Headcase

Mushiness

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Happily more than simply Curve without Toni Halliday, though she does contribute a vocal loop on one track, on Mushiness Headcase, aka Garcia, creates a nicely moody collection of spooked-out instrumentals drawing on everything from shadowy post-punk experimentalism to hip-hop. The emphasis on technology and its possibilities which has always defined Curve gets even more played out here, drum machine beats echoing into the distance, drones, moans, and howls lurking amidst the uneasy rhythms. Hints of glitch techno and drill'n'bass explosions lend a modern sheen to the affair, but otherwise Mushiness pays no lip service or any other kind to the end of the century, preferring to find its own dank space. Even the relatively straightforward Meat Beat Manifesto-reminiscent "Locusthead" maintains its own particularly alien atmosphere. Garcia's guitar unsurprisingly is treated, used, and abused to create some screwy sonic textures, indeed, sounding like everything from screaming choirs to robot death marches. The mesmerizing bell-like break on "59:58" is especially ear-grabbing. Highlights include "Going Round," which sounds almost exactly like a lost Cure track from 1982 or so, and the crisp, clean punch of "Inflatables," rather unlike much of the grimier sonics on Mushiness and notable for that reason, though not without some creepiness here and there. Occasional guest performances, besides that of Halliday, add to the variety of the piece, though not always spectacularly -- Martian's futurist poem on "Zero Zero Four" is quietly intriguing, but not much more than that. Meanwhile, former Curve collaborator JC001 contributes a low-key rap on "Gasp for Air," while Barry Maquire makes "Breakdown" a full collaboration on his part via his vocal, guitar, and violin abilities. It's the most immediately song-oriented track on the whole album as a result, but still retains all the rumbling, crushing feeling of the rest of the album -- and Maquire's buried screams intensify it.

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