Pulco

Clay Cutlery is the latest album from PulcoRelease date: 22 July 2013

Order the CD: £8.99 + P&P



Alternatively visit Bandcamp to preview and buy the download album +/- the CD:

Or find it on iTunes or Amazon MP3:
Clay Cutlery - PulcoClay Cutlery - Pulco

“On this new album I’ve been continuing to explore the theme of sonic autobiography that has been creeping into my music over the last few years.

Using field recordings of places I’ve been to, odd rhythm loops made using simple iPad apps and my trusty £15 guitar the songs have evolved and unfolded as I have worked on them.

Over the summer I made recordings of the sounds in Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire and the great organ in St David’s Cathedral to name but a few and these have all become part of the music.

Some of the tracks have become recognisable songs and others are just sound collages. Any vocals that were done have been one take improvisations drawing lyrics from the first book or magazine that came to hand

I wanted the tunes to be quite fresh & spontaneous.”
– Ash Cooke aka Pulco

FREE DOWNLOAD ALBUM: Modular Pusuits

The release of Clay Cutlery marks 10 years of Pulco music! Something well-worth celebrating. As a result, we’ll be revisiting Pulco’s back catalogue during the preceding week and on Monday Pulco is releasing a free-to-download album of covers of Pulco songs entitled Modular Pursuits. It features tracks by a plethora of fine musicians: Euros Childs, H Hawkline, Adam Walton, James Yuill, Cymbient, No Middle Name and many more…a real treat for the ears.

The Man of Lists

The Man of Lists – Pulco – £7.99 + P&P
25 track CD package – includes a 42-page poetry book.

PLEASE NOTE: The CD version OUT OF STOCK – digital copies are still available:

Preview this album and get the CD + instant download package at Bandcamp.

  1. Man of lists introduction
  2. The whole picture – feat. Picturebox
  3. Music – feat. Snippet
  4. Opportunities with music -feat. Adam Leonard
  5. The downside of things – feat. Picturebox
  6. Archive – feat. Butchers Prime Cuts
  7. Small Thoughts – feat. Ratatosk
  8. Bugger the chickens – feat. Ian Thistlethwaite
  9. Owl/Abuse – feat. Gwildor
  10. Chunk of blue – feat. Snippet
  11. Sub Z’s – feat. Picturebox
  12. Vital signs – feat. Unexpected Bowtie
  13. Biro by the sofa – feat. Butchers Prime Cuts
  14. Sandy Floors – feat. Gwildor
  15. Oxbow Lake – feat. Adam Leonard
  16. Boony Capers – feat. Butchers Prime Cuts
  17. Datanet – feat. Gwildor
  18. Sorepaw – feat. Ratatosk
  19. Hollow Here – feat. Snippet
  20. Cabin Fever – feat. Ian Thistlethwaite
  21. Poem over hovering ambience – feat. Adam Leonard
  22. Up with the birds – feat.The Unexpected Bowtie
  23. Static – feat. Ratatosk
  24. Chips in the rain – feat.Ian Thistlethwaite
  25. Cover version for the American market – feat. Dan Carlson

The Man Of Lists is a new album for June 2012 and features music contributions from:

Butcher’s Prime Cuts
The Unexpected Bowtie
Gwildor
Adam Leonard
Ratatosk
Picturebox
Snippet
Ian Thistlethwaite
Dan Carlson

Details here: http://pulcomusic.com/man-of-lists/

I’m a firm believer in lists!

“I can make a list for any occasion.

Lists help me organise the mundane and boring bits of my life so that I can clear my mind for better things. In a more colourful and creative way I also love writing lyrics and poems to document and categorise my day to day journey through the ordinary. Played back however, such writing can reveal lot about a person and really give you an insight in to how we tick as people. It can also be interesting to listen to.

From time to time I feel the need to bring all of this written material together, mix it with sound and call it Pulco! This is exactly what we’ve done with The Man Of Lists.

