions won it long-due attention. Each of the members' specific talents get a chance to shine, all without seeming like a series of solo spots or showboating on their part. "Sakhalin" is one excellent example, with Jones and Amos trading off guitar and synth pieces in the best jazz tradition as Fujiwara and Proudman lay down a steady, swinging rhythm. Top that off with a bit of studio chatter after the song ends about the meaning of the title, and the feeling is of a band at once serious and relaxed about what they do -- a good balance that continues throughout. Everything from queasily disturbing synth and electronic lines from Amos to unaccompanied drumming from Proudman goes into the mix, the feeling being like an open-ended journey through a mystic mental landscape. One sign of the band's abilities lies in how it can tackle both loud and soft material with the same evocative grasp, as the quiet but never evanescent "James Coburn" demonstrates, building up just enough, but no more, for its ending. Other high points include Jones' chiming, almost rollicking guitar work on "Doldrums" Fujiwara's lovely bass on "Hemispheric Events Command", which stays just enough to the fore as the rest of the band kicks in, and the lengthy explorations of "The Fourth Eye". (four stars) --All Music Guide


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. China Gate 1:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Sakhalim 5:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Nepenthe 8:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Doldrums 5:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. James Coburn 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Virgin Among Cannibals 2:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. ?His Teeth Got Lost In The Mattress?\ 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Hemispheric Events Command 6:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. The Forth Eye11:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. The Colomber 6:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. China Gate Reprise0:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Utopia Pkwy. 6:51$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 21, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thirsty Ear
  • ASIN: B0000057O4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yet another old guy on September 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
OK, let's try a more descriptive review.
This album is primarily intrumental electric guitar, bass guitar, somewhat jazz-style drumming, with various accompaniment by synthesizers and odd noises. This music does have a 60's and 70's 'spacey' sound to it, but definitely updated. It is closer to surf music than Hendrix. It certainly isn't Clapton. I suppose there are elements similar to mid-period Pink Floyd, but not as structured. Even though the guitars sometimes have some serious distortion, it's nothing like grunge. It is somewhat similar to the best intrumental efforts of Can or the Far East Family Band, if that helps anybody.
Um, let's see... the guitar intrumentals are melodic; I sometimes find my self humming parts of the tunes. Many of the tracks start out quietly with one or two instruments building up to something. This makes most of the tracks fairly long (not a bad thing in my opinion).
This is headphones music, not party music. Now that I think about it, it has some 'ambient music' elements to it. I tend to think about other things while it's playing.
If any of the above sounds like what you like, you won't be sorry. I doubt you'd ever hear any of this album on a radio station unless you live near a university. I gave 4 stars because I like other albums better, but I wouldn't sell this one either.
Just be sure to skip the short vocal tracks "China Gate" and the reprise. Eesh. Sorry, but that ain't music.
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By jmd123 on March 31, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
...with a hint of Devo and a twist of 1960s spy movie thrown in for good measure! (There's even a song entilted "James Coburn", star of In Like Flynt and The President's Analyst - go look them up!) This is fun stuff. Get out your surfboard, drop a few hits of good clean acid, and get ready to ride! Just be sure to keep an eye out for Mao's secret agents tailing you! Churning guitar melodies, wild and bizaare synthesizer flourishes, intense and unrestrained drumming, and funky bass lines make this some of the best instrumental rock-n-roll I have ever heard. Some pieces are high-energy, like "Sakhalin", "Doldrums", "The Colomber" (I can't sit still, I just have to get up and thrash around the room!); others are more ambient, yet build to an intense climax like "Nepenthe", "James Coburn", "The Fourth Eye", and "Utopia Pkwy."; and still others are enjoyable, almost danceable rythyms like "...his teeth got lost in the mattress..." and "Hemispheric Events Command" (I can see a Soviet base deep in Siberia with huge surface-to-air missles and rotating radar dishes). And then there's "Virgin Among Cannibals"..well, you'll just have to hear that one for yourself. "Bowl of rice, bitter tea, is this all the good Earth has to offer me?" An amazing amalgam of the 1960s and the 1980/90s. "...mixed using the braille edition of the I Ching..."
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Sanders on December 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The above reviewer, unfortunately isn't in touch with the prog-rock scene. Cul de Sac is much like Godspeed, You Black Emporer or Explosions in the Sky--maybe a toned down Oxes or Lynx. They are reminiscent of some of Hood's later work (the instrumentals & Cold House).

Most notably I will insist that the listener pay close attention to the two vocal tracks, "China Gate" and "Reprise" since these are a direct nod to Sun Ra. Sun Ra (the man from Saturn) was able to do with jazz music many of the things that Cul De Sac are attempting to do with rock music--push boundaries, expand consciousness, explore.

This album is a great starting point for anyone looking for challenging music, music that demands attention.
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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful cd. The songs made me feel like I was at a thundercon convention. Spock and Captain Kirk were flying on my 3D chess board. Cul De Sac transported me onto the deck of the starship Enterprise. If you love Star Trek like I do this album is a can't miss.
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