Words: F.J. Dominguez Pennock
Andrew Spackman begins 2021 with the release of ‘Music Of Dreams And Panic’ from Wormhole World Records. Straight from the start, this album pulls no punches as the album’s first track ‘Mugstar’, begins with a clash of electronic sound design before unleashing waves of synth washes and distorted beats reminiscent of μ-Ziq’s ‘Bilious Path’, and just like that album, you’re immediately taken through a whirlwind of auditory rabbit holes deftly guided by Spackman’s predilection for multiple tempo and key changes within his compositions.
If haven’t strapped yourself in by the end of the first song, you’ll be completely thrown off by the next few songs as they straddle through minimalist-maximalist sonic pathos that range from Amon Tobin like beat sequences and Maryanne Amacher psycho acoustic dissonance. This isn’t music for the light hearted, but it’s ever so rewarding with repeated listening for those that get through it. And you’ll most definitely want to play these tracks on repeat as they unfold further layers of distortion that slowly become more musical with each listen.
By the time you arrive to track number five, ‘The Piano Player Rises’, with it’s melodious distorted piano coda and deliciously chunky synth undercurrent and four on floor kicks, you’ll realize it’s too late to turn back now-you’re fully engrossed with this album and will prove difficult to put it down. ‘The Piano Player Rises’ gives way to ‘Vin Werski’, a track that sounds like a long lost remix version of ‘More Gills Less Fishcakes’ from The Orb’s underrated but brilliant ‘Pomme Fritz’ album. Mind you, it is weirder than that track but also quite captivating because of it.
‘Flutter’ is another track that includes distorted, darkly layered vocals that counterpoint minimalist and ever changing melodies. Again, Speckman’s keen sense of when a melody has run its course within a composition drives this track into unexpected and welcome directions. Tracks ‘Fra Fra’ and ‘Free Again’ follow similar structures with the latter track introducing its first proper bassline making this possibly the most straightforward track on the album and a sonic treat after all the outer reaches of sound exploration that preceded the album.
Track ‘Seventeen’ brings the album to a close with a slowly evolving, almost ethereal sense of bliss before threatening to break into complete chaos and finally fading out in the same vein the track started.
‘Music Of Dreams And Panic’ is a dark and intense outing from Spackman yet, nevertheless a welcome addition to his excellent catalogue of music. The best musical journeys are the ones that keep you on your toes and catch you by surprise and this album definitely does that.