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The Cradle - "Pure Manipulator" | Essential Listening

by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)

Paco Cathcart's ever growing catalog of releases as The Cradle is in constant evolution. Exploring tonality, texture, and Eastern influences, Little Missionaries, due out June 1st via HEC Tapes, is another gorgeous rendering of Cathcart's unique sonic vision, a path that wanders free of outside distraction.

The Cradle's albums work in captured moments, creating the framework for an idea to be explored to it's fullest potential, then it's on to the next record and with it, the next sound. There's the manipulated electronic chaos of Endless Room For Errorthe sun soaked dream pop bliss of The Layers of Honey, and the atmospheric experimentation of Temperate Lands, and those only scratch the surface of his output. Little Missionaries is a diverse affair, pairing together collaged sound, gentle folk, atonal noise, Eastern modalities, and peaceful dreamscapes, blurring them together and contorting their intentions.

"Pure Manipulator," the album's first single is The Cradle at its most brilliant. The song's warm melody sounds something like an Irish folk song that originated in the Far East, both gentle and warm while relatively abrasive. Strings warble against busy acoustic guitars and a dense programmed rhythm to the effect of world's colliding. It's busy and relatively noisy, but the song has a comforting glow, a true radiance. Cathcart's trades verses with frequent collaborator and Cradle live contributor Sammy Weissberg (Gradients, Sweet Baby Jesus) with his Calvin Johnson-esque baritone, the perfect compliment to Cathcart's airy falsetto. Equal parts stunning and unique, "Pure Manipulator" is undeniably essential listening.

Speaking about the song, Cathcart shared the following [SPOILER ALERT for anyone planning on reading Edith Wharton's House of Mirth]:

"The lyrics will make more sense if the listener has read/knows the story of Edith Wharton's House of Mirth. Basically, Lily is this character that is caught between an innate greedy love for the detached aestheticized world of early 20th century NYC high society and an innate sense that that whole world is full of shit -- Seldon is a likewise hypocritical hero who, despite participating in the high society in his own right, is trying to "save" Lily from resigning to that vapid world. In the end Lily dies from an overdose of sleeping pills and Seldon arrives too late to save her, but whispers something in her ear, the "word that makes all clear". The word is never actually revealed to the reader though, and we are left wondering if Seldon has learned anything at all from Lily's death."

The Cradle's Little Missionaries is out June 1st via HEC Tapes.