Artists: Dino Felipe & Toxic Chicken
Title: Toxic Chicken / Dino Felipe
Keywords: electroacoutics electronic rock ambient experimental electronic synthpop United States
Reviewer: Jan Strach
I did not know Dino Felipe before but I knew Toxic Chicken so I knew what stylistic I was going into: wacky electronica, homemade synth bleeps, wild swarms of infectious beats and melodies. But this cooperation is a new level of awesome and I dare say, makes the best features of Chicken’s music even more vivid. Furthermore these songs tend to do what many electronica artists fail to achieve: hold attention for the entire length of the song (partially achieved by not draaawing them out into 8 minute sonatas, but keeping to short, song-like formats).
Also these tunes do two things that I love when tunes do: create chaos, then organize it into an entrancing loopy whole; or start with a simple idea and then unravel it into, you guessed it: an entrancing loopy whole.
But let’s start at the beginning. They ease us into their world with a softly buzzing swarm – playful, densifying, with shadows of vocals. But already at track two we know these aren’t any mere bleep- and bloop-artists – they plunge me right in the middle of an ominous commodore 64 adventure, whose character gets into more danger every second; castlevania with mechanic insects and hostile ambulances approaching by the end! And then, welcome to one of many mood swings of the collaboration: “Because I Love” starting like an electro r&b with sweet distorted vocals full of love, then bouncing between casio-reggae and tribal howlings full of longing! Then, along comes “Angel” but not yer regular New Wave variety. This Angel is made of rusty bells, chiming out a demented lullaby like a choir of music boxes; then a rhythmic barrel thumping lines them up like a cute army of tin robots, squeaky synth and feedbacks adding a choral layer;. “Now see our full potential and proficiency!” – the artists seem to declare and burst forth with aphex-worthy drill bits of beat, again exploding in chaos, but soon organizing into a demented order, interlaced with samples, mad synth blips and bits of vocal, cymbal arpeggios and sort of a squeeze toy dictating the tempo? Man, the surprises never end with these two!
Speaking of surprises… Wow, rapping? Suddenly the duo gets almost Kraftwerkian in its coldness and ascetic pegs of sinewaves and minimalistic 808 aura of beats, but later bursting through are waterfalls of static and melody, sadly ending too soon in a lush climax. And yes, there was rapping in the beginning. Brr, it got cold in here, but Dino and Toxic have just the recipe for that – warm flutes become a background to a bouncy fairy castle of childlike wonder; vocals add to the playful aura, not out of place in a children’s movie full of electronic exotic birds and rainbow waterfalls. So “contentE” to listen to this! (this might be my fav song here). After unwinding, the two get professional again, if less inventive – warbly snares, electronic piano knots and loops, a training video for nanorobots; again getting denser by the minute into a tapestry of curious colorful generative melodies – but then comes a well deserved ode to the Chicken himself “Mi Pollito”.
It starts like a suspenseful X-files cold open complete with claustrophobic breathing, but synths that dutifully unfold transform it into a cavern of wonders – and just as an image starts to form in my head of an epic moment in a movie when adventurers encounter a crystal cave – suddenly a choir of electronic chickens takes over! A surprise at every step of the way – this piece really deserves to feature in a soundtrack but the movie would have to somehow feature electronic chickens. Okay, let’s crank it up a notch now! Casio thrash metal beat, “Hectic Times” indeed, accompanied by a masterful web of chord stabs, stuttering melodies, pumas of noise lashing out to withdraw their claws again, bouncy squirts, joyful with triumphant strings, an acoustic child’s drawing with jarring colors. The child might be a bit hyperactive but so lovely – this might be my second fav song here! And for the finale – Voices singing about a Cuban cigar quickly form a catchy loop, ants of percussion quickly scatter to build a rhythmic tower accompanied by organic jingly bells, forming a tribal conga line of bongos and distorted chimes. Infectious and hummable! Like dancing around a Cuban cigar totem pole.
Well, what a ride. I adored it and I don’t like electronic music that much. But these two managed to create the least pretentious and most engaging set of songs – I loved every minute of it and failed to be bored which I routinely get when listening to far more famous bleeps and bloops artists. But here, the synth bloops are merely the beginning – before you know it you have been through sonic adventures, lush meadows, robotic rapping, a cave full of chickens and you are shaking and drooling and desperate to get back again!
AND YOU CAN GET BACK TO IT RIGHT HERE: