“Local Culture” C26 (Personal Archives)

It’s in the wires, the electricity buzzing from home to home, lighting up the suburbs, homogenizing and pacifying, erasing uniqueness from the American landscape. LOCAL CULTURE is the lament of local culture, an ironically electronic foray by Matthias Timmerman’s Underwater Escape from the Black Hole project. Ironic in its juxtaposition to its subject matter, that is – UEFTHBH doles out release after release of the finest electronics-based tunes, so you should pretty much know what you’re getting into here. Nice to see the release on Personal Archives – a fitting match, and my reaction to the pairing of two great experimentally minded institutions was like, yeah, what’s UP?! Fist pump baby! With my descent into suburban humor complete, it’s almost a shame that you have to listen to me continue to extoll the virtues of LOCAL CULTURE, but you’ll just have to get over yourself just as I have learned to live with the truths of my own reality. Moving on, Timmerman’s work here, to paraphrase his own song titles, crests and breaks like white caps on shore, thick sonic hiss coating the mélange of melody and casting the four tracks in a rich shoegazey glow. Unsurprisingly, the ocean is a popular destination for the landlocked masses to retreat to when the stresses of everyday living become too much to endure. (I should know – I live fifteen minutes from a beach, and it’s absolutely crawling with you goddamn tourists for four months out of the year.) Thus, LOCAL CULTURE becomes an audio retreat from endless development, a medicinal artifact to get lost in beneath headphones when you’ve all but lost the dream that there’s a better place somewhere. UEFTHBH effortlessly folds in pop hooks, too, to save you from disappearing too far down a spiral of self-pity. Somewhat like M83’s best work, LOCAL CULTURE casts UEFTHBH as the hero of your everyday journey, someone you can look to during the darker moments. It may not be actual escape, but it’ll tide you over for a while, maybe provide that spark of imagination or drive that’ll propel you to something more fulfilling.

Underwater Escape from the Black Hole
Personal Archives

--Ryan Masteller