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Mandalavandalz - King of the Bad Trips


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Attach the Electrodes of Knowledge to the Nipples of Ignorance!

 

Here we have the fifth album of the Mandala vandalz on their home turf, the Japanese label 6 Dimension soundz, well known to the connoisseurs of this kind of noise pollution from their previous releases. For me, this album came completely from the left field, having written off trance and it’s capability to surprise me years ago. Alas, the jaded scales fell from my eyes and now I’ll attempt to describe this aural chaos to you. To quote Houellebecq:

 

“Attack the story like a radiant suicide, utter the great NO to life without weakness; then you will see a magnificent cathedral, and your senses, vectors of unutterable derangement, will map out an integral delirium”

 

1. Manboobs

 

Gnarly bass line amidst sparkling percussion, quite Goa to be honest. The main melody is like Forever After –era Koxbox, playing the soundtrack to a silent film in which a ghost train speeds through bleak and blasted heaths on a cloudless night. This would make good prime time dance floor material for a not-so-open crowd.

 

2. Bacillus Subtilis

 

Echoing chant playing over drums in the deep Ripping, coarse techno-y, and the whole tune is similar in style and general aesthetics as one off “Kamakaze”, the name of said song I can’t recall at the moment. Oh well, my memory is shot anyways. Back on topic, don’t like, heavy droning and slow, and the bass line makes you feel like your ears are stuffed with wax.

 

3. Kromosomatic

 

Space Combat! Break beats twist and coil in the freezing vacuum, I get flashbacks of Antediluvian Rocking Horse’s “Fast Forward into the Furniture” from this one, and also the aforementioned Gradius/R-Type feelings are strong with this one.

 

4. Whos the Ricefield now?

 

The grammar cluster fuck is basically “Ibiza” from their first album, updated for the year 2008, as interpreted by Trio Tetris in a smoky club. Heavy Metal -vibes.

 

5. The Crossroads

 

We can’t stop here, this is Nam Shub Of Enki country! Gritty break beat tune with space-y, echoed percussion work and an old school electro lead, think Eat Static’s “Interceptor” with a bit more oomph. Good bye Goa trance and good riddance!

 

6. Space

 

Ha! I can’t believe they went and released this one, I always thought it was just a spoof done for their myspace page. Anyways, “Space” is a semi-decent synth rock tune ruined by the terrible vocals and lyrics.

 

7. Jullen polkka

 

What a mutant this one is. Gathers steam, nostrils flaring, like some huge animal waiting to pounce on its prey and embarks on an amok run: Go, Go, Go! Where, Where, Where? I liked it.

 

8. King of the Bad Trips

 

The title song is a corker: ugly, booming drum work and the soon-to-be-introduced thrumming bass line complemented by something that sounds like a detuned electric guitar create an intense and all-pervading atmosphere of enormous forces barely held in check. The bristling percussion work and stabs of melody further embellish this feeling. Best song on the album if you ask me, at times it all comes together in such a splendid way you can clearly feel the song tearing holes in the time-space continuum, fucking brilliant. The All-in-One and the One-in-All.

 

9. Mutilate

 

Punk-like intro, reminds me of the Finnish band Aavikko, whose regular lead keyboard player has been replaced by the phantom of the opera. This is a clear homage, short but sweet. Back to the Futer!

 

10. Kaapiaiden (Kääpiöiden?) aarre

 

Here we steer back to the lane of convention. The Vandalz’ trademark secret agent bass line is there. Is that my shoe phone ringing? A vocal sample, probably lifted from a kids television show, tells us about the search for legendary treasure. Filler.

 

11. Pollardz pickelz

 

Ah, my second fave from this album. Rocking intro with a vocal sample so mutilated I can’t tell if it’s Japanese or English. Dappled percussion in a pseudo-tabla vein sprinkled over eerie melodies. This finds it’s mojo when it’s reunited with the vocals. Equally groovy as “King…”, but in a less hectic way.

 

12. Aspergillus Oryzae

 

Urgent and fuzzy break beat tune with squealing, acidic overtones, a bit like what Evoc Sisters did in ages past, especially reminiscent of their song “Orava antoi Karhulle sut” Nice, subtle and atmospheric, less forced than the aforementioned song, but at the same time the nuances weaken the pilipali essence. It’s a reasonable trade-off all things considered.

 

13. Etaezeibani

 

Popping and locking. This is demo music, as in demo scene. Stripped-to-the-bone break beats in an early Photek style, think “Smoke Rings” and you’re there. After a while it heads in a more traditional direction, sample work tells us of domestic dispute over beer consumption, a bit spastic.

 

14. Shingen Takeda (Kofu Temple Remix)

 

This is an old one, I have the non-remixed version somewhere on my computer I wager. A pretty basic tune with a pretty guitar riff, though. This kind of soaring style has been heard from them now and then and can’t say that I care that much for it. The epic moments feel tacked-on. Kind of like metal bands that use keyboards all sound, bar Emperor, cheesy.

 

15. Everything is Love

 

Starts out very much like the previous song but has a bit more backbone to it. Uplifting kikkeli trance melodies, bummer. I won’t waste my, and your, time by reiterating how I felt about the song, read above.

 

Well then, quite the ride and a far wilder one than “Kininigin” may of the not-so-trance songs gave me a well-deserved boot up my blasé ass. Stuff like this is hit-or-miss material, but whatever your preference might be, you can’t go and call this mediocre. Definitely worth the asking price, unlike the three previous Vandalz albums, this one’s a goer.

 

Burn your own church.

 

8+/10 + a parrot sticker

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I disagree with the positive reviews.

I found this album to be very experimental, but not really enjoyable.

 

Is the idm/breakbeat influences actually that make the album less fun. His full 4/4 tracks like Virtual Koto are mindblowing.

 

5.5/10

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