V/A - "Cicatrix (the ritual scarring) Collection 1"
By Dan Century
Cicatrix, 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:
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
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
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
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
like early 90's "dream pop" that made 4AD such a great label. Fluid vocals and
instrumentation (guitars) - mellow, relaxing, perfect.
Post: 5602 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL, 60660