Similar to XS Records in Portugal, US label Panda Fuzz specializes in the esoteric and uncommercial, but also has a very wide remit. These two albums are poles apart in every conceivable way.
Julia LaDense’s Trip is pretty damn impenetrable. It consists of 38 minutes of manipulated static and crackling electronic noise. There is no melody of even the most subliminal kind. There are faint glimpses of rhythmic patterns that emerge from the wall of hiss, but for 38 minutes it feels unchanging except in the most subtle (and possibly illusory) ways. I’m not sure what to make of it at all. It’s not unpleasant, but neither is it particularly engaging. Perhaps it would make more sense with some kind of visual element.
Quick McLuhanian Guide for Transmigration is a different beast entirely. It’s a combination of charmingly primitive analogue synth melodies, and feverish experimental rock and electronica. Rhythmically, at times it’s simple and repetitive with the beats coming straight out of early seventies Kraftwerk. This gives it a strangely aged feel, like it’s a lost gem from the early Ohr or Brain catalogues. On other occasions it’s even more primitive. Transmigration itself is a dense and unforgiving track, with scribbled feedback and sampled animal noises making it sound contorted with pain. It’s followed with the brief Changes, a short looped analogue synth thing straight out of sn eighties arcade.
The three key tracks for me are Daniela Farwell, with its monophonic synth squiggles, the gentle psych guitar and plastic rhythms of Aion, but especially Idiosyncratic Metempsicose. The latter is a full blown psych wig out with Karoli-ish guitars.
Everything here sounds like it could have been made in 1971 by members of Can, Faust, Amon Duul, Kraftwerk and Cluster. And yet it steadfastly avoids the Kosmische Musik clichés that most modern groups who claim ‘inspiration’ from the era always focus on – ie the motorik beat and the ambient synths. Leonardo Martins has come up with something really enjoyable. Unpretentious, experimental, but with a sense of both history and fun.
Tracks (Julia LaDense)
1 Trip 38:35
Tracks (Leonardo Martins)
1 Aion 5:28
2 Daniela Farwell 3:36
3 Day And Night 4:03
4 Transmigration 5:33
5 Changes 0:40
6 Tathagata Trouble Dance 3:14
7 Idiosyncratic Metempsicose 5:21
8 I Didn’t Know What Time It Was 4:35