In the spirit of collaboration I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to build on the theme that I started with the Dictaphone Home album by inviting more of my musical pals to create tunes for the 25 poems on offer rather than contributing any of the music myself. The word went out in Sept ’11 and by the end of the year the album was pretty much in the bag.

I love the variety and texture of the music on the album. It all holds together really well whist still sounding like a Pulco record. For that I thank all involved. So sit back then and listen to what an ordinary bloke from North Wales gets out of life. Onward tourists.”
Ashley Cooke

Reviews:

“Pulco’s new LP, Manoflists, comprises upbeat cheerful electro-acoustic melodies and beautiful, urban spoken word poetry to complement. Chorus riffs and tunes occasionally seem post-ironic – tipping a slightly wry audio wink to the audience as the sound borders on ‘tweeness’. Despite this, the whole album maintains a gritty and dark feel. An eclectic mixture of instrumentation and melody styles underscore the lyrics, from electro to indie, from Eastern European jazz to folk. The storytelling and descriptive poetry is simultaneously evocative and simple throughout, projecting a well-defined, happy ambience. The effect on the vocals occasionally lends the odd track a ‘samey’ quality, but the diversity of accompanying musical styles circumvents this pretty smoothly for the most part. Lovely.” – JA, The Miniature Music Press

“I daresay Ashley Cooke is a man who makes musical lists — lists of tunes, titles, ideas, snippets, pieces, and bits to string together to create marvelous pop that pops.

Wildly prolific and consistently inventive, the one-time Derrero leader is at it again. Man of Lists, out on or about 18 June 2012 on Folkwit Records, is a collection of collaborations with various artists. It’s a sort of spoken word exercise but also an experiment in risk-taking. By working with so many musicians to produce these cuts, Ashley Cooke has somehow strengthened his own point of view as an artist. No matter what sonic background bobs-and-weaves behind him, Ash is consistent. This is a new kind of recording.

It’s the supergroup by (e)mail. It’s a digital “We Are The World” in the land of indie rock.

How do I approach this? Do I go track-by-track and carefully spout-off about each tune?

No. That wouldn’t quite suit this. I like to think of how difficult it might have been to assemble all the pieces that make up this record so I’m going to go through it in my review in a sort of haphazard fashion and hope that something coherent results.

It’s worth noting that Ashley Cooke’s spoken word bits are, more or less, fragments of poetry — mini-poems in some spots — and, at first, the juxtaposition between his vocals and the more expansive music behind him is odd. But that semi-disconnect charms. I hope that Cooke keeps making music for years and years to come but this record sort of feels like one of those posthumous records from some dead bloke! Man of Lists feels like leftover vocals that other musicians shaped into focus.

Still, I don’t want to make this record sound sloppy or anything. What I’m really trying to work out is how the contrast in each tune ends up giving the cuts focus. That contrast — lo-fi and intimate vocals and carefully recorded music — makes the record sound like the world’s best mix-tape…with the same bloke doing the lead vocals on each song!

There are 25 cuts on this record and they veer from the Squarepusher-like bleeps-and-blips of “Vital Signs”, a collaboration with Scotland’s Unexpected Bowtie, to the acoustic and spring-like — cue birds chirping! — “Biro by the Sofa”, with Butcher’s Prime Cuts.

(Psst! I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s Nick Butcher, head of Folkwit Records!)

Butcher and Cooke team-up a few times on the record, including the Tom Waits-meets-Holger Czukay “Boony Capers” — atmospherics plus a whiff of Waits’ “Trouble’s Braids”.

The funky and ACR-like “Cabin Fever” rushes by on basslines from Ian Thistlethwaite. The cut is one of the highlights of Man of Lists and it hearkens back to some pre-C86 era in U.K. rock, when pasty white Brits were not afraid to be a tiny bit funky.

Thistlethwaite is back on “Chips in the Rain” where Cooke’s humorous lyrics are set against music that echoes both Yello and that first Lilac Time record — no mean feat!

