Profligate - Somewhere Else

by Jack Kiser Rating:8 Release Date:2018-01-05
Profligate - Somewhere Else
Profligate - Somewhere Else

Many may not know the personality behind Noah Anthony, but based on the cryptic production that you hear from his better known alias, Profligate, his gloomy illustrations and translucent spoken work details something worth investigating. Somewhere Else is Anthony’s first release off Wharf Cat Records and intricately details his maturity over the years. The overall aura of this record is murky and seemingly overshadowed (no pun intended) by an appending cataclysmic storm. This foreseeable natural disaster in the distance possesses squeamish high frequency, confrontational snare kick, and unsettling poetry by the talented Elaine Kahn. Notably, Elaine is a Los Angeles based poet and has worked with several artists including Weyes Blood and Bob Trimble.  Multiple aspects trace the lineage to early post-punk with groundbreaking introduction to dark electronic instrumentals, but Somewhere Else is undeniably more amplified. While some aspects of each track are knowingly quarrelsome to the ear, the strident appearance accompanies the overall project positively.

The influences behind the undefined Profligate are unknown, but nonetheless deserve the right to be explored. As mentioned earlier, the squirmy presentation can be observed effortlessly through the opening title track, “Somewhere Else.” This ominous feeling is well executed by wavy synthesizers and soft spoken vocals barely above a whisper. The transition into “A Circle” is then put on display with an eerie tribal percussion introduction, surrounded with scattershot space effects and daunting bass strolls. Additionally, haunting reverb is implemented between the compatibly mundane duo of Anthony and Kahn. The third track is then followed up overwhelming feedback that can be too much to bear at times, but ultimately subsides with the continuous decrescendo and razor sharp keyboard work. “Lose a Little” assists me on my search for relevant influences for this project, the male/female duo is freakishly similar to early Beach House (Bloom). In the same sentence, the ethnic-sounding electronic tri-tone scales greatly resemble works of Broadcast. This track is by far the front runner for my favorite on this uniquely curated  LP. The next track starts off as one of the “calmer” ones, I guess until you reach the end, really. “Black Plate” was one of the two singles for this project and why wouldn’t it? Kahn continues with her masterful enigmatic lyricism over Anderson’s building electronic repetition. Shades of the electro-punk band Suicide re-appear in the more collective, “Jet Black (King of the World)” with underlying characteristics of industrial, making it hard for the listener to get comfortable. The conclusion to this whirlwind of a listen leaves us with “Needle in your Lip,” a lamenting shuffle emphasizing Kahn’s final thoughts on the record. Bright, chirping synths and the unpredictable egg shaker gradually divide the tempo and leave room for thought and solitude.

The aesthetic of gloomy electronica is such a well utilized resource, especially for scores and appropriate media mediums. It is often hard to achieve the perfect calibration between complexity and cryptic execution. However, when done well, it is hard not to fall down this ambiguous wormhole of production. It attracts the listener in a peculiar way, it may not be pleasant to the ear, but the obscene aspects of each composition are enough to deem a second listen. Minimalist giants like Eno and Glass continuously find themselves in Hollywood’s spotlights with multiple opportunities to showcase their product in dreary English settings (at least that’s where I imagine their music would thrive). While this aforementioned minimalism plays an integral part in this album, there are staunch advances with hectic sounds of clatter, high frequency, and noteworthy anarchy. Anthony’s fearless alias, Profligate, takes huge steps forward, distinguishing himself as an early favorite for an electronic favorite of early 2018.  

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