Boomkat Product Review:
*ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING, VARIED AND KNOCKOUT ALBUMS OF THE YEAR, RANGING FROM WIDESCREEN SOUNDSCAPES TO INTIMATE DRONE TRANSMISSIONS, HIP HOP VARIATIONS AND MINIATURE BLEEPY INTERLUDES - AN ABSOLUTE MUST* Between 1992 and the early 2000's, former folksinger turned lo-fi avant-garde minstrel Bugskull (aka Sean Byrne) released a string of highly acclaimed compositions for a selection of Portland, Oregon's finest independent imprints. Since then his name has circulated in hushed tones among those in the know as a progenitor of the burgeoning experimental scene centred around the small NorthWest American city. His body of work has drawn comparisons to everyone from John Cage to Syd Barrett, placing him further outside the indie envelope than fellow Portland contemporaries like Pavement or Elliot Smith. Sonically, his work covers drone, free-jazz and dadaist psychedelia, and this massively anticipated new album 'Communication' is one of the most varied, original and satisfying records we've heard this year, tied together by a strong melodic identity and tendency towards off-balance textural counterpoints. This album (the first in nearly a decade) is split between one side of relaxed, beat driven psyche, and a side of engrossing pastoral ambience, appealing to a wide range of sensibilities and tastes. On the beat driven 1st side we can hear echoes of J Dilla in the low-slung and jazzy basslines of 'Exposed Wires' or 'Floppy Drive', but arranged with an organic slacker quality, while the alien melody and gentle bite of the tape distortion on 'High Steppin' II' reminds of early Aphex Twin or the the cosmic circuitry of Italy's Ra.H modified by Hauntology pioneer Position Normal. On the 2nd side, the strings of the title track immediately remind of Edward Williams' chamber music for 'Life On Earth', but in lo-fi miniature, played with Stars Of The Lid, before plunging into hiss-textured field recordings and subtle audio hallucinations on 'Pondlife' and finishing on the tender acoustic guitar bliss of 'What's That Light'. The range and scope of sounds on display here is jawdropping, sounding like the work of far more than one artist, but apart from a few contributions on guitar, calimba and organ, it's the brainchild of one very intriguing character in modern music. Incredible.