And, as can be expected, the cuts with the always entertaining Adam Leonard are the little triumphs of this record — “Oxbow Lake” soars and “Opportunities with Music” casts a slightly sinister spell.

The cuts with electronic wizard Snippet are uniformly good as well — “Chunk of Blue” with its bells and voices and warm keyboards is a delight!

The record closes with the downright hilarious “Cover Version for the American Market”. As a Yank from the land of extraordinarily thick music listeners, I take no offense at the song. It’s quite funny, accurate, and speaks to the gulf between the hip and the clueless. Very good indeed.

I haven’t done a good job of thinking and writing of Man of Lists as a whole.

But maybe there’s no point? Maybe the point of this record is that moments matter? In that sense, this is Cooke’s masterpiece. He’s spent his post-Derrero years making music in Wales, usually by himself. He’s perfected the art of lo-fi indie and the results are always warm and human and charming. Now, he’s taken that form to the next level.

This monster of a record — nearly 25 collaborations — succeeds on the variety of styles here. You could almost shuffle the track order here and get a new record, a new sense of joy as a listener, a fresh take on this freshest of spins.

Man of Lists is a project and a grab-bag. It’s a set of ideas. Listen to 1 or 2 cuts, listen to another 10, or listen to all 25 in one sitting, and the music will work. Each song stands on its own or works as another chapter in this journal of lyrical and tuneful ideas.

Raised on a steady diet of serious rock writers extolling the glories of concept albums, I got bored and came to regard the vinyl 45 as the greatest of art forms; give me a scratchy 45 of “I Can See For Miles” over Tommy.

Long albums are great but the tunes have to work on their own. These do. These are little gems of exactly how to do lo-fi.

Ashley Cooke has found his calling in the musical world. Now tell your friends and get this record.

The Beatles famously cribbed from the Tao Te Ching to sing: “Without going out of my door, I can know all things on earth”.

Ash has taken that lyric to heart. Let him stay in his home studio if he can “collaborate” in such a lively fashion as he does on the 25 cuts on Man of Lists.”
– A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed

“‘Man Of Lists’ is the new album from Pulco an artist we had the pleasure of interviewing earlier this year.

If your life has yet to be enriched by the talents of Pulco, then you are in for a real treat. Pulco is the performing name for Ashley Cooke who was a member of much loved 90s band Derrero. The music that Ashley has created over the years truly is a joy to listen to.

‘Man Of Lists’ is a brave album that few artists would dare to create. His approach is to make the music that he believes in and that music is an art form and a way to express himself. ‘Man Of Lists’ contains 25 tracks which give a very insightful look into the world of Ashley Cooke.

Ashley describes himself as a man who can make a list for any occasion, for this album he has collaborated with a number of musicians to set these lists to music. The album is largely spoken word poems set to a variety of beautiful sounds.

To pick highlights from this album really is a difficult thing to do, this is an album that you can listen to from start to finish and experience something new with each and every listen.

At the time of listening for review a few tracks that stood out for me were ‘The Whole Picture’ which is set to a beautiful soothing sound and contains a wonderful thought “To write here is my way of trying to capture the moment / to leave a written mark as a trigger for my eternal memories”. ‘Archive’ is another great track for anyone who has tried to organize their life in lever arch files. ‘Oxbow lake’ is a track that will draw you in with the dreamy melody and have you focussing on every word spoken. ‘Chips In The Rain’ a track which deals perfectly with the modern way of communicating “Don’t you hate email when digital words sail out of your head never to be seen again, never to be answered” all set to a cheerful tune.

Once again Pulco has delivered an album that music lovers will instantly embrace and treasure. It is a shame John Peel is no longer with us to give this album the national airplay it deservers.”
– Steve Tay, A Musical Priority


Sketchbook Season – Pulco – FREE Download EP

Reviews:
“Unsettling looped harmonies, running water and breathy whistling. You never quite know what you’re going to come across in a Pulco record, and that’s part of its charm. Sketchbook Season continues in the ‘lofi misery poet’ style that we’ve come to know and admire (albeit maybe at a distance).

