The Strangest Albums I Heard in 2018
Going through Scene Point Blank's submission emails, I come across releases both good, bad, and ugly. Frequently, it's the more unusual releases that capture my attention, and some of these albums wind up being downright bizarre. Here are five such albums I discovered in 2018.
Internet and Weed
The first weird thing about this two-track album is the artist's name. I'm not even sure how to begin pronouncing that. The tracks feature glitchy, sometimes gurgling electronic tones over rumbling and pulsing bass, an almost nightmarish collision of sounds, but Internet and Weed is also notable for the pair of hallucinogenic videos that accompany the audio portion of the release which break down human forms into spastic pixellated shapes.
What Is Chaos?
This atmospheric, sometimes mesmerizing and frequently eerie freakout of an improvised jazz album seems to pack a little bit of everything into its duration. The album boasts some solid grooves and the diverse instrumentation leads to some fascinating sonic texture, with flurries of distorted guitar, honking sax, and alternately haunting and menacing vocals arguably answering the very question posed by its title.
Love, Loss, and Autotune
Combining comically raunchy blues and heartfelt soul with copious amounts of autotune and synthpop effects, this latest effort from 76-year-old Swamp Dogg has to stand as a definitive singular work in his decades-long career. On paper, this unlikely combination of genres and styles sounds like a bit of a trainwreck and the album does seem somewhat uneven, but it's surprisingly enjoyable - and often made me chuckle.
What at first seems like a standard ambient album becomes something else once Machinefabriek introduces snippets of recorded speech and vocal exclamations into the mix. While some pieces here are pretty straight-forward, some even playing like word association spoken word, others are a tapestry of unfamiliar sounds: word segments, foreign language, pops, gasps, hisses, sighs, and moans, all over a vaguely mysterious backdrop of synth and tape loops. It's an interesting work of sound art that frequently has an appealingly earthy feel and strong sense of space in the audio mix.
Trumpeter Richards' debut album of experimental jazz is stark and minimalistic, culminating in a hypnotic and unsettling two part title track. There's a pervasive sense of apprehension and uneasiness to the work created by placing layers of processed and often tortured sounding trumpet and horn over eerie electronic backdrops and occasional percussion. While it probably won't appeal to many listeners, those who appreciate mood will probably find something to like here.