woopheadclrms Meeting Room + Rare Plants

[Ukiuki Atama; 2017]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: collage, playground, psychedelic
Others: DJWWWW, toiret status, seaketa

Lots of voices jabber through Meeting Room + Rare Plants. Many of the ones that say anything discernible speak English. One, a British man, says, “This is rather irate or something. I was picking up an awful lot of shit, though. Can you smell that shit? Yes, I can smell an awful lot of shit, though. A lot of shit smothered on the microphone.”

Shit can also mean stuff, awful amounts of stuff, like you’d see in an episode of Hoarders. The epic, vaguely cinematic strings and twinkles that soar through the opening of first track “Noisy woman, bad little invitation, fertilizer” part a curtain on rooms brimming with piles and piles of things — goodies, overstuffed bags, newspapers, rot, receipts. In the corner, a white desktop computer, caked in grime yet still functioning, hums gently. A screensaver, the one where all of the colorful pipes snake around each other in a black abyss, cycles steadily. Heavy-duty trash bags unfurl from a fat roll, and long gloves snap onto itching forearms.

woopheadclrms is not a cleaner or even an organizer, they’re more of an arranger. They jumps into those piles in hazmat gear, picks out the little things they like, and lays them out in a long row. Even though they chose to break the album up into 12 tracks, the bits of each hopscotch together without a feeling of beginnings and endings, or any other binaries or hierarchies. This is a piece of hyper-detailed collage, but not the cut-and-paste kind where fragments fit together in a cohesive mess on a plane. woopheadclrms takes Timothy Morton’s mesh of interdependent things and teases it out into a long line with quick fingers.

The line might bend or crest, but it never really circles back. It’s rare that any of the album’s hundreds of sounds repeat later down the line. There are no real motifs or themes, just bits that fit together in a bizarre continuity. Even the ending of last track “One Day [ugly democracy, rotten brains, misunderstandings overcoat, self destruction]” begins with someone saying, “Hello, hello,” while a voice back in “Noisy woman, bad little invitation, fertilizer” announced “Track 8.” Within the line, time-based and other narrative logics can be disturbed, even as the whole thing bounds ever forward.

Of course, this is imaginary. I want to default to the metaphor of artists creating worlds full of strange rules that fill heavy books. woopheadclrms has really done it, though. The place of Meeting Room + Rare Plants is familiar, but slightly off; kind of psychedelic, kind of like the vaguely natural blobs and squishy renderings on the album cover. Exaggerated forms swell, root systems pour fort, deformity of a choral burst, and a child’s wailing.

The CD just came in the mail. It comes with a little wooden stick embedded in the case’s spine and a plastic vine embedded in the case’s back. What else is in line?

A childish computer voice that says, “The sun is cold”

Seagulls squawking

A choir, sounding a tone

Piano keys, played one by one

Rainforest ambience

A kind of sigh

Hollow synth pluck

Something like a printer, printing

Ee-ee-ee

Twirlpng bird

A group singing and laughing

Whoosh of a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner

Young girl saying, “Sooooo, in the last bit, I explain that I was fascinated by music”

Sounds of a child’s mobile

Smashing glass

Lone bloops

British woman, “I’m terribly sorry about that”
American woman, “Um, no, it’s alright”
British woman, “I’m the manager”

Much more, unnameable

Eureka!

Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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