The opening track – Whistle frog finds a way – is the perfect mix of obscurity and dischordant melody to suck your ears in and have its tune going round and round your head for hours like some sort of fucked up merry go-round. It wouldn’t seem out of place as the indie background to some hip new-media viral TV advert.

In amongst the weirdness though, there’s plenty of deep, wavy sounds to let yourself sink into. Don’t Stand Down is quietly beautiful, and Party Started has enough chorus-filled guitars and sunny synths to feel like it’s on some mad, drugged out trip.

There’s plenty more to this well thought-out and intricate little EP, but you can check it out for yourself, as it’s released…free via Folkwit Records.”
– Stephen McLeod, ArtRocker

“What better way to describe Autumn than the term that titles the new EP from Pulco? Sketchbook Season is out on November 21st from Folkwit Records and it’s another charming collection from Ash Cooke.

Derrero recently reunited as a a three-piece at the SWIGEN festival in Cardiff. And while I’m sure that Derrero fans are hoping that the band records new material together, some fans — like me! — are also hoping that Ash Cooke keeps making music under the Pulco moniker as his solo stuff is really great.

Sketchbook Season apparently started life as a set of songs recorded for The Garden of Earthly Delights radio show but, lest you think otherwise, these 5 tracks are as well thought-out as earlier Pulco releases.

Ash Cooke is adept at producing music that sounds as if it was casually developed. And then you listen to all the pieces in the songs, and the melody catches you, and you then appreciate what care went into these works. It’s a bit like one guy in his home studio trying to replicate the sound of an entire real band.

More the fuzz-pop of Ariel Pink than the automatic drawing-inspired sonic sketches of solo Bill Nelson.

Whistle Frog Finds A Way

This track is really a perfect example of what a musician can do in the world of home recording (provided said musician has talents like Mr. Ash Cooke). What starts as a spoken word piece — with a plucked guitar line reminiscent of “Bert Jansch” from the Ash Cooke/Adam Leonard collaboration Redlip — turns quickly into a rather insistent melody built on the back of a sample of a whistle. It’s a unique turn from Cooke and an interesting choice as an EP opener.

Don’t Stand Down

What a tune! Really, this is as good as anything Cooke delivered with Derrero. There, I’ve said it! The sample — choir or keyboard? — anchors the cut and the gentle rhythm begins. “Don’t stand down” is the main lyric and it’s nearly whispered in spots. An acoustic guitar leads the track forward as Ash sings this gentle ballad.

There’s a passing similarity to the best Boo Radleys here — “Ride The Tiger” without all the production elements and guitar — as well as the early solo stuff from Boo mainman Martin Carr in his Brave Captain guise.

Still, this is a lovely ballad and it’s almost too good to be a free download.

Party Started

The late Elliott Smith was, clearly, a bit of an influence on Cooke as a solo artist and that vibe continues into Party Started — put Smith’s A Passing Feeling on a mix before this similarly sad-but-hopeful track and you’ll see what I mean.

What makes Cooke deserve such high praise as comparison to Smith is that they both use the studio trickery sparingly; the elements here, like those on most of Smith’s From A Basement On A Hill record, are used with judicious effect. In the hands of other musicians, this sort of music would be pummeled, no melody left alive.

Cooke wisely lets the tune unfurl with that very Steely Dan-ish guitar riff as the hook, his voice a bit further back in the mix. There’s some silliness near the end, the cymbals (?) crash, and the song fades out.

As lovely as Don’t Stand Down and a sure sign of Cooke’s strengths as a solo artist.

– A Pessimist is Never Disappointed

“Ash Cooke, better known as Bangor’s Pulco releases a new EP on November 21st – Ash is former frontman and creative force behind Welsh indie band Derrero (3 Peel sessions, 2 Peel festive 50 spots, tours with Gorky’s, Super Furry Animals etc).

