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Extra-Capsular Extraction is an interesting little EP. It was their first "proper" release, but manages to have pretty much everything they will do in the future crammed into its thirty minute duration. Even more interesting is that it's the shortest Earth record (correct me if I'm wrong), so having so much content in it is brilliant. At the time, it probably didn't look like much. A CD pretty much covered in white, medical jargon, mugshot-esque photographs of three fairly dour-looking gentlemen, and a very minimalist front cover. It doesn't even have a discernible track listing. Obviously, even at the most melodic and poppy, Earth were never meant for radio airplay. Because of that, this EP didn't even have that "hit single" which jumped to your attention through all of the words on the back cover. Simply put, if you bought this in the 90's, you were either looking for something different, picked it up on a whim, had heard the band's earlier demos, or were just super into Kurt Kobain (sic).
It's nice to know that Earth pretty much made it 'big' in doom circles because of their so-called masterpiece, Earth 2, influence on Sunn O))) and their sudden style change during the Hex-era. Because of this, people are tracking down their older records, this one included. It's comforting to know that this record hadn't completely faded into obscurity, since it's my favourite Earth record, prior to Hex.
Once you DID find out the track listing, you'd find that there was only three tracks, with one considerably longer than the others. It sounds pretty disappointing, but giving it a spin, it's apparent that each track gives its own atmosphere and tone. For example, the first two tracks (while being two parts of the whole "A Beurocratic Desire for Revenge" suite) offer a slow-burning introduction, and a more musically conventional piece, complete with vocals and percussion respectively. The third track, Ouroboros is Broken (which would later be revisitied on the western-tinged Hibernaculum) is Earth which you know from Earth 2. Long, droning notes, creating migraine-inducing, yet very calming soundscapes. Ouroboros is Broken is still slightly more "normal", as it has percussion on it, but the overall effect is the same.
Like I said earlier, while being the first album, this short mini-album pretty much defines anything Earth would do in future. The more conventional rock parts, equally mixed with drones, yet bearing a slight western tinge in places. While the band were still getting to grips with the music, it's obvious that Dylan and co. have a very clear idea of what they want to do, and what kind of band they wanted to be.
The record has aged quite well. While a lot of earlier Sub-Pop records sound quite dated, this one could have easily been put out on the same day as Pentastar: In the Style of Demons. And of course, as it has dated, the then-unknown musicians have pretty much made something of a mini-supergroup. Dylan Carlson on guitar, Joe Preston on Bass and Percussion, as well as guest vocals by Kurt Cobain. It's a wonderful blueprint, as well as summary, of Earth.