Let’s face it: Band names don’t mean a damn thing anymore. Not to sound like Wilford Brimley, but I do remember a day, not so long ago, when bands had names you could get all lathered up over, and they carried at least tanGENtial connections to the music and/or the circumstances surrounding the band. Cream, for example, were the cream of the ass-rockin’ crop, their moniker a representation of their supreme, top-of-the-mountain super-group status. Today, as youngsters, out of necessity, get more creative in their name-calling (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin? Get Cape Wear Cape Fly? Good GOD), my thought is that they also become more and more detached from the tag they eventually settle on.
Myriad exceptions exist, of course, Dolphins Into The Future being one of my favorites by dint of its strict adherence to aquatics-related audio. Navigated by Lieven Martens, a deep-sea spelunker with the requisite backlog of (excruciatingly! mind-numbingly! what-a-waste-ingly!) limited-edition cassettes and CD-Ren’t-available-anymore-s, Dolphins conjure nothing if not blue seas, dripping H²0, and yes, our smart, shiny, marine-mammal friends.
If you’re riding the drone wave high and tight like so many writing and reading this site are, it’s time you made Martens’ acquaintance, as he’s doing things with the form both fresh and exciting. Enter Music of Belief — the last CD release to be released by Release The Bats — and you will be privy to spits and spats of any and all of the following:
• Someone pouring some highly potent Life from a giant (you might even say life-sized) GLUG-a-jug.
• Little-known soundtrack composer/synthman Michel Krasna; seek him OUT.
• A river burbling over rocks near your campsite.
• Lunar; something… lunar…
• Edmond De Deyster living inside a gargantuan whale like Jonah.
• A rain forest (Washington has a few of these; the more you know, right?) with tiny bugs chirping and unknown creatures stirring.
• That scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when I-man Jones’ back is revealed to be covered with creepy-crawly tarantulas and the strings rise up like tentacles in the night (though I believe the scene was shot during the day). Zzzzzoiks!
• The sound of a public pool teeming with aquatic activity: Splishing, splashing, taking-a-bath-ing.
• Any number of waterfall scenes; take your pick… that part in Goonies with the coins, for example; plus I’m pretty sure Romancing the Stone had at least a dozen of them.
That all these quixotic seal-calls and blurps are tied together so expertly into 20-minute treks is only sweet gravy drizzled overtop an already-tasty bed of buttery mashed potatoes. Not to get so “cartoon-y” with it — I feel like I’ve done nothing but throw out adjectives this whole review — but Dolphins Into The Future, ever since its maiden vinyl voyage on Not Not Fun last year, are so much fun I’m helpless to control my imagination. For a reviewer who has enjoyed/suffered, say, a 50-50 split so far when it comes to really getting in bed with long-form drone/space/lift/synth-hazard recordings, Martens’ music serves as a refreshing change, fluid to the point of absurdity and downright ADD-addled in its cycles. A must for the Kranky elite and several other indie swaths from Sunn to Stunned to O. Point Never.