This collection of Not Breathing jammy drum n’ modular tracks is rough and raw, and has a structure that is something of a throwback to the hazy days of The Starry Wisdom*, particularly “Mycomaster.” Let the loops ride and the knobs tweak on.
There’s a detuned thump to a lot of the leads that’s either delightfully nauseous or a bit sick – the aptly-named “Antibiotic Throwdown” sounds like someone’s squeezing a seal that’s crying for help from the pack. This is fine with me, seeing as seals are assholes who do a lot of raping and killing for sport, like most of the animal kingdom**, so let’s get a really big vise grip and squeeze those bitches.
There’s a lot of joyfully simple booty bass rhythms, admittedly distorted, filtered and modulated – ring and otherwise – and the splashy 4-bit snare sounds evoke an early NES game, perhaps something you played while home sick from school and bombed out of your skull on Robitussin.*** “Masonic Sadness Vortex” begins as a bopper and ends with a wet crash; I don’t see the Masonry or the Sadness myself, but I the Vortex part is clear.
“Wet End” is a slippery, sloppy splash of elevator music synth textures and half-speed breakcore; I am also especially fond of the gritty whine of “Angus Ranch Acid” and the meanacing sub-bass wall found on “Neptune Solar Kite.” Suprisingly catchy opener “How the West Was Won” and “Turnip & Radish” both have an odd cant you can hum along to, despite how each has a melody that slides away from itself before eventually drowning in a bathtub of gin and barbituates.
While “Mycomaster” and “Rhinobeatle” play out a similar technoid sound – 8-bit pulses in a 64-bit world – the album closer “Crystal Ruins on the Moon” has a classic 1970s modular synth sound, pulling us back to a time when Wendy Carlos could bang out covers and everyone was at least appreciative of the effort involved. Laquarto & Perky‘s magnificent ending is a bit more scary than Ms. Carlos would have cared for, perhaps, but that’s why it’s a Not Breathing album and not a dodgy sound effects collection.****
* An excellent album.
** Spot the inherent sexism in this sentence and win valuable cash prizes.
*** I say this not because OH MAN IT’S SO WEIRD but because Dextromethorphan is often reported to give music a slow, molasses-like quality; kids looking for a cheap high often scare the shit out of themselves, or are tricked when someone who should know better puts on a copy of Logghi Barogghi and laughs his ass off. Not that I would recommend doing this to anyone but a complete asshole who’s impressionable to boot.