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Bodychoke "Cold River Songs" CD

Posted on Monday, March 16th, 2009 @ 6:44am » permalink

Bodychoke - Cold River SongsSadly I had never even heard of Bodychoke prior to reading about this recent reissue on Relapse Records a few weeks ago, which proves how very correct the label is in referring to the band as "criminally underrated and underexposed". Formed in the early 90's by members of power electronics legends Sutcliffe Jügend and Whitehouse, "Cold River Songs" was the band's third and final album, originally released in 1998. Admittedly I've never been an enormous fan of Sutcliffe Jügend or Whitehouse, but the concept of a "true" band utilizing traditional instrumentation to craft "real" songs formed from the base of those two units is incredibly intriguing to me, and sure enough these sinister, spacious efforts create the perfect union between gothic atmospheres and tastefully grating, pulsing noise rock. The bulk of the compositions center around throbbing basslines and crisp drumming alongside short, simple vocal lines that are delivered through everything from hushed whispers to intense shouts/shrieks – accented by surprisingly frequent (and efficient) appearances of cello, while the guitars tend much more towards noisy textures and waves as opposed to tangible riffs. This reissue also includes three outstanding bonus tracks taken from the odds and ends collection CD-R "Completion" that the band released posthumously, which I believe were recorded around the same time as the sessions for the album, thus making for about an hour's worth of music across nine songs total. Apparently there's also an entirely new layout that includes (potentially "controversial") lyrics for the first time in the band's history, but I can't really speak to that since I bought the mp3's off Amazon.com. Contrary to what some have stated I think the new cover art kicks ass, though, and from what I can make out of the lyrical content things are a bit more tactful and appropriate for the general tone of Bodychoke's presentation, as opposed to an over the top power electronics type of attack. What more can I say? Very interesting, indeed… and I quite hope I can track down the rest of Bodychoke's output!

Bodychoke "White Light Killer"

If that's not enough to convince you, stream the whole thing at Last.fm. This is an excellent album and truly was a perfect candidate for such a reissue. I can only hope that Relapse will eventually do the same for the band's first two efforts, "Mindshaft" and "Five Prostitutes" (the latter of which was recorded by Steve Albini, which is exceptionally curious), as they're painfully hard to find by any means, and when you do track down a CD copy the prices are generally absurd. If anyone out there happens to have copies of those discs that you'd for some reason be willing to part with, please do let me know!


@ Relapse Records (CD)
@ The End Records (CD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)


  1. incarnate says:

    you should hear Five Prostitutes. in my view, their best release. i'm not sure how hard it is to find, i got it off a blog.

  2. Wow, I get a *huge* Joy Division vibe from this. I'd been curious about this after seeing it in a store. Thanks for the write-up.

  3. Carlos says:

    interesting music indeed! maybe i will buy smth. from Relapse after very looooong time.

  4. Chris says:

    I'm gonna write something stupid right now. I followed up on Incarnate's tip last night and got Five Prostitutes off some blog. I was listening to it while reading about Jack the Ripper (I'm not a killer buff, I was just checking some shit out) and right from the opening chords of "From Hell" the music seemed to fit what I was reading about. It made me feel slightly uneasy. There's something demented about it, which is good. So, thanks for the tip, and thank you, Andrew, for the writeup. I'll be sure to check out Cold River Songs as well.

  5. incarnate says:

    ha, i get the same feeling from those songs! awesome.

  6. roelibex says:

    Im now 5 minutes into the first listen of this cd, and a band pops into my mind:
    Cut The Navel String – Takis , similar in sound and immensly underappreciated.

  7. M DeG says:

    Five Prostitutes is my favorite as well—sounds meaner. The tracks From Hell, Delivery Man, Whore & Cripple are my favorites, and the Albini production is great. Mindshaft is a great album as well, the song Shallow is like a slowed down version of White Light Kiler. Great Band.

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