Velvet Cacoon - _Northsuite_
(Ivory Snowfish , 2005)
by: T. DePalma (8 out of 10)
"When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness. To surrender dreams -- this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. And maddest of all -- to see life as it is and not as it should be."

Sequestered in a mythos of invention and persona, Velvet Cacoon was able to implant their first album _Genevieve_ in a variety of publications, having it greeted across the board with some manner of intrigue and expectation, whether anyone really cared or not. This was caused not so much by what wasn't revealed, but by what people were led to believe (interestingly, the music suceeds precisely in the opposite direction). Either people are so starved for something different that they drop their guards for improvable boasts or the guard has long been absent, defeated by the cult of personality and readiness to wax profound or be left behind if and when a new band breaks above ground. The actual music was inconsequential from the start, with fanboys and enemies being hatched based purely on the purported convictions (and gear) related to the band. This is what clinched their notoriety. Yet the music is relevant, if not to the individual listener on a personal level, then for what it exposes about the taste and the habits of the listener and black metal as a concept, which has become symbiotic to the herd. As an addendum to their debut, this simply displayed disc allows a longer gaze toward a similar musical dimension.

_Northsuite_ is a toxic presentation begun with a steady roar of motion emerging from silence, perhaps those mute seconds lost in the transition of knowledge into dreams. This dilated ambience bewilders the senses with an undetermined, concealed path that conversely fixes one to a single point of concentration that may not have a destination itself. A weightless awakening, sound as a blank stare. Velvet Cacoon seem to want us captured unaware as the succeeding piece "Winterglow" charges in with the full force of all instruments. The spumey fuzz of the guitar dissolves each note into the next over and over -- the unconscious sung electric. This is the enduring brilliance of Velvet Cacoon: to find serenity in illusion, to create illusion as art and experience, and to communicate the danger and rapacious exult of the process in a royal tide of unmapped energies. It's at this piece's end that the above quotation from "Man of La Mancha" delivered by Peter O'Toole for the play's screen presentation is sampled into the music, serving as a kind of mission statement.

By now you may be aware of the recent disclosures from the creator of Velvet Cacoon regarding its origins as well as the vaunted Dieselharp, etc. All fictitious and exaggerated for a prank that has exposed some remarkable inanities as well as interesting perspectives within the underground. I'm not sure what else it says about me that I placated aspects of their story by relating them in several articles, but it has not changed my thoughts about the music that is still available. Marks that feel cheated out of some persona complete the rest of the job for them, and so presumably this experiment / troll is finished ("Veni, Vici, volo in domum redire"), leaving this latest release -- who knows when it was written.

Featuring both the _Chapelflames_ release and _Music for Falling Buildings_ demo, this CD runs eight tracks total with nearly half being completely interchangeable with _Genevieve_ in mood, repeating charters that sail in a self-renewing brew of chaotic free-moving drifts. The drum programming is again utilized as a simple metronome, however the two demo songs come closer to black metal in raw intensity and overt presentation of vocals, drums and guitar, with the latter maintaining its stylish depth but holding less appeal in comparison.

Overall _Northsuite_ both perfectly represents and nearly wears out Velvet Cacoon's design. While it imparts a completely effective alien atmosphere combined with a brooding sense of dread, it's almost entirely undistinguished next to the previous release. There was always too much space to be illustrated in this remaining paradigm -- too much potential whether unfit or unwelcome. In this foul era of psychic stasis, Velvet Cacoon appeared as sage and satire. Realizing now that to be too distinct would have ruined the gag and that the gag is over, I'm interested in finding the soul of this project within a new vehicle sometime in the future.


(article published 18/7/2005)

5/23/2005 T DePalma Velvet Cacoon: The Cislunar Fog
10/31/2004 T DePalma 9 Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve
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