Caboladies: Renewable Destination (Students Of Decay)
This American trio is new to me, but they have several releases under their collective belt already. Their synthesis experiments put them in the same loose camp as Oneohtrix Point Never or Emeralds, with a loose organic feeling that is neither easy nor predictable. But this also seems to harken back to the strange electronic systems of David Tudor and the work of early electronic composers as much as en vogue synth sprawl; machines chatter with one another like they’re having a conversation if not an outright argument. There’s a playfulness to shorter pieces like “Cone Marrow,” but the release shines most on tracks like “Counterfeit Reflection”; what could pass initially as a sputtering array of computer error music evolves into a really gorgeous, dense sprawl of sound, with vibrant, bright sparkles of sound as a counterpoint to the bubbling synth noise that sits center stage. It’s not a coincidence that “Woodn (Mix)” is the other strong track here, as both are the longest pieces. They feel the most expansive and comfortable for the trio’s range of ideas and sounds, having enough time to build and evolve without losing focus. There are other bright spots, too, such as “Out of a Question” with its beaming Lithops-esque sea of tones and filters, or the tunnelvision of “Collector” which also provides a dreamy respite from the chaos. Cool and unusual stuff — it’s nice to hear Americans exploring the outer limits like this without any real commercial angle, yet delivering something that has innate appeal via its own strengths.