Fugues of funk; Etudes of 2loose. “Tall Dolls” his 4th CD finds 2loose in his own synthetic heaven. Buzzgoth, his latest musical invention, combines dark, gothic moods with distorted synth hooks. This unlikely combination of styles just as easily shares the dance floor with the Gagas and the Pinks of the club scene as it blasts the harder arenas of strutting rock gods like Muse or Nine Inch Nails. Roam the halls of Hades in his “Devils in the Details.” Or get out your dancing platforms for “Club Nouveau,” where Buzzgoth and retro-rock merge in a dance lick that can only be described as homage to late 80s trash-pop. Noteworthy is the definitive “Slap That Goth” inspired by the phrase, “Slap me on the ass and call me Goth,” a quote often tweeted by dedicated fans. The title cut, “March of the Tall Dolls” is a stomp thru vintage, hard rock, bass licks and screaming distorted organs, styled after the likes of early Grand Funk Railroad and Yes. To sum it up I quote MJ Carrasquillo from Rockn-the-Mic fame, “Is this your new sh*t? Whoaa.” My thoughts exactly.
Tall Dolls (CD #4) shuns vocals for a darker journey into true cyber space, where tone poems carve out gothic grooves that bathe the listener in shimmering, synthetic hues. This is his first CD sequenced entirely on the Korg M3 including the built-in Radius synthesizer. 2loose has achieved a breakthrough here, musically, allowing the soundscapes to speak from realms that recall the energies first heard in Jazz Fusion or the emotion of Symphonica.
1) 1001 Nights suggests a mid-Eastern Scheherazade crashing into a world of true dance rock. This song is a crowd pleaser and sets a perfect sonic tone for the rest of the CD. Throw this on at a dance party and watch what happens.
2) March of the Tall Dolls is anthemic and groove driven. Part metal – part industrial, this rocker will funk you up. On this cut alone 2loose did depart from the M3 and overdubbed some licks from the Korg Nintendo DS hand-held synthesizer which adds an ambience to the heavier tracks from the M3.
3) Club Nouveau is almost a re-cut Madonna song, at least as far as the bass hooks go, but the melody lines were inspired by Royksopp’s Remind me, used in those old cave man commercials.
4) Mustangs and Vinegar starts out sounding a bit on the progressive side, but quickly kicks in with an extremely fast groove that is a head slammer all the way through. This one is for the sheer fun of a fast electronic rock that perhaps only a true Mustang can endure.
5) Devils in the Details is a throw-back to Dr. Phibes and the fugues of Bach with pipe organs wailing, only with the unlikely combination of an urban, almost rap-ish beat.
6) And Still the Embers slows things down a bit to a New Order style funk with plucky acoustic guitars and a strong choppy synth bass with those generous hand-claps so popular in the mid-80s.
7) Missionary Condition must be a facetious satire on the forlorn missionary life he endured while living on the Kaingaing Indian reservation in southern Brazil. This play on words says it all and the music is as unpredictable as it is a feast for the ears. Drums take center stage here, with a quasi old-fashioned drum solo smack at the end of the bridge. To imagine sequencing these drums by hand does boggle the mind and showcase 2loose’s percussive talents.
8) Pole Dance is, well, self-explanatory. This piece is straight up club worthy and makes one wish for a good sturdy pole, at least for practice.
9) Artifax is very Devo. Inspired in part by their Working in a Coal Mine cover as well as their smash hit, if politically incorrect, Mongoloid, this electro rocker makes me want to pull out my plastic hair and hazmat jumper and work it on out. What stands out here is a talking lead synth that seems to speak a language all its own.
10) Infinite is straight out of the Ministry handbook, from their Twitch period, where samples reign supreme. This gem has retro funk, head banging, buzz synths and you can dance to it. The ending of this contains a groove that could go on forever, layers and loops and harmonies infinitum.
11) Bite Your Tongue is an experiment in a more progressive electronic sound that seeks to find its own voice in the music of today.
12) Jazzorcism at last emphasizes his softer side with snazzy snares and electric pianos. The smooth touch here is a nice departure from the hard driving drums that dominate other tracks.
13) No Small Lover, while evoking a sexier theme, is literally a head banger. Some of the licks are inspired by the unlikely forerunners of speed-metal known as the Dead Boys. This song will kick your ass all the way through. Portions seem to invoke the old The The from their tune, Infected.
14) Interzones combines some of the sampling featured in Infinite but with a more party-friendly funky vibe. The title is from William S Burroughs’ novel of the same name.
15) Ritual Fire Funk has one of the most interesting titles and it is a funky club hit-to-be. Here 2loose lets the M3 sequencer fly and flit while a true thump thump kick keeps your feet a stompin.
16) Slap That Goth. Can you say Buzzgoth? This is the tune that coined the term. Snappy sampled noise and tangled descending arpeggios decorate this gem of sound innovation and punchy beats. 2loose has outdone himself here and it is saved until nearly the end of the CD. The vibe and title come from the old expression, “Well, slap me on the ass and call me Sally.”
17) Space Punk conjures an interstellar world that spits out drum beats like machine-gun bullets as buzzing riffs ricochet against interplanetary space.
18) Torque is an ambient noise-scape that would be just as comfortable in David Lynch’s Eraserhead as it is here on Tall Dolls. No drums were harmed in the making of this track. There are parts that might make you feel like you’ve been smoking funny cigarettes.