MICHAEL POTTER “Garden Portal Almanac”
C37 (Already Dead)

Mine eyes have seen the glory. Interacting with Michael Potter online has clouded what I expect Michael Potter on tape to sound like. The musician, based in Athens, Georgia, enjoys a wide array of experimental cassette releases (hey, like me!), so I figured he was going to dive in the deep end of sonic chaos with some crazily modulated and processed noise release. Well, I was right about one thing – he’s in the deep end, paddling effortlessly around like an unholy hybrid of Matt Biondi and Mark Spitz, masters in this metaphor of their chosen profession, but the sonic chaos I expected out of Potter was of a completely different variety. Not the noisenik of my imagination, Potter instead tackles two of my greatest loves, prog and krautrock, excelling way beyond any reasonable expectation and making my fucking day right there and then.

I mean, he’s got a whole band with him, and they’re so cohesive, the interplay so organic that I couldn’t even write anything right away because I had to shield my eyes from GARDEN PORTAL ALMANAC, such was its splendor (that’s also a metaphor – I was listening to, not looking at, GARDEN PORTAL ALMANAC). You like hyperbole? I feel like I’m filled with it right now. That’s what happens when you get hyped by something like “What Makes You Happy,” its build, triumphant, galloping toward complete harmonic tension before guitar pyrotechnics explode into the night sky and Potter’s guitar face threatens to consume us all. And this is all in the first track alone. I can’t even believe there are five more of these things.

“Can One Make Two” will satisfy every kraut craving you will ever have (except the sauer kind, and who likes that garbage anyway?), its motorik rhythm racing to outpace every instrument chasing it. The bass keeps up, lithe, athletic, while guitar and synth color and texturize the landscape, bursting and blooming anew with each passing second. Jeff Tobias’s mercurial saxophone is more than just icing on this masterpiece, it adds an intensity that completes the track in a way that leaves me stupid with word neglect and remembering problems. Plow me over again, “Can One Make Two.” Double, triple rewind.

The middle passage is a bit more ruminative, led by “Garden Portal Lullaby,” a rich, shimmery acoustic track that of course ends on spaced-out laser melodies that would’ve made the Verve blush in 1995. And I’ve heard a bunch of versions of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” and “Sleepwalker” takes the cake. Dear David Lynch… Anyway, end on a high note with “Days Go Fast” and “Get Out,” each crushed by the power of the band, blistering supernova hot like a Trans Am/Pontiak hybrid, pistons firing effortlessly with sheer authority – and talk about your car bands! Dare we add Maserati to the mix? Totally wouldn’t be out of place.

I think it’s pretty clear what the next step is – buy one of these pups from Already Dead, like you haven’t already or something. Buy another one. Give it away. Give them all good homes. Make those good homes better ones.

Michael Potter
Already Dead

--Ryan Masteller