“Hors de tout doute déraisonnable (Trilogie du doute II)” C40 (Small Scale Music)

I’m as surprised as you are that I woke up this morning still breathing oxygen on planet earth, huffing down sweet gulps of fresh air while perceiving the surroundings of my bedroom. It was touch and go there for a while – I just never know when the universe is going to wink out of existence, so I try to engender a healthy sense of awe within myself at the most mundane things.

Here’s the greatest news of all, at least on a day like today, when the act of waking up is itself particularly flabbergasting: you don’t have to settle for uninteresting music! I sure am not, and instead of reaching for the go-to morning rock records (whatever your choice is, be it Sublime, Korn, Dave Matthews, or another musical artifact), I grabbed the top tape off the #CASSETTEGODS stack that’s sitting by my desk, hoping against hope to be blown into another dimension (but sort of not hoping that the tape would cause the universe to wink out – I think I’ve covered that I’m pretty terrified of that happening). Guess what I grabbed? Guess, guess! Yes, it was Three Fourths Tiger’s Indoor Voice, but I’d already reviewed that (two times, it turns out), so I put it back. No, what I really grabbed was La Forêt Rouge’s tongue-twisteringly titled (in French, too!) Hors de tout doute déraisonnable (Trilogie du doute II), a sequel to part 1 of a planned trilogy. The title means “Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt,” and there is absolutely no way anybody’s going to have any questions about anything after listening to this supermassive black hole of a cassette engulf everything in existence.

Over two songs and forty minutes, the four-piece from Montreal melds stuttering funk, krautrock, and psychedelic Brazilian influences into one bizarre and compelling whole. Imagine Can and Fela Kuti harnessing Sun Ra’s comet, and you’re close. Every second is improvised, and the players form their own magnetic field around one another, a field so powerful that it’s impossible to believe Montreal, the city, is still standing in the wake of this thing. It’s cosmic; it’s out there. It’s more powerful than we can possibly imagine. In fact, I’m willing to bet that the flickering of reality at the edge of my periphery is actually being caused by me listening to this. Uh oh.

I’m at the end of the tape, and it’s clear that we’re a fraction of a millisecond away from the universe actually collapsing in upon itself. La Forêt Rouge is to blame. I have just enough time (I’m really fast) to finish this review and hit “send” on the email to #CASSETTEGODS HQ. It’s definitely too late to warn everybody. Oh well. It might actually even be too late to finish this sentence, come to think of it, so if you’re reading this and I don’t

--Ryan Masteller