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8.0

The Dead C vs Rangda
The Dead C/Rangda

Label: Ba Da Bing!
Release date: 2013-03-05

To this humble, bearded and admittedly odd reviewer, this split EP is a thing of dark, twisted beauty. It might sound like unlistenable noise and arty improv to others but hey, that's their loss. This is a split between New Zealand noise-rock pioneers The Dead C and everyone's favourite leftfield supergroup, Rangda. The groups have a few things in common: They're both trios, they're both responsible for some awe-inspiring music, and they both like to freak people out with their sonic shenanigans.

The two band's contributions are actually separated by a number of years: The Dead C tracks are uncovered archive recordings originally under consideration for their '89 LP EUSA Kills. If you haven't heard The Dead C before then your fragile little ears are in for a treat.

Uncovered title track, 'EUSA Kills' is smothered in tape hiss and slow, dirge-like riffs, with Michael Morley's superbly slurred vocals typically low in the mix. 'Tomorrow' shows the band's tendency towards distinctly un-rock time-signatures and a Beefheartian attitude towards disorder and noise. 'This Much We Know' is the sound of a tape machine eating itself and inadvertently making some addictively beautiful drones in the process. By the time the drunken march of 'Heavens Wheel' starts, you'll either be intrigued or mildly horrified. There's a particular kind of venom that The Dead C spit and it's hard to recreate.

The two Rangda tracks, in many ways, couldn't be more different. The 12 minute 'Gracilaria' has a slow, slumberous beauty to it and serves as the ideal counterpart to The Dead C's claustrophobic soundscapes. The trio of Sir Richard Bishop, Ben Chasny and Chris Corsano has proved to be a pretty impressive one with two full-length LP's already under their belts. 'Gracilaria' follows in the footsteps of Formerly Extinct epic 'Silver Nile', with the band's blissfully unrestrained interplay. It also shares a lot of common ground with underground legends The Vibracathedral Orchestra. 'Sancticallist' wraps the EP up with a simiaerly hazy slice of lost-in the-desert magic.

This is one hell of an EP, but admittedly there may be easier starting points for both bands if you're new to them. With The Dead C, you can't go wrong with the two-disc 'best of' (they were all number ones, of course), Vain, Erudite and Stupid. If you're new to Rangda then you need to hear last year's classic in waiting, Formerly Extinct. If you like what you hear there, then you'll love what you hear here.

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