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Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk At Cubist Castle - Cd
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 3, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cloud Recordings
  • ASIN: B00008LO99
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,114 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If I truly ever was stranded on a desert island, with only my discman, a few choice Cds, and a life-time supply of batteries, 'Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle' 1996 debut album by The Olivia Tremor Control, would be one of the first albums that comes to mind, that I would want to take with me. There are not too many albums that I can think of in my musical library that brings a smile to my face, quite like this one does, every time I listen to it.
If you weren't familiar with OTC before listening to this, you would believe that this was a lost classic straight outta the '60s psyche era. A gorgeous album with textured beauty, and sonic passages that sends a mind-bending rush the listener's way, along with summer-shinin' melodies and eerie harmonies. You can sit back and sing along with choruses that take weeks to get out of your head (not that I would go that long w/o it), like in one of my favorite tracks, "Holiday Surprise 1,2,3"....Taking my time to waste your sunny day. Memorable images also stick in my brain, such as going to the opera house or the clouds being in past tense.
I have been familiar with bands off the Elephant 6 label before, like Neutral Milk Hotel and Apples in Stereo, but I have never heard anything quite like this, at least not from the 90s. I have heard The Circulatory System, which is lead vocalist Will Cullen Harts latest band, after The Olivia Tremor Control, before first hearing this.
Sure, the long instrumental passages from the "Green Typewriters" suite from track 12-21, may seem over-bearing and a bit too extensive, but not enough to effect this perfect 5 star rating. As my musical tastes progress, I feel that I was a bit too lenient giving 5 star ratings to pass reviews, oh well..
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Take the heart of the Beatles and wrap it in the melodies of Neutral Milk Hotel and/or the Flaming Lips... and you have Olivia Tremor Control -- one of the best swirls of neo-psychedelica in history. "Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle" is an intoxicating, sprawling mix of abstract soundscapes and Beatles-esque pop -- and it never stumbles once.

The first song opens with a slowly revving bass, haunted by a backdrop of peculiar feedback sounds... followed by a majestic, poppy "Opera House." Things take a slightly stranger turn in the eerie music-box melody of "Frosted Ambassador" and the fizzing, exotic "Tropical Bells." But still there is the upbeat, slightly warped Britpoppy "Courtyard" and slightly ominous beauty of "Holiday Surprise 1,2,3."

But after the lush piano-pop of "Marking Time," things take a rather surreal turn. A ten-song cycle called "Green Typewriters continues, mixing distortion, fuzz and sputtery percussion with synths and lilting vocals. They return to their previous sound with the brassy pop of "Spring Succeeds," but most of what remains is eerie and strange. The climax is "Dusk at Cubist Castle," a sprawling seven-and-a-half-miniute track with a dark, shimmery background and the sounds of a Tibetan prayer bowl.

It's hard to criticize any one song on "Music From the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle," because it feels more like a musical tapestry of many different colors. Diss one song while praising another? Can't be done. Even "Green Typewriters VIII," a ten-minute sprawl of ominous sounds, seems to fit in perfectly.

The biggest flaw might be the obvious debt to the Beatles -- at times you can almost swear you hear John and Paul in there.
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Format: Audio CD
Music from the Unrealised Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle, is a strange and disorientating album that is pitched halfway between 60's influenced neo-prog-psychedelia, and the more recognisable sound of mid-90's indie. It's certainly the most adventurous album released by any of the various Elephant 6 Collective offshoots, with The Olivia Tremor Control writing and recording 'Dusk...' over a period of three years, with a rolling line up of collaborators including Eric Harris, John Fernandes, Steve Jacobek, Nick Benjamin and Julian Koster, as well Neutral Milk Hotel leader Jeff Mangum on piano, slide-guitar and backing vocals, and the Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider, who adds bass, melodica, backing vocals, as well as acting as the engineer and co-producer of the album as a whole. The nucleus of the band was Will Cullen Heart and Bill Doss, who here write, perform and produce the majority of the album, as well as adding the bizarre sketches and collages that make up the album's art work.

The album is a fantastic and endlessly fascinating combination of different styles, tempos, ideas and atmospherics, with the band taking on elements of early Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys and The Beatles to form the core backing of 60's trip-pop, alongside lingering traces of folk, krautrock, avant-garde expressionism, ambient noise, field recordings and the early hallmarks of a sound that would later become known as post-rock. As a result, every stylistic diversion seems perfectly judged, with the album creating that dreamy quality where songs distort and metamorphose into completely different songs, whilst repeated exposure eventually gives way to all manner of hidden sounds, voices, noises and motifs.
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