Following hard on the heels of his current album Small Thoughts, Pulco’s ‘Sketchbook Season EP’ is a free to download collection of tunes that were recorded earlier in the year as a session for the eclectic radio show The Garden Of Earthly Delights.

The opening track Whistle Frog kicks in with the listener presuming it’s going to be an annoying looped song, however it turns out to be a light hearted opener. Don’t Stand Down is where Ash shows his Derroro beginnings with a simple but uplifting dreamy tune, as does Party Started. He then rubs it in with the quirky Hair and a line I could never sing ‘I’ve got too much hair.’ – along with Knuckles it makes a decent EP in an indie-folk fashion full of natty fills and effects that screw it slightly off centre. Recommended.”
– Link2Wales

Small Thoughts – Pulco – £8.99 + P&P



  1. What’s In A Name
  2. Place Lid On Me
  3. Oxbow Lake
  4. Machines/Mind
  5. A Self Made Man
  6. Beanbags
  7. Return To Undersea Adventure
  8. Night Owls
  9. Thumb Piano For Jad Fair
  10. Data Perils
  11. Jan Van
  12. Poem Over Hovering Ambience
  13. Old Stones
  14. Key Skills
  15. Seahorse: See Sheep
  16. Travel Lodge Mirror
  17. Mexican Mods & Mexican Rockers

Reviews:

“In the realm of American indie, lo-fi always seems to connote music without a lot of ambition, and with a certain purposeful laziness.

However, in other parts of the world — New Zealand, for instance — lo-fi describes the prodigious output of a real tunesmith like Chris Knox.

And now add Wales to that list of places where talented artists are producing quality music on modest budgets.

Operating under the moniker Pulco, Ash Cooke, former frontman of Welsh indie-rockers Derrero, has brought forth a wonderful new album, Small Thoughts, out 20 June on the Folkwit label.

Sure, there’s no big production here but there are big tunes and big ideas — a song about Flemish painter Jan van Kessel, for example! — so that lo-fi label doesn’t seem like a bad thing at all.

“Machines/Mind” cranks forth like the best of the aforementioned Chris Knox, while “Place Lid On Me” has a lovely melody that recalls Cooke’s earlier band as well as Stephen Malkmus if Malkmus was trying to wrap his hooks around a solo Lennon tune.

“Night Owls” recalls not Lennon, but McCartney, specifically “Blackbird”.

There’s a real intimacy here. As an artist, Cooke is clearly making the most out of the benefits of home recording. The songs sound at once of-the-moment — off-the-cuff, even — and yet, there are bits of tenderness and lovely melody that many mainstream acts would kill for.

With the addition of his kid’s speaking voice to “Seahorse: See Sheep”, it’s indie rock as family memento. Both experimental and melodic, the song is perfect headphone music.

A vaguely Vini Reilly-ish guitar line anchors “Travel Lodge Mirror” before the spoken word bits kick in. Is Cooke singing in character or as himself? Either way the effect is one of soul searching.

My favorite track on the record is “Return To Undersea Adventure” with the backwards tapes (?) and ringing guitar sounds recalling both the music of some thriller film soundtrack and the trippier bits on the underrated C’mon Kids (1996) by Boo Radleys; Cooke’s voice does sound a bit like Sice’s at some spots on this collection!

“Jan Van”, about Dutch painter Jan Van Kessel, brings a slight blues edge to the rhythms at work here.

The ominous piano that opens “Oxbow Lake” leads into another burst of near-spoken word self-reflection. The sinister edge clouds what is otherwise a rather upbeat song and that tension keeps the song interesting until some retro blips-and-beeps and a crunchy acoustic guitar arrive and things end amid a bit of laughter from Cooke.

“Data Perils” sounds like the work of a full band and the somewhat downbeat melody line is ornamented by a plucked guitar and insistent drum machine. Hovering somewhere between side 1 of New Order’s Brotherhood (1986) and that Sice ghost again, the song is inward looking where other moments on the record are pastoral and expansive.

