Alias – Fever Dream

January 01, 1970

(Anticon)

 

www.anticon.com

 

Alias’ sixth full-length layers gauzy, rainbow colored
psychedelia over hard beats, moving in dream-like lucidity over intricate,
improbably pretty landscapes. “I wish I could talk in Technicolor,” whispers a
child-like female (at the beginning of a song named “Talk in Technicolor”) and,
if the Anticon co-founder hasn’t learned to talk in day-glo, he has certainly figured out how to cloak his beats in shimmering, color-shifting
auras.

 

If Sole’s last album was all about the clever phrase and
Serengeti’s about the emotionally-charged short-story, Alias seems primarily
concerned with rhythm and texture. These cuts nearly all include some kind of
sampled vocal, a phrase snipped from context and repeated, yet the art is
nearly all in the arrangements that frame them – the blossoming clusters of
bright keyboards, the sharpness of drum fill, the syncopated slush of open
high-hat closing shut. Alias’ beats simultaneously float and snap, their airy
flourishes and wordless tonal fills drifting through like daydreams over an
emphatic, very physical series of rhythms. Listen, for instance, to the way
that “Wanna Let It Go” unspools, its ululating vocals, its tremolo’d keyboard
accents dissolving into soul-slanted atmospheres, its ricocheting drum beat
arguing for purpose, direction and forward movement. Consider “Fever Dreamin'”
a fever dream, the body’s basic processes – breathing, blood-pumping – going on
in the rhythm, while the mind slips irresistibly into the stratosphere. Some
tracks are more grounded than others; “Dahorses” makes a body-shaking rhythm
out of clipped, reconfigured and repeated male voice sounds, while “Lady
Lambin'” floats diaphanously, spectrally, disconnectedly over a snare-shot beat
– but all layer a surreal sheen over corporeal foundation.  

 

Later album tracks, “Sugarpeeeee” and “Wrap,” splinter a
little, their layers failing to gel, their complexities not quite fitting into
an overall architecture. Still, for much of the album, disparate elements come
together in complicated ways that are cerebral, sensual and spiritual all at
once. Nicely done.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Wanna
Let It Go” “Fever Dreamin'”‘ JENNIFER
KELLY

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