Page 79

scratched, or spliced it into his work. Now, for his latest studio album, he takes on the blues. With the aid of an E-mu SP-1200 sampler—an old bit of machinery but one that is new to Mr. Koala—the fast-fingered one twists and folds old blues recordings onto themselves, foregoing sequencing software to perform the tracks in real time (and later add cuts over the top). Many moments feel like cover songs with stutters and scratches, but the tunes really are more like down-on-their-luck Frankenstein’s Monsters, blended together with San’s dexterity. 12-Bit Blues isn’t all bluesy, though. Next to the cooing vocal samples, down-and-dirty guitars, and harmonicas are funky horn cuts, jazzy piano lines, and chirping electronics. It may not be the most obvious direction for a DJ, but for Kid Koala, it’s just the latest genre on which he’s left his distinctive mark. –Meaghann Korbel

The Locust: Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs (Anti-) Somebody got newwavey B-movie camp in with my grindcore. Somebody got grindcore in with my new-wavey B-movie camp! No matter one’s perspective, The Locust is a band so unique and without peer that listeners are hard pressed to forget their first experience. Take a grindcore/ power-violence base and add sci-fi synths, brilliant costumes, and humorous/asinine song titles (often in questionable taste), and boom: The Locust. The group, though not broken up, is criminally inactive, so the best that we can get at the moment is this reissue compilation of material from its days on Gold Standard Labs (which is its own sadly departed underground institution). Collected from its earliest EPs and seven-inches as well as its self-titled “full-length,” the material here is nearly all “classic” Locust—nearly every song is grindy and less than a minute long—with basically only the two-and-a-half minute, purely electronic “Flight of the Wounded Locust” offering a glimpse of the well-rounded direction to come. There’s also plenty of sneaky-good musicianship amid the alien sounds, blast beats, and anguished, blood-curdling screams. Whether you’re too young to know, missed the band the first time, or want to finish your Locust collection, get this now. –Scott Morrow

Lymbyc Systym: Symbolyst (Western Vinyl)

Despite spending much of the past three years on separate continents, brothers Jared and Michael Bell have written and recorded their third full-length as Lymbyc System— a feat that’s made at least a bit easier thanks to 20 years of playing together. And somehow, Symbolyst is among the duo’s most accomplished to date, with harmonies as rich and melodies as infectious as ever. The album’s opener, “Prairie School,” begins with a bubbling, arpeggiated melody, gradually escalating beneath layers of bassy and whirring synth lines. “Falling Together” is packed with twists and turns: opening with synthesized moodiness, it soon breaks into driving hip-hop beats and pop flourishes prior to a twinkling piano passage. And that’s only by its halfway mark. Sweeping strings make a few appearances later in the album, and though Symbolyst in general isn’t a drastic change, it provides a poppier aesthetic, still as reliant on gorgeous melodies but moving away from a slightly more post-rock style. And it manages to live up to its title’s reference to the Symbolists—a late 19th Century arts movement—who, like Lymbyc Systym, attempt to convey universal truths through metaphor. The duo does so now, perhaps, better than ever. –Meaghann Korbel

Matmos: The Ganzfeld EP (Thrill Jockey)

You’re in a chair, wearing headphones, with white noise hissing fuzzily at you from either side. Pingpong balls have been scissored in half and set over your eyes, with a purplish light beaming at you from just inches away. You can’t see. You are told that the experiment will last 30 minutes. It may not work. This is a typical ganzfeld setup, “ganzfeld” being a German phrase that roughly means “entire world” as well as the name of a new EP by Baltimore-based experimenters Matmos. For parapsychologists, a ganzfeld experiment is used to test extrasensory perception, or ESP. For MC Schmidt and Drew Daniel, the twoman team running the Matmos show, the goal was to communicate the concept of the next Matmos album. (The EP is a prelude to a fulllength that uses the same method.) Anything

spoken or hummed or described by the test subjects became part of the music. So what does it sound like? It depends on the track, of which there are only three. “Just Waves” is the song that takes the experiment most seriously. A small roster of vocalists, including Schmidt and Daniel as well as Dan Deacon, Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian, and Fovea Hex’s Clodagh Simonds, speaksing excerpts from the purportedly telepathic transcript. The track begins with a monotone male voice, joined by a female, and then someone else, and so on, eventually joined by synths and organ, and occasionally merging into harmonies as the recitations settle into a trance-like chant. “Very Large Green Triangles” is more accessible, a three-and-a-half-minute electronic piece with dense strings and a pulsing dance beat. As a collection of songs, The Ganzfeld EP requires a unique brand of curiosity. As an idea, it’s brilliant. The full-length will be an even weirder blend of danceable esoterica. We can feel it. –Timothy A. Schuler

Menomena: Moms (Barsuk) At the beginning of 2012, when multiinstrumentalist/cosinger Brent Knopf left quirk-rock trio Menomena, the future of the Portland band felt uncertain. Knopf’s tenor perfectly complemented Justin Harris’s and Danny Seim’s vocals, and his guitar work helped structure Menomena songs into hook-ridden frameworks. But within just the first few minutes of Moms, the first Menomena release as a two-piece, it’s quite clear that Menomena will be just fine. For the most part, the classic Menomena tropes remain: Seim’s sporadic and intricate drumming, Harris’s swelling saxophone and bass lines, and a swarm of slow-burning strings, sprinkling keys, and hazy harmonies. Even the unconventional guitar work is in place, making it almost feel like Knopf never left. There’s seldom a hiccup or misstep, with standout tracks like “Pique,” “Baton,” and “Skintercourse,” among others, serving as stepping stones through a lagoon of sweltering rock-outs and bipolar dirges. Rather than patching up the holes left by Knopf with collaborations or guest appearances, Harris and Seim (music collaborators since high school) filled them by their own intuition. Moms feels like a new start, as the duo tries out new ideas, both musically and lyrically, that Menomena never really delved into before. They toy with instruments like flute and cello,




ALARM Magazine #40