Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve CD Review (Southern Lord) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve CD Review (Southern Lord)

Velvet Cocoon - Genevieve CD Review (Southern Lord)Earlier this year, Southern Lord reissued Velvet Cacoon's first "public" full-length CD Genevieve. Like all of the Southern Lord releases, a lot of care went into this reissue and the disc comes packaged in a velvet jacket with the band's logo embossed in silver metallic foil. "Velvet Cacoon's recordings are a monumental, epic experience and we felt it only appropriate to present their recordings with packaging that complimented the intensity and passion of the music." (from Southern Lord's website)

Everything that I've ever read about Velvet Cacoon starts with the group's backstory (stories about a drunk drummer who died by falling off of a cliff and live shows fueled by self mutilation, drug use, and bloodletting are only the tip of the iceberg). The stories make for interesting reading but - to focus on the music - Velvet Cacoon makes dark ambient music and some points of comparison are early Wolves in the Throne Room or Burzum. Most of the tracks on Genevieve are instrumental with the occasional whispered vocal buried deep beneath the music. In a 2004 interview, main-man Josh (SGL) said "I've always disliked the idea of using vocals as a message in black metal. The only message one will gather from this album is through experiencing the climate of the music. The words themselves are of no importance, but the atmosphere is crucial. This album is about being miles below the surface of the cold sea, in pitch blackness."

Staying with the metaphor of the sea, in the same 2004 interview, Josh described the atmosphere of Genevieve. "Much of the ambience we streamlined into the songs are location recordings of the sea which we amplified and delayed until they took on a very mesmerizing and somnolent sound. Both LVG and myself have an affinity for the ocean and all of its mystery. It is comforting to us. Think of Genevieve as a soundtrack to desolation and isolation in regards to drifting beneath the surface of a pitch black sea at night."

The music on Genevieve rises and falls in hypnotic waves and the disc culminates in the seventeen minute epic "Bete Noir". On their MySpace profile, Velvet Cacoon describe their music as "drug induced black metal" and the band seems to have an unhealthy fixation with the drug dextromethorphan (when consumed in mass quantities is a dissociative hallucinogenic). In a 2005 interview, Josh said that dextromethorphan "is the chemical of pure godliness and brilliance...It is the inspiration for everything Velvet Cacoon has done...Bete Noir is designed specifically for the experience of this chemical."

With or without dextromethorphan, Genevieve is essential for any fans of the ambient black metal.

Velvet Cacoon are supposed to have two new discs, Atropine and P aa opal Poere Pr. 33 coming out in the next few weeks on Full Moon Productions.

Velvet Cacoon's MySpace Profile