"PUS PUSTULES" is one of the most diseased COTTON MUSEUMrecordings to date. Clocking in at 21 minutes on side A, adorned with with adetailed etching of sickly beasts on side B and a five color silk screened album cover designed by Chris Pottinger. Theremin, Synth, and other odd electronic instruments create a bubbling cesspool of rotting sounds that leak from your stereo speakers like a cancerous sludge. Take a trip through a strange world where you can hear these sickly beasts devouring corpses while insects sting their bodies, leaving them covered with infected welts.Cotton Museum is a solo electronic noise project from visual artist Chris Pottinger that has been performing for the past seven years. Limited edition of 400 hand numbered copies, black vinyl with thick chipboard album cover.
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Its been a while since we last heard from Tasty Soil Records (see Vital Weekly 614), but here they return with Cotton Museum’s ‘Pus Pustules’, an one-sided LP. The cover reminds me of the artwork of Ultra Eczama records, and the music... well, also a bit, to some extent. Cotton Museum is Chris Pottinger, who plays solo, using theremin, synthesizer and whatever things electronic he can find. Things start out pretty mildly - a nice of drone like sounds, chirping in and out of the mix, but over the course of the twenty some minutes this piece lasts, things get nastier and nastier. Its like Pottinger is using chemicals which he inserts in his machines, which make the interior rot or melt and things become intenser and intenser. Yet it always manages to stay on the nice side of noise. This giant beast remains a friendly one. A nice, friendly beast. The other side is not left blank, but has a nice etching. The cover shows more beasts and makes a thoroughly fine, arty record. (FdW)
Increasingly, I feel like there are fewer and fewer entities that I am constantly impressed with and therefore, always looking forward to hearing and seeing more from. One of those special exceptions is the collective output of Michigan artist Chris Pottinger. For quite awhile, Chris has been churning out a wide variety of noise and free-form releases with his projects: ODD CLOUDS and SLITHER, as well as COTTON MUSEUM as his solo machine for regurgitation creature creations. Some of these have found homes on important and valid labels such as Qbico, Ypsilanti and Not Not Fun, however, Chris also coordinates his own “label”, appropriately named TASTY SOIL, an umbrella for which his recordings and art (painting, pin collections, tote bags, ect) are kept dry until lucky consumers stumble on to their existence. Chris has a very specific style, a beautiful and colorful species of creatures, who are quite often cartoonish intestinal extractions / boiled over brain masses, eyes bulged and drooping, slobbery flesh flowing onto the floor, and yet in this extremely appealing way that a child would undoubtedly find cute and approachable. I am 26 right now, I know what “Mad Balls” were. If you do too, imagine if those were tossed in the oven for awhile, and then repainted with brighter colors. ...I mean, maybe. More often than not (or: pretty much always), the records are adorned with these magical Michigan menaces. Odd Clouds usually has a “big band”, free-form style feel to it, much like the finest moments of a strange Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice recording, and similar to what my own Tent/City project would frequently organically (de)construct. Slither usually has unhealthy dosages of reed / horn mass, with even unhealthier amounts of electronics / noise / signal destruction, though that’s all circumstantial, and it’s not like one thing might sound anything like another. Wasteland Jazz Unit comes to mind, as a similar idea and project. Doing things alone always leave the most room for vagueness. Specifics as well. For me to enjoy the average “noise” recording, it needs to be of a particular style or with direct context, and Cotton Museum is easily the single most recognizable voice for Chris’ army of diseased, infectious creatures. If you look at the covers for these various records, strewn across your bedroom floor, it becomes apparent that they have found their vehicle of communication in the grooves of the A-side of “Pus Pustules”, or any other Cotton Museum release.
Stuttering, churning, electronic chirps / mangled machine tones that speak the language of split stereo digestion, slicing through speakers and misfiring with precise calculation, and yet: this is also, in a way, lighthearted and fun, legitimately exciting and not exclusively harsh. “Pus Pustules” is not only housed in a five-color screen-printed cardboard fold-over, but it’s 21 minute A-side is backed with an excellent etched B-side, offering yet an additional helping of hand-cut creatures doing their thing (you know, reaching, melting, floating, losing their eyeballs and looking insane and adorable simultaneously). ECT: (I remember digging through Portland record stores the first time I was up there, trying to find a copy of the Odd Clouds LP like it was a cure for a cancer that only I had. It had just gone out of print after I put off picking it up, and luckily, Exiled had a copy. That was several years ago, and I’m glad that Chris is still active with his various projects and that labels from all over the world have been interested in documenting it ever since)