Monday, February 16, 2009

Astral Social Club – Octuplex

Vibracathedral Orchestra’s Neil Campbell continues down the robot-strewn road less traveled with this new eight-tracker. Octuplex is part perpetual motion machine and redefinition of the 70s and 80s German “motorik” propulsion. In this case the “motorik” thrust seems provided by a sewing machine motor and faulty Nintendo games. The trio of tracks that open the album bleed into each other like a damp hallucination of squelching mushrooms and a knitted yarn rainbows, eventually exhausting their high at the end of “Aggro Vault.” “Pilgrim Sunburst,” which follows, sounds like a slow-moving cyclone has plucked up a merry-go-round and flung it into a calliope. “Sweet Spraint” and “Radial Hermaphrodite” are reminders of Campbell’s more ambient work with their unbroken axle of loops and globules of acoustic guitar surviving the buffeting of noise. It’s a maximal use of sound over a minimal amount of time, and it’s the closest to actual space travel I’ve come so far this week.


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