The Scrapes
The Songs of Baron Samedi [CS; Soft Abuse]

I told you all that labels, more and more each friggin’ DAY, endeavor to become our ultimate source for aural delights. I communicated this to you years ago and it’s true now more than ever. I’m not bragging either, I’m just stoked because I think a lot of high-quality labels in this era are making their finances work against all odds, almost in direct opposition to the fat felines who cram their expensive vinyl reissues down our throats. Soft Abuse is a label whose products I wrote about YEARS AGO, when I lived in Glens Falls, NY, and worked for a fat cunt. Boy, she was a fat, fat cunt. Anyway, it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed any of Soft Abuse’s fine releases, and it’s funny because while we’re both AT-IT and trying to keep our heads in this crazy sub-level music game, I’ve changed over the 7-8 years (!) and they have too. Cassettes are now a ‘thing,’ and Soft Abuse are doin’ it and doin’ it in style while also pumping out vinyl and CDs (don’t forget about the plum-wonderful Pumice either, Soft Abuse’s crown jewel). I’m not going to get into how I’ve personally morphed since then; suffice to say I feel the years have been incredibly kind, mostly because I am no longer working for a big, fat cunt. Back to reality: The Scrapes; another band name you’ll have trouble remembering in the morning because, you know (The _____s bands, so many of them, lord my face hurts thinking about it.), that’s the breaks. But I’ll tell you what, The Songs of Baron Samedi will stick with you long after the spool has wilted. It’s a mad mishmash of colliding concerns you’ll only hear if you put your ear to the ground on an international basis; for some reason NZ and Aussie bands seem to specialize in this brand of dronoise, but I hear traces of it all over these days. Difference ‘tween The Scrapes and your favorite drone duo is, well, they’re better. They also delve into world-music themes I won’t get into (wouldn’t want to spoil it for you), yet I sense more of a Fedora Corpse (label, frequently covered by me, specializing in heady ambient drone with special features rarely found anywhere else; run via a houseboat, so cool) vibe than anything. Gotta love that. To me the shiniest sequences arrive when the percussive elements form a vital part of the compositions. The floor-toms hit heavy and dddeeep, while the shakers and other ephemera fade in and out, drawing attention when they’re present. Much beauty to be had within Songs of Baron Samedi too, courtesy of plucked strings and interwoven scraps of what sounds to me like recorder. Yes, it’s difficult for me to ascertain which track is which, so I’m leaving the titles out, but when these cuts I’m describing hit you’re gonna be like “yyyeah he gggets it.” More spiritual experiences rarely are had in my record room; props to The Scrapes for going ‘there’ and further, to decidedly un-deleterious effect. And yes, I forced that word in, have been wanting to use it. Build those vocabs campers! Signing off on another stellar Soft Abuse joint, now…

Links: Soft Abuse


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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