Artist: Hectic Head
Title: World Wide Consciousness
Keywords: Experimental Electronica, Chill, EBM
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
SP Recordings is a lot like Star Trek’s Borg. They travel through cyberspace in a giant hypercube, assimilating other labels and their respective owners — there’s SPNet, SProc, SPTrash, SPoptic, SPTotFSP. Or maybe it’s like… if the Borg had a hippie commune, and everyone were sitting in a massive circle playing harsh noise instead of banging on bongos. In that way, it’s really a wonderful label! Sadly, financial troubles have befallen the primogenitor of the label, Shaun Phelps, and so they are under the threat of losing the main website. It’s only $40 to keep it up for a year, though, so if anyone is able to donate that would be cool. I volunteered to try and spread the word here, in case it would help. I’ll just give you Shaun Phelps’ email, which maybe you could use to contact him to ask about donations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you could buy a bunch of stuff from them, albums and the like, as I’m sure that would help too… plus you’d get cool stuff. 😛
Anyway, I’m here to talk about an album. It’s kind of a global brain communication from the Hectic Head that wants to absorb you within the mass consciousness of the world at large. I don’t know what that sentence meant, but I don’t suppose I need to worry about it since I wrote it.
‘Thoughts Betrayed’ sounds like a dubby carnival ride, a bit bumpy and fun! I hear low vocals, almost like samples, and the whole thing feels very cheerful and pleasant. I’m flying through the sky on a large merry-go-round, surrounded by clowns and unicorns and snake-human hybrids, maybe a few minotaur, and we’re all drunk on bubbles and speaking to each telepathically and making jokes for each others amusement.
‘Bali 9’ gets a nice thumping tech break going with some low chords swelling. The vocals lay just underneath these in the mix, providing a kind of unusual harmony. I hear some congas panning back and forth. I feel like I’m spinning, the scenery around me morphing frequently; grassy hillside in Scotland, The Taj Mahal, tundra lakeside, Angkor, The Himalayas, Gobi Desert, Chuck E. Cheese’s… it is good that we’re incorporeal, otherwise our stomachs would be turning from all the lightspeed teleportation and shitty pizza!
Next is ‘Over (Hectic Head Fuck Remix)’, a piece of music originally by A Perfect Circle. I’m going to pause this real fast to tell you that… if you don’t know, A Perfect Circle were a side project of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. I’m not really very fond of either band, but I’m going to listen to see whether this remix is ok. I hear some xylophone and then… yeesh!!! Maynardvoice! Then his voice gets pitchshifted way lower, which is kind of interesting. There’s something in the tuning of it that reminds me of monks chanting, Gregorian style. It’s basically a loop, though…
… but then we come to ‘Indian Taxi’, a techno 4/4 bump with some synth bass, light touches of pads, a vocal sample that’s really mental! There’s some really nice percussion that comes in, giving it a splash of tribalism. Love this track right now, and it’s repetitive, trance-inducing chill vibe.
Now, here’s something… a Björk remix? ‘Immature (Extremely Lazy Mix By Hectic Head)’ doesn’t really sell itself, but that’s ok, I’m interested to hear how it goes. I’m just going to pause it a sec to say… it’s really kind of sad how often I forget about Björk. I ended up with a copy of Homogenic about a year after it first came out, and it might have been the first “experimental / electronic” album I was ever exposed to in a direct way. I had seen a poster of it’s album art in a local record store / head shop and decided quite randomly to pick up a copy. I would listen to it, think to myself, “Wow, this is really weird!” and then go and listen to something else, but would experience strange urges to listen to it again and again every so often. I was probably just trying to process it. I must have been aware she had other albums, but it was several years before I even heard anything else of hers, and then I had several moments of love for her music — especially after realizing that one of my many obsessive early-teen visceral late-night television ritual programs Insomniac Music Theater used a sample of her track ‘Possibly Maybe’ as the intro. But, then I would go up and down with it, at times being like… oh, Mark Bell and others wrote all the music, her voice is a gimmick, etc. Honestly, though… I love Björk after all. The intro to ‘Immature’ loops, the echoing beeps and worldly spacy sounds, the smooth bass, the vocals. Damn, this takes me back! It’s hard to get a sense for how it’s been remixed, except that occasionally the volume seems to get tweaked oddly, the sounds looping back. Oh well, it’s not like Hectic Head didn’t warn that this was to be an Extremely Lazy mix of Extreme Laziness! “How extremely lazy of me” … ok, yeah, I see what you did there, and I must admit I lol’d.
Get ready for ‘The Big Suprise’! You’ll never guess what it is. Give up? It’s the next track, and it begins with a breakbeat, some sitar loops, a peculiar noise of some kind that sounds like someone trying to emulate a didgeridoo with their mouth. There is a distortion to this track as it builds layer by layer of intensity, very mental! Also very loopy! Toward the end I realize that the voice is saying something about the big surprise, and then it ends abruptly. The track began feeling like it was a birthday party, but ended feeling like someone took a shit on the cake.
