Cult of Craft began as an outlet for the masterful and archaic woodcuts of Daniel Reed. But now, CoC has opened up Reed’s creativity to not only woodcuts but also cassette design and packaging. The seventh and eighth releases by this intriguingly mysterious art/music imprint are two extraordinary aural experiences, Temple of Set and Crown of Cerberus. Check out CoC’s blog HERE to learn more. But first, please give me a chance to tell you a little bit about these tapes:
Temple of Set “s/t” c32
Four tracks of harsh droning noise. Thick and bristly reverb and electronics. Sheer misanthropy. Absolute masochism. Pure malice. Total malevolence. Utter melancholia. This is staring into the void and recognizing that you’re right in it. No way out. If music could have a color, this would be the blackest black.
The real thing of note is the packaging. CoC obviously cares very much about the quality of these releases. They have clearly put a lot of time and effort into ensuring you receive something they can be proud of. The tape, clear with dark labels, comes housed in a wraparound “c” card that just leaves one of the sides open, like a book cover. It has been hand-tied with a black ribbon to the card. I could honestly see how this would become obnoxious if you listened to this tape much, but this tape is so good that I’d only bust it out for special occasions. At those times, I would smile to myself because the packaging would remind me again of how awesome the audio will be. Anyway, the card itself is a semi-glossy black paper with some printing. The front of it has a dark monk-like figure with a finger to its mouth that silently heeds you to not speak of the forbidden secrets herein. The image reminds me very much of some of the artwork on the Arts releases on Youth Attack. It all comes in a poly bag for protection. Limited edition of 51.
Crown of Cerberus “Her Strength” c32
Ethereal. Beautiful. Seductive. Those are just a few words that come to mind when listening to these ten tracks. I, of course, didn’t expect this kind of experience after hearing Temple of Set’s offering. But these soothing and soaring drones and female voice reveal the lighter side of the night. It all washes over you caressingly like a forbidden fantasy of sirens calling you ever closer to their warm embrace.
In my opinion, the packaging on this one is even more impressive than Temple of Set. This is obviously a bit more involved. The “wrapping” around the tape is a hand-drawn image that seems inspired by the Victorian art of mythological classics and the alchemical images of the occult. It is also hand-carved into a relief and then hand-printed. Wow. It comes on a clear tape with purple labels. And everything comes bound up in a purple ribbon that more easily slides off than the aforementioned tape. When was the last time your usual labels put that much work into delivering you a quality release? CoC does. Limited to 49.