Berber Ox
Minor Tranquiliser [CS; Stunned]

Ed. Note: This is a reprint of the original review from Cerberus Issue #20. This is in conjunction with TMT’s Favorite Labels of the Decade, in which Stunned was highlighted.

A Cerberus column does not go by where we can’t crane our necks away from Stunned. The venerable label recently celebrated its 100th release, but it is trusty number 99 that deserves your undivided attention. David Rutledge introduces the states to his Australian blend of long-wave drones and public documentations. Field recordings have been reduced to obtuse moments of quiet forestry or held high like the library of Alan Lomax, but Rutledge captures people in the act of living daily life. There is no backwoods blues singer or the caw of a lonely crow amongst a wooded twilight to recall a point in time. Minor Tranquiliser is the slowest method of madness: voices going off in your head as you try to figure whether you left the TV on, if the neighbors are speaking loudly, or your subconscious is trying to scream its way out. What’s more disconcerting is that you aren’t going mad, you’re just finding yourself part of Rutledge’s musical painting. As similar as Minor Tranquiliser may initially seem, you’ll soon find yourself drawn to the minute differences within Rutledge’s drones. The faint fluctuations, the distant laughter, the intense swells — you’ll find that it isn’t madness that is setting in, but a keen sense of Hippocratic duty. You’re not the patient, but Rutledge’s latest colleague.


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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