Quick Trips: Blank Thomas – 405 Skies

Blank Thomas

(Dismal Niche, 2016)

If this is how 2016 is going to start for me, it’s going to be a weird year. I’m not saying it’s going to be bad, per se, but Blank Thomas has got me started on a gnarly foot. But really, again, I have no concept of what to expect, and that’s the whole nifty mystery – I’m teetering on the brink of uncertainty, and I’m just as excited to find out what’s about to happen as I am terrified. You could say that my slate is as blank as the blankest Thomas, if you get my meaning. If you feel like me, in any way, then maybe you should let 405 Skies be your guide.

It begins with “What Lives in Walls,” which is oddly terrifying for me, because we’ve had fire ants take up residence in our bathroom wall recently, and they’re proving difficult to eradicate. That’s a false path for this tape, though, so forget I said anything. Over the song’s five-and-a-half-minute runtime, cosmic ambient collides with low-key IDM, and then more ambient, and then more rhythm, but half as fast, and with sort of a jazz timbre with the bass and drums. None of it conjures a mood other than moving forward, progressing, which is why I feel so oddly unsure about where this is headed. It’s a great ride, though, and it segues nicely into “Cloud Condiments,” which is my favorite type of song – long (8:50), psychedelic, instrumental, transportative, and loaded with dreamy synthesizer. That’s the ride you hop on whenever you can.

“Satan’s Vaccuum” [sic] literally sounds like the Dark Lord’s vacuum cleaner itself, although to picture it you have to imagine a spiritual hoover made of dark matter sucking souls to the other side. Hey, maybe that’s what dark matter is really for! Someone alert NASA. Where was I? Ending this tape on a ten-minute drone note? Yes, yes, that’s where I was. And that’s where I want to remain for a loooong time. “Frog Hollow” is literally the aural equivalent of that title, a swampy, murky zone brimming with primordial life.

So there you have it, mere days into 2016 and there’s no end in sight. It’s going to be a bizarre year, I can feel it. Let’s not worry about it then, shall we? No need to get ahead of ourselves. Not while we have releases like 405 Skies to keep us company. It’s going to be these types of records that are going to get us through. Just you wait.

RIYL: Three Fourths Tigers, Lunar Testing Laboratory, Andreas Brandal

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