Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
This relentless electronic music makes me feel rewound a couple decades, when the internet was still exciting, all just walls of different colors and fonts and asterisks. What will these futuristic machines really mean to us? Everyone still wondered. Music nerd king Dave Segal is enamored of Heldon's complete machine-ness, their lack of longing. He thinks they have no human qualities, that the sounds emanate from some hollow tube of otherworldly noisemaking, perhaps technically channeled through a being resembling a human.
I'm not sure I agree. This sounds like what Darth Vader listened to inside his helmet. That dude may have had some robot parts, but he was really, really human. This could be what the (human) Wachowski siblings listened to while writing The Matrix. It's what I listened to, aptly, while reading a long interview with a dude who prefers relationships with dolls to relationships with human women. Okay, then I got hella skeeved and I wanted a warm human to come play some sweet trumpet at me for a second.
But this stuff just is not human-less. The freewheeling guitar sounds in track two, "Jet Girl," are not accidental or automatic, they're haunted—a deliberate experiment, an attempt at replicating emotions or memory.
The dreamscape "Bal a Fou" could never be made by a robot. Nor the soundtrack-like "Le Fils des Soucoupes Volantes (Vertes)," which goes womp-a-womp, womp-a-womp, spelling out the heartbeat of a French man in a car at night. I thought the 19-minute-long "Interface" might annoy the shit out of me, but instead its back-and-forth stereo—leeefffft into riiiiiiight—and driving drumbeat (obviously a man in a black cloak hitting sheet metal to call ghosts or aliens to come visit) and boopy-beep-boops were affecting. They left me twitchy and easily startled. I fucking dare you to listen to this in the forest at night without pooping your pants or turning to witchcraft.
Here's what you should do instead: When you need to concentrate at your desk job, pop this into your big padded earphones, turn it up loud, and see if you can't power through some all-star single-tasking. Let its metallic heart be your compass, since you can't be bothered with the real world while it's playing. Dive face-first into your computer screen like a cartoon character, do your shit, and then pull your head out after one go-round of the album. Success!
Note of caution: After listening to this album a couple of times, it's possible that I have joined the robot conspiracy and am now trying to recruit you away from the human world.
I give this an "I'll never tellllll" out of 10.