It’s not an accident that I opened with a reference to the glory days of the New Zealand scene; like the boom of bands around The Chills, Wales enjoyed a similar sort of indie musical renaissance following the early chart successes of Super Furry Animals.

And while the only Welsh band I heard played in bars during my one visit to Cardiff in 2000 was Stereophonics, there was a real sense of place to the best Welsh indie of the 1990s and up.

So, that said, the highest praise I could give Pulco is to say that while the scale may be smaller, the music from Cooke now is just as rich and warm in spirit as that made a few years ago by his earlier Derrero.

If John Peel were still alive, he’d be spinning Small Thoughts with the same kind of enthusiasm he once showed for Derrero.”
– A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed (Music Blog)

“Former Derrero member Ash Cooke aka Pulco is releasing his seventh DIY folky album this month, cobbled together from a vast array of strange and more conventional sounds.

Harnessing any sort of noise he can get his hands on to turn into a note or a segment of a track, Pulco even manages to turn the most unlikely of everyday social interactions into wonderful sonic moments. Most parents or those with siblings have no doubt experienced the frustration of trying to record with a condenser mic or two in a house filled with loud, excitable young children. Instead of tearing his hair out, Pulco instead manages to use these sort of supposedly untimely interruptions to his own advantage; embracing them fully and twisting and shaping them into parts of songs. It’s a brilliantly creative way of working, and the results show that… It kindof makes me jealous. I want an source of spontaneous samples to tap into! It’s also a much better documentary of childhood than family home videos surely…

Playful tunes with a youthful innocence and ‘sketchbook’ approach are never dull to listen to, and mercifully without pretence or ceremony.

‘Place Lid On Me’ is the track that stands out most after a fair few listens… or at least the one that seems to be most instantly recognisable as a great loofa, fuzz-pop track. and is also one that has a video to accompany it. Check it out below…”
– Stephen McLeod, Artrocker

“In the face of autotuned mainstream music which prizes image and production values over and above lyrical content, meaning and musicianship, it’s often refreshing to immerse yourself in the dirty, undistilled world of lo-fi. Coming straight out of left-field, Small Thoughts is an incongruous amalgam of thoughts and pieces built upon a solid avant-garde foundation; it feels much more like a songbook than an album… that is to say that each track is a standalone piece with little, if any, relation to the material alongside it. Ultimately, it’s the rawness of the recordings and the incorporation of some strange and bewildering sounds which tie the tracks together, be it a hoover or children laughing in the background. At times the desire to create something new and interesting can detract from, rather than accentuate the actual song, but tracks like Old Stones reaffirm the undeniable songwriting talent on display here.”
– AH, The Miniature Music Press

“Small Thoughts is a Technicolor sketchbook of ideas and whimsical exploration, some fully realised but mostly left intriguingly open ended. After seven albums down this road there’s no reason for Cooke to alter his M.O now, you just have to dive in and join him on his ramshackle ride.”
– Ian Fildes, Americana UK, 02 August 2011 More…

“‘goin’ loco, down in ..’ oh, sorry, I started getting enthusiastic about ‘Small Thoughts’ as soon as I saw the bands name, wirt large in a lettering that I last saw used by Pulp, on the cover of their ‘Different Class’ album. First impressions count for something with me and have always done, and Pulco are making some interesting noises even before I’ve started listening to their album. Correction, is – Pulco are Ashley Cooke, a 4 track veteran of tours with SFAs, Sebadoah and has even worked alongside John Cale. And I’ve heard him before, it is unmistakable, and it’s also around 8 years ago, probably on Peel – at any rate 2nd track ‘Place Lid On Me’ is a sound and vocal I recognise, and in a good way.

