Dr. Res‘s Lung Kidnapping is 5 distinct tracks of electronic music that draw upon several eras of synthesizers for their sound variety. I don’t think Lung Kidnapping is trying to ape a musical style, but being an old person you tend to notice sounds that match stuff you heard in a certain decade, and thought you’d never hear again. Lung Kidnapping only dips into these styles, though; it tries stuff a bit weirder than people in earlier eras were likely to have attempted.
Percussion tends to be the album’s most distinct feature, though at times the sharp, hi-res cracks and pops can be grating. It’s unfortunate that the worst culprit is the first track, ‘Human Taxidermy.’ There’s an unpleasant, synthetic crunch, like an egg underfoot, that keeps splashing into the listener’s ear. The effect gives the track its full character, but it feels like an assault, with volume contrast that blasts away all the intricacies of the dark background sound. When milder toward the middle, the crunch does add nice texture to what is otherwise a pretty smooth electronic wave. There’s a definite early 90’s synth feel to it, but the harsh egg sound dispels any assumption that it’s trying to replicate that style. If the crunch hadn’t been there it might have been easier to recommend this track, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as distinctive.
The next song ‘Kugutushi’ has percussion that’s lighter and chirping, serving its general feeling of motion and suggesting like a late-night urban drive. Nothing adventurous here, but it’s a good, energetic piece that helps clear out any ill will ‘Human Taxidermy’ may have left, ending in a cleansing, airy whoosh.
‘Une Marionette’ starts by building up ominous buzzing tones straight out of The Terminator, then segues into worryingly out-of-synch typewriter clicking and then a light thumping beat on top, but just when it feels like the track’s not going to pull together, a consonant tapping hops up and down the scale before the entire song modulates and pulses. While it winds up being a tad repetitive toward the end, all these changes made me keep writing the word “exploration” in my notes, and wound up being one of my favorite tracks on the disc.
‘Found’ starts with a deep pulse that I, to be honest, first thought was some street work going on outside my headphones. Dark and echoing, it gives way to a light melody reminiscent of early 90’s backbeat with a hint of Faltermeyer’s ‘Axel F’ in its random-seeming, pulsing beat dancing over several notes. Percussion this time is wooden plus a wet splat. Wide, insistent, silky synth rounds out the second half of the track, with a strange, discordant rubber bubble pushing and pulling midway through that warps the sound a bit too much, but thankfully doesn’t stay around too long. Maybe it’s a bit too unfocused for me, but there are plenty of parts that I really dig.
The final track, ‘Oro Negro’, breaks in with complex pops and clicks (like the shaking of a dice cup) over a reminiscent, sighing, two-tone background. A near-human voice punctuates, then the main section rolls in, a bit like ‘Kugutushi’’s movement, but more like a nervous descent. The synth here is a bit 70’s, course and glowing, with hydraulic sighs and cymbals adding to the pops and clicks. Pleasant.
This whole review probably reads like a bad beat poem; all the usual vocabulary we’ve built up to describe conventional music is harder to glue to experiences where every little grain of noise can be changed. For some, electronic music is for dancing or ambience, but whatever I may have thought of Dr. Res‘ specific choices, I’m glad there are people still insisting that there’s a lot more to discover. Lung Kidnapping has its fair share of novelty, but for good or ill it’s not background noise; it requires listener participation. It doesn’t linger too long in any one phrase, but manages to quickly explore a good range of sounds both dark and quick, and sounds decent doing it.
Words: Strange Bundle