JOSHUA AARON “Thick Skin Vol. 1” C40 (Flophouse)

You need thick skin if you’re going to do this. You can’t have people like me – “critics” – harshing the buzz of creativity and bringing you down before you even have a chance to get going. So Joshua Aaron is ready for me – he’s pretty much ready for anything on his Flophouse debut, Thick Skin Vol. 1. Does he need to be? Probably not. I’m in a pretty good mood, so I’m feeling pretty generous about the words I’m going to dole out to him. Plus his tape is a solid blast throughout.

Each side contains a 20-minute sculpture, synths and samples processed to a darkly psychedelic extreme, like a black-on-black lava lamp in the throes of demise by cheese grater. Each manic session captures Aaron at peak paranoia, his wordless voice a chanted OM conjuring magical defense. I’m white-knuckling it even in the more subdued passages, because I know there’s a tension that’s bound to arise at any moment, and it invariably does. But the ride is the key feature here, and there’s no telling where Thick Skin is going to go at any time. You just gotta be ready for whatever comes.