‘Oxbow Lake’ is guitar and tinny drum machine boosted with some with some smartly handled backing vocals and keyboard interjections, and the sound of a cat complaining about its sudden introduction to a microphone. Lyrical and funny, and declaiming his own spoken words with as much inspiration as he brings to a ballad such as ‘Machines/Mind’, the beachside oddness of ‘Thumb Piano For Jad Fair’, the thoughtful refelction of ‘Old Stories’, the techno excesses of ‘Travel Lodge Mirror’, and final track ‘Mexican Mods And Mexican Rockers’ is a gleeful deconstruction of the album, the band ethos, and is very amusing indeed. There’s more than comedy to the 17 tracks on ‘Small Thoughts’ though, and anyone listening to it will indeed find it a memorable experience, on a par with even Pulp? They might.”
– JG, Tasty Fanzine

“Pulco is Ash Cooke, who at the turn of the 00s was in the fabulous and much overlooked Cardiff-based post-SFA art-psych outfit Derrero, who sounded like this. Small Thoughts is actually his seventh solo album of scrapbook lo-fi experimental pop, interlaced with scrappy keyboards, found sound and spoken word and ambient passages it’s a highly singular work, often self-indulgent but openly all-embracing for its nuggets of odd melodic spark.”
– Sweeping The Nation (Blog)

“Small Thoughts Yet another offering from Ash Cooke on the local Folkwit Records label and very aptly titled too as Pulco once again puts down his thoughts and ideas on disc in song and spoken word. Using any instrument available and even at one stage allowing his kids to add comments to the recording, he ponders Ox Bow Lakes, Dutch painters and Travelodge mirrors. Again a challenging album for the discerning listener.”
– Dave Sutherland, The Essential Guide, Nottingham Evening Post

Current Releases:

Triceratops – Pulco – £8.99 + P&P



Limited edition, home craft packaged CDR.

  1. drinking song for days long gone
  2. wearing down well
  3. jacuzzi
  4. clean face
  5. ifans friends
  6. billy d horsey
  7. close forms
  8. i have of late
  9. brain museum
  10. vari speed
  11. next to water
  12. the swimmer
  13. saunter days
  14. a russian dance
  15. picker hymn
  16. fire

Reviews:

“Home recording carries on becoming ever more popular all the time, with the more creative and experimental of musicians able to put together sounds in their bedrooms on their laptop – in amongst the chaos and busy-ness of the rest of their life. The great myth that music would die out if we stopped paying for CDs is further being exposed as a result, but does it mean a shift in the way that we’ll view music differently as a result? I hope so.

Singer/guitarist Ash Cooke is one of the latest contributors to such a philosophy, assembling bits and pieces together using a four-track recorder and Dictaphone ‘during stolen moments in his wardrobe studio’. It’s music for music’s sake – with no pomp or overblown ceremony to speak of.

It’s not even to say that this stuff is just for those weird muso types that squirrel themselves away clutching armfuls of dusty vinyls, espousing over which valve microphone gives the warmest tone – with the likes of ‘tUnE-yArDs’ getting big-label support from 4AD.

Sound-wise, it has elements of the likes of softly-sang Iain Archer, but with all the added cut-and-paste obscurity of Highland songster Calamateur. It has the child-like innocence of someone exploring the world with fresh eyes and observation (and in fact, Ash’s son Ifan played his part on the track ‘Billy D Horsey’), and enough wonder to draw you in. All of that aside, Who can dislike a record that starts with ‘booze, booze, beautiful booze’?”
– Stephen McLeod, ArtRocker

Sorepaw – Pulco – £8.99 + P&P



Limited edition, home craft packaged CDR.

  1. Tudor Grains
  2. Coral Visions
  3. Taking Time
  4. Glitches
  5. Whiskey Song
  6. Pony Munchin
  7. Policies Placed
  8. Gonzalez Instrumental
  9. Growing Hard
  10. Altered Blogs
  11. Strange Hail
  12. Choppy Seas
  13. Killer Set
  14. Dino Song

Reviews:

