kukl“The Eye” (1984) KUKL

“The Eye” is the debut album of the post-punk band KUKL. KUKL (‘Sorcery’) was formed in August 1983, inspired by among others Ásmundur (Ási) Jónsson of Gramm Records fame. The album was released in September 1984 on the (in)famous Britisch anarchopunk label Crass Records. The LP was recorded at Southern Studios in January 1984. The album peaked at number 6 in the UK Independent albums chart. The music ranges widely, a mix of punk, rock, jazz and more experimental music. The album was named after Björk’s favourite book, Story of the Eye, written by Georges Bataille (1928), a very intense story about a young French couple involved in sexual perversions and violent behaviours.

The almost 30 minutes long “The Eye” starts with “Assassin”, a powerful track loaded with several instruments including electrically powered guitars backed up by bells and pipes, with lead vocalists Einar Örn Benediktsson and Björk whispering in the background.
“Anna” contains distinctly oriental-sounding flutes and slowly played drums throughout most of its length, which is suddenly broken by stronger layers of guitars and more rhythmic drum beats.

One of the most important songs taken from “The Eye” is “Dismembered”, a track that could be considered as a post-punk work. Here most of the guitars have been replaced by pipes and bells. The original, more guitar-oriented version of this song first appeared as the single “Söngull” in 1983. The album closes with “Handa Tjolla”, a percussion-practise track which sounds more than anything like a Japanese taiko drumming ensemble.

Album engineering was done by the omnipresent Tony Cook.

Cover artwork was made by Dada Nana.

KUKL bandBand members were:

  • Vocals: Björk Guðmundsdóttir
  • Vocals and trumpet: Einar Örn Benediktsson
  • Electric guitar: Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson
  • Bass: Birgir Mogensen
  • Keyboards: Einar Arnaldur Melax
  • Drums: Sigtryggur Baldursson

Songs

Side A

Assassin

Anna

Open the window and let the spirit fly free

Moonbath

Side B

Dismembered

Seagull (Fuglar)

The Spire

Handa Tjolla

 

Single Söngull (Gramm 17) is a version of “Dismembered”, with Icelandic lyrics and guitar instead of pipes and bells playing the intro.

An interesting TV special for the Icelandic television broadcasted in 1986, notice the belly of the pregnant Björk: