Review: Mother Ganga - Pineal Soup (Instructional Media, 2012)
Glasgow’s Lewis Cook might be more known as a part of a heavy stoner/psych rock ensemble The Cosmic Dead, where he plays noodling, labirynthine synthesizer passages. Under his Mother Ganga moniker he reveals a much softer, pop-oriented side of electronic psychedelia, offering a twisted, chillwavey take on 80’s synth pop music, complete with deformed vocals and infectious hooks.Pineal Soup is a strong, compelling debut tape released from Cook’s own label Instructional Media.
The opening “Do I?” (well, not really opening, but I’m not counting the short, noisy intro) is a head-first dive into the world of fun and fresh retrodelica in the vein of Ford & Lopatin, except less heavy on MIDI sound effects. What might appear to be a prime-time radio-friendly hit song is suddenly cut short by a few seconds of silence; a deed that might mean suicide for all aspiring radio songs, but we’re not aiming for the mainstream popularity here - the song comes back after that short break, sprinkled by delicious glitches and distortions, intentionaly hitting the wrong notes at times while retaining the easy-going mood, like a parody of “perfect life” songs, showing small cracks under the polished surface.
Pineal Soup keeps the balance between the more abstract, vocal-less moments (like the beatific, beat-laden crystal New Age-isms of “Ganges Riverboat Disco”) or the deformed, mutant pop of “Patterns of Subsistence”, which feels like an analog version of The Knife or the guitar driven lo-fi summer anthem of “Trip to Samye Ling”, which might as well be an outtake from Rangers’ Suburban Tours. As Mother Ganga, Lewis Cook manages to show the wide spectrum of his abilities as a composer - he is an example that no matter how wild or psychedelic one can goes with synthesizer, there is always that more peaceful, pop-oriented side. Because there is a bit of pop in all of us.