Talibam!: Endgame Of The Anthropocene + Hard Vibe (w/ Matt Nelson + Ron Stabinsky) (ESP-Disk’, 2017)

September 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Talibam!: Endgame Of The Anthropocene

Talibam! return to ESP-Disk’ with two entirely different albums which sound totally different from anything else they’ve done. Endgame Of The Anthropocene is an ambitious concept album about the battle for control of Antarctica in 2048 after the rest of the planet has become uninhabitable for reasons relating to global warming, overpopulation, exhausted resources, etc. Sounds like the type of dystopian story concept which isn’t too far from what could actually happen. Musically, the album was created from an arsenal of synths, with Kevin Shea’s master-blaster drumming being the only non-electronic instrument (and even then, the drums sound pretty robotic or processed). The synths do sometimes emulate horns or new wave guitars, and it still has a live band feel, but it’s also a dense studio creation. It gets a bit messy, but it always sounds captivating and exciting. Opener “Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only” (Article 1) is a 12-minute careening, triumphant odyssey, equal parts electro-funk and prog. “Obsequious Resources Duly Exploited De Novo” is another highlight, starting out with sporadic drums, then getting into some sort of prog-footwork cityscape. “Cost-Effective Drilling Enabled by Pioneering Technologies and Warmer Climates in the Southern Ocean” is a little more industrial and clanky, ending with some righteous delay and ring mods. “RISE OF THE DEFENDERS OF ANTARCTICA” is a surging jumble of triumphant horns, slipshod drums, and rapidly blinking computer bleeps. The album is a fun, somewhat chaotic sci-fi epic with an alarming message behind it.

Talibam! + Matt Nelson + Ron Stabinsky: Hard Vibe

On a much different plane, Hard Vibe (with Matt Nelson and Ron Stabinsky) is an extended jam combining gospel organ, hard bop sax soloing, and hypnotic, hard-driving rhythm. Everyone’s playing at a high energy level, and it sounds fluid and intense. Near the end of the first side, there’s some bizarre, transforming effects on the saxophone, and then it ends abruptly, but it picks right back up on the second side, continuing with the same groove. Halfway through, though, it switches up and gets into a more electrified, possessed trance, and then it rockets into a more abstract synth-funk mode. And once again, the band ends right on time. Of course, it’s entirely likely that they could’ve been playing for 7 hours straight and this was just edited with proper beginnings and endings to fit on vinyl. Regardless, this is some serious cosmic energy.

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