The Fucked Up Beat
Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada
Review by Kent Manthie
Besides having a really cool album title, this latest release from NYC experimental, cut-up/sample/found sounds outfit, The Fucked Up Beat, that really goes the distance in layering their works in unique and fantastic ways. The last album I reviewed by TFUB was their 2012 album, Apparatus for Controlling the Mechanism of Floating Vessels, another long, strange album title, with little meaning, apart from its sci-fi influenced peri- or post-apocalyptic, nightmarish, haunting pieces, sort of collaged together, with instances of sampled bits of old, film noir-ish soundscapes. That one was a more moody, more distant album made more freaky because you just don’t know what it all means – and that is really the root of a lot of fears: unknown, unexplainable, odd occurrences, sonically painted, not by edgy, harsh, industrial, aggro or razor-blade, machine noise, but soft, mood music that is hard to figure out, aesthetically.
This new one, Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada, also wanders in that vein of sedated music that seems to be sampled bits of 1930s-1940s swing music, voodoo jazz – as in the wild horn riffs that sound as if they came straight out of some obscure noir-horror flick from the 50s that was not available to the masses due to the bizarre nature of its subject(s) and film content (usually foreign stuff, from Spain, France, Germany or Italy) and so, not made widely available until the dawn of home video and with the advent of DVDs, the internet and the ease with which one can access rare creepy stuff of this sort. But not always…
Investigates Strange Weather Patterns… also features music samples from the aforementioned time frame, most likely the 40s and into the 50s (I recall hearing a Theremin underlying “Flatwoods Hypnagogia/Ghost Dance South Dakota” with a New Orleans-style jazz crunge jangling underneath, complete with vocals, all on a loop that repeats the same verse, or phrase, whatever, that ends up sounding like a chant, with the repetitiveness, which isn’t done with the music behind it, thus making a real interesting scene.
Each song is a kind of “hybrid” or two-parter, from the way the songs are labeled – e.g., the first cut is “Subterranean Homesick Oil Fields/Bordertown Medium”, the previously mentioned “Flatwoods Hypnagogia/Ghost Dance South Dakota” as well as one entitled “Port Sinister/Anarchitecture” and “UFO Archigrams/Hinterland Techtonics” [I know “tectonics” is misspelled, with the “h”, but I assume that’s a purposely done device to give it added meaning(??)…] and so on. There are a couple non-divided song titles, or however you’d describe the previous song titles, “Los Alamos! Los Alamos! We’ll Return Again! When the Broken Hearts Have Lost Their Relevance” & “Does Capitalism Isolate You?”.
One of my favorites is #5, “The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista/Yesterday is a Million Years” – the first minute is that 1940s groovy jazz complete with a scratchy sound as if it’s a vinyl record with scratches, playing on an old mono player, then it suddenly goes into this more modern ambient-sound, with a backbeat, not speeding up or anything, it’s sort of like awakening from a bizarre dream to the present and your stereo is on, playing something from the 1990s experimental, techno realm.
Then there’s “Port Sinister/Anarchitecture”, which is some wigged-out space music, that has more swing-type music that sounds like a film score from that time period.
As you can maybe tell, it’s kind of difficult to really pin a label on The Fucked Up Beat. Perhaps their name speaks for itself. But, not in a negative way; rather it’s a way of pointing out the unusual, not-easily identifiable music they engage in. “Dubstep” might be a jumping off point for the gang, but then again, I wouldn’t compare it to any other Dubstep artists. But, as per the strangeness and dreamlike attachment it exudes, it’s as close as one can get in finding a term to use.
Another interesting step they took was to release this album with 15 different, unique covers that all refer to one of the songs on the album. Why there is a 15th cover when there are only 14 is something I’m not totally sure of.
Anyway, I think this is a very well-done melange of audio-collage work, or a good way of doing “audio cut-ups”, as in the Burroughs/Gysin fashion. To get a free copy, go to http://thefuckedupbeat.bandcamp.com/album/investigates-strange-weather-patterns-and-the-ufo-cults-of-cold-war-nevada-12 to download this interesting recording. Hope you enjoy!! -KM.