BRANDON SEABROOK – Sylphid Vitalizers

New Atlantis

Brandon Seabrook: tenor banjo, guitar; Dr. Vitalizer: drum programming

Halfway through bionic shredding and neurotically hyper-charged minimalism, the music featured in Sylphid Vitalizers – first solo release by Seabrook – will appeal to those who appreciate the ability to irritate the “overly laid-back” variety of beholder with structures challenging their insufficient flexibility. At the outset, I myself thought about the use of speeding-up techniques applied to certain slices; I’m still not sure if that’s the case somewhere (presumably not, but you never know). However, the bulk of this thing is funny enough to warrant a thumb up, which includes the wise choice of not overstaying most anyone’s welcome at 34 minutes total. Strong points are Seabrook’s undeniable knack for layering and/or orchestrating parts where absurdly quick picking might spell bedlam in someone else’s sonic crimes, and a general sense of unlikeness making the task of finding comparisons next to impossible. The titles are also quite bizarre, which does not hurt, and the drum machine action is not invasive to a point of bothering.

“Ballad Of Newfangled Vicissitudes” is characterized by an obsessive banjo figure in 7/4 amidst all kinds of compositional jokes oozing out prodigious technique from every crack. “Selfodomized Poltergeists” can sound a little helter-skelter at times, or clumsily geometrical in some of its more entrancing sections. “Mucoidal Woolgathering” stems from the constant augmentation of a repetitive pattern generating a thick tissue of unmannerly odd-metred arpeggios and discordant scalar runs, the whole ending in the darker alleys of rarefied oscillation. The two final tracks – “Cabeza Spasms & Aural Championships” and “Lurid Clusters” – are perhaps the icing on the cake in terms of balance between dry humor, skilful monstrosities and textural attractiveness, mixing the finest components of our man’s mental imagery in a 17-minute mini-suite. The way dissonant chords vibrate in union with the mesmerizing qualities of the reiterative portions ensure moments of veritable gratification, closing the album on a positive, if slightly sinister note.

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