Red v. Blue
2 Jan, 2013
No, this is not a match-up between two old-school Pokémon Trainers; my two features for today are Red Cosmos and His Electro Blue Voice. And, since the former has generated quite some buzz with lately, let's start with the latter.
His Electro Blue Voice - Ohhhh, yes. Post-punk that embraces its "punk" antecedents. Loud, raw, and menacing, with meaty and melodic basslines. (See, in particular, Fog.) His Electro Blue Voice splits one EP with Nuit Noire, a rather minimal and spaced-out band (no bass at all) that offer two worthy tracks. As HEBV progress, they stretch their tracks out a bit more, experimenting with sounds and effects. (Best of this variety - "Worm" on the Wolf/Worm EP, which drives with a motorik beat, yet squirms and crawls with a chainsaw guitar and mysterious squeakings of unknown origin.) The major flaws on HEBV's Bandcamp page, however, are their relatively steep prices - "Duuuug", for instance, only contains two 2-minute tracks, yet costs $4! So, just do what I did - stream for free, and kindly ask HEBV to consider more reasonable package deals. Maybe, with enough demand, they might listen to us. ; )
Red Cosmos - Now, on the main headliner. Where jaded critics more experienced than I could easily name three or four bands quite similar to HEBV above, there's something decisively distinctive about Red Cosmos, the solo project of Kim Tortoise. One tag on their Bandcamp page dubs him as "choraldelica", and perhaps that pinpoints his particular peculiarity: the lovely and majestic integration of choral passages and other sampled sounds into dreampop, psychedelia, and even vigorously electronic pieces. Equally distinctive, though, is Kim's own high-strung, gracefully androgynous vocals. "I Am The Local DJ", #16 on this year's Festive 50, is perhaps the grandest, albeit the most boisterous, example of these choral tracks in action, and features an excellent sample of Andy Morrison from Dandelion Radio. Really, there's quite a few great samples on this album - like the gentle crying at the end of "Cross Your Heart And Hope To Die".
If there's one track on here that baffles me, however, it's "Do Geese See God?", an eerily light and bouncy track peppered with mysterious cries and cheery goodbyes, washed occasionally in bright yet cold synths. Although, the more I write about it, the more fondly I listen to it...
And then there's that sound in "The Song Has Changed". What is it? Some vaguely oriental sound, blaring out in twisted, squawking glory...oh, man. It's such a wonderful sound, in such a wonderful song, with a beautiful ending.
Mmm. Really, I could go on, into the noble grandeur of "England's Glory", or the haunting chilliness of "Nothing Is Happening" (which really wouldn't have been too out of place in, say, the Metroid Prime series). But you must experience this album for yourself. Because it's a FREE download, right here - although, if you really love it, you ought to buy the $10 CD package (as I inevitably will - for I definitely am a fan of small, shiny, round things).