There’s this wonderful moment in the British hipster-psychopath comedy The Mighty Boosh where the two protagonists Howard, an overweight, balding Jazz nerd, and Vince, a stringy vapid self-styled rave Jesus, are practicing for an upcoming gig at a local music club called The Velvet Onion. Howard has a microKorg running through a wall of effects pedals, several test-tubes bubbling with green liquid, and a dead crab in a vat of grease. Vince is banging on a cymbal and improvising a tuneless shaman warble while waving his hands around like a octopus who has just been exposed to a deadly dose of scopolamine. The sound is ungodly, a near-platonic interpretation of the worst music in the world. Eventually, the pair grind the track to a close. Vince looks at Howard, smiling like a super-shy, zit-covered twelve-year-old who has just masturbated for the first time. “Howard,” he says, barely able to contain his excitement, “We’ve invented a new genre!”
I bring this up because anyone who’s ever played music in a somewhat self-serious way has had this exact same epiphany at least fifteen times. The point isn’t that Howard and Vince, or you or I, or that terrible ska band at the cross-campus barbecue are hopeless romantics ass-deep in their own personal mysticism. It’s that inventing a genre isn’t the same as making a sound no one has heard before. I could fart into an echoplex and call it sniff-core and hope to God someone finds it interesting or hilarious. No, a new genre is about making a sound that everyone has heard before, just not in real life. Imagined musical futures, invented archetypes…that’s more like it. That’s what Lingering Last Drops, a crazy fucking good band from Sao Paulo, are conjuring up in this particular bottle-tornado of cyclical history.
We’ve seen some of the elementary particles of this music before: krautrock, freak folk, ambient dub, Throbbing Gristle, Bob Dylan, Flying Saucer Attack, Diamanda Galas. But, through some sort of Nobel-worthy experimentation, a new kind of microscope maybe, or an even larger Hadron Collider, Lingering Last Drops has produced prophetic and ingenious records of how those particles fit together, collide, mark quark babies. Imagine if Neu! were the bar band in Twin Peaks, or if the Basement Tapes were made in the cargo hold of Solaris with the oxygen levels hovering just above zero. The evil in these tracks isn’t a sneer or a leather jacket but a death virus, a mummification ritual burned in .0000001 font on the back of a silicon chip. Reverbed-out guitars, synths that sound like resonating teeth, drums delayed out until infinity, voices that sound like Satan’s out-of-the-office voicemail…you get the idea.
But not really until you listen to the songs. A-side “Love Shadow Syndrome” hovers weirdly on the edge of being pretty, like a girl-next-door type porn actress recovering from harelip surgery. Bendy demon surf guitars weave in and out of suffocating waves of synth pads, some syncopated tambourine motif hovering like scavenger gulls. The voice here is interesting too, somewhere between a Slint-ian breakdown whisper and a Nocturno Culto-esque frog burb. Eventually the whole thing disintegrates into hissing chaos, a CD skipping over the same patch of white noise forever, with, what else, a mellotron solo over it. I have to say, the audacity of that gesture is mad ballsy.
“Light,” the B-side, is both shorter and sparser, propulsive like a bad cough or a Serge Gainsberg track recorded from inside Melody Nelson’s skull. There’s a groove somewhere in here, climbing up joint by joint out of a snow-covered grave, but it’s so scattered, itchy-uncomfortable that it doesn’t make you bob your head as much as squirm in your seat. When the circuitry babble outro comes in at 4:20 like a million bot fly babies suddenly exploding out of your forearm, it’s hard not to seek out the nearest shower or bottle of Xanax. This might be the opposite of chill music, the kind of thing you might begin to hear if you broke out in a rash three minutes into a fifteen-year-long, cold-storage trip to the outer regions of space.
There still isn’t really a name for the music Lingering Last Drops is making. There is, however, a sensation associated with it at once so specific you wonder how to get rid of it, and so universal you wonder why you’ve never noticed it before. This band makes sounds so uncomfortable they should come with a prescription. I can’t wait for the remix album.
Love Shadow Syndrome
https://ampeater.s3.amazonaws.com/aem062/01 Love Shadow Syndrome.mp3