Friday, May 20, 2016

I Know I'm An Alien : Still Alien Still Dreaming (I Am Hobo Shaman)

In the last post I mentioned a few things had got me posting again, I Know I’m An Alien is that other thing.  It was easy to like them straight away; as I worked my way through their recordings on Bandcamp the material just became more and more fascinating.  From what I can gather since 2015 Walter Weirdheadd, Freddy Finefinggers, Buster Bashkitt and Susie Spacebrainn have two self-released records.  ‘Still Alien Still Dreaming (I Am Hobo Shaman)’ is a continuation of the Londoner’s outsider lo-fi recordings, not so long ago ‘lo-fi’ felt like the most overused/misused description of bands,  and it’s albums like this that makes one want to reconsider the genre in modern terms entirely.  I Know I’m An Alien impresses on the listener a take on the world through the view of someone on the fringes, their songs invite one into their space looking at popular culture, boring culture, historical culture, drinking culture, work culture, digital culture through collaged sound bites set alongside the band’s synth/bass/drum/guitar experimentalism.  

Human’s imagining being aliens imagining to be humans has a proven track record of being a powerful thing …. Bowie and Sun Ra both established that when one is in charge of one’s own universe there’s room to concisely define parameters in order to communicate ideas.  I can’t tell if these 13 songs feel dysfunctional as a result of rebelling against or actually reflecting our everyday life in this city.  Could well be a bit of both.   I was drawn to this record because it so clearly gets this concept across; it conveys the sensation of having oneself mirrored back –part hilarity and part surprise.  With songs like ‘Hey Hi Tech Lover’, ‘Becoming Human’ and ‘Hare Hare Against Genetic Engineering’ I Know I’m An Alien captures both those things, the absurd side to being human and the shocking.

The distorted sound of these recordings reminds me of V/VM videos and even The Coneheads in places; it’s the manipulation of famous pieces of music and heavily effected vocals that suggest these parallels to me.  I don’t know if the songwriters even listen to that stuff but it came to mind.  Some tracks lock into a groove the way Excepter might do, especially on ‘I Am A Shaman Hobo’.  I know I’m An Alien strive to make a room in this world to take you into theirs with songs that resonate with all sorts of alchemy.  It’s exciting to catch a band like this at the start of their work, download their releases and keep them on your radar.

* Just announced, I Know I'm An Alien will be supporting Colin Self soon, tickets for the show are here

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