As it pertains to this mix collaboration between Hey Convict! and the Bumrocks mp3 site, purple no doubt goes back to an earlier epoch before hip-hop, Vice-collecting hipsters and New Age gurus, back to the days of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." In fact, his "Captain Coconut" (a wicked deep album cut) might get sussed in the fog of this hour-long mix. Or maybe not.
Much like RVNG's previous ambitious dual-format package—JD Twitch from Optimo's 60 Minutes of Fear/ 10 Inches of Fear—the Purple Brain mix (a mix CD and grape-colored 7-inch and, for the most manic of collectors, a hand-sewn purple tam is available from the website) deploys the source material's audio fidelity itself to further its effect. Can everything here really sound this dusty, foggy and displaced? Cuz foggy it is. Even the art (by far the simplest and least busy of the RVNG catalog) still casts a miasma about the proceedings, consisting of heavily-photocopied images distorted to the point of indecipherability.
Befuddlement and disorientation promotes PB's cause: White boy soulster Joe South bumps right into French library music funker Yan Tregger, while everyone from Robert Palmer to Beaver & Krause can hide in plain sight, right next to French prog acts like Electric Sandwich and Gong. Even as the hour-long mix perks up, it never quite shakes off the cobwebs. As befits such haze, it's only when I look up the Purple Brain tracklisting do I realize that the disembodied voice intoning "Siiiiiimple Headphooooone Miiiiiiiind" comes from something on my own shelves: Stereolab's collaboration with Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton. It's the proverbial hand being unseen in front of the face, but coming as it does from deep inside this purple haze, it's not so surprising that lately things just don't seem the same.