Review Summary: Like a geometrical town in a desert, this is purposeless, but a marble to observe.
Count to Altek and Millicent Waffles’ usual outputs are for me indifference galore. I admire the enthusiasm put into them, but the execution tends to be lacking and often a bit too obnoxious. But out of nowhere one day came the news that there is a new album out. I had all the intentions to skip it, as it was about sixteenth album in a month, it seemed to me. But the author (our very own Sputnik AnimalsAsSummit) messaged me directly, so I decided to give it a shot. What a surprise awaited me upon the play-button-pressing.
First thing’s first, this isn’t that usual pre-post-ambient macabre ***ery that sounds like softened Drone not because it was intended to, but because there isn’t any better recording technique available. This is actually a quasi-focused release. I’ll get to the quasi part later.
“Love for Galileo” serves as the album’s opener and brilliantly sets up the atmosphere of tired dread and creeping despair. At least I assume that is what it was meant to represent. The saxophone is rather biting, the drums sharp, though underproduced and the rhythm is almost hallucinogenic. But right there we get to our biggest problem on the album. While the individual instrumental patterns are quite admirable, the flow of tracks is obscurely adhesive and off-putting. The instrumental play just doesn’t match one another. It sounds largely like a bunch of people with moderately chaotic understanding of free jazz, coming together to make an experimental record.
“You Hold Your Every Tomorrow” possibly encapsulates that feeling of disconnect between the instruments even more. The drums on here sound like they were taken out of a black metal album, while the sax rifts are about the laziest on the whole album. The following “Atop the Ceremony” starts off similarly, but it quickly turns around as the near-terrifying background distortion starts taking over the entire song and pouring its menace-stained waters over it.
Trying to analyse the rest of the cuts on here will be rather meaningless, for it is going to be more of an exercise in finding synonymous statements made in previous paragraphs. Apart from rather straightforward, but still extremely bind-bending “Poem for Soleri”, this album keeps itself afloat with its utterly obscure musical style quite well.
It is obvious that the collective had a vision in mind. They were focused on the feeling of earthly detachment, a certain levitation-like state, a search for calm amidst chaos. Much like Paolo Soleri did, whom this album tries to appraise, though the connection escapes me. The problem is that while the instrumental mirage of conceptual insanity reaches from intriguing to stunning, the cohesion and flow of the record certainly limps. I understand the musical intention behind the fatiguing sound and structure, but it often comes off rather tiring. Think of it as something you intended to seem patient and tiring for people to appreciate, but they didn’t get that intention and instead found it tiring for all the wrong reasons.
Admittedly, as the time went on, the album did grow off me. My initial excitement over the unique sound was replaced with a bewildered confusion as to what exactly am I listening to. The amateurish disorganisation kept overshadowing the good sides and the fact that I could only get myself to come back to it under a certain mood (that being something between exhausted, but still exuberant, possibly on a morning run… yeah, I’m weird, don’t judge me) also reduced my enjoyment of it by a chunk. Nevertheless, it is still a strangely enjoyable release. It may have not dug a hole in my heart for it to lay in, but it was intriguing and puzzling enough for me to find the impulse to return. I don’t understand it, but I doubt it is meant to be understood. And I can only assume that the next album will be called something like “Flummox Galore”, “Rara Avis” or “Between the Vines and Terraform” and it’ll be an ambient-esque nonpareil again.
P.S.: Soleri’s work is much more organised than this.