When I reviewed Rasmus Kjaer‘s Turist and Orqid‘s Tenderness a few weeks ago, I mentioned that there were three electronica LPs that were sent to me around the same time and that all three were instrumental in resuscitating my love for electronic genres. As I mentioned, someone at a record label or a publicist’s office discovered that I was clamoring to get more, and they’re obliging me. (Since then a fourth LP has arrived.) Of the initial three, however, My Universe from Lucid Child is perhaps the most troublesome and disturbing, which is why I hesitated a few weeks to revisit it.
That was the right call. When I first listened to this very weird but compelling album, I thought it was nightmarish and grim. Lucid Child, which is pretty much Portland-based musician Jonah Moon Gallon’s labor of love after playing in California rock bands since 1997, is a steady mixture of loud, hulking early ’70s metal swimming in a sea of electronic effects and samples. While that cautious first listen revealed a noisy and schizoid world of sound, a second listen fleshed out the essence of Gallon’s vision–lots of imagination, occasional lyrical interludes, fleeting references to old prog rock and perhaps a fondness for unpredictable sounds from the likes of The Mars Volta, Captain Beefheart and Mr. Bungle.
The more I listen to Lucid Child, the more I like it. Gallon states that My Universe was “recorded in 4 living rooms, on my own. A labor of love. This album is for trippers, lovers of exploration, mind expanding, time traveling, and love.” This DIY scenario is buried deep in the lo-fi world, but once in a while sounds burst out of the haze and land right at your feet. Sometimes it’s a spare drumbeat, and at other times it’s a deep, deep bass effect that grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you around for a moment. It’s a roller coaster ride, and if you don’t like where you are at any given moment you just need to hold on. It’s coming.
If you’re curious about Lucid child, you also have to be patient. Let this music wash over you at least once. Sometimes there’s an odd glitch in my brain that makes me think I’m hearing something specific, and then when I go back for a second helping it sounds like a completely different album. This was the case here. I’m not sure if I have a screw loose (yes, I probably do) or if this is what happens when you listen to music that’s multi-faceted and complex. In a way, good music is always like that. My Universe is certainly the good stuff.