Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cassette Review: Underwater Escape From the Black Hole "Local Culture" (Personal Archives)

$5 //
Edition of 50 // //

It feels like it has been a while since I last heard new music from Underwater Escape From the Black Hole.    What happens, man, life happens, you know.  Last year was a rebuilding year and now I've spent most of my days since Christmas being sick.   But I'm slowly trying to will myself back into some sort of routine where I can become I don't know who yet because I can't go back to who I was before.

The same can be said for Underwater Escape From the Black Hole I suppose.   "Local Culture" opens with guitar strums, as if they are in some giant, open space and then the guitar begins to rattle as well.   It begins to come through with bass and has a distinct post rock feel to it.   Ambient, uplifting tones are mixed in with these sort of beat loops and it just feels so satisfying.    Vocals come in over the guitar and at first it reminds me a bit of Good Good Blood, but then the guitars kick in loud and electric, a sea of distortion and this just takes on a side of UWEFTBH I've never heard before but I like it.

Tone loops bring us back to the instrumental.  There is this sort of shaking feeling, which later I can think of as a slight tap of the high hats.    The further this song goes, the more it builds into a different set of keys.   It starts off in a certain manner but eventually can become this sound which reminds me of that good old "Masters of the Universe" rock.  I still fully believe that "key" they made in the MOTU movie should be an actual instrument by now.

On the flip side we start with these tones which kind of sound like horns but they also remind me of laughing for some reason.    Skip beats come into the song.   Then we get some piano sounding notes that have this Doogie Howser/urgent feel to them.    The final song has this looping sound to it which I cannot explain at first.   UWEFTBH enjoys using certain sounds as one would in a video game style of music- where they just make these little "doot" noises in a pattern- but they are not the instruments of video game music.

Vocals kick in once again only this time they begin with this sound between Tori Amos and Queen (Hey, if Tori Amos sang with the living members of Queen it could be quite rad) and then it just escalates in this way which reminds me of Led Zeppelin's "Come With Me", but maybe even how it was done with Puff Daddy for the Ferris Bueller version of "Godzilla" soundtrack.    As the song expands it feels like something out of "The Lion King" to me, but wow does it just blossom into something beautiful.

I've always thought of UWEFTBH as having this quality of music which goes back and forth between either being underwater or in space.   Having vocals (and not just his) has added a lot to the sound but also just the beats and the way the loops have grown.   If UWEFTBH was still recording the same style of music as when I first heard it, I imagine it could be just as good if not better because if anyone could pull it off UWEFTBH could, and maybe it will go back to that in the future but all I know is right now and how "Local Culture" sounds. 

My best way to describe "Local Culture" would be with books and movies.  Have you ever known someone who said they were a huge "Lord of the Rings" fan, for example, and said "Oh yeah, I love those movies" but they never read the books?   If you've been following UWEFTBH up until now (as you should) then you're going to feel like that fan who read the books then saw and loved the movie as well.   People might discover UWEFTBH for the first time with "Local Culture" and fall in love with this sound, and that's fine, but there is something far more gratifying having heard what I have leading up to this.

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