JACOB 2-2’S HERBIVORE
We have always had a lot of love and respect for artists that take the sounds of yore and use them to create completely new compositions, spinning original fabrications out of the yarn of yesteryear. Artists like Com Truise, Mitch Murder, and Brooklyn's Jacob 2-2 come to mind, the latter of which just recently put out his latest full-length release, Herbivore, last Fall via King Deluxe Records. Despite getting a taste of his upcoming digital choose-your-own-adventure last Summer in the form of “Baby Duckbill" and "Milo de Venus”, we were completely blindsided by how utterly colorful and engrossing the full release ended up being. Based on the 80’s sci-fi trope of the wunderkind, isolated in some laboratory playroom as his psychic abilities are groomed, Jacob 2-2 creates a loose story and an ever-evolving world out of this theme with Herbivore. Kicking off the album with a whirling digital explosion and a child bemoaning his slight age and stature, warbling waves of rainbow synth flood the listener’s sound spectrum, like the intro to some long-forgotten Saturday morning cartoon. Atari-esque sounds speckle the aural palette as meandering sawtooth synth melodies flow along like electrified zephyrs. Warm basslines and 64-bit effects splash against the outer reaches of the sound spectrum in the aforementioned “Milo de Venus”, akin to computer generated chrome liquid splashing about in rendered polygonal vats. Pogflipper, an occasional collaborator, joins Jacob 2-2 in “Sunrises”, one of the only tunes on the album that features prominent vocalization, awash of course in echo and flanger effects. Occasionally, amidst the whirling, whimsical synth and bleary Boards of Canada-esque vignettes, a clarity unlike anything outside of viewing the entirety of our home planet while in orbit is bestowed upon the listener. “So Long, Solaris" and the featured closing track, "The Light Shines" are particularly powerful and focused in sound, like a planet scale laserbeam being readied for deployment. Despite the obviously modern techniques at work, the analog instrumentation in use here gives Herbivore a uniquely aged flavor, with its smeared synth resembling decayed tape magnetism and choice of tracks being heavily reminiscent of mid-90’s Nintendo 64 BGM. The entire effort is incredibly effective at evoking the feel of eighties sci-fi films; the extraterrestrial adventures of “The Last Starfighter" alive in the arcade effects, the childhood desire for escape into a pixelated world showcased in "The Wizard”, the love for knowledge and science at risk of personal injury seen in the developing children in seminal anime “Akira”. Jacob 2-2's Herbivore brings to mind the wonder and amazement wrought upon the youngest of us during field trips to science museums, watching IMAX films, animatronic dinosaurs, and oozing volcanoes. Nothing short of rewatching “Explorers" or experiencing full-blown synesthesia is going to give you such a rich and wondrous experience, so do tha right thing and grab a free MP3 download of "The Light Shines" below. Afterwards, treat yourself to a paid copy of one of our favorite albums of 2013, Jacob 2-2's Herbivore via iTunes, Amazon, or King Deluxe.