It just sort of floats out there, gradually taking shape and coming into existence before your very eyes. When it’s off in the distance it doesn’t sound like much, or maybe it sounds a little bit curious, or unorthodox. Or maybe that is just you. You are the one that stands in place while the music comes to you and by the time that it becomes fully formed, about 2 and 3/4 minutes through “Dead Fox Waltz,” the whole thing changes gears completely. Vanishing into the distance and leaving you there with something that doesn’t even closely resemble what you had first encountered.
Off-key, off-kilter weirdness strung together with bits of sound collage, and then delicate strings and lush horn arrangements (though paradoxically pushed way to the back), vocals that break through from time to time either drenched in reverb or in a full chorus; all of these ideas and more just start developing out of nothing as a sort of continuously engaging and shape-shifting event. And, no, it isn’t just about juxtaposing all of these ideas, smashing them together haphazardly, it is in the way that these threads are woven into the fabric so that the seams don’t show.
The experimental, post-modern spirit of the Elephant 6 collective is alive and well, at least in sound. Maybe we could dub it psychedelic sound collage. There are bits and pieces of catchy melodies, alternating the sweet, vocal harmonies of San Francisco circa 1969 with something that rocks a little bit harder, maybe from a garage a decade later. Everything is strung together in a suite, and like any good suite, by the time you reach the end you have definitely been taken on a journey.
The 10+ minute long “Dead Fox Waltz” that opens the tape isn’t the only song able to carry through with this kind of journey either. The follow up, “Deicide in Texas,” manages to do very much the same in just under 5 minutes. The way that the lyrics, the pop-song sounding part, is sandwiched in between two fragmented ideas, makes the whole thing sound like it was just a dream and by the time that you realize you might have missed it, and you try to remember, it’s already begun passing from your memory.
I could go on and on about all the great stuff here. Every minute or so I’m just finding myself hearing something else that really grabs me, and then something else, and then something else. Listen, you’ll see.