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  • Rancho Tetrahedron
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Rancho Tetrahedron

5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Aug. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kitchenware
  • ASIN: B003TY14YA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,179 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By fatpaddykillah on 25 Sept. 2010
Format: Audio CD
The mighty Cathal Coughlan's fifth solo album is a fantastically accomplished and moving record, and significant for its relative accessibility after the dense but brilliant `Foburg'. Coughlan writes complex but hugely listenable songs that borrow from various shades of popular music to become something wholly singular and without precedent. This isn't the `assimilable' entertainment that Don DeLillo recently complained most Art has become, but something altogether more rewarding.

The album opens with 'Shipman Memorial' with Coughlan sounding remarkably sure-footed and breezy, delivering his most radio-friendly tune in years, somewhat belied, as ever, with a lyric that chews over the problems of old age and assisted suicide verses the demands made by government on the elderly. Next is the stunning 'The Sultan of Colton County' a sinewy, rabble-rousing stomp that surveys a post-apocalyptic Kamchatka and its craven citizens presided over by an ex-dictator turned corporate court-jester. The song fuses a traditional structure with Eastern influences and some magnificently jarring guitar feedback. The dark theme continues through `Hemisphere' where workers strive to find some kind of meaning after financial ruin, and 'Alphadena', a harrowing take on the recent child abuse tribunals in Ireland where, 'names have been uttered and cash may change hands, after more letters and hearings', this bitterly counterpointed to abusive relationships suffered during colonial rule.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. P. Tap on 2 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Since making his official solo debut in 1996 with the beautiful and demented Grand Necropolitan, Cathal Coughlan has consistently been releasing solo records. On this latest disc, he continues the quasi-live approach of his prior two albums with his Grand Necropolitan Quartet (sometimes Quintet). On Rancho Tetrahedron, he takes the spare and haunting elements from The Sky's Awful Blue, and some of the dissonant creepiness of Foburg and wraps them up with a collection of songs that hold together beautifully. Almost hearkening back to his first band Microdisney, Coughlan offers up a couple of near-pop songs in "Shipman Memorial" and "The Frond-Seller." The melodies are exquisite, the lyrics "lyrical" in the classical sense of the word, and each song perfectly supports the new element in his solo work: 60s-style stacked harmonies. While Coughlan has used harmony vocals to great effect in the past (check out "Free and Worthless" from Grand Necropolitan), this is the first time since his collaborations with Sean O'Hagan that we've heard these sorts of sunny and sumptuous vocal sounds in his work. The result is driving, almost joyful, and fits in perfectly with the varied Southern California imagery.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a pop record (the narrative "Terylene Ghosts In The Sunshine" could almost be a prequel to "Eerin Go Braghag") but it is a melodious and artful piece of work that deserves - and rewards - repeated listens.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Greedo on 17 Aug. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Well, well, well...just when you're ready to officially declare the album dead as an artform, along comes Cathal Coughlan to at least temporarily breathe life into the format.

And it's no exaggeration to say that in my eyes (as in many others) the days of the album appeared to be numbered as a worthwhile format. It's hard for me to think of any from the last year or so that have been consistent enough to listen to all the way through (perhaps Mono's "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" was the last), and even previously reliable and trusted artists had begun to let me down. So thank god for Mr. Coughlan.

It's genuinely hard to pick out highlights or personal favourites amongst this collection of songs, because they all have their charms, and it's one of those albums where sometimes it's the song that you think you're least drawn to that you find yourself humming in the morning and ultimately seduced by. Perhaps the best way to praise the album is to say that this is a collection of extremely well crafted songs, but that whilst this makes them part of a long tradition, they are completely free from cliché - thanks mostly to Coughlan's unique worldview and his well documented ability to write exceptional lyrics.

The arrangements and playing on the album are also top notch, with credit due to the Grand Necropolitan players (who have been coming together for a number of years to help realise Coughlan's songs, and are rightly given joint billing for this album, as they were on Foburg).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Mclean on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Cathal Coughlan is a long-time holder of the World's Most Inexplicably Neglected Musical Genius Challenge Trophy (joint with Mark Eitzel of the criminally under-rated American Music Club), and here we have yet another magnificent collection of songs which will languish unloved save by obsessives such as yours truly while yer Gaga's and yer Timberlake's wade through piles of adoration-scented dollars on the way to polish their ever-expanding Grammy collection. Oh well. A Prophet is without honour in his own land, and all that style of thing.

Partly this is down to a heroic tendency toward self-sabotage (well documented elsewhere; google "simulated auto-sodomy with a Virgin Mary shampoo bottle") and partly to an uncanny ability to make the wrong music at the wrong time. The crystalline iron fisting/velvet glovery of Microdisney during Post-Punk's hey-day (and where are those re-releases, Virgin?) the techno death-metal folk gavottes with The Fatima Mansions during the height of Madchester, the frankly insane (but very funny) Bubonique collaborations with Sean Hughes - that Coughlan has managed to survive monumental unpopularity to release this, his 17th or 18th album (i've lost track) is frankly superb stuff.

Anyway, his most recent, low key work (since getting the record label bend-and-spread treatment after 'Grand Necropolitan') has been dark and elegiac, almost accessible and wholly, victoriously wonderful. This album is just as brilliant. Buy, buy, buy again. Just don't expect to see him in the charts...
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