Friday, July 24, 2015
Cassette Review: mahjoop "Mahjoop"
[$5 // Edition of 15 // https://mahjoop1.bandcamp.com/album/mahjoop]
Beeps, frequencies of some kind and what sound like bells begin this cassette on a loop. Some background singing eventually comes into play and I'm glad it comes on somewhat stronger- though still hidden behind the previously established loops- because I felt like I was beginning to hear things that were not there. It's haunting and there are 90210 guitar riffs mixed in so I can't help but think of it as some sort of combination of Santana and aliens. Talking is also added into the mix, though it sounds more like a voice mail recording, and it just reminds me of Blue October somehow.
Things quiet down for the second song which has a long loop of someone singing the same line over and over. It's got soul, like R&B, but isn't quite vaporwave so I like to think of it as minimal vaporwave. Screeching space feedback whirrs come through as the vocals fade and then there are sonic blips which bring out the notion that this could quite possibly have just turned into whale songs. Drum beats come out now, bringing with them some laser shots fired and then there are slightly spoken word parts coming through as well to end the second song and Side A on the whole.
Side B opens with some ohms and sounds like a lot of pieces are moving around at once and I can't quite place the entire sound but it does have an Illegal Wiretaps vibe coming out of it. There is also something industrial about it, as if it is coming out from underground. Guitars rattle and the earth quakes as angels sing high above from Heaven. It's building like shots are being fired and then lightsabers begin to come through in waves. A sense of Stabbing Westward can come into play for me now just as well. I feel like vocals are beginning to breach through now as well but I cannot tell for certain. Space lasers make another appearance and this feels like we are experiencing the birth of something here.
It begins to whirr in ways that still keep the vibe alive that we are in space but I'm just not sure what the sort of singing mixed with the static and lasers has to do with anything other than the growing of a powerful and perhaps frightening being. This being wouldn't be of this earth and that's what might be the very thing that makes it so scary. It partially sounds like it is expanding and it also can sound as if it is destroying planets as if it takes no effort at all. It's an interesting contrast in what could be imagined without giving away anything definite and I do, as always, enjoy the imagery. As it slows down a little now the vocals have faded.
Something like whistle loops take over as it sounds like a monster is fighting with a machine behind such loops. It's as if someone- or something- is at war with another and it is turning into some sort of end of the world/final battle scene for one of the two. It sounds like words are trying to come through but they are very broken and it just makes me think I'm hearing some kind of news cast about the events, as the news after an end of the world scenario might not be so easy and clear to hear if on, say, what's left of the radio.
Things quiet down and there are some ominous tones and choppy waves going on here but it does indeed sound like the calm after the storm, as I suppose it should given what was just heard. There is a sense of ambient drama to it as I can also hear what sounds like rain in the background. Through that there is also a feeling as if this is of the earth, a cross between something created by Native Americans and The Highlander. Something similar to vocals can be heard coming out as it does almost sound like singing- perhaps a chanting even- but I don't think it actually is.
Perhaps the best notion to take away from this cassette that, for all its qualities and genres is ambient at its core, is that it can be not of this earth at times and yet at others just feel very grounded. I find most adventures tend to take me into space or underwater and leave me there, but rarely do you find one taking you on a journey of this many miles. Not taking into account the length of the songs or cassette on the whole this has that feel of just going on a long trip and as most other pieces of this nature I've heard thus far seem to remain in the same space this is truly special.