The Auditory Field Theory label specialises in deep weirdness, a discombobulating window onto shining zones of oddness; each release distinct but tied to the general output by a commitment to exploring cracked states of reality.
‘Family Hole’ by Ape Explorer fits neatly into this somewhat un-neat niche, but keeps a foot in the “real” of more easily comprehensible musical forms. The creeping proto-dubstep of ‘He Stabs Himself in the Eye with the Crystal to Gain Her Power’ clashes a creeping tempo and crisp drum kicks up against rhythm shifting synth bubbles and a shivering high-end sparkle that drops in and out of the mix. ‘Flashback (2044)’ is smeared techno; the beats offering a solid grid into which tweaked voices repeat the word “naturally” in a perpetual hypnotic loop, the words chopped, stretched, and sometimes clipped into individual syllables. ‘B04 Puh Guh Xplor’ again employs a firm techno beat, but uses this as a framing device for an opiated fugue of sighs, melted crackle, clangs, and vocal mumblings.
The album also contains some properly unhinged material, in which no compromise is attempted. The introductory track is a record of a voice recounting a story around a crackling fire, owls hooting and insects rustling in the background; the voice is blurred, the meaning of its words subverted. ‘Flashback (Boredism)’ is another voice recording, talking about “scouse birds” and “fuckin’ bastard kiddies’ rides”, interrupted by a twisting hip-hop instrumental, full of hiss and static. ‘Flashback (Billy’s Green)’ is utterly bizarre, a concrete mash-up of voices, clopping percussion, and the sound of smashing glass filtered through dub effects; it all fades away into a faltering and collapsing beat; the music dying and bleeding away into nothing.
Ape Explorer’s ‘Family Hole’ is a homeless drunk, mumbling the secrets of the universe in solitutude, secrets that can only be glimpsed and relayed through a fog of addled insensibility; obscure cosmic truths melted and corrupted into forms not meant to hold them. Like a broken cassette holding an incomprehensible Ultimate Answer.
Purchase the album here.