#Trending in the World of Mike: more eaze & claire rousay – if I don’t let myself be happy now then when?

Okay… I wrote up both of these artists individually just last week? Am I really featuring them again so soon? What’s going on, Mike… be real. Listen – both these artists live in Texas… I live in Texas… it’s just that the situation made me a little excitable, especially as I scheme to achieve escape velocity from the town of Nacogdoches. This is my only crime! I have an excuse this time – the heaps of free press I’ve been giving these two has paid dividends… Bandcamp (that famous site) dropped me an e-mail w/ a subject line that went like, “Booyahshakah!” or some such thing… based on the steady hand of my guidance, one intrepid Bandcamp user was inspired by my recommendation to buy this tape on Mondoj, which I have repeatedly stated is one of the best of the year. At this point, I’m a broken record! I’ve got a couple of those in my collection actually… always a bummer.

Bandcamp’s e-mail reached me late Tuesday night… then I fell asleep, & I had a dream that I wrote the review you’re reading right now. According to my dream I would author a “5 minute read” about this album. I’m going to tweet out that I got this e-mail, & I’m going to tag them, I thought in my dream. And then I’ll say that I’m working on a review. My oh my, even unconsciously I’m such a sweetheart… yet I said in my review of Mari that once upon a time I was an Internet troll? Well, I don’t mean to brag, but Twitter’s algorithm recently guessed I have an interest in Neon Genesis Evangelion… so. Name one genius who’s not a complex personality. Anyhoo… later the same night as my prophetic dream about this tape & the write-up on it that I have created, I experienced an absolutely insane nightmare… there were many layers, but basically, in this dream I smoked a joint, & it made me lose my mind. I felt this weird dream-high… a kid was filming my substance-induced break w/ reality w/ his smartphone; I confiscated it, except it turned into this weird Fisher Price contraption… I tore it apart with my bare hands, & the child regressed into a baby… “How’d ya like this!?” I shouted at that baby, & threw the shattered pieces of its toy phone at its feet, & that baby cried. Insane… I gasped awake at 5 in the morning & thought, I think that dream was actually about how I’m drinking again & not doing anything to stop myself. It left a mark on my waking mind for sure… then I really did tweet out the screenshot of the Bandcamp e-mail (my caption? “No need to thank me. I do literally everything just for the love of the game,”) then as work was approaching I was starting to just feel seriously wigged, & I deactivated my account before anybody could see. Maybe all of that is intense to share, & has absolutely nothing to do w/ this album’s contents (though this album is intense in its own way)… I was just trying to establish a personal connection. My point is that one more person owns this music because of me. And also, I’m going to lose my mind if I keep it up w/ the quarantine drinking… in my last post I was so innocent. I thought I could turn on a dime & push forward w/ 2 weeks of stone sobriety starting at that very moment. Turns out addiction is kind of a powerful force.

Gee, Mike, how heavy… and hey, what’s the title of this album’s very first track? “Drunk”. It is an utter epic that approaches close to 20 minutes in length, & seems to mimic the experience of exactly what it is titled – starting off, there is an intense build up of a wall of sound that expresses what I had felt overnight in my dream, alcohol gradually filtering out of my system; my thoughts overwhelming me in a state of intoxication (but lovelier & more “pop” than the context of my weird distressing nightmares). I read somewhere, I can’t even remember where (maybe I dreamt it), claire rousay’s sound is an exploration of queerness, & that’s an apt description for the unorthodox percussive noises that pervade this entire album. There is beautiful guitar on this track, & it evokes everything best about the drug… when I’ve drunk a six pack for the night I am happy & everything is filled with light. Mari offers heavily processed vocals, which might illuminate the themes of this track if only I could understand them… I can’t follow along perfectly but I think at one point she sings, “You’re actually doing okay…” Thanks, I find that a reassuring sequence of words to hear right now. In the final section of the song there is what sounds like the piercing ring of a bell, like a fire alarm, & this is when I think the song reaches transcendence. A pulsing wall of sound returns, enveloping the listener, & then fades. Conclusion. “Drunk” is a beautiful track.

I think that comprises Side A but I can’t be sure b/c the physical has not yet arrived to me from Europe. There are two more tracks on the album that form a complement to each other, “Pre-op” & “Post-op”. “Pre-op” begins with the most experimental sounds in the album so far. It reminds me of a more aggressive version of the ASMR-esque ambiance of claire’s solo work; Mari’s processed voice lilts above it sounding angelic. This album is a fusion of both musicians’ artistic practices. After Mari’s interlude the aggressive experimental sounds return to loom over the track again, reaching what feels to me like an almost suffocating dysphoria… it ends with the steady thump of what sounds like a bell, creating timid relief to the emotions it previously conjured. The final track is “Post-op”. Again this track reminds me of claire’s solo work in its use of pure texture… Mari’s vocals return, & there is a sound that reminds me of the hatching of an egg. It begins to dominate the track, yet the sounds are sparser than what came before… then, the sweet rapture of Experimental Music(TM), the Good Stuff, pile on. Hey, I was expecting maybe “Post-op” would be a bit happier than the preceding composition? Maybe that emotion isn’t clearly identifiable for someone like me to pick out… but um, will beauty do instead??

So. I was compelled by a dream to write this review. It cracked a thousand words… my blogging software generates a time in minutes for how long it takes to read each post I publish. According to my dream this one would be five… it sure would be eerie if my dream came true. And I interpreted no shortage of prophesy in my substance-use nightmare, either… check back on that later. What did I say in the tweet I wrote in my dream? No reason to thank me for writing this. I do literally everything just for the love of the game.

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