When someone says the word “crisp”, what do you picture? Greasy potato chips? Delicious bacon? A cool, autumn afternoon? Maybe even the texture of freshly washed bed sheets? What if I told you that there was a platonically perfect form of crisp, via Soulacybin? If you misread that as a psychoactive compound, you’d be forgiven for the simple mistake, considering the aural work of Soulacybin literally breathes psychedelia. As an artist who has consistently evolved over the course of every release, Slug Cuddles absolutely follows suit with a bevy of instrumental interplay, carefully placed tonal dissonance, organically developed percussion lines, and a certain swagger that merges the head-nod with a head high. The album is a veritable display of how glitch-hop and it’s psybient cousin have developed over the last 5 or so years to grow from a dance-floor friendly, breakbeat bonanza to an intelligently designed and meticulously developed I.V. drip of brain-swelling music.
Coming right out of the gate swinging, and maneuvering with footwork not seen since the dawn of the 1920’s speak-easy, “Shrums” is the diplomatic middle ground between the pulsing bass lines that have been spearheaded by our favorite glitch artists for years on end, and the structural progression of psydub and it’s trance-related varieties. No wild builds, no buck wild drops. In their place is an exploratory dive right onto the dance floor with a rhythmic scheme that carries you from start to finish; a dance instructor that forgoes rule books and conventions and opts instead to let your body’s movements speak for itself.
“Dangatang” is all about that certain sway, leading with percussion reminiscent of drum kernels popping in the microwave. The movements of the disembodied guitar samples over an augmented scale introduce a subtle eastern feel that eschews the convention of a spiritual undertone, and gradually raises the level of abject aggression and adrenaline bursting out of the mix. The synth work evolves throughout to become a snake-tailed lay-line, folding you in and out of tonality and rhythm until you’re womping and warping harder than a thin piece of sheet metal.
The album wraps up with a track called “Empathogenetic”, and it sticks out as an emerald in a sea of sapphires. Using tasteful fills and breaks to bridge the development of the song, you’re constantly introduced and reintroduced to a plethora of plucks, jabs, stabs, slashes, and splashes of crunchy bass tones and sharp, round-topped synthesizers dancing back and forth in the soundscape like a super-concentrated fluid; it’s viscous and slippery and its main objective is to twist you inside out until you look like simple torus.
I could sit here and tell you the story of every track on the album, but that would be a disservice. You owe it to yourself to take a good hour out of your day, find a good sound system, and have a lackadaisical afternoon curated by a top-notch producer, and an album that sets a gold standard for intelligent design within electronic music. If you’re feeling eager and ready to get down with Soulacybin and the best of the rest, then get yourself ready to take a trek to Oregon in August for the Oregon Global Eclipse Festival. Soulacybin plays during the late night on that Friday, and is sure to fill your time masterfully, bringing up the vibe of the celebration at hand.