“Colony” (Crow Versus Crow)

To colonize, one must claim ownership over a property. Alocasia Garden, aka Reece Thomas Green of Folkstone, UK, visualizes the machinations of the colonizer through proto-industrial sound, its arrival and assimilation of space and/or population a tense inevitability in the composer’s hands. What’s colonized? Who’s colonizing? I can’t get enormous interstellar vessels out of my head, massive hulks moving from planet to planet. I also can’t shake the idea of European colonization, a real, terrible actuality that has shaped and continues to shape our world today. Maybe the former is a sci-fi metaphor for the latter (well, it certainly is), but either way, Alocasia Garden’s treatment of its ideas is as unsettling as it is thrilling. Piercing metallic tones reveal the intentions of Green’s subjects, and most of it’s not good. Rumbles of heavy, thudding progress fill the atmosphere, and forward movement occurs in an inexorable tide of struggle and vanity. Consider song titles too – “Consumed by Struggle,” “Allegory of Vanity,” and ones I haven’t referenced, like “Verity” and “Purge,” all ideas pointing to the ends of eras and the beginnings of new, and not exactly welcome, ruling entities. Weighty material indeed! Fortunately, Green guides us through the album like an author, scenes appearing and stories progressing toward their finalities. It all makes me wonder what sort of grasp he has on the English language – could there be a novel in there somewhere? I ask myself that question all the time. Sadly, I don’t have much musical skill anymore to fall back on when the words don’t come. Good thing I know how to listen to tapes!

--Ryan Masteller