Wesley Eisold of Cold Cave talks camouflaging guitars, poetry vs. lyrics and vintage New Wave in ‘Pure Honey’

August 21, 2013

Cold Cave picture disc

Detail of Cold Cave’s new 7-inch picture disc “God Made The World.”

When I wrote about Cold Cave for “Pure Honey” magazine recently, I could have written about many aspects of the project’s founder and singular member Wesley Eisold. He was born without a left hand, which limited him in terms of which instruments he could play, but that never deterred him from writing and recording his own music. Then there was his recent collaboration with controversial musician Boyd Rice, mastermind of Non, which has released some rather stunning electronica works of noise, drone and synth music. However, Rice is  also a known Satanist and has been sometimes accused of Nazi and white supremacist hate talk.

Instead, I decided to focus on the music of Cold Cave, which has many interesting aspects despite it being generated by mostly one man and some synthesizers (his favorite of which are vintage). His use of effects lend an abstract quality to many of Cold Cave’s songs. One of the more curious Cold Cave tracks appears on its 2009 self-released debut, Love Comes Close, and it’s the album’s title track. It features a jangling bit of guitar that’s catchy but so obscure you may wonder if it might have come out of a different instrument. “There is guitar on that song,” Eisold confirmed writing via email, “and a lot of guitar on ‘Cherish.’ Though, these days, I’m more interested in performing and writing purely electronic because when I play it that way I can play it all myself. I stumbled upon that sound by mistake. I was making noise, early crude industrial sounds, and then found song structures.”

Also interesting about Eisold’s working method is that he writes poetry as well as lyrics. Considering the sonics of Cold Cave’s sometimes dense music leaves lyrical content obscured to rather impressionistic levels, one wonders if Eisold does not mind if listeners cannot understand the words. The songsmith admitted that he indeed takes different approaches to lyrics versus poetry. “They’re very different because music sets a mood more than a blank page,” Eisold noted. “In poetry you have to create the feel on your own. You can’t hide or lean on sound. But then, you know, sometimes they compliment each other, and then you’ve made magic. Everything’s got to be intentional or passed as it at least. If someone can’t understand the words in a song, then that’s the implication I’m getting at.”

You can read much more in “Pure Honey.” Jump through the logo below to get to the article:

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The article was written in advance of Cold Caves’s headlining appearance in West Palm Beach, Florida, at a music festival celebrating 26 years of existence for stalwart venue Respectable Street Cafe. It’s a free event with four stages of music and a total of 26 bands. One of those bands appearing is a local act, and also a singularly-manned project, Boxwood (read my interview with the project’s found here: Boxwood, a one-man wall of sound, releases “Sun Garden City” EP today).

Also high on the bill is another well-known local act making good outside of town, the Band in Heaven (see the group’s new music video as featured in Spin’s website). Finally of note, is probably Miami’s most popular indie-rock act of national renown, the Jacuzzi Boys. For the full line-up and more details see the graphic below:

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Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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