By: Cole Epley
Not since The Dark Side of the Moon has sitting alone and just listening to music been so entertaining. As is the nature of the psychedelic beast, such renowned musical movements only grace our musical sensibilities once in a great while. Well, Roger Waters, make room for Aaron Holstein—a.k.a. VibeSquaD. Following the historic lead of the heralded aristocracy of psychedelia, he’s just pole-vaulted over the wall of sonic convention to reduce to ashes any notions of normalcy in an emerging musical genre. What are his means? the FIRE, the latest full-length installment from the Colorado-based electro extraordinaire known as VibeSquaD.
And while it may not be a perfect complement to The Wizard of Oz, I’ll tell you what it is: It’s the tightest, heaviest and dirtiest VibeSquaD tunes to date. This verbatim description from the VibeSquaD camp indicates that the new full-length album eked out by breaks/electro auteur Aaron Holstein is on the cutting edge of the frugal Colorado electronic scene. As far sonic mindfucks go, who needs iDoser when we’ve got VibeSquaD? the FIRE hits harder than a two-story house falling on your head and showcases the versatility and inventiveness of Holstein.
Even the straw-brained scarecrow would realize that one needn’t get too far into Holstein’s latest work to realize that we have been given quite a peculiar example of the conceptual future of electro/breaks. Let it be known that the FIRE is weird, and I don’t mean monkeys-with-wings weird. This is something exceptionally unique. In fact, Holstein very easily may have redefined what it means to get weird.
I thought that last spring’s New Creatures EP was a an indicator of the inimitability of VibeSquaD; with the FIRE, Holstein has paved his own yellow-brick road to transcend all convention and predictability to become one of electronic music’s ‘Men Behind the Curtain’ of innovation, reinvention and evolution. The mudslinging, insidious overtones of ‘Brothership,’ the album’s opener, feel like anything but a walk through a poppy field. Holstein’s panache rubbery-sounding oscillations and synth tones unmistakable set the tone for the rest of the FIRE. Gratuitous gyrations and extraterrestrial timbres grind on your ear drums until the cerebral second track ‘Freshmaker’ curls and unfurls your toes up to your knees and back. ‘Flipping Acrobats’ rebounds through the sonic atmosphere to create a psychedelic circus in the third track, and from here, it’s any color you like, served up an a palette of infinite hues and never-ending bass whomps.
To quote Hunter S. Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Aaron Holstein is likely receiving posthumous pats on the back from the late, great Dr. Gonzo, for he has set ablaze the treatise of electronic standards to shine some light on the dark side of the moon. the Fire defies nearly all of the very standards to which he has contributed form and function and in their place constructs alien soundscapes strewn with monolithic wobble and soaring synthetic reverberations. What we’ve been given is a benchmark of innovation and a true testament to the already-proven musical acumen possessed within the force that is VibeSquaD.
the FIRE is available for download at VibeSquaD’s bandcamp page.
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