Friday, June 12, 2015
Cassette Review: Henry Knollenberg "The Neptune Social Animation, pt. 2" (5cm Recordings)
[$5 // Edition of 25 // https://5cmrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-neptune-social-animation-pt-2]
With some "Baba O'Riley" type of synth, we are welcomed into "The Neptune Social Animation" by a voice that falls somewhere between audio recording and computer generated. I feel like it is computer generated though and they've just made advancements since I remember the early years of Fred. After the introduction, there are alien frequency whirrs in a loop while the same voice that introduced us tells a story of two geese and a chessboard, which is rather strange. We are then posed the question of if there were two dogs barking and we had the ability to make only one of them stop barking do we make that one stop barking or just let both of them continue to bark. I say just let them both bark because why not, you're going to have barking regardless.
The next song comes out with a little bit of a dance quality to it, as it reminds me of that "Knight Rider" vibe of driving through the desert but also has a beat that makes you want to move. The story of the geese returns and I'm thinking of "This is not my beautiful house. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was". The first story is sort of mashed up and then we begin to hear a new one about riding a bicycle really fast downhill but then it turns out you're actually in the corner at a party where you are expected to acknowledge each of the attendees, possibly even in a sexual manner. "What is your plan of action?" Umm... Burn the house down and run?
Some fun beeps bring out the circus side of music as the dogs have stopped barking regardless of my actions. They want to know our feelings from the bicycle ride and the geese and talked about again. This is such a strange ride as it is part musical experimentation and part science study, like in the way you'd respond to a flyer you saw at some university and opted to participate in a clinical study for something like $20. A story about a frog and a delivery man is up next and no one should ever laugh at anyone else for expressing their feelings. Whirrs swirl and the music in the background makes me feel as if we are on some alien planet now, being observed and asked these questions by what could become our new overlords.
"Do you desire a purpose?" "Do you want to get the most out of life?" Other questions such as these come up and I'm reminded of the graduation song I referenced recently on a different cassette but still don't want to look up the name and artist for because it isn't worth it. And, yes, I do own an automobile I suppose. The music shifts to more electronic now and it feels like a rather fun video game as the tempo increases. For the first time I can compare the music to another artist as it is somewhere between the video game "Pong" and the band Cake. Yes, really *that* Cake. Drum machine beats pick up the pace and I feel like we're about to enter a really cool cartoon world. After a bit of advice about missing the toilet, our voice man seems to be taking a break.
An instrumental number not too much unlike Primitive Radio Gods opens up Side B before we turn into this sort of alarm loop with alien trill behind it. This, of course, just further proves my theory that we have been taken prisoner on another planet as part of this "Neptune Social Animation", but what would aliens from Neptune be called anyway? Is it possible for life to exist on Neptune? That is to say, could humans surivive on there? I know humans wouldn't really do well on Mars on account of how hot it gets, but I don't really know a lot about Neptune apparently and these are questions that I now find myself asking, not the person on this cassette. An electronic type of bagpipe sound comes out next and it reminds me of the sunrise for whatever reason.
A little bit of static brings out drum machine beats with tones that are left rising and falling. This is followed by an overwhelming pop sound where there are keys (I think) that sound as if they are singing. Our voice guide returns as well. The tones come out in a very 1980's way and those big questions, like "What makes life worth living?", are asked again but this time it feels less like a graduation ceremony and I'm not entirely certain what it does feel like. Then we learn his favorite number is 669. And, no, I would not want to own a jet black motorcycle and cool haircut. These questions go on in some sort of blend of that alien kidnapping I mentioned earlier but now I also feel as if we're heading into "A Clockwork Orange" territory with the overall vibe of it.
There isn't really a lot to compare this with because no one has really made anything like this before- that I've heard at least- and that fact coupled with the idea that I like how it feels interactive because there are questions being posed but it also just feels as if you are on a guided tour through the cassette and that in and of itself just sort of seems to add new layers to music that could otherwise be interpreted on your own. This is just a new take on an old classic and it is executed fantastically. You should be part of "The Neptune Social Animation".