Part One: Michael Tapscott
I was a loaded pistol or at least a loaded squirt gun this past Wednesday night. I felt like Iâ€™d let you, the reader, down in recent months. Sade Sundays had been taking time off for no good reason, being sort of half way here with you when we were here at all. Suggesting random tunes and Randy Newman videos, and perhaps the worst came when I offered a two sentence review of the new CocoRosie record last month.
Iâ€™m here to apologize, and if this article doesnâ€™t seem as a grand apology full of witticism and tremendous recommendations of the best records youâ€™ll ever hear, know at least that it started with an apology.
The idea was undemanding, Joshua and I would sit in his overstuffed room in the Mission and listen to the new Dolphins into the Future record, The Music of Belief (Release the Bats), and see where this happening took us. Josh had recently awoken to the world of mysticism in ambient Â music, which I have been a long and gaudy proponent of. Iâ€™ve spoke to you at least twice in the past of this Belgian master of the ultramodern tome poem, most recently earlier this year with the baffling great A Horseback Ride to the Temple of Montu cassette he released under the moniker of Duncan Cameron.
The new album is long, over an hour, but the range of emotion in a seemingly uncomplicated and palpable sound was shocking. There was an urgency Josh noted audibly and I noted physically as he mentioned, â€œonce you’re already under water any more movement and you’re just wasting oxygen.â€ We were drowning. Hard and heavy is life and after both taking trips back to our Midwestern homelands recently the failure of us as â€œnormalâ€ people had become quite obvious.
Mr. Martens was bleeding us dry with his sea, mountain, desert, and air (notice that I do believe in the Oxford comma, editors) journey. Half way through the thirty minute first song, I couldnâ€™t help but proclaim we would never hear a better record this week, this month, this year, and maybe this lifetime. Because, there is really nothing to compare with Dolphins into the Future. It is abstract and obvious at the same time. Every album Iâ€™ve heard has actual dolphin sounds surrounded by synthesizers and some sort of water theme and sound field. If this feels kitschy and cheesy in print, know that it too is in the auditory realm. That it doesnâ€™t feel wrong or â€œbadâ€ is the special present we receive as listeners and the mystery that we dare not attempt to discover as fans.
In an imminent world as viewed by Philip K. Dick in VALIS, we will be listening to Dolphins into the Future as we shop at the super Target/Wal-mart conglomerate, but for now music like this leaves a lot of unanswered questions of the integration of ancient histrionics in the modern world. I canâ€™t help but future view ordering a Big Mac from a McDonaldâ€™s resting atop an Aztec ruin which I still had to travel to by a dirt road from a mega highway.
Part Two: Joshua Rampage
I donned scuba gear before Mike arrived. After double-checking oxygen levels in my 50lb yellow breathing apparatus tanks, I fastened the Diverâ€™s knife I ordered from the back of a comic book firmly to my thigh. Not that Iâ€™d need it for our expedition â€“ but I suppose I feel less paranoid with a razor-sharp blade strapped to my leg while Mike is barking nonsense resulting from some kind of twisted, land-lubber version of the Bends.
Something is amiss with the old man. With casual regret, Mike told me about his gray pubic hairs. Pause. He then admitted looking forward to the distinguished look of an elder Yeti. Yes my friend, you are showing signs of an aged, folkloric beast. I hope you can swim with wet fur.
They say to wait 30 minutes after eating to go back into the water, but I felt right presuming this record wouldnâ€™t have the depths to warrant such a rule. So I took a chance and gorged myself on a veggie burrito coupled with a PBR. I was so bloated by the end of the meal that I planned to release the weight belt around my waist and float to the surface if things got too dicey. However, when youâ€™re navigating shallow streams that run and bubble through thick Amazonian jungle, there is no such thing as a stomach cramp to drown you in such realities.
It seems all my oceanic friends have been beached on Lieven Martensâ€™ latest Dolphins Into the Future release, The Music of Belief. Perhaps stranded is a better way to put it. Gone are the sounds of giant jellyfish floating through the tide while a thousand leagues of undulating blue water wash through the speakers. On this record, the aquatic life have somehow washed up on a deserted isle rich in dense field recording foliage and analog natives. Itâ€™s almost like listening to a Choose Your Own Adventure book-on-tape, but this time youâ€™re traveling with an antiquated robot that serves tea and asks, â€œare you feeling alright, sir? Let me fetch your shotgun.â€ in a shitty British accent.
In the context of ambiance, itâ€™s a tough call; we are still eavesdropping on a sort of sea creature chant, only this one is restless and pissed that nobody bothered to catch one of their bottled distress messages in a fishing net. A subtle commotion is abound on this island of crackling fires to keep warm by. The nervous buzzing of mosquitoes has embedded itself beneath the skin of the sound, but listen here – theyâ€™ve grown fat and lazy from the rich blood of chimpanzees, birds of paradise, and Earnest Hemingway!
Always entertaining the archivist within us, Mike and I utilized our underwater pens and paper to document our experience with drawings from our buoyed souls. If you look closely enough, you can still hear the mournful bellows of beluga in the distance.
the living sea, currently.
mantis shrimp + brain games.
sleeping beetle one feather in repose.
behold! a burgeoning new universe.