If African Head Charge took dub and rendered it no longer the sole property of the One Love crews of the world, The Missing Brazilians project apparently felt that dub could be even stranger still. Also a product of Adrian Sherwood, this record features members of other groups on the On-U Sound label. Whereas African Head Charge created dub for other humans, this is like dub heard only on worlds existing in Doctor Who. This is a record of rhythmic strangeness so bizarre, it actually makes The Third Eye Foundation’s classic Ghost seem downright homey and recognizable.
Basic departures from whatever subgenre of dub that the On-U Sound crew may have created become obvious when the basic frequencies of almost everything on this album seem calculated to see just how much distortion you can get without using a pedal or stompbox. This is the first time I’ve heard this level of speaker-frying, outright kack used by anyone other than pure-noise artists like Merzbow or Masonna.
Vocals are handled in a way that’s both more comprehensible and recognizable than the chants used on Songs of Praise. In “Savanna Prance,” Shara Nelson cuts loose with a classical styling that’s about as unexpected as waking up with your shoes glued to your underwear. On “Gentle Killers,” Annie Anxiety keens strangeness about “gentle killers” like Shirley Bassey experiencing possession by a demon on LSD. Upon hearing this track for the first time, my little sisters looked at each other and declared, “This is pretty effing bizarre.” “Yeah!” “Its great!” “I know!”
The sounds here are amorphous and similar to how My Bloody Valentine or lovesliescrushing used to make sounds that no one could place a image of creation to. But the trick here is that these sounds are rhythmic! It’s hard to imagine the drum or sampler or instrument that makes the vaguely danceable oscillations on tracks like “Igloo Inn.” Every now and then, a recognizable piece of sound like a melodica or keyboard will stand out, and your ears cling to it desperately for some sort of reference.
The closest things I can compare this record to are: brief moments of Mick Karn’s eerie, middle-eastern electrofunk; an Orb that has no interest in happy, easily-listenable tunes; the repetitive hypnosis of early video game music when you reach a really high level (of score, not frame of mind); or perhaps, a world where Autechre’s robotic music is produced by some sort of strange forest. A forest where there’s never a lack of someone to hear when a tree falls down.
Written by Pearson Greer