Justin Walter – Lullabies and Nightmares

Suffice to say I think this release is tops, the gloopy, gluey sound is mired in a sort of ambient analogue fug, furring up the sonic arteries with a glut of wibbling synths and something called an Electronic Valve Instrument.

(Kranky) http://www.konkurrent.nl

Any record that sounds like After the Heat has me by the short & curlies I have to say, so; if you want an objective appraisal then you’ll have to look elsewhere. Suffice to say I think this release is tops, the gloopy, gluey sound is mired in a sort of ambient analogue fug, furring up the sonic arteries with a glut of wibbling synths and something called an Electronic Valve Instrument. It’s a record that makes you imagine a half forgotten, half mythical world of the 1970s: listen to Thoughts or Dream Weaving and you will visualise old two cylinder cars chugging along deserted highways, or your younger self looking at luridly coloured brochures of space flights whilst fidgeting in your nylon keks.

Given the welter of interest in this kind of sound and its 70’s provenance, it doesn’t sound like a complete rip off; as there’s a lot of wit in the arrangements and the textures and pace are carefully balanced. It may be unobtrusive, and a tad undemanding, but it’s got potential to be a classic, this LP.   

It’s one of those LPs where the title track is the one to note. Lullabies and Nightmares is a study in brown varnish; it drips atmosphere: the doleful ersatz sax* part barely propping itself up whilst the synths buzz and squeak around the place like flies in a hot, musty taproom.  It’s got a feel of Church of Anthrax too, the way it just drifts along in some sort of controlled, synthetic, academic environment before kicking off half way through. I can easily imagine Cale and Riley goofing around with these chords and this sound. Western Tears is a bit like a Studio G take, albeit one that blatantly naps some Kraftwerk keys and The Way of Five is a sort of sound study that is incredibly reminiscent of Florian Fricke’s later 80’s work. The comparisons with Fricke just keep popping up on this LP for me; which of course is no bad thing. Another key track is Plastic People, which again calls on that doleful sax-y sound. And, again, the track has me thinking of Riley. I suppose I could exaggerate and use a little journalistic license and claim that the bumpy rhythms are a groovy take on of Connie Schnitzler’s Zug, too. Why not? It puts me in a playful mood as it’s a fabulously inverted “post-Futurist” sound.

So, what to say, apart from it’s a SKIP FULL of fun.

*It’s probably that bloody EVI thing getting in on the action.