Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cassette Review: Raven vs. Antropik "[Psychotronic Weapons]" (Centipede Farm)

My initial thoughts about this cassette are not about this cassette specifically but rather the idea of a collaboration among musicians.   It seems somewhat more common place these days and rightfully so, but wouldn't it be weird if bands I listened to growing up had collaborations such as this?    Sure, there was that one time Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor got together and Robert Plant has an entire CD with Alison Krauss, but that's not the point.   At no point in time- in the 1990's at least- did I imagine that something like an Eddie Vedder/Kurt Cobain collaborative project would happen.

The thing you have to realize about this cassette over other collaborations too is that it is not listed as "Raven & Antropik" but rather it has the versus in there.    This adds the general tone to the cassette that this is not about two guys exchanging friendly banter like, "Oh, I see what you did there.  I like that.  Now how about I add this to it?"  "Yeah!  Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!"    This does feel more like two guys playing a game of chess or Battleship, trying to blow each other out of the water and ultimately win.   (In the end though, it isn't life or death, just keep that in mind)

Side A is full of dark undertones within drone.  It's somewhat ambient and it is also somewhat wavy.   There are some static air bits and you can feel it growing, in an alien way at that, into some whirrs of synth like that famous "Tom Sawyer" riff I always find myself going back to.    Already, this early in, you can hear the contrasts, the two artists at musical war with each other.   I'm thinking of the rather famous scene in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" where Daffy Duck and Donald Duck are playing opposing pianos and imagine it as something similar.

On the flip side we have X-Files dings, keeping the alien groove alive, as well as hollow whirrs.   It then becomes filled with drone and ambiance, thus is the theme of this cassette.   We return to that "Tom Sawyer" feel I mentioned earlier and then it becomes otherworldly, as if it is being played by ghosts.    Through some hum drone emerges keyboard synth and winds.   It all ends with some sonar sounds which is about the only way it could.

Regardless of whether these two artists are on the same page or not, this just becomes a remarkable piece of music which needs to be heard.  While I knew going into it I could only ever appreciate Raven that much more for the craft, I also knew I'd come out searching further into the name Antropik and I hope you all do the same.

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