Taos Humm: Don’t listen to this album, feel it

9th March 2017

Title: Flute of the Noodle Bender

Label: Stolen Body/Howling Owl

They’re described as an experimental psych band from Bristol, UK and feature Sunny-Joe Paradisos, Matt Robbins and Edward Penfold (Whose own solo LP was warmly reviewed on this site…even if the production wasn’t. Robbins and Pradisos played on that one too.)

The core of much of this music – the psych style flavourings – firmly roots the band in the past. It is celebratory rather than any sort of pastiche, though while the band itself doesn’t wallow in the genre. There’s plenty of innovative and slightly angular noise and rhythmic constructions inserted into the cracks that give the music a more contemporary and slightly avant garde feel. I get the feeling that the band feel uncomfortable travelling in a straight line. The need to mix it up, to turn left and right and backwards. Change is a dominant theme here.

The treated and distorted vocal line of the third track, Bluhr, is a good example. This song demands that you treat the vocal as an instrument and enjoy the sound of the modulations along with the backing instruments.

Moods change too, the following track, Meek, features a reverb-heavy suite of guitars and a mood vocal that could easily have emanated directly from classic-era 4AD.

Mastering quality is rather strident and harsh with upper mids being rather shrieky and treble rather tizzy, forcing you to either lower the volume or cover your ears or both. Guitar crescendos are notably guilty here. It’s a shame because I really did want to up the volume on this one but hit the compression wall instead.

A fascinating LP that combines an adventurous take on musical texture – and it is texture that I take from this LP, not lyrics, hooks or any other classic song structure – with mood. This, in short, is an album to feel as much as hear.