A Chud Convention – Sorrow

Now this is a rare and interesting oddity if there ever was one. Though Skinny Puppy has plenty of rare releases and side-projects (W.E.L.T., The Petty Tyrants, Raw Dog, the excellent Mutual Mortuary project, and Rx), this album is one of the most spontaneous (which makes sense, considering that it was never meant to be released to the public). The album consists of two twelve-minute recordings Skinny Puppy and Belgian industrial band à;GRUMH (please do not ask me how to pronounce their name) they have created in their spare time during a 1986 European tour. Crediting Nivek Ogre and JΔ3 Seuqcaj (with the latter individual credited for all “coughs) while cEvin Key and SΔ3 Evets responsible for keyboards, sampling, and drum programming, it is a far cry from anything Skinny Puppy had created thus far (as I am not familiar with à;GRUMH’s discography, I can only assume and hope that they had/have created better albums).

Both songs are roughly the same: long form meditations of minimalist vocalizations from Ogre and whispers, coughing, and soft chanting from Seuqcaj. Imagine taking every incidental noise that ever came out of Ogre’s mouth during the recording of his albums, arrange them in a morose procession line and process them heavily with reverb, and you get a rough idea of what “Sorrow” sounds like. From what I can tell, both tracks use the same basic vocal background. The track “Patient Sorrow” concentrates more on the vocal aspect, while “Silent Sorrow” reduces the number of growls, chants, and whispers, replacing some of them with a dark keyboard drone and muted drum programming.

Despite the extreme novelty of the album, it has a certain charm inherent in it’s ‘DIY’ attitude. The production, while somewhat muddy, is still somewhat higher than what you would normally expect of a ‘for fun’ recording. In addition, the album is (strangely) quite effective in conveying a ritualistic element to the sound, with the majority of the vocalizations never forming complete words or phrases (with one exception in the second song).

While this was originally released by Play It Again Sam Records (supposedly against the will of the band members involved), the original foreign sub-label folded with the demise of Wax Trax! Thus, it has been out of print for quite some time (although, with a small amount of effort, one can easily locate it on the Internet in various forms).

Definitely not a necessary album, but a pleasant diversion for both the musicians and yourself.

P.S. If anyone can find larger album images, please let me know! 🙂

Discogs Page
Additional Info
Circle Records Info
Official à;GRUMH Website
Unofficial à;GRUMH Website
Play It Again Sam Records (Under Construction)

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~ by John Lithium on September 1, 2007.

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