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Listen To Sulfate's Self-Titled Debut Album

Listen To Sulfate's Self-Titled Debut Album

C.C. / Photo credit: Jordan Wilson-Grell / Friday 20th September, 2019 9:29AM

Wax Chattels frontman Peter Ruddell has unveiled the self-titled debut album from his solo Sulfate project, following a captivating double-punch run of single releases and live appearances. Originally conceived while touring the States and described by the Tāmaki Makaurau artist as "a record about New Zealand from a distance," Sulfate is a distinctly DIY affair – written, recorded and mixed by Ruddell, who also created the evocatively raw-edged woodcut visuals for the release. Combining smouldering sonics, piercing lyrics and gorgeous vocals (joined by Hariet Ellis on 'Speaking for Others' and 'Bush'), Sulfate sometimes croons in a mode not unlike an Antipodean Lee Hazlewood or even a Southern-twanged Nick Cave, very occasionally letting rip in a manner more familiar to his Flying Nun group's fans. Conjuring a romantically-tinged downer buzz in the best possible way, the eight track collection (nine on the cassette edition) marks a significant first step for Sulfate and definitely demands wider attention beyond the project's DIY roots.

Peter Ruddell reflected on his release in an accompanying statement: "Most of the lyrical content was written while overseas while on tour with Wax Chattels. With lots of downtime sitting in vans/airports, and generally being in a worn-out state of mind, I noticed my mental health deteriorating - particularly on our first US tour, where I was very aware of my New-Zealander-ness. I came back with a bunch of lyrics and song ideas and wrote the music to them as a way to try and come to terms about why I was experiencing this. It formed a pretty cohesive set of songs thematically, as almost everything I wrote came back to aspects of NZ - being an island in the South Pacific far from everything else, with its own culture, climate, peoples.

This a DIY record, written, recorded and mixed by myself - along with all the being artwork my own woodcut prints. As someone who struggles to sit still, it was a bit of a test to see if I could see a project through from inception to completion. From the get-go I wanted the record to be very focussed sonically - a particular sound and energy from a particular time and place - so I didn’t labour over it - and for all, there is a large amount of sound that washes over you, the arrangements and instrumentation are very minimal. I didn’t want to spend six months finding the perfect synth tone to enhance the second verse - I wanted it to be raw.

So many of my favourite albums have mistakes, “questionable” mixing etc. but they still have this energy to them that keeps me coming back. Provided there is emotion in the songs, they're winners. That’s what I tried to achieve with Sulfate."

'Sulfate' is out digitally and on limited edition cassette and limited edition vinyl LP via Prison Tapes, order your copy here.


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