CD Review

V/A - "Cicatrix (the ritual scarring) Collection 1"

By Dan Century

CicatrixCicatrix, a compilation produced by members of Chicago's My Scarlet Life, brings me back to my early college years - lots of mellow hours wasted away with women who enjoyed poetry readings and fancied themselves to be witches. Lots of inebriation, Kate Bush records, old books, incense, candles, Oriental rugs and Ouija. Cats too...lots of cats. It was a time long ago - the "80's" we called it.

Since the "80's" I've endured Quentin Tarrantino, micro brews, Christmas lights used as year round indoor decoration, backwards baseball hats, the Internet, "ecstasy," Starbucks and SUVs. The nineties has been nothing but processed Madison Avenue sensory overload and Cicatrix is a nice break from all the in yo face noise.

Cicatrix features several bands signed to Preston Klik's DivaNation record label and several collaborations with My Scarlet Life vocalist Julie Schreiber. Most of the songs share a common mellow vibe - soft guitars, pretty vocals, lush keyboards, slow tempos. There are a few songs that are "not like the others" which don't quite fit in, but for the most part Cicatrix is a well thought out compilation - you'll only have to hit the "next track" a couple of times.

Here's a few of my favorite trax:

Oblivia: Nye
Very cinematic, the type of music you would expect to hear as part of a movie's soundtrack. A graceful piano piece which sets the mood for the rest of the compilation.

Breather: All the Beauty
Ethereal guitar pop gracefully executed. The singer's voice is warm and embracing, although the backup vocals weren't necessary, still beautiful and unique pop.

The Immortal Savant: Tear Drops
The Immortal Savant reminds me of MC 900 ft Jesus (think way back like 10 years ago). Spoken vocals over music that's somewhere between Cypress Hill and NIN. Very mellow for rap. Refreshing.

Lover Mi Lou: Ringing Bell
A good mix of indy-pop guitars, polyrhythmic drumming and pretty vocals. Lots of clever melody hooks and clever mixing of sound textures. The other day I woke up with this song in my head and caught myself singing it while I was making my morning coffee.

(Is.U.Is.): Frustrate
Modern psychedelica. Noise, spaced jam, but never too tripped out. Something like Cure meets old Monster Magnet on Quaaludes with Julie Schreiber's sexy vox and erotic lyrics.

Chika: C-Street Angel
About as pretty a song as you would hope to hear. A gorgeous piano melody, some clever production touches and a beautiful voice. Uncomplicated and powerful songwriting. It's rare and refreshing to hear a song with lyrics that tell a story.

Jute: Honey Lime
A My Scarlet Life side project featuring Julie and Preston. Very pretty, very romantic electronic pop very reminiscent of Portishead. More trip-hop than My Scarlet Life.

My Scarlet Life: Here I Go Again
One of My Scarlet Life's cooler songs taken from the remix album Danse Amour. I skip right to this track when I put on the CD.

Dorian Gray: He's So Strangely Blind
A lot like early 90's "dream pop" that made 4AD such a great label. Fluid vocals and instrumentation (guitars) - mellow, relaxing, perfect.

Contact Information:
DivaNation Records
Post: 5602 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL, 60660
Phone: 773-728-2587