“For his latest album, Ash Cooke, aka Pulco, has gone right back to basics and he seems to be thriving on it. “Sorepaw” was recorded on a Tascam Portastudio in the bedroom of his new home whilst waiting for the studio to be built. He also had to do it without waking his two young daughters. The result is an enchanting and delicate album that’s pretty much stripped back to guitar and voice. The impact however is huge. It has a charm that weaves around the deceptively simple phrasing. The guitar almost as expressive as the voice as they carry you off to a safe place”
– FATEA/Cambridge & Beyond

“Recorded in Ash’s attic Portastudio, there’s an attractive immediacy about the final product, which is matched by the sweet, quirky intimacy of Ash’s songs. This quality in turn probably reflects Ash’s conversion to fatherhood and all the commitment that involves (sessions took place in evenings when babes were asleep – you can even hear little snorings and sneezes from time to time!). Ash accompanies himself on guitar, ably and with a gentle melodic charm (and a touch of occasional mouth-percussion), there’s a bit of glockenspiel on the closing track, and he doubletracks all his backing harmony vocals. One track also employs some backwards-tape stuff, but this doesn’t interfere with the mood. Most of the time minimalist is indeed best, for the songs radiate their own sense of relaxed contentment and don’t really need any special pleading – rather like those of Syd Barrett, you just need to let them work their genial magic – which they will.”
– David Kidman, NetRhythms

Wengen – Pulco – £8.99 + P&P



Limited edition, home craft packaged CDR.

  1. Vein
  2. Song 37
  3. Ifan
  4. Sleazy Paddocks
  5. Enjoy Your Ride
  6. Jungle
  7. Struggled To Wander
  8. Frazzle (The Story Of Husker Du)
  9. Glowing
  10. Tide
  11. Wengen
  12. Plants Know
  13. Old N Bold

Undersea Adventure – Pulco – £8.99 + P&P



Limited edition, home craft packaged CDR.

  1. Haul Away
  2. Squid
  3. Kid Kippling
  4. Paddle People
  5. Love Of The Ocean
  6. Sardines
  7. Whistle For A Breeze
  8. Kursk Flute
  9. Ocean Trench
  10. Snorkeling The Hours
  11. Mrs Haines
  12. Middle Ear Discomfort
  13. Poseiden Adventure

Reviews:

“Kid Kipling, Paddle People and Whistle for a Breeze are clear, enchanting and very tuneful, with Cooke employing great harmonies and an interesting range of instruments (tin whistles and ukuleles among them). The lush and jaunty Love of the Ocean could have been performed by a pared down version of The Thrills. The subject matter is also often interesting, from the sinking of the Kursk to a sailor delivering news of a lost comrade (standout track Mrs Haines).”
– Jenny Alder, Americana UK

“…some truly fantastic phrases, both of music and lyrics”
– Neil King, FATEA

About Pulco:

Making home recordings on cheap tape players and 4 – Tracks since his youth
Ash has a love of all things lo-fi

Initially making his mark in Welsh group Derrero, Ash has continued to quietly release albums under the Pulco banner for the best part of ten years in amongst the chaos and busyness of his regular life.

During his time in  Derrero  the band released 3 critically acclaimed albums and toured with the likes of Super Furry Animals, Catatonia, Sebadoh and Granddaddy as well as collaborating on the film ‘Beautiful Mistake’ with John Cale

The band also recorded 3 sessions for the legendary John Peel.

In recent years Ash has been content to shun the big stages for the comfort of his wardrobe studio only venturing out to play live when there’s something new to say

Assembling musical bits and pieces together using a hand held recorder and Dictaphone Pulco songs feature cheap keyboards, toy instruments and just about anything else that Ash can lay his hands on to add something interesting into the mix

Poems, field recordings and interruptions by the kids are common place

It is music for music’s sake with no pomp or ceremony!

Pulco music has been described as left-field folk with a sketchbook feel, collecting thoughts and random events that have the child-like innocence of someone exploring the world with fresh eyes:

‘It’s all about grabbing a chunk of time and wrapping it around a good tune’

Pulco’s website: pulcomusic.com

Preview and download the complete Pulco catalogue at Bandcamp.

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