2008 Album of the Year
It is quite possible that while our country is reaching new lows, we have also experienced the High-Water Mark of human civilization. Thinking back upon 2008, it is hard to think that I will ever encounter a year as massive as this.
(Editor’s Note: Yes, I am going to be using the word massive a lot. Get used to it.)
• Being laid-off from my “Other Job”
• The freak snow storm that happened in late March while enjoying Spring Break Excitement-Fest
• Graduating college after 10+ years of “knowledge” gaining
• The passing of George Carlin
• The Dark Knight
• Amy Goodman and two Democracy Now! Producers arrested at the RNC protest
• Barack Hussein Obama II winning the Presidency of the United States of America
• Anything relating to Sarah Palin
• Being laid-off from my “Main Job”
• The passing of Frank Navetta
• Axl Rose releasing Chinese Democracy
• The RIAA ceasing to file any new copyright infringement lawsuits
• Sparks being attacked by the Attorney General and then halting production
• Pwning my first couple of terms of Grad School
• The Hurricane Katrina like devastation of Portland by a winter snow storm
And, of course, who can forget the complete destruction of our economy.
You know, there is so much more too. Madoff, Blagojevich, the auto industry, compact sticks v CDs, cars running off of human fat, Twilight, Prop 8, Whole Foods being massive boner jammers, shoes being thrown at W. Overall, 2008 has been massive. And part of the massiveness of it has been the seemingly never ending stream of great new music. Rip Van Hippy, Atmos, Mandalavandalz & Texas Faggott, James Reipas, Omnipresence, Kixotek, Great Day Coming, Ticon, Kino Oko, Hippie Killer Collection, Fuck Buttons, The Zap!, Electrypnose . . . and oh so much more.
The amount of great music released this year is impressive. Impressive and daunting. How do I choose one album and rate it as Best ov 2008? In what world do I actually quantify music in such a manner? How do I pick and choose something like this? How do I rate a bunch of great music and pick a winner?
Luckily, I don’t need to do anything. DAT Records has taken care of it and has decided to release one of the most anticipated albums ever to be talked about within the Psychedelic Goa Trance world. At the end of 2008, Crop Circles’ ‘Tetrahedron’ has been unleashed upon the public.
For those of you who are not in the “proverbial loop” of all things relating to the Goa Trance world of the late 1990’s, Crop Circles is a lot like a Super Group of psychedelic techno. Comprised of six crazy Italians from Etnica/Pleiadians and Lotus Omega, Crop Circles began fucking up dance floors in 1996 with the release of their first 12″ Full Mental Jackpot. The following year saw the release of their next 12″ Lunar Civilization and then that was that. Done. Four songs (and a couple of remixes) and they were gone. A brief glimpse of what it might be like to encounter a massive alien spaceship while in the forest with a head full of more LSD than you thought a human body could handle. The real psychedelic experience. And, like a strong acid trip, sometimes things don’t exactly end as you may have perceived.
Over a decade later, like an unexpected flashback, Crop Circles are back. And by back, I mean: Someone took all of their unreleased DATs of Crop Circles tracks, mastered them, and then released them to the public. So this isn’t some sort of come-back album, or regrouping. This is an album that has been hidden from the world for the past decade, only to come out at the end of 2008 and offer itself as another reason why 2008 will be hard to top.
Tetrahedron is massive. It is what psychedelic music had going for it in its peak and at its prime. Nearly every song is 10 minutes long. They drill you and drive into your brain. They’re painted in layers of warm sound and rich levels of melody. Even though the album is basically a decade old, it doesn’t really show at all. The bass sounds full, the highs are properly placed and the mids are encompassing and dripping with tastiness. There aren’t any real samples, so nothing is dated by that either. The only thing that makes you wonder about this music is the notion that most current music feels weak and simplistic comparatively.
Tetrahedron is intelligent, well produced, psychedelic music that sounds like a spaceship transported you out of your tent and onto some planet across the universe to dance with hundreds of crazy looking alien groovers whose bodies are made out of colors you have never seen before.
You know how sometimes music is referred to as being mathematical? Well, this is music of a fractal. Never ending. Never resolving. Simply spiraling out like a Mandelbrot of musical composition. Luckily, like fractals, the music on here doesn’t require powerful psychedelics to be enjoyed. The melodies and the harmonies herein are simply gorgeous in their lush intensity and can be listened to anytime you want to dance . . . or communicate with an alien.
Crop Circles, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, old Slinky Wizard, Green Nuns of the Revolution, The Beatles; they just don’t make them like this anymore. Music of a time that has since passed and may never return. Or, maybe it will. Hopefully, with the release of Tetrahedron, things will change a bit and we’ll be privileged to have more psychedelic mastery from a new generation of maestros. New music to communicate with the aliens while diving head first into the ocean of fractals. That would be nice. That just might raise the High-Water Mark of 2008 to a new level of outstanding’ness. A new high, without all of this year’s lows.
2008 – R.I.P.