Skinny Puppy


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One of the more elaborate entries in the sporadic Back and Forth archival series, Brap is a double-disc effort covering the beginning and end of Skinny Puppy's functional career as such. It's very obviously for the hardcore fan but the quality of much of the album is such that it's worth hearing as an example of the band's undoubted influence on electronic music. The first disc mostly consists of quite accomplished, textured, early home demos recorded in 1983 and 1984; even taken from four-track efforts, the remastering and sound brings out the ominous, haunting power of the music beautifully. Ogre's contributions are often either musical or otherwise stripped back to minor interjections, so songs like "Splasher" and "Carry" become slow, meditative blends of clipped beats and textured keyboards, occasional screams and elements from movie and other sources (as on "Double Cross") adding drama. Two live tracks do appear -- "Brap," from a German show, and "Last Call" from a Canadian radio show. The second disc, covering the time period of Too Dark Park and Last Rights, pulls together contributions from a variety of bootleg live sources as well as a couple of studio oddities like "Uranus Cancelled," an alternate and quite strong arrangement of the chaotic "Knowhere?" from Last Rights. It makes for a fine contrast from the almost compulsively arranged early material on the first disc to hear the much more free-form improvisations on songs like "All Eyes," ranging from ambient float to hyperspeed drum mayhem. While the recording quality of the live tracks unsurprisingly varies -- "Reclamation" is a straight soundboard effort, the opening of "Tin Omen" spectacularly cruddy -- most everything comes across quite well, especially the strong Los Angeles performance selections that (mostly) conclude the disc, with "TFWO" being a particular standout.

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