Review: Cream Juice - Cream Juice (Orange Milk, 2012)

Cream Juice is the synth-bending duo of Keith Rankin (who already made some ripples in the underground with his lighthearted solo project Giant Claw) and Seth Graham (also known under the moniker Henry Dawson). Their Cream Juice project is still a tongue-in-cheek, whimsical take on electronic music, but here the quasi-prog melodies and analogue baroque stylings are dropped in favor of of a “more” dripping, shimmering version of psychedelia that sounds like a less hermetic, non-academic version of Caboladies.

The cassette is divided into 13 unnamed tracks, which are glitch-spattered ambient based impressions, electronic vignettes which are jagged and often chaotic, but not in a tiring, “noise music” kind of way. The tracks are dense and cluttered and it’s hard to notice when one track ends and another begins - rather than being finished, autonomous entities, the tracks work as short “stops” in the constant journey through various shades and moods changing at a kaleidoscoping pace. The density of the album distorts the feeling of time, stretching and shortening at will in a series of wide-eyed vintage-tinged hallucinations.

Half-remembered fragments of melody will ocassionally jut out of the bent, cartoonish reality of the tape, filled with hyperactive, seemingly indestructible wacky characters, injuring each other (and themselves) in truly cartoonish ways. Except it’s all in fast motion, making it even more confusing and disorienting than watching even the wackiest cartoon in regular speed. The occasional echoed lead themes bring to mind the later albums of Autechre (Confield, Draft 7.30), but where the British duo usually focused on cold, futuristic sound, Rankin and Graham focus on LSD madness and attempting to completely fry their synthesizers’ circuits. The project’s name reflects the music perfectly - it’s sweet, soft and delicious, but might give you a sugar rush if you consume too much.

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