Hidden Beams – Animals
The 60s are long gone, but their promises born out chemically mind-altering experiences continue to hold a particular fascination for modern artists. Some get lost in the details, plotting their music to the tones and the finest details of the great works of the time. Others, like Hidden Beams, are busy tripping away, using the 60s as their True North.
Sure, there’s more finesse to the execution of their music than that description might suggest. But, certainly, the dreamy, tune in-dropout aspect of rock n’ roll music is particularly prized on Animals. The track shares a name with a famous, albeit unremarkable Pink Floyd album and also some of its musical DNA. This isn’t the Floyd that was busy turning London kids into acid casualties, nor the one dismantling ancient Italian ruins. This is the Floyd that was getting used to playing stadiums and dazzling everyone with their otherworldliness.
A less than 3-minute song isn’t exactly becoming of 60s psych-rock but functions brilliantly as a single in these conditions. The entire tune sounds like it is a piece of music that has been broken off from a larger project. The complex playing, drumming especially, seems to suggest a musician casually throwing their weight behind the numerous notes they are playing, knowing well they’ll be more work to be done on Side B.
Flagman – Dummy
There are some who create musical projects so that when they get their chance to finally play their compositions for their friends, they’ll all exclaim “Wow, this is cool!” There are others whose musical endeavours are born out of the desire to have all of their acquaintances’ remark “Wow, this is certainly strange.”
Flagman is such a group. Their roots lie in the oddest music to briefly touch the music charts back in the 1990s and 2000s. Primus, Butthole Surfers, Faith No More and Mr Bungle were all highly proficient musicians determined to mess with their fans’ minds. Their fans went all along for the ride gladly and, for a while, made them famous. Still, fans revelled in the eeriness of their music. They must’ve known that these artists, at times, were more than willing, to be strange for the sake of being strange.
Alternative-rock has become a blanket term and now means everything to everyone. However, in the early 90s, the label was applied to music that people wanted to purchase and demanded to hear, but which record labels and radio stations were afraid might alienate their regular audiences. It was a kind of preemptive warning.
From the eccentric use of rhythm to the brilliant screamed vocals and the strange song structure, Dummy is an alternative rock song through and through.