‘My Story’ tells the story of how awesome the world is through the use of spacy sequences, vocal samples, a lofi groove, wonky distorted passages. It’s a total trip! Gradually, in a method reminiscent of some of the better oldschool trance tracks, it seems to gather in intensity, building itself very subtly, and before you know it the track is over and you’re like… where was I for the last three and a half minutes? In your head someplace.
After that comes ‘The House That J Built’. OH! I’m digging this instantly, and it might even be my favourite thing on this album, so far anyway. Deep breaks, perfect pad chords, wild downtuned vocal samples. I feel now like I’m cruising the night-time streets, of shadow and darkness. Glimmers of neon pass by on occasion. Maybe I’m even wearing sunglasses, because, like Corey Hart and those people who are really fucking high and don’t want people to notice their glossy red eyes in public, I too wear my sunglasses at night. Theoretically speaking. In practice it’s a look that almost never works for me. B)
‘Touch Me’ is the next track, thick dark industrial breaks with some strange bass guitar record skip noises and shouting vocals! Wow! I’m really enjoying this one so far too, it’s got kind of a funky oldschool “Exclusive Alternatives” feel mixed with a slightly more newschool hardcore edge.
Then it’s ‘BeatRepeats’, taking us even further into pure sonic weirdness with strange beats and vocals, then dropping that for some heavy, psychedelic chip electronics with distorted breaks and bass, electric guitar. I’m not even sure where I am anymore, just completely lost in this trying to figure out what’s going on.
‘LoopRepeats’ gets a trancy, psychedelic loop going, some of it reversing… I think my psyche is being bombarded by demons from a universe or something, it’s revelatory and bizarre to the max. If an Edo-era ninja took LSD and started freaking out, thinking he were trapped in a SEGA arcade machine, this is how it would sound.
‘Puke Nukem’, hahaha. Ok, now that I’ve stopped laughing, I will tell you this track is very intense. Lush, floating pad chords, an uptempo break, lots of strange percussive glass noises and very subtle vocals. It changes up on us midway, adding some thick, distorted rhythms and a loop of some kind of atmospheric synth, then clips of vocals.
Next up is ‘Electronica Funeral’… there’s a pad atmosphere, a fast 4/4 kick, what sounds like a DX7 digi lead. It’s nice, very minimal but expansive. Every so often I hear something like an animal scratching around, maybe some birds.
‘Loonies On The Park’ wasn’t available on the playlist, so I downloaded it to see what it had going on. A deep breakbeat, plenty of atmospheric tribal and forest noises, strange effects that the background seems to swell, absorb you. There might be vocoders buried in there! There’s a voice, for a moment I’m thinking to myself, is this Timothy Leary? It sounds like it could be, but it’s very reverby and kind of hard to tell. With that, the vibe is almost reminding me of late PTV, in their heady “Acid House” / ‘Towards Thee Infinite Beat’ period.
The next one, the titular ‘World Wide Consciousness’ was also mysteriously vacant from the playlist, but I d/l’d it, so it’s ok. It’s sounds like… piano, a lofi drum machine tom roll, a guy saying “It’s a world wide consciousness” over and over! Repetitive, but there are some additional piano chops later on, sort of.
‘The Great White Whale’… Moby Dick, presumably? Maybe it’s allegory… it begins with some deep, chasmic drone pads, vocal samples of some guy talking about stuff, echoing. It’s kind of interesting… I like the subtle filter work, used to kind of bend and warp the frequencies a little.
‘Peacefull Dream’ sounds like Timothy Leary again, and the deep ambiance of the track seems to be composed of very minimal used sound, clips of a conversation of some kind far in the background, a windy bell sound like pitched glass being blown or manipulated by mallets. This is another of my favourites here, for it’s elegant simplicity and dark vibes.
Then we go into the Hectic Head remix of ‘Human Augmentation’ by Fear Factory. I owned one Fear Factory album a long time ago… and that’s about all I can say. It sounds very dark ambient, droning, industrial… washes of guitar distortion swoop in from the aether. Do machines dream? Bits of percussive noise ring out, very droning and mechanically edged.
There are some pretty synthetic tones happening on ‘They Said’, sounding like a chill Moogscape. Taped voice comes in, talking about something or other.
Wow. This was an extremely varied and mind-bending work, though as Reed put it, “[…] most of these tracks could easily be from a chill compilation from the ’90s through the early ’00s, when bands like and Leftfield were leading the trend of incorporating sounds from the Middle and Far East and Africa into electronic music across the popular spectrum.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Altogether, I had fun vegging out while listening to it. It was a very strange journey, of imagining myself in an eternal elsewhere… and much better than the harsh reality of basking in the cold glow of a computer screen in what essentially feels like the eternal nowhere. 😉 Check it… I even got a link for you. How nice is that?