Treat Yourself to a Crispy Challenge, You’re Worth it!
It’s almost hard for me to write about Sharp Veins without getting all goose-fleshed and squirmy. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered another producer who is afflicted/blessed with the same sadomasochistic fascination with uncomfortable, challenging sounds-the smae fascination that is the spinal column of Knowhereland. Harrison (Sharp Veins) has an expansive collection of Bandcamp releases (and a brand new page for the really free stuff, https://freemp3recordingsoftware.bandcamp.com/), so imagine my astonishment when I receive a very politely worded email announcing this, his first “official” release. Many, many listens later, I understand what sets this album apart. But before we even get to the music, let’s talk about this album cover…like, what epic computer game or RPG manual spawned this image? The border looks like it has been rendered into indistinguishable shapes and colors through pixelation effects. The words, “Sharp Veins,” are formed from globs of greasy liquid and “armor up your actions in quest” seems to reflect an inner darkness upon the light-blue nobility of its Lucida-Blackletter-font soul. I feel a severe combination of Wow and Yikes. It holds me in thrall and I can’t look away.
While my Sharp Veins obsession stems from the range of experiments on previous releases. Armor Your Actions Up in Quest is the fruits of all of these earlier experiments, composed exquisitely into polished songs, replete with singing and lyrics. And such songs! Songs with names like, “Suspended Crayonimation” and “Nipple Pierced Dog Walks Itself.” Most of the drums sound like circuit bent Casio keyboards; the vocals are lo-fi and over-produced at the same time. Harrison harmonizes with himself on most tracks. Sometimes he screams and shrieks. I really can’t stress the vast range of emotion and style that is encapsulated into this campaign. Emo vibes come right on the heels of aggressive kick rolls and distorted bass blasts. Moments of electro-pastoral emerge from the wreckage of detuned synth castles. Yet, I feel like I’m describing Armor Your Actions Up in Quest as hotter and messier than is fair. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hot like my three-chili reaper sauce, but all of the warps and squanches that pepper this album are masterfully laid, like a sound mosaic of glitches and broken tech. This is one of the most defiantly original albums of this millennia. One would have to have porridge for brains to suggest otherwise.
I am fond of the song, “2nd 1st Date With Destiny” and the bass on “Therapist Wrestle” bangs like boomerangs. 9.5 stars