Artist: Infinite Quazar
Keywords: Cosmic, Hip-Hop, Ambient
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Butt-rock, as a genre, is quite elusive to many. It is my personal belief that it is actually quite an avant-garde and almost purely aesthetic movement, in musicological and higher art terminology. The tastes, accoutrements, attitudes, artistic sensibilities… nigh the very raison d’être of butt-rock and it’s equally enigmatic adherents are not so well known as they are subjectively interpreted from the media and it’s pluckings of some Jungian [n]ethereal plane, often strung together carelessly, the result a contradiction borne of misunderstanding. So what is butt-rock? Conceptually, ’tis “butt” one of many arts that claims a lineage stretching all the way back to the Gothic; a song with many octaves. The grandiose, but ugly… the baroque… these are the predecessors surely of a movement espousing a love, more than anything, for the loud, the wailing, the rockin’. This very eldritch, Northerly aesthetic merges in equal measure with a sort of juvenilia, Teutonic hero-worship (guitar gods), a cultivated deficiency of attention – the butt-rocker, enfant provocateur, elicits scorn from the audiophile snob with his precarious infatuations. “Dude, you’ve gotta listen to this…” the butt-rocker might be given to say, before skipping nearly every track on an album, stopping finally on a song only to fast-forward most of the way through it to play a minute-long clip of a wanking guitar solo followed by 5 or so seconds at best of the subsequent descent back to the song itself, all while contorting his face and twiddling the imaginal strings of his air guitar. What symbolism is this? The symbolism of the fool, nothing less, and betraying by virtue of it’s many tendencies that it is, in fact, a movement of supreme artistic imagination. From a certain perspective it could perhaps be viewed as the ascendancy of the Gothic to the highest realm of art and spirit. I posit that there have at no time been any mainstream butt-rock artists, musician / band or otherwise. There have instead been only tendencies of mainstream bands and artists to occasion a foray into butt-rockism. 1980s metal groups, popularly regarded or oft-derided as “hair” metal, were perhaps the ones most accustomed to the aesthetic, gaining the most tread in the greater butt-rock vanguard. One of the most peculiar things about butt-rock, however, is that a piece of music need not even contain a single guitar to still manage effectively to convey everything that is butt-rock. Take this, for example. In fact, the link I just gave is quite literally the first thing that always, without fail, comes into my mind when I hear the words butt-rock. Just check out the whole section from 0:53 to 1:17. “Fuck yeah.” “Bitchin’.” This should be enough to convince anyone of the unique artistic aesthetic that butt-rock embodies. In short, butt-rock is an adolescent aesthetic pruriently dedicated to sphincteral pleasures of the audiological variety. The crotch-smotheringly tight acid washed jeans, then, serve the practical purpose of enhancing the sensorial stimulation such music provides the aesthete.
This album is not butt-rock.
Ah… yes, I can see that it might have been conscientious to have disclosed this at the outset, instead of wasting your time with what had only amounted to a digression, a diversion.
In a way, this album is rather the opposite of butt-rock. It’s sensibilities lie not in the sphincter, but the soul; it does not rock, but soothes and elates in a most curious way.
‘Paleofuture’ is like a manned space-flight, but never quite leaves our atmosphere behind it. Swirling, ever-moving and deft soundwork starts us off on the Journey. There’s a Boards Of Canada vibe to it, but it is also merely an introduction to the array of noises we’ll be traversing through on our silver jets of sound waves.
‘Lavie’ takes a downtempo beat – heavily shifted, phased, filtered, treated with love, then kicked around a bit – and puts a nice scaffolding of melody over it. Very pleasing to the eardrums!
Then it’s ‘Mystical Depth’, which sounds much more frightening than it is. A shifty rhythm track with nodding-off smooth jazz instrumentation and some bong rips like a sizzling aqualung. Reminds me of the artist Mumbles, of whom I was quite fond years ago to today.
‘Phases’ is more filtered and warpy future-jazz. A discordant synth is drizzled over the top of the sweetly rich and sensuous music. There are bits of distortion here and there, clipping no doubt, which is kind of ok. The end is quite nice, like a black chorus that comes out of nowhere.
Afterward is ‘Galactic Tide’, very sunny and swell. I’m loving this one perhaps more than the rest… it shimmers. It has a very definite sheen, but the vibe is blurred. It’s like closing your eyes most of the way and watching sun beams over the vale as the light refracts twixt your eyelashes, but you’re in the backseat of a car looking out through a window and you just woke up, so you’re really not sure of what you’re looking at actually. It’s just like that, yeah.
And then? ‘Atmospheric Expansion’ begins with down-tuning guitar, frenzied sparkle-synths, pitch-modded soul vox and a break. It feels more constrictive than expansive, but is also so sonically bizarre that you really can’t help but love every second of it.
And… then? ‘WeAlmost’ is like sloshing through puddles at 5 years old. An exsanguinated beat and erratic textural bellpads. Nostalgic, but diffuse.
‘Warp’ keeps the magic going, adding thick bass of a kind that makes me think of Autechre’s ‘Eutow’ off Tri Repetae++. Don’t know if that’s just me, my unusual reference points. I love the weepiness of the synths here, generally.
So, overall? It felt a bit too short. Every track ends about 3:00 minutes too soon of when it should have, and never spends as much time as it ought to evolving and playing with your perception. The album manages to lull you into your own head; fractured memories are bound to float up a time or two. This is why it’s condensed nature feels like such a sad loss. It was still quite good, and given that you can listen to it in it’s entirety in less than 15 minutes, it’s totally worth checking into. You can get it at the link b’low. Goodnight, chaps and chapesses.