ALOSI DEN "Have You Met The Dead Poets?" C30 (Desert Home Recordings)

Picture a noon-time playground, ‘bout a block and a half away, teeming with li’l snot-nose’d monsters*; all that shrieking, shouting, cursing (and/or hearing cursing) for the very first time, getting skinned knees** that feel like they must have seriously just losted a limb or something! A fucking sonic mess, pretty much.

Again, cz this is important, from around 1.5 blocks away.

cz that’s the point where this screeching and caterwauling has had the space and time to reflect, fracture, &mingle with your new neighborhood’s surprising concentration of shitty apartment complexes before finally morphing into a whole other gorgeous set of now bewilderingly pleasing, sleeping-fan-esque ambient textures...

Not that this album is, in any way, “ambient”, or, categorically, “pleasing”, for that matter. Alosi Den, in fact, manages to pigeon-hole the whole idea of “pigeon-holing” into another completely inapplicable universe; &freed from this constraint, they slip stealthily ‘twixt cosmic’ly aligned, head-lolling space jams, discordant, frenetic free-jazz-freakouts, and a mesmerizing tether of mathy, post-rock, mantric-guitar swagger,, all of this in a mathemagician’s subtly-suggested blink of an ear.


It is worth mentioning that “Have You Met the Dead Poets” shares similar qualities with a plethora of the following heavy-hitters, as they share some of the same brilliant tones & moods, from time to time:

Broken Social Scene (their blissful, slow-motion space-jamming), Movietone (that gorgeous, criminally understated reverb/noodling), Slint (or, maybe specifically Papa M’s “Live From a Shark Tank” clean-pick’d ‘lectric guitar blueprint) and, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (the vocals are nearly indistinguishable in parts, though for only a quarter or less of the time). Oh, and the Meat Puppets (cz a lot of this album is what it’d sound like if you slowed their “II” album down to quarter-speed).

If I haven’t convolutedly fawned over this album enough, let me spell it out;
“This should be listened to,
with decent headphones,
about three or four
-teen times in a row.”

*phrase lifted/bastardized from Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.
**the vocals are, at times, deliciously harsh-yet-muted; their decibel level a Sistine monument to tasteful counterpoint (yes, vocals as Counterpoint!) and that continual push to keep listeners on their non-dominant stirrup.

  --Jacob An Kittenplan