Sunday, August 25, 2013

Black Sunday: Author & Punisher - Ursus Americanus (2012) & Women & Children (2013)

Tristan Shone's Author & Punisher has been one of the more exciting musical discoveries I have made in the last year, kicking off my collection with their Seventh Rule debut, Ursus Americanus. I enjoy Author & Punisher's sound so much that they are one of the very few acts for which I have purchased releases in multiple formats with some receiving my money three times for compact disc, digital and vinyl variations of their releases.

I believe only the Seventh Rule releases have been realized in the vinyl format and both are spectacular samples of the medium. Ursus Americanus saw its first pressing in a gray and black blend with a rich gold center label. While the vinyl itself is beautiful, the matte cover layout by Scot Seguine incorporating a photo by Robert Kozek is a stellar shot of man and machines at work. A single-sided insert is accompanied by a fantastic 18x24" poster of a drone machine. While black vinyl is also an option, it appears as if this first pressing has sold out with a second pressing now available with 220 copies in "tiger gold" closely matching the center label available.

Women & Children followed fairly quickly, released August 20 of 2013, and again saw a black vinyl release accompanied by 100 of white and black splatter. While I could not discern the plant used for Ursus Americanus, Women & Children is a Pirate's Press product and it shows. The tones used are beautiful, even in black and white, with an almost blue blend present amidst the splatter. The reverse board jacket is a gorgeous stark black and white as well with artwork from Scott McPherson. A heavy inner sleeve incorporates more artwork and eliminates the need for an additional insert. Alas, there's no poster here this time but I was please to see the record's center label carry over the cover's inverted pyramid, much as Ursus Americanus unified each element with the bear paw outline.

Both of Seventh Rule's Author & Punisher releases in the vinyl format look and sound amazing. The attention to detail is matched only by the quality of the sound. Each do a magnificent job of marrying those analog and digital elements of the project itself and the balance struck here, much like the music within, is nothing short of thrilling.

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