Label: Deception Island
Bonkers split concept: Alterity Problem, the Montreal-based duo of lifer oddballs Alex Moskos (also of AIDS Wolf, Drainolith, Thames, and The Medicine Rocks) and cryptic associate Joel Taylor turn in a suite of extra-damaged jams about kids, heaters, and problems, these titular concerns reflecting a certain noirish surrealism and a slightly outre pose—both very much present in the audible payload—that distinguish Alterity Problem from their most obvious contemporaries. Sometimes it’s like a Matra 12″ heard through a wheelbarrow of pills and six miles of bulletproof glass; other times it’s like spinning d-beat recs under general anaesthesia. Sometimes there are oddly, immensely satisfying syndrums in all the right/wrong places.
The flip finds John Elliott (of Emeralds, Mist, and many others) back on DI with a fresh side of Outer Space tracks that work a polished, high-impact aesthetic angle very distinct from the decaying hyperabstraction of last year’s massive Lightyear Demonstrations while continuing to radiate the same throughgoing trippiness and post/antihuman drive. First, “Aspartame” materializes from a glowing sandstorm of synth and vocals, coalescing into one of the most dazzling and aqueous examples of Elliott’s signature endlessly unfurling klein bottle riffstyle to date. The ensuing nine minutes of this piece display a mastery of the “Dusseldorf style” of building deceptively intricate, episodic tracks on metronomic backbones, as claustrophobia and a sense of awakening to the reality of being chased by something superfucked gradually dawns, only to give way to an epic sunrise over a desert of ash and bleached bones. The finale, “USA Endless” (dark commentary?) has hung around long enough to see all inclination toward propulsion surgically removed. We’re floating six inches off the ground, in the driveway with the doors open, engine running, and wheels spinning endlessly, far too fucked to do anything other than sit back and watch the dash boil while sunlight falls like iridescent jelly on the seats. Extra weird.