Monday, November 24, 2014

Cassette Review: Strategy "Cerebral Hut AKA Off the Grid" (Field Hymns)

[$6 // Edition of 75 //]

Whenever you listen to music as much as I do you begin to foolishly think that you've heard it all.   What's that saying about how the truly wise man admits me knows less than he doesn't?    For all of the music out there that I can listen to once through and say "This is just a poor version of ______", there are the few and proud artists out there making music that is difficult to compare to others and that is what I like to review (and listen to) most because, well, I like a challenge and something new.

What begins as ambient laser synth quickly finds its way into Megatron car alarms.    It starts skipping it into blasts and as I'm listening to this for the I don't know how many times through now all I can think is that this music is not of this planet.   You know how there are certain rules that not just humans but everyone on planet Earth has to follow just because, you know, it's Earth?   Things like gravity, right?   Strategy doesn't seem to follow those rules that are sort of unwritten laws of music making.   I like to think of it as being music from another planet, but also it is a planet where rules like zero gravity and space do not apply.

Side A takes a little break but then comes back quieter as if with swamp crickets, and again I don't feel the need to explain this and I'm not entirely certain crickets do live in swamps but you should get the idea if you dissect it enough yourself.   (Just don't dissect crickets because they eat a lot of the annoying little insects that fly around and bother you, so they're doing you a service)  From moments of "Lost in Space" to a slower, boiler room sound I'm only about halfway through this cassette and always feel as if it has accomplished more than some cassettes do in their entirety.

On Side B we have this mix of Phantom of the Opera synth and deep swamp sounds.  Now I find it funny because when I reference things such as a swamp I wonder where everyone else's mind goes.   What is the visual you see?   Do you see Kermit the Frog strumming a banjo?   For me, my mind images go to either one of two places.    It either goes to the scene in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker first meets Yoda.   Or it goes to the animated swamp where G.I. Joe would take me in my youth and Gung-Ho would have family reunions with jumbalaya.    So wherever your mind might take you, that's usually where my head is at.

Through Transformers slowcore (Yeah, I'm totally making up my own genres now) this moves into the sound of an old gunslinger movie, yet it still seems to be set in space somehow which does have me thinking of "Cowboy Bebop" but not really feeling it.   It's almost as if that name popped into my head out of habit more than for actual reference purposes.     We close with something between The X-Files and Twilight Zone and this- at least on Side B- just has the overall feel of a sci-fi space opera.

So I'm not sure whether this was intended to be the soundtrack to something but if there is an accompanying visual I want to see it.  (Link me to the Kickstarter and I will sign)  Really though, I was just sold on this cassette because of the title (I have longed to live off the grid for years, yet have been forced to get things such as a drivers license)  but it is really one of those ideas of sounding like everything and nothing that you've heard before all at the same time.    As the year comes to an end, this could be overlooked as a candidate for "Cassette of the Year", but I'm sure time will only prove its importance.

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