By: Sam Birkett
Vision Fortune | facebook | soundcloud |
Released on February 10, 2015 via ATP
Everything about Vision Fortune is weird, from their not-quite-anything drone to their appreciation of Arthur Russell’s dubious collaboration with a young Vin Diesel. Deliberately wrapped in white lies and complete myths, it’s hard to get a foothold on the context to Country Music – were they really agonising over a lawsuit with a major airline? Did they really use pots of foie gras for percussion on Dry Mouth? Does the ‘Cuatroquesos Foundation’ that supposedly funded the album’s recording at an Italian villa even exist, or was it just a band member’s time share? This crafting of a surreal profile for themselves demonstrates either a cynical engagement with the culture of mythology in the music industry, antagonism for journos like myself or just plain boredom. Regardless, this perverse backdrop sets the tone for the album very fittingly – the hypnotic medleys of familiar yet deformed sounds belong in the same kind of uncanny dreamscape that the band themselves do.
The character of this record is one of artificiality and nature at odds and at harmony. Underpinning every track are organic drumbeats, a wooden anchor beneath power-tool synths and distorted bells. The album dips in and out of a dissonant murk, always finding its way back to a driving groove that keeps a meandering and mystifying record from feeling directionless. From the punishing yet satisfying drilling of Habitat to the dark metropolitan buzz of New Jack City Vision Fortune explore every corner of their peculiar musical territory.
Though terms such as ‘lead single’ stick in the throat on a record like this, ‘Dry Mouth’ is almost as accessible as this album comes. Its opening half sounds like what a grandfather clock might sound like if dropped into a dimensional rift, all twisted bells and splinters, with occultist chants of ‘drink with me / sink with me’ reinforcing this Lovecraftian vibe nicely, but it segues into a rather more peaceful latter half, and it feels almost like you listened to a psych-pop song by its close. ‘Cleanliness’ might not be out of place on a minimal techno album by the likes of The Field, with droplets of ambience above a pulsing beat, but elsewhere the band stay more abrasive: ‘Tied and Bound’’s screeching gets right under the skin, and ‘Stalker’ is deliciously dark, with refrains that rattle around your brain’s corridors long after the album has stopped spinning. Album closer ‘Back Crawl II’ is the opus here, though, bringing all of the album’s best under one roof: the synths ricochet with ominous swagger, washing back and forth over driving drums like the villa pool that supposedly birthed it – until they give way to a gloriously thick mist of noise that closes the record like the dry ice machine at Cthulhu’s secondary school production of Dr Faustus.
This is not an album to take for tea. It’s jagged, unsettling, and would probably curdle the milk. If you like to feel slightly threatened by your music, however, it can be thrilling and inexplicably satisfying to hear these drones clatter around your cranium, and you’ll be drawn back and back again for more.