GLASS FROG “Hakuna Montuno” C22
(Oxtail Recordings)

I’ve never met a modular synthesizer I didn’t like, and neither has Konrad Kamm, apparently. The man behind the Frog, the Glass Frog, Kamm tweaks his instrument(s) of choice to channel far-out tripperfronics (or maybe trippy phonics – er, sonics) that burrow into your mind or maybe meld with it or maybe even melt it under intense stellar pressure. But don’t let my mere words color your anticipation of this release – this is not just a static ambient mood-setter; it’s also a kinetic exercise in electronic movement. Kamm’s synths pulse and oscillate, bringing with them a sense of – dare I say – fun to the proceedings that so often gets overlooked in other genre exercises. Indeed, opener “Goof Stupor,” whose name I just love saying over and over (vive la assonance!), starts out as a group of signals that could very well have been left over from the Sputnik program before blooming in sonic alien flora, a synesthetic language that begs to be understood and not kept secret by government agencies. It’s a smiling-from-ear-to-ear moment, which of course dissipates immediately (sort of) for “Sobbing Mime,” a short, melancholy drifting piece that fully embraces the idea of the “tears of a clown” – tragic, yes, but actually kind of hilarious in its straight-faced approximation of that type of mood. I think Kamm knows what he’s doing – this is the Glass Frog way, and the marriage of tragedy and humor seems only to enhance the full experience. Plus, the titular mime is “sobbing,” which is really over the top, if you ask me. (And you’re reading, so you did.) “Bead Net for a Mummy (For Jess Katon)” is eleven minutes of synthesizer space madness that leaves your Harkonnen army strewn across the sands of Arrakis in the wake of Fremen ingenuity. Jess Katon is a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. Glass Frog has shown us the Weirding Way. (I’m re-reading Dune at the moment, did you guess?) Make Hakuna Montuno part of your desert Frekit for the utmost possibility of survival.

Eff me, I did a track-by-track review! I hate myself now.

--Ryan Masteller