Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada

'Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada' by The Fucked Up Beat starts with a crackly recording of a man’s voice: “Alone in a room … 1,000 miles from Earth. My body lay dead before me. And yet, I spoke … and felt … and lived …” Then the music starts – and we’re off to the eerie landscape of strange weather and saucer-filled skies promised in the album’s title. Like last year’s 'Roswell Radio Cult', this Fucked Up Beat album has a vintage sci-fi feel to it. But it’s theme is more specifically defined. The album’s fragments of dialogue and description consist almost entirely of accounts of Cold War UFO experiences. The variety of these voices and the stories they tell give the album the feel of an event -- something that is happening all over, to a large number of people. It’s a bit like Orson Welle’s 1938 'War of The Worlds' broadcast, but with a schizo-noir, trip-hop beat. 'Investigates Strange Weather …' also reminds me of the feeling I get when I listen to 'The Conet Project'. 'The Conet Project' -- a real-life collection of mysterious short-wave radio messages -- gives me a sense of a world that’s wilder ... more dense and complex ... than the world we live our normal lives in. The difference between 'Investigates Strange Weather ...' and 'The Conet Project' though, is that 'The Conet Project' never makes me want to tap my feet or move with the music. As with the aforementioned 'Roswell Radio Cult,' the beats and grooves on this album are imaginative and irresistable. The album is fun too -- as fun as it is eerie. It suggests sinister nocturnal factories, dangerous government programs and ominous coded transmissions. But it also reminds one of old, lovably over-dramatic sci-fi movies, or the amusing ramblings of an eccentric neighbor who knows all about the visitors and exactly what they’re up to. Woman’s voice: …If they are from another planet, I hope they’re from Venus. Man’s voice: Yeah, why Venus? Woman’s voice: Well, then at least they’ll be peaceful. Man’s voice: Yeah, what makes you so sure? Any track on this album is fascinating on its own. But to me, The Fucked Up Beat are painters of sprawling sonic murals. 'Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada'is an album best heard in its entirety. The picture it paints is huge and fascinating, and the music of The Fucked Up Beat is, as always, entrancing. (cover art seen above by Anya Rymer of Brooklyn)

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