'enjoy the art of lying down' (ETAOLD) has been around for a few months in select stores, but wide distribution of the CD through Tower, Virgin, and Amazon starts on 3 April.
qp, born near San Diego, California as Darrin Wiener, is a self taught musician; not a particularly remarkable attribute until you’ve heard a bit of his work. The new album embraces and fucks with western classical motifs, a variety of eastern flavors, hardcore techno, and flat out strangeness—all with a sharp sense of humor but never sarcasm.
qp created ETAOLD on a portable sequencer which he carries and on which he composes his songs—wearing headphones—while walking the sidewalks of Seattle, riding buses, and pretty much wherever he goes.
“...I get lots of looks... I wrote most of [the album track] 'transmodular binary influx' while walking, and you can hear that in the rhythm. And if I get bumped, and stuff gets fucked up, that sounds kind of cool!”
Apart from the plastiq phantom project, qp is co-founder of San Diego’s Imputor? Records, collaborates as Calculator Man with Hangar (check out his whippy.org for even stranger stuff), participates in the Free Activation Series of multimedia installations, and sometimes sits in with Seattle noise rockers Tagging Satellites.
The new plastiq phantom album, unmistakably pure electronica, manages to evoke a distinctly organic feel. The inclusion of serindipitous ingredients (such as the aforementioned jostling), voices, and real-instrument samples contributes to the effect, as does a generous palette of totally new and unidentifiable sounds.
While English electronica duo Plaid (who come back with a new album this May) get tagged with the 'eclectic' label, and with good reason, they are positively staid relative to qp. There’s a wiggly line, one side of which critics call 'eclectic' and the other 'incoherent.' Jumping from chamber pieces to techno-erotica to semi-sterile sci-fi explorations and found recordings, all the while keeping things moving in the same bizarro direction, qp takes that line and ties it in knots.
It’s frustratingly rare, I find, to come across a record with truly original sonic textures. So I must say 'thank you' to qp: I take in enough textural creativity on one listen of ETAOLD to last me a few days of listening to, say, Queens Of The Stone Age or Monster Magnet or U2. But the new sonic colors on this disc are just the start. ETAOLD is no velvet Elvis painting, but a journey with extraordinary musicality—surprises around every corner.
A prudish, high profile reviewer recently dissed this album’s unlisted bonus track—which juxtaposes children’s voices, talking innocently about sex, with hyper-erotic moans. I find the track hilarious and a great capper to a fine debut. Four bites out of five.
Rockbites ratings 5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.