Artist: Big Brother On Acid
Title: Big Brother On Acid
Label: Alrealon Musique
Keywords: Experimental, Avant-garde, Electronic
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
It’s been waaaay too long since the last time I wrote a review for an album from Alrealon Musique. I’m glad that at least I am doing it now, instead of letting it go like that forever. It’s a lot like, when you haven’t had pizza or beer in months, and you’re like… why haven’t I done this in so long? Just an inexplicable thing.
Well, the important thing is, my ears are here, and I’m ready to see what it’s like when big brother watches you watching yourself in split image fractal through greasy spoon after tablet sees cosmos melt on edge of table in empty diner, retina dilates, Orwellian dishwater burnt coffee eternity. Actually, let’s not get ourselves lost in all that. I’m thinking there will be plenty of sounds that will require our utmost attentions.
This album begins with ‘Friday Night’, which is good because it is actually Friday right now. It would be a lot more difficult listening to something called ‘Friday Night’ if it were a Tuesday afternoon. Right away I hear some heavy clipping electronic sounds, like electronic scissors trimming our hair. Very intense cacophony of bass, some dubstep modulations in the mix, but this is not really dubstep, it’s like some kind of mutant psychedelic industrial noise, mixed with high compression almost in the red. Lasers and menacing robotics all around us!
On ‘Binary’, my analog surveillance equipment detects some very trippy tribal rhythms, a lot of low bass… breakbeats come in, and we arrive in a very loud sonic dimension of harsh bliss. It’s easy to feel lost in the sounds these cyber shamans have created. It’s like a rougher, heavier FSOL. It flows nicely into…
… ‘The Thing’. My mind immediately reaches for a memory of that monstrous head spider from the John Carpenter film, not the sort of Thing you want to see on a trip like this! I love the high density of the sound, it’s like all of the electronics and rhythms are being mashed together in a tin bowl. Acid squelches sizzle up like hot oil. I hear a funky bassline, mixed up with the slime of digitally distorted 303s. This is really amazing.
Next up is ‘John Warren’. It’s spacy, but also with a squelchy sickly acid vibe. The groove is like a warped carnival of compression. It’s like one of HR Giger’s nightmarish alien crafts has landed at a cosmic rock festival at one point.
‘It Was All Very Good’ is a wild noisy thrill-ride, and the rhythms here are among the most frenetic and Mercurial, the abstract push of various electronic sounds spinning madly in our heads keeps everything moving full force ahead. I love how madly everything is programmed, how every second it feels like someone’s moving a knob someplace, but it all flows so well. The rhythms are subservient to the noise, really interesting style of mixing… the mid-range intensity feels bodily destructive.
“Here we go!”, says a voice on ‘Saturn’, and we immediately hear a sort of diffuse chill jazz weirdness unfold. This is amazing. This is like… the most surreal-yet-smooth piece of funk I’ve ever heard, completely bizarre. It’s like walking through a mostly isolated botanical garden and zoo on an alien world and marveling at all of the eerily beautiful but dangerous flora and fauna. Sax by David Tamura… he just loses it, it’s perfect. Chill world textures emerge, a span of gorgeous infinity. This is probably my favourite track on the album…
… then we arrive at the majestic ‘Vandalism (BBOA Mix)’, which is really fun! Lots of lush soundscapes, so intense that it’s hard to really get a grip on any one thing. There’s a section that feels very dubstep, but it’s a beautiful and hardcore melange of sounds throughout. This music is really all over the underground dance map, charting simultaneous experimental courses through a variety of head-spaces.
On ‘Sunday-Today’ there’s a low bass, a shuffling break, very hi-fi acoustic guitar. This breaks away into a strange rhythm with a growling synth with slow attack. Now we’ve been taken aboard another starship, electrical components flicker and buzz under low light. I hear a sequence in the right channel that reminds me in a subtle way of the Venga bus… like, maybe the aliens have abducted it and scrapped it into small parts. I love the spaciness of this whole album, the way it moves in so many unpredictable ways. In a delightful way, I am having so much trouble unpicking all of these vast and unusual layers!
There’s an immense breakbeat on ‘Order-Sigil-9’, some FL Simsynth textures flying around, all ufos and gritty synths and samples. Vocal layers are spun in. Very trance-inducing, you kind of just sit wide-eyed listening to it, wondering if reality is real, if truth is true, if all sense of sensory sensuality is nonsense.
Oh… then, there is a track titled ‘Illegal Space Aliens’, which feels highly smashed up, low synthetic noises, a sped-up guitar, a television news reporter, click-pulse groove. I get drawn into the ridiculous news story on the aliens while the music plays… something about aliens and chemtrails and pharmaceutical corporations! Hahaha…
… SO REAL! Ok, then it’s ‘sanity-HIDDEN’, which is a lot more downtempo. One of the great things I feel about this track is that it’s like, anti-chill, in a way. It’s chill, but it’s not… there’s so much going on here that you can’t just leave it in a background, or turn it up and relax… the pulsations are too much. It’s like a new bio-mechanical cerebral cortex, covering up the old one with a layer of sound… your brain won’t come out of it unmodified.
This album, in total, was rad. I have to say, it really blew open some new doors of sound fusion. Definitely not lovey acid vibes… much further on the cold, technoidal side of the scale. It is very much worth hearing, so I’d suggest getting a copy!
That said, for now I must leave you with a link. I hate long goodbyes, so I’m just gonna blush, yell “BYE!” and run away real fast. “BYE!” *